Tag: friends

Finding Purpose

Finding Purpose

10 June 2018

This past week was an emotionally heavy week for so many: those who have lost loved ones, those who spoke about losing loved ones, and those who felt the impact of another loss of life…all related to suicide.

Anthony Bourdain was a shock after hearing about Kate Spade. We, as “regular” people, aren’t in the limelight all the time, but celebrities or not we all keep our personal lives quiet. Even the most successful can be struggling and those close to them might not fully understand; especially if mental health problems aren’t discussed.

The struggle is real.

This is my pre-birthday weekend and I felt like I had tumbled to the bottom Friday night. Unlike last year when the only thing I could do was curl up into a ball and let the feelings wash over me, I knew I didn’t have to suffer alone in the dark. I knew I had friends I could count on. I only needed to ask, and that is something I am not afraid of doing.  A friend came over stayed with me until 6am, letting me talk, reminding me I am a beautiful person and an amazing woman.  Every woman needs a gay best friend and this person is just that. My two best friends checked in with me Saturday. My response, “I have coffee and picking myself back up to tackle the day. It all starts with writing to get the muddle out of my head.”

I still struggle. I am still dealing with anxiety and depression, and I continue to see my therapist twice a month. And I talk about my mental health. I have to. I have to do it for me. It’s okay to be selfish when it comes to taking care of yourself. After all, if you can’t take care of yourself, it will be hard to take care of another person. It’s really easy to forget something so basic, so simple, when we’re caught up in the daily grind of life and relationships. I know I lost a big part of myself in a marriage. It’s been a lot of fun rediscovering because that lost part of me is who I have always been since I was young.

We shouldn’t be turning our heads the other way. We shouldn’t be keeping things bottled up to a point where tragedy occurs. Suicide is not a solution. It’s a quick fix for the victim and years of pain and hurt for the living left behind. And I’m not talking about this from my own personal struggles. I’ve lost friends, a high school sweetheart, and some family members to suicide. It affects us all.

This is the point in my blog when I begin to talk about writing, as I begin to weave life around the discussion. The Downfall is coming to a conclusion after a minor setback with my pup over Memorial Day weekend. I’ve been stupidly busy with my job that I haven’t been able to work (writing) as much as I need to. Not being able to write every day also messes with my head. Writing is my therapy. I write because it’s something I have been doing most of my life. My stories have messages that are important and I want to share. There is power in storytelling.

I listen to Sirius Octane just about everywhere: in my car, at work, home and occasionally on my phone. The dj’s are really cool, but Kayla Riley is my favorite. I was driving to Albuquerque the other morning, a day or so after we learned about Kate Spade’s death, when she was on air. Papa Roach’s “Born for Greatness” finished playing and she began her commentary, “We all have a purpose in life. We just need to find that purpose.”

With time and space for reflection, as I heal and move forward, I discovered one of my purposes in life is bringing people together. I do a really good job with this.

My other purpose has always been to hope my writing makes an impact in at least one person’s life. I know that my poem, “Youth Lost,” in Mountains, Rivers and Heavens, has done this because I watched the ripples in the water wash up to my feet.

I hope to see another impact from The Downfall, Seeing in the Dark¸ and my other unfinished novels (Women in the Library, Strength).

The more I write, the better I feel. And I don’t limit myself. I’m still writing poetry, writing on this blog, helping Duke-pup with his blog; still scribbling on note pads, sticky notes, sheets of random paper, and on my phone when ideas strike me. In fact, the light came on last week when I think I finally found the right words for pitching The Downfall. What did I do? I read it to a small group of friends I had at my house on a Sunday afternoon. It worked. I’ve been trying to test-pitch it to anyone who asks me about the book and they are more interested in my spec-fic novel (Seeing in the Dark); both are equally powerful. However, the pitch made it the ears of interested men and women. My job is nearly done.

