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#MeToo

Me too. I was abused as a child. I was raped as an adult. So yes, I can say me too.

I also have male relatives that were molested as a child. And male friends who were asulted or abused as adults. I had a friend who was being stalked by his ex. I watched her beat him, throw things at him, and make him bleed. I watched him defend himself by begging her to leave, telling her she wasn’t supposed to be there. Do you know how ineffective begging your attacker to stop is? Pretty damn ineffective.

The outcome of that situation…she called the cops and said he broke the restraining order he had. All she had to do was say “I saw his truck pass by my place” and they went to pick him up, and put him back in jail. No proof. Often he was on the other side of town, nowhere near her, and they just picked him up.

But that restraining order was awesome. For an answer is perfect ammo to control your victim. She was able to get it in no time flat just by saying he hit her, even though he didn’t. And he felt so guilty for just holding her wrists so she couldn’t punch him that he just let it happen.

This is a culture where men have been told so often that they are the aggressors, they are the problem, they are the abusers, that when they are abused they can not see it. And when they speak out they are either ignored or told to shut up.

So, me too. I was abused. And I know a lot of women, and men, who have been abused. I know men and women who have been abusers. And I know that the law often is used as a way of abusing men because we are trained to believe women, not men.

I was abused, but the abuse that was done to me does not define me. I define me. And I will keep saying that, keep shouting that from the roofs, keep encouraging others to say that until we stop being sexist to men. Until we start treating women as actual human beings who can heal and grow instead of fragile flowers that must be protected from every little thing.

We can not move forward unless we acknowledge that humans are humans, and it does not matter what sex you are, what race you are, what religion you began with. Those things have more to do with what you were born to, and what genetics you have, then what mind you have inside you. None of those external things define you as much as your mind and heart do. And until we learn that, until we learn that we can be more than what others define us as, we can not move forward from this place.

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Posted by on October 20, 2017 in social issues

 

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Some days you’re the bug

LiesThere’s a song I use to listen to when I was younger… Some day’s your the windshield, someday’s your the bug. That’s how I’m feeling tonight.

Depression is this weird thing that we all know about. We just don’t talk about it. It’s anathema. Are we afraid we’ll catch it if we acnoledge it? It’s like we’re afraid that if we are broken then we can never be fixed again and no one will ever love us. But it’s mostly that way for mental illness. If you break a bone, or cut your arm, no one bats an eye. You get a cast, and people sign it. You tell awesome stories about how you rolled  your bike down a hill and had this awesome, amazing adventure.

But depression doesn’t have amazing stories. It has heart wrenching hurt filled stories. Sometimes it has no stories at all, it’s just there. Then it whispers in your ear and tells you how worthless and useless you are. It circles around your, slowly squeezing out all rays of light and leaving you in a dark passage trying to find your way.

I’ve struggled with depression for most of my life. It started when I was a teenager unable to find that basic thing we are all looking for: love. I wasn’t battered or beaten. I wasn’t called horrible names very often. Mostly our parents just left us alone to fend for ourselves. No matter how good I was I could never get their attention. Not even after I moved away and got married. They just weren’t that interested in me.

That crushing burden of being alone, it eats into you. Add to it the lack of friends, the complete awkwardness of a general teenage girl, the fact that I always wore hand me downs and no one ever noticed me except when they teased me. You’re set adrift in the world, lost, and no one to catch you.

Just before my divorce I hit rock bottom. I lost everything, including my children, and I almost jumped off a building. Oh I thought about suicide lots of times. The earliest I can remember was 14 drawing pictures of myself falling off a cliff onto rocky outcroppings. Then during my marriage to a husband who treated me as an inconvenience most of the time and liked to remind me constantly of how useless and worthless I was it just got worse.

Getting divorced saved me. I was able to get out of the depression, and the suicidal thoughts left. I had hope. Hope was all I ever needed. Being alone was a blessing after that marriage.

But now and then the depression creeps back in, whispers in my ear, and reminds me how worthless and useless I am. It’s been whispering for a few weeks now. That I never finish anything, that I never get anywhere. That I’ll never be good enough or concomitant enough. That no matter how hard I try no one will ever respect me or care about me.

I hate those whispers. I usually curl up in Gregg’s lap and he reminds me how much I am loved and wanted, but he isn’t home right now so I am writing a blog post and I am reminding myself. Depression is a lying bastard! I am worthwhile. I am creative. I am a wonderful person. And it might take a while, but by damn someone is going to love my books.

If you’re in that spot now I hope you know… Depression lies. Whatever it’s whispering to you in the dark, it isn’t true. Tell someone, let them know what it’s saying and they will tell you the truth.

It’s hard to feel worth while when everything is falling down around you. It’s hard to believe in yourself when life has been so hard. I know. I’ve been there. Life has kicked me and punched me and left me lying on the ground bleeding. All we can do is get back up, and say Depression Lies.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2015 in Commentary

 

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I want to quit

(I added an addendum to this, so you might want to read that as well.)

