Too Much

I woke up yesterday and felt like I was drowning.

It was a slow descent of sorts.

The water had been pouring down my head for awhile. Sometimes it was just a trickle and then other times a downpour. But the water had begun to collect around my ankles until one day it reached my knees then rose above my waist and was now sitting right below my chin. It could be days or mere seconds before it overtook me. It all depended on the weather.

And I could feel exactly how close I was to choking.

When my husband got home from work he could sense it too. I felt physically and emotionally done. I wasn’t angry or irrational with the children if anything I was extremely calm and understanding, but I felt distant. Like my spirit was gone and my body was just going through the motions. Do homework. Make dinner. Clean dishes. Bath bodies. Done. Done. And done. But my tank was empty and I felt immobile.

I think I spent the first 9-10 months of Lu’s first year just waking up and getting through the day. It was a survivalists approach. Don’t think too hard about all the things you can’t do or aren’t doing just do what’s right in front of you. And it worked. We survived! But it was hard. And hard can be good. It stretches us and teaches us and molds us into more capable human beings. But hard can also be very very exhausting.

It wasn’t until I stopped nursing that I realized the contrast in who I was and how I felt. How tired, how drained, and how absent I had been from the normal me.

And it’s not like our home was all doom and gloom and depressing. Or that my children felt neglected or ignored. Or that I was rocking in a dark corner every night unable to function. Most days looked good and most weekends were filled with joy and love and fun. But that’s part of who I am. That’s how I handle hard things. That’s how I carry on. That’s how I get through it. Because if I stop and think about it too long I start to feel the weight of it all and doubt begins to grow.

You can’t do this Melissa. You’re failing Melissa. You’re not giving enough Melissa.

And I don’t believe in these voices even when they hang around for a few days, tapping me on the shoulder, trying to point out all the bad things.

The last two months of not nursing have reminded me of who I am when I’m at full capacity. But I think this is why I started to drown. Instead of accepting that the me I was during Lu’s first year was me operating at full capacity for the demands presented to me I told myself that was me just surviving. Instead of seeing everything I was doing and rejoicing in accepting the day given to me, no matter how simple it looked, I told myself things like it’s going to get better. This is only temporary. It’s just a season.

And those are all true, but it doesn’t really help. Everything is temporary and seasons are continuous. Easy seasons don’t stay forever and hard seasons will always return. It’s called Life. But I feel like I cheated Lu out of a better me because I was so focused on what was next. Because her first year was hard. Because Eliana started a full day of T-K and daily pickup was sometimes impossible. Because illness ran amuck in our house for months. Endless months. Because my sister moved away. Because potty training. Because my husband was gone for weeks. Because my Dad got sick.

Because. Because. Because.

I have a problem with letting myself grieve. When I see others grieve I grieve with them. When I see myself grieve I feel weak. My life is so wonderful you guys. It’s magnificent and beautiful and perfect in our own way and so full. Full of everything I’ve ever imagined and more. My own little fairytale with a pair of converse instead of glass slippers. I love it.

And so I hate complaining because I hate complainers. But grieving is so very different than complaining. I need to let myself feel this more. I need to let my emotions play their course. I need to let it go. I need to be free of the burden that grief is weak.

I am a naturally joyful, highly optimistic, overly positive person. I don’t need to work at doing those things. They just happen. But I need to work at being sad. I need to let myself sit down and cry more often over all the things that weigh me down that I can’t change that won’t ever change and that burden the small part of my heart that I allow to carry the dark and heavy stuff. Because when I do it, when I allow myself to let it wash over me instead of puddle up at my feet until it sloshes against my chin threatening to drown me I don’t feel weak. I feel human. I feel closer to my life. Closer to others. Closer to God.

So I’m sitting down and figuring out what’s important. To me and to my household. I’m throwing all of these dumb misplaced expectations into the trash and starting over. I feel like the world has told me that as a Stay At Home Mom I should have the time and energy to cook a huge meal every night. And I listened. First, because I love cooking. Second, because everyone else said it was important.

I’d like to confess that I’m no longer cooking anything complicated on a school night. I’m saving that for weekends. Why? Because it seriously sucks up two hours of my time. The process of prepping, cooking, serving, then cleaning, and putting away. I hate it. In the writing world we call this “Killing your darlings”. It means that me must get rid of our most precious and self indulgent passages for the greater good of our literary work.

So I’m getting rid of cooking for the greater good of my children. Because I’m realizing that the time my husband and I get with them together, as a whole family, is now so precious with Eliana in school. Our influence has been dwindled down to a single hour before bed. That’s how she’ll absorb and view family 5 nights a week. And I don’t want to spend it cleaning vegetables and roasting chicken.

I want to spend it on the couch, in a big giant pile of books and games and music and love. I want to spend it asking questions and then listening to their answers. I want to spend it investing in them. Pouring into them. And loving them.

This hour has become so precious in our house. How we end the day. Not stressed, or rushing around trying to finish up homework or clean up a million little messes so we can throw them in their beds and close the door to only let out a sigh of relief and exhaustion. And then go focus on the laundry.

I hate it. It’s TOO MUCH you guys. TOO DAMN MUCH. I want more for them and for me and for our hearts. I’d venture to say that 99% of the stuff you’re stressing over as being important counts for nothing if you don’t have time to just be together and love on each other.

So I’m yanking my hand back. I’m putting it on my heart and I’m saying, “NO, THIS IS WHAT’S IMPORTANT.”

To feel. To live. And to accept each day as it’s given to me regardless of what it looks like. To love my children more and cook less. To grieve. To worry less about them eating vegetables and focus more on how they feel about themselves. To make messes. To read more books and watch less tv. To dance.

To have it all. With each day. Even when the seasons are hard.