The muddle, as I call it, is a mud puddle of fog swirling in my mind that makes it hard to do anything. It’s not quite gone, so I am going to keep moving, get out to exercise and get back to The Downfall. There are several reasons this book need to be competed, but this is not the time or place.

If the weather is decent where you live, get outside, take a deep breath and smile knowing we all have a purpose in life. We’re not just here on this Earth and in time to simply live. There is more, and even raising a family is a huge purpose. Our purpose can be very small or big. We are in control of ourselves. Nobody else has that kind of power over us, even if they think they do. If we love and take care of ourselves, we’ll be a better person for those in our lives.

Have a great Sunday afternoon, dear readers.

 

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Time

Time

11-13 May 2018

Time sometimes feels like a black hole. It’s amazing how fast, yet how slow, we perceive time in our lives.

We let time dictate our daily routines from waking up in the morning to falling into bed at night, and everything in between. Time can be our ally and enemy all at the same time.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with Harold Ramis and Danny Rubin’s Ground Hog Day, where Bill Murray’s character keeps reliving February 2 over and over again. There are some days when we have that deja-vu kind of feeling, and I certainly felt like I had similar days early 2017, and it could easily be explained as time playing tricks on us.

I was in a very different place this time last year, but the real driving point is it’s been eight years since I lost my mother, and my siblings and family still feel the sting of such an unexpected loss. We are truly orphans, even in our adulthood. However, we don’t feel as alone because we have a super large family (both a blessing and a curse) and a large network of friends. We are surrounded by them and we keep them close.

Eight years seems like an awful long time; an eternity in fact. And we lost my mother Friday of Mother’s Day weekend, also the weekend of my father’s birthday (May 12). That was a horrendous 36-hour drive from New Mexico back to New York, making a 900-mile detour to pick up one of my mother’s sisters in Missouri because she didn’t have the money to really get home, and it was important to have her there. It was also the last major road trip I would take. It took everything out of me and challenging as I was placed in a walking boot, coming out of a minor surgery, only a few days before.

Time is also like a sinkhole. Ten years before losing my mother, I lost my father. Also, a sudden death. He’s been gone 18 years this November. It doesn’t seem possible.

It will be seven years in August since I lost my brother, and nothing puts more of a hole in the heart or a hole in the line of children as losing a sibling; the death of a child trumps any of this. My siblings and cousins I grew up with are truly my best friends. They are always answering right away. Unfortunately for me and my siblings, we are scared to answer the phone when there’s a call from any of us; we know it’s generally not good news. My poor sister-in-law felt this when she was calling in December about my brother’s 20 foot fall out of a tree. She thanked me for answering the phone. I had no intentions of ignoring the call, even though I knew something was wrong immediately.

After both of my parents’ deaths, some people would say, “This too shall pass,” or “It will get better.” I wish people wouldn’t say these things to someone experiencing a profound death, or even any type of death. The moment of grief does pass, somewhat, but more at a slow-motion kind of pace, but it doesn’t get better. I always call bullshit. This warrants repeating: it doesn’t get better; we simply learn how to deal with it, and the waves of emotions will always crash upon us during holidays, birthdays, other events, and memory triggers. My heart bled for my cousin who lost her brother in December just before the holidays. I understood her grief. I understood her singularity in the universe and all the questions she had. There are moments in life, and in time, where we have to walk it alone because we need to find a way to wrap our heads around life events.

This is where time can be kind to give us the space to do so.

Time can also surprise us: a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new beginning. For my moment in this time, I am shocked that I have been receiving gifts. They are small gifts, but one that warms the heart just the same.

In 2006, my mother sent money for me to buy a rose bush after a major surgery; one that finalized surgeries of a thousand knives. Rose is my birth flower, and the only flower I am not allergic to. I went to a nursery in Albuquerque and the rose bush was planted by my then-husband. The bush flourished, and I know I’ve included pictures of the “gifts,” as I call the flowers, in previous blog postings. The delicate flowers appear at the perfect moments: Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, my birthday, and in August (the month of my parents’ anniversary, formerly my anniversary month, and the month my brother was killed).

When I had to leave the home I’ve lived in for over 16 years ─the home that stole my inheritance to turn it into a really nice place to live, and one that eventually sucked the life out of me─I refused to leave the rose bush behind. I contacted a specialist at the nursery who gave me very specific details regarding uprooting and transplanting the bush. He told me several times, “The plant will go into shock.”

My neighbor helped me, at the last hour, with the uprooting and gave me a large clay pot, with a drain tray on wheels, to keep it in until I become more established to rebury into the ground. The same week as my patio opening, that began with hosting a dinner, I woke up to find two small roses. They blossomed despite the stress of the bush. This weekend, I am gifted with two more flowers. Right on time. They’re small, but I don’t care.

Time will dictate the size and range of robust fragrance from the roses, but I am patient.

Time also slowed down to give me a chance to “soak it all in,” as Southern New Hampshire University’s (SNHU) President, Paul LeBlanc, told my graduating class last year. I have two degrees from New Mexico Tech, and proud to say I’m a Techie, but my dream degree, that I fought and worked so hard to achieve even through a divorce while thesis writing, is from SNHU. I am a proud Penmen! What’s even better is my cousin, also known as my twin, lives 20 minutes away from campus, and I am looking forward to returning to participate in Homecoming.

Time and a calendar dictated this was graduation weekend.

I chose to ignore time after my work responsibilities were done on Friday. I spent the rest of the evening attending alumni and department receptions, then celebrating a friend’s journey to her M.S. degree. During the final evening socialization, I grabbed her and two other friends to toast my parents.

I, along with the petroleum faculty (in town), attended graduation. I don’t know of another department whose admin shows up for support…yet, is the only admin who gets ZERO recognition on Administrative Professionals Day. I grabbed a water for my friend (celebrating her degreee the night before) and stood listening/watching NMT Commencement unfold for another year. At two points I caught the face of a stranger I know as an adulterer and positioned myself to be out of his view during and after the ceremony. I wonder how many other faces judge the way I do or judge the offender as a complete asshole because he’s a narcissist: has no idea what he’s done, the damage and hurt he’s caused, and how many bridges he continues to burn.

After NMT graduation, I went to the gym to get in a hardcore 40-minute focused workout before going home to shut myself in, and away from the world the remainder of the weekend that became another roller coaster for me. BUT, I did make sure Duke got his walk before 10pm, and we had a great walk exploring different paths taken. Sunday was far too windy and vicious for allergies to survive a walk that would include grass, trees and weeds.

Time wears many hats and comes at us in different visions and appearances. Just like the silence we often need to open our ears to hear, we need to keep our eyes open to feel.

Happy Mother’s Day to my readers who are also mothers! Mothers provide a secret foundation to any child they bring into this challenging world, and they should be commended (and spoiled) often.

Congratulations to the Class of 2018 for any of my readers graduating, and those at New Mexico Tech and SNHU. It takes a tremendous amount of grit and perseverance. You’ve worked ridiculously hard to get here. My advice to you: take time off and enjoy life, even if it’s only for a couple of weeks.

Photos: April and May roses.

Lost-Time for Patio Writing

Lost-Time for Patio Writing

22 April 2018

I’m not completely lost. Some days I do wonder. And on those days it feels like I’m wading, carefully stepping to avoid sinking deep down in the mud or dropping into a hole.  It’s not treading because that was part of last year.

I trust the timing and the path I’m supposed to be on…mostly. My impatience shines through on days I feel like it’s time to have more, do more, be more.

It’s hard to have conversations with people who seem more scattered than I am, and I try to hide so many things with walls up. I hide my heart, locked in steel vault so that nothing can hurt it; it’s already breaking from the days and months that are ticking with my dog. I remember the pain when I had to put my Bassett Hound down. Devastating.  The circle of life.

Rock bottom line is I think I’m more lost in my thoughts. Writing. Definitely losing myself in writing again, and it feels good. The story ideas just keep coming, and I keep writing them down.

So, the patio is now open for writing! After an exhausting month of work, that continues to eat at my soul, I was able to get 12 hours of intermittent sleep. It wasn’t a full 12 because Duke woke me up, but that’s all part of being a pet owner. We do what we have to for our pets because they are our family, and he is the one constant I come home to every day. It’s hard to resist a grin and tail wag after walking inside.

I am questioning some of the paths that are coming up soon, and I always think of Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken;” my favorite poem. My motivation extends beyond my own wants, needs, and goals; I am inspired by writers who have found themselves in situations and rise. It’s all about the timing, but until it arrives the element of feeling lost remains.

It’s a sunny Sunday morning and the wind isn’t roaring for once. However, it’s still early and they tend to arrive in the afternoons. I have my very first dinner party in my new home this week, and excited with the simple menu that includes a couple of bottles of fine wine that’s been cellared for a while. Good wine should be shared.

I am going to take advantage of the grand opening of my new patio and get down to work for several hours before I meet a friend at the movies. There is more writing to be done, more stories to be told, and stories entering the revision stage so that they can be shared with the world someday.

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Wine Country Inspiration

Wine Country Inspiration

7 April 2018

Last Saturday was a late-start morning for me. It’s officially spring and my allergies have been affecting my daily life performance. The only thing I’m not allergic to is food. I get sick from molds and mildew. This is one reason I would like to stay in the Southwest; I can tolerate (for the most part) my allergies in the drier climate.

I enjoy being outdoors, especially when the weather gets warmer and I can read and write while soaking in the vitamin D, but I swear I need to be enclosed by a bubble first. I should have taken stock in Kleenex and Puffs when I was a kid.

I took a break two weekends ago for a girls’ trip to wine country. My second favorite place to be in California. Mornings are my favorite moments as the fog rolls over, in and down the hills, as if the mist is slightly kissing the vines and grapes. It’s relatively cool in the mornings and evenings in wine country; enough to warrant a light jacket or sweater. I love to look at the neatly organized rows of vines, just as the headstones are arranged in Arlington Cemetery. The gnarled vines take on their own characteristics. The more established ones have huskier stalks while the younger vines look like something out of a horror movie with their tendrils reaching out as if grasping to catch someone or something.

For several years now, I’ve been thinking about owning a winery. Because science is not my forte, I would need to hire someone. Of course, I would be proactive, hands-on during harvest because that’s part of my work ethic. And I would start small. It’s not so much a dream as it is a goal. I have other ideas for the vineyard but will just write it down in my business plan for future use.

Not only did another trip to wine country inspire me to take a deep breath, enjoy what the Napa and Sonoma regions have to offer, but also appreciate the wines; some I revisited, others were new to me. I would like to return at least once a year from here on out. There is so much to do, so many wineries, and I haven’t had a bad meal yet. In fact, I had a phenomenal meal at The Rutherford Grill and went to Fume for dessert. I am not a big sweets/dessert person any longer, but the waitress at the Grill highly recommended the dessert; when in Rome! We were not disappointed. The gelato sundae and lemon cheesecake with blueberry compote melted in our mouths. After such a heavy meal, with leftovers to cover Sunday morning breakfast, we walked down the street from our hotel Saturday night for a meal at In ‘N Out. Always a must-stop in CA.

Inspired by the regions, the people, the food, and the wine, I came up with an idea for my next novel. The setting will be in a vineyard. And since I like to write about topics that some women find hard to speak up about, I have my subject matter. I’m documenting my ideas to begin writing in 2019.  That is the current goal since I have several other writing projects for 2018 to keep me busy in between moving this summer and taking care of my dog.

Easter was fairly quiet. Has been for a long time, particularly in 2017 and 2018, but I don’t mind. My aunt is a big fan of Leon Day (June 25), and I have been home to celebrate since 2016. Decorations, paper and plasticware encompassing nearly every holiday are pulled out of storage for Leon Day. I texted her on Sunday to let her know I was prepping: I boiled some eggs set to expire this week; I never got the chance to make corned beef and cabbage for St. Patty’s Day because I went to a friend’s house, so I cooked that up; and then opened the boxes of wine delivered in November that I didn’t open until Easter. It was like Christmas unpacking, labeling, and organizing in my new wine fridge to cellar. Again, more book ideas surfaced as I went through my boxes of treasure.

It’s almost patio writing season! I am ready and excited about the next round of adventures. This translates into more writing and blogging as life and writing continue to collide.

Photos:  Cover: VIP Wine Tour and Tasting at Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards; Wine tasting at V. Sattui, Dinner at Rutherford Grill, Dessert at Fume Bistro Napa Valley; Wine tasting at Castello di Amorosa; November 2017 Napa and Sonoma Wines, including wine won during A Night of Writing Dangerously. Copyright 2018 Karen M. Hellinger

Photo Mar 23, 6 20 39 PM

 

Nov 2017 Wines

2018 Loading: Reflections From a Year

2018 Loading: Reflections From a Year

31 December 2017

Whoa.

This has been a hard month, where recollections from a little over a year ago continue to plague my thoughts, while some of the strangest dreams infiltrate my sleep…what little I still get.

I am still in a state of depression, and, recognizing this, I am persistent in keeping the exercise going and the writing flowing. I must.  Even on days when it’s been ridiculously cold by 7pm, and it’s too cold to walk Duke-puppy, I move around the house, do some yoga, and find more housework to do.

When I was discussing this with my therapist she offered sound advice. “Think about how far you’ve come.”  And she’s right.

I think back to where I was a year ago: in pieces, sitting in an airport in Chile, Santiago, in tears, no appetite, as my then husband was off “getting me coffee” which was the new translation for him talking to his whore. Often. Exhausting. And I’m still exhausted.

Then life ran away with a bullet train this December, and I swear God was testing me. After NaNoWriMo, I had to get my holiday baking extravaganza done, and got away for some much-needed family time. (That’s another post I’ll put up in 2018.) My brother survived a near-tragic accident and I am extremely thankful he is with us here today. Proof that our (my siblings and I) guardian angels were with him that day. I was ready to hop on a plane to NY immediately, but he didn’t want me there.

The holidays are extremely stressful and trying. Even as I suffer from depression, I use my outlets (talking to my “twin” cousin and close friends; writing; exercising) to get through some tough times. Recently, a cousin committed suicide, and nothing is more disheartening than someone who feels their life is not valuable. I ask you, my readers, to take care of yourselves, and encourage discussions around depression and even suicide. It’s important and help is always available. Life is too short, as I learned after the deaths of my parents and a brother, and we should all Carpe Diem!

I still have people tell me they are amazed by my strength; they’re not sure how I’m still on my feet because they couldn’t have survived what was done to me and in the manner it was done.  My sister and I refer to this time we call, “when shit hit the fan.”

I had to survive.  For so many reasons I had to. I have decided to write a memoir, and have begun the story’s beginning, but that book will be a product in 2019 or 2020.  In the meantime, watch for the 2018 publication of THE DOWNFALL (TBD) to read about one woman’s journey from the depths of hell, overcoming her worst fears from a marriage, and how she needed to stand her ground.  No woman, or man, should ever be treated the way I have; and I know so many do, and they feel stuck. What happens between four walls is not what everyone else sees, and I can tell you it is not pleasant. It’s heartbreaking, sad, and disrespectful.

I finished two novels and one poetry book in 2017. I will be in full edit mode in 2018, while I’m in the middle of packing. I have an expiration date of all sorts by early March. Please note that this pertains to dwelling and work. I am simply looking as 2018 as a new beginning for a new life.

While I am reflecting, I would also like to add how much I cannot express my gratitude to all my friends and family who have been with me during this tumultuous year. It really warms my heart with the outpouring of support, love, opportunities for gatherings as a distraction, and even shoulders (or ears) that I have cried on during my crumpled moments. I still am evaluating those who do not have my wellbeing in their best interest and have zero problems cutting the cord.

I have three hours left until 2018 arrives, and this princess is almost ready for the ball…after I wrap this post up for 2017. I really cannot wait for 2017 to join 2016 and go where it belongs-in the past. However, it’s not all bad and this is something I can’t forget. I had significant time with family and friends; I got the degree I’ve always wanted, and even made new friends from my newest alma mater (SNHU); I took trips to do my heart good; I was wrapped in love by my siblings and family back home and around the U.S.; my friends around the world have also stood by my side, and we have watched bridges burn, separating the “us” as they stood on the ledge with me, watching it fall as an opposing individual is on the other side still oblivious of what has happened.

And I am on vacation!!!!!  I am doing what I love to do: spend time with myself, learning more about what I want out of my next wave of life.  It’s been one hell of a ride, with so many interesting stories this storyteller has banked in memories.

Finally, I became an aunt for the tenth time! My nephew is absolutely adorable, and I got to spend “time” with him, his new mother (my sister), and her husband. It snowed on Christmas Eve day when I landed in Indiana, and snowed on Christmas night when my sister and I left the movies. She really wanted to see “The Last Jedi,” and I was up for watching it a second time (contemplating a 3rd while on vacation! Haha). His little face lights up every time I tell him he is “my golf and Disney buddy,” and this is not something I will waiver from. This kid will be well-versed in all things Disney by the time he’s 5 years old, and we take our first trip to both parks.

This belle is ready for a ball! No, I am dating yet, but I am going out to have a great night welcoming 2018 with open arms. Be safe if you are out tonight. I am doing the same (will let someone else drive me around safely).

So long 2017!  I am moving in one direction and that’s forward. New adventures await.

Happy New Year to my friends and readers.

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Bookstore Adventures: Reading and Writing Conversations

Bookstore Adventures: Reading and Writing Conversations

5 December 2017

Some best moments of my weekend happened in a bookstore, when I was with my cousin and his family.

  • As we entered I said, “You know it’s dangerous for a writer to go into a bookstore, right?” Of course, I walk out with three books. In my defense, only one is for me, and the others are gifts;
  • The10 yr old boy asks his parents for one of The Boxcar Children books; his sisters search and ask to read other books; ones that make them cry. A decision is made to visit the local library to check out the book the girls and their mother will read. Warms my heart. It’s good to hear people still go to libraries;
  • Talking about reading & writing, a woman overhears my conversation, apologizes for eavesdropping, then begins to ask me about my writing, and explains why she loves to read. She enjoys the escape, even if it’s short-lived. We talk about genres. She is someone who finds a moment to escape the craziness of daily life by picking up a book;
  • My cousin tells me about the Star Wars books written to explain what happens between the movies we grew up with and why the latest movies begin where they do. I add more books to my ever-growing list, talking about why I love having a physical book in my hand and how I’ve been packing up all of my books first the books, the books I’ve already donated to the library, plans for another large round, and why I can’t pass up the great prices to own some books through Kindle. I notice another woman nearby laughing, shaking her hand, and I know she identifies with everything I’m saying.

The above accounts are only some of the reasons I love to read. My nieces and nephews always received the gift of books from me. My new nephew is going to be exposed to a world of books, golf, and Disney. It helps my sister is also a big reader.

More importantly, I read because I also write. I have been marketing my November novel, to strangers in wineries, and other writers at the Night of Living Dangerously; to friends and family, and I have ambitious goals to send my books to certain individuals (author uses confidentiality clause in this post).

I write for myself, but do not mind sharing my books with the world. If any one book, story, or poem makes an impact on one single person, then I am happy to say I’ve done my job. I heard the stories over and over after my poetry chapbook was published, and now in second print. Life is far too short to keep any story hidden.

Share in the excitement of a child wanting to read books. Enjoy conversations with family, friends, and even strangers, over reasons we read, and how some of us have books as our largest collection. It’s almost an addiction. Expensive, but very healthy.

Take time out to read. Visit a bookstore. Visit a library. Donate your unwanted books to your public library.

If you like to write, write that memoir, or poem, or story; take the time to write it all down, no matter how long it takes you.

Beyond the words of conversations in bookstores and libraries, are an infinite amount of worlds waiting to be discovered. It only takes a spark of a conversation to help someone else opens those doors.

Unicorns

Unicorns

16 July 2017

Unicorns are mythical creatures.  They are majestic, full of strength, and have magical powers.  Even in legends, they were rare.

Over two years ago, I was on a mega cruise ship.  In search of my (then) husband and his friend, I entered the cigar lounge where they were playing Magic and backgammon.  I was introduced to two other men, and one said, “You do exist!  You are a unicorn.”  Then we began talking about football.  They were told I taught my husband the game of football; I did, but they were having a hard time believing it.  They heard I would always let him smoke cigars.  What they didn’t know was that I was always encouraging him to spend time with “the guys.”  I didn’t need to go on every single camping/hiking trip, because a) it was time alone, b) it was good male bonding time for him, and c) I didn’t need to be by his side 24/7/365, as it was the case far too often.  Don’t get me wrong.  I loved my husband-then-, but I have always been independent.  I always cherished the times we spent together, and once I began pursuing another degree, I would block in time on our shared calendar every night to let him know that spending the last few hours of the day with him was important (apparently it wasn’t enough for him though).  These men found it hard to believe such a woman existed…until they met me.

So, the unicorn label stuck.  There are many things about me that come up in discussions that becomes hard to explain the why.  Unicorn.  More recently, after a conversation involving movies from video games, I was told, “You are a legend, Ms. Hellinger.”

In some ways, we are all unicorns because we are so unique.  Some have special powers that makes them extra rare.

I am in my favorite spot.  The patio.  I am soaking in the solitude of a Sunday morning.  Well, afternoon.  And writing with my mega Mickey Mouse coffee mug full of the brown addicting liquid that helps motivate me every day.  I have spent another week on a self-discovery tour, and learned many things.

I was on a quick getaway to the West Coast, and to spend more time at Disneyland.  From this short trip, I learned that I was in the right place, but at the wrong time.  I am still in a wrong time.  I have not healed yet.

I am not vulnerable, but I do not want to let my situation define me.  I addressed this with my therapist (yes, I am not ashamed to say I am in therapy, nor am I ashamed to say I am still depressed).  It took me three months to be strong enough to say I was not going to let someone treat me disrespectfully and maliciously.  Taking a stand the way I did was how I gave myself permission to say I may be the victim, but I was not going to let it define me.  I couldn’t.  I’m stronger than that.

I do want things.  I do need things, but these needs and wants aren’t black and white, and I am still searching for an expression.  I want to be happy, and I am.  I need to be in a better job, where I’m paid what I’m worth and using my degrees.  I’ll get there.  I have a temporary plan.  Nothing is permanent, nor is it etched in stone at this point in my life.  My career is this ─writing─ and I can write anywhere in the world, as I have proven time and time again.  However, the reality is that I need a job to pay the bills, but I no longer have to search for a job to make it a career.  Those days are gone, and something I never had to begin with because I was stuck for far too many reasons.  I was being suffocated and drowned.

Suppressed and oppressed.  The perpetual thumb pressing down hard, on me, holding me underwater, nearly drowning me; only releasing pressure to let me resurface to catch my breath before being pressed back under water again.  This is no way to live.  This is not how people should treat each other.  This is not how a man should treat a woman, and vice-versa.  This is not how a husband and wife should live.  This is not a marriage; this is a prison.

It is said the tears of a unicorn has healing powers.  If this is true, then the tears that rushed, like the power behind any massive waterfall (Niagara and Horseshoe Falls comes to mind), on June 2 swept away anything remaining, only leaving room for healing to begin.  It’s going to be a long road though.

I have spent time traveling over the last 36 days.  It has been a liberating feeling, and interesting adventures have been occurring along the way.  Will I write about them?  Some.  Not all.  Some might end up in a poem, or my next novel, the next work in progress.  Some will remain a secret.  Regardless, I know there are more adventures along the way because my eyes are open.

I have also gone out a few times this week.  Girls night out on Thursday that turned into another drink at the bar right after we were done with dinner (and the restaurant was closing down).  Meeting friends out Saturday night.  It was weird.  Very weird.  I don’t know if it’s because of where I am, and people are starting to see me out more, or if it’s because I am beginning to feel like I don’t belong here (another post, in the new chapter).  Some of my dearest friends are here though, and I still need their support.  I try not to refuse any invitations to any quick weekend getaways.  I am returning to golf more.  I still meet for coffee, tea, lunch, dinner, drinks (wine/beer/bourbon), bbq’s, and other events.  I have other friends who look forward to me joining them in Abq.  I am going to the movies more often.  I am still working out and walking Duke every night.

I am waiting for the grass to dry after torrential downpours on Thursday and Saturday.  The lawn needs to be mowed. I almost bought a weed eater and chainsaw today; I wonder what my friends would think of me not only owning, but using, these power tools…  I need to do some house cleaning.  Yet, I chose to sit outside to write.  I am building new dreams as I write.  My moments of restlessness are a result of six months sitting still; not going anywhere, not doing much but the right thing to get to where I needed to be: this here and now.  However, this restlessness is also a sign that I need to move, get up and do something; go someplace.  Most of the time, it’s my way of wanting to escape again.  Of course, I would go back to Disneyland in a heartbeat, but I need to be in other places.  Interact, mingle, do something alone, do something with friends; meet new people. Explore.  Even Duke gets restless. He seems restless even now, torn between the cool shade, letting the sun warm him on the patio, burrowing into the tall green grass I still need to mow, or going back inside where it’s cool, but it’s not where I am.  He still follows me around the house as I move from room to room.

I have a summer reading list.  Football season is drawing closer, and I have BIG plans for this season.  Cannot wait.  I’m traveling.  Job hunting.  Socializing.  Networking.  I need to remind myself daily that I am still healing, but I want to have fun along the way. (Fun also means being safe.)  The final chapter is getting closer now.  I’m still waiting for my diploma.

I officially return to work on Monday.  Something I’m not really looking forward to, but it’s a job that I can leave when I choose to leave.  There is a bitterness that exists: staff isn’t treated well.  I’ve been treated very poorly during this tumultuous time in my life. I am still in a transition phase. I will be addressing various issues in the future.

I bought an Echo and Dot on Prime Day, in hopes it will help negate the absence of white noise that is still bothersome.  It’s not bad on the weekends because I’m home most of the time.  I have been leaving my iPad on, shuffling through all of the music, thinking that the music helps Duke, too.  We both went from busy noise, to a dull noise, to no noise in a short amount of time.

It’s July 16.  I have 25,000 more words to write by July 31 during Camp NaNoWriMo. I am surrounded by a large group of writers.  I stay in touch with my peers from SNHU, and we continue to support each other.  It’s a great circle to be part of.

Is Natalie a unicorn?  No, but she works very hard to be the successful woman that she is.  There is a backstory I’m writing.  I am also working on explanations after Natalie saves Chad because it does alter a few things, but not drastically.  Nick became Adam during my thesis revisions, and he’s still an asshole.  We learn a little more about Adam with this backstory because there wasn’t enough of his character in what I originally wrote.

I am still Wonder Woman, which is a likeness to a unicorn. With the exception of the house cleaning, I multi-task far too often.  I did scale back significantly this year, and will slowly rebuild.  Inner strength is sheer beauty.  And, since I am procrastinating house cleaning and yard work, I am switching over to write another 3-4,000 words (or more) for the day.  Writing, and being out on the patio.  Simple bliss for a Sunday.