I want to quit. I want to pull all my books off the Internet, go curl up in a ball, and cry myself to sleep.

How dare I even try to write an entire book. Who am I to think my words would be worth reading. They are stupid, grammatically incorrect, full of inconsistencies and pov issues, unworthy of anyone ever reading, let alone actually paying for.

I knew a lot of this before I wrote a novel. I knew, for example, that I almost always miss compound words because I just don’t know when a word is a compound or when it is two words. I often over use commas (according to some), and I sometimes forget to add dialog tags because I just don’t think about it.

I knew all of that, and more, but I dared to write a novel anyway.

Then I got the edits back, and I struggled through them for days. I learned about dialect issues, and phrasing. I learned that subtle points of description are sometimes pov issues. I learned that words and phrases I use every day aren’t considered “proper English.”

When done with the edits I was exhausted, sad, and feeling like I made a mistake. I expressed my frustrations and heard “the editor is only trying to help” and then I went in my room, and I cried.

Editing hurts.

This was my first “professional edit.” I’ve gotten edits before, but this was completely different, and it hurt. It cut deep and it left me thinking “what the hell was I thinking trying to write a novel? You’re not good enough, Crissy. You don’t even speak proper English, how can you write it? You never should have tried this.”

I’ll be honest. I haven’t written anything in three days. I’m trying. I look at the page and all I see are all the mistakes. I can’t get out of editing mode and get back to writing. And yes, some of it is definitly self pity, but a huge part of it is just me unsure if I am good enough to do this thing that I’ve always wanted to do. Is there a good enough?

Every editor I’ve had before has added some encouraging comments. They said they liked a line, or I used that punctuation right, or when returning the manuscript there is a note just saying how much they really enjoyed it.

This editor did none of those things.

Gregg reassures me that the editor is doing their job. They are paid to edit, not hold my hand and encourage me. And I get that, I really do. But it doesn’t sting any less.

I want to quit. I want to run away and forget I ever tried this.
But I’m not going to.

I still think my stories are good stories. I still think they deserve to be told. I want them to get out and be read.

Maybe it’s the “professional writer” part I’ll reevaluate, and just be happy being a pulp fiction writer. It’s not a bad thing. I love pulp fiction books. Millions of people read pulp fiction every day. Maybe it’s not exactly what I wanted, but it beats not writing at all.

Am I happy I did the editing? Not today. Today I’m raw and hurt and unsure of everything I’m doing. Give me some time and maybe I will be.

Did I learn anything from it? Lots of things. In that way this experience was good for me. Hopefully it will make my writing stronger. Only time will tell.

Will I do this again?

I’ll be honest with you…My confidence is a fragile thing. Every time I get shredded like this I hear the ex husband in my ear telling me over and over and over that I’m not good enough. No one will ever love me. No one will ever want me. “Who told you to think that way?” I hear it, and slip back into the victim I use to be. I start feeling useless and worthless like I will never, ever, be good enough for anything. And I retreat into the shell I carefully built around me to keep from being hurt. It makes me want to quit.

So no, I won’t be doing this exact process again. I need the little bits of hand holding, and encouragement. I need to know that the person editing my work genuinely likes it so that when the red ink starts flowing it doesn’t hurt quite as much.

Maybe in a few years my nerves will be a little less raw and I can try again. But not now…not after this one.

And the best part? I have two more rounds of editing to go. I’m going to do it. I’m going to pull up my big girl pants and I’m going to wade through the red ink. Then I’m going to go cry a little more and do it all over again.

Because sometimes making good art hurts like hell.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2015 in On Writing

 

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I tried

Today I ran home for lunch thinking I would do a short video review of the novel I just finished listening to. I was so excited. The house was empty and I could just turn on the camera and talk for a bit.

But the house wasn’t empty. My daughter was home, in between classes and work, and taking a nap in her room. Okay, I thought, she’s napping I can still record. Right?

Wrong.

Staring at the camera, ready to speak, I froze. This isn’t unusual for me. I almost always freeze in front of a camera unless I’m talking to friends. I’ve managed to do a couple of videos on my own, but they are rare, and they always make me feel self conscious. Sometimes, like today, worse then others.

As I left to drive back to my office I wondered why. Why is it so difficult to just talk to the camera. Is it the big eye starting at me? Is it the fact someone might see my face and hear my voice and judge me because of it?

I do hate my voice. I think it sounds high and squeaky, like a little girls voice, and I hate it. I hate seeing my face on the computer. I can’t even watch my podcast because it makes me so uncomfortable. But I don’t think it was any of those things.

Honestly, driving away from my home and thinking really hard about it, I was embarrassed. Embarrassed that my daughter, in the next room, would hear me. Embarrassed that someone I knew face