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Mothering from the ground up

We are all screwing up.
Every single one of us.

Even the moms on Instagram with five kids in fashionably coordinated outfits with a million+ followers who make homemade granola and have succulent wall gardens hanging in their kitchen.

They are screwing up too. I promise.

If I reflect back on all the ways I screwed it up with Eliana it almost makes me want to vomit. I had no clue you guys. No clue what I was doing. None of us do.

My biggest mistake was loving her but not doing things in love. I didn’t discipline in love. I set extremely high and sometimes harsh expectations for her and when she failed or disappointed me all I showed her was frustration. It was extremely unfair of me and exhausting for the both of us. She is a natural people pleaser just like me and I was slowly teaching her that I could never be pleased. I was slowly breaking her spirit.

And then I had Roma. Oh, Roma. God bless that child and her spirit. She changed me. Continue reading “Mothering from the ground up”

Cover Reveal for Dismantled Sun

I’m well on my way to finishing Dismantled Sun, the second and final book in the Cardboard Hearts duet. The first, Seeds of Hate, was published last July 15th, 2013.

Instead of doing a blurb for the book, I’ve chosen to share a short, unedited excerpt instead:

“Selah, please. Please let me make love to you. It’s our wedding night.”
I sit at the foot of the bed—our bed—my cream wedding dress draping over the edge like a waterfall made of snow.
“I can’t. I need more time. I need forever.”
My husband kneels at my feet and nuzzles his face into my lap, drawing his arms around me, he holds me.
“I have given you forever. The only forever I have.”
I blanch at his words. It’s truth weighing me down. My body slides alongside the foot of the bed and puddles onto the floor. My husband follows, shifting so that he now holds me instead of I, him.
“But, but what if—I can’t finish that if. I won’t.”
He lifts my chin and holds my eyes. I blink at the certainty I see in his, not mirroring the fear I know lives in my own.
“You are not going to kill me, Sey. I promise.”
His fingers clench the edge of my jaw— not painful, but no longer delicate.
“How can you be so certain?”
“Because. Because I was already dead before you found me.”

The cover for Dismantled Sun was designed by Cover It Designs.

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Cover Reveal

I’ve been dying to share my cover with all of you and I’m so happy this day has finally come. But before we all stare at the beautiful image (unless you scroll down like a mad man before reading, which I would do, okay go do it, we shall pause and wait for you to return….)

Back? Ok, then let’s start with some background information.

The cover image was taken by Heather Bowser my awesome sister and photographer extraordinaire. She’s working on her website, but for now you can just comment on how epic this photo is below. Continue reading “Cover Reveal”

Wow. Just Wow.

So I dropped my first revised draft into the hands of my wonderful beta’s this past Wednesday morning and I’m already getting feedback. It’s been humbling and exciting and nerve-wracking and every other emotion in-between. As a writer, we read our work over and over and over again throughout the process and honestly a ton more during editing. When I did my final read-through I didn’t trust it, I didn’t believe it and I thought… “Everyone is going to hate this.”

Thankfully this has not been the case. I’m prepared for the haters, the naysayers, and the debbie-downers because I know books are 100% subjective. I don’t expect everyone to love it, get it or even understand it. But so far people have been and I cannot tell you how much this makes my heart soar.

This last year was full of self-doubt, the desire to give up, and the constant wondering if all this time I spent following a dream was a waste of time. But now I feel like rejoicing and I’m so grateful I said no to sleep, hanging out with friends and having a clean house 24/7 because the reward has been so so sweet. And it’s a great reminder that if it’s worth it to you, then it’s worth the sacrifice. Continue reading “Wow. Just Wow.”

The Lightbulb

Did you know that reviews have the power to make or break someone’s career? As a reader it is your right to give your honest opinion about how you felt about the book. But let me ask you this…

If the entire world had access to criticize your work blindly without ever meeting you, knowing you or caring about your feelings how would that make you feel?

Reviews are crucial to all authors and most especially indie authors because it’s their greatest form of marketing. With that being said, I’m not trying to dissuade you from being honest with your thoughts, I am however asking you to think about what you are saying.

Continue reading “The Lightbulb”

Three Seconds Four

So amidst writing Seeds of Hate, I took a little break and wrote something short and completely unique. I submitted it to the San Diego Writers, Ink. organization and will find out in December if it gets selected to be published or not. The basis of this piece is a foundation for another book I want to write after I’m done with Part 1 and 2 of Seeds.

Again, it’s another dark piece. I can’t help it. It’s all I know to write. I don’t know why I operate this way, but it is what it is. I had a lot of help so my thanks goes out wholeheartedly for those peeps who helped me critique this piece. I’m quite proud of it and I hope you enjoy it too. Continue reading “Three Seconds Four”

In the Year of 1492

Almost two years ago I wrote this post. It was at the time, a very lofty idea of mine and I honestly didn’t think I would follow-up with it. Between now and then A LOT has changed.

Today I hit 12k on my first novel. Not a lot considering my end goal is 80-90k, but it’s a start. I developed the idea for this story awhile ago, but didn’t really allow it to consume me until recently. Honestly, my biggest hesitation in writing was my fear of rejection from publishers. I’ve read so many blog posts about how hard querying is and how you need to be ready for dozens and dozens of “No, were not interested” before you got that gold letter of acceptance. I just didn’t think it was worth my time.

Well, about 9 months ago I stumbled upon the world of indie-publishing or self-publishing and its totally changed my life. Ninety percent of the books I read now are from authors who do not have a publishing contract. They basically woke up, wrote a book and uploaded it to amazon. That of course is a major understatement, but the point is that they did everything themselves. In a sense they are their own boss and truth be told, that appeals to me more than anything. Continue reading “In the Year of 1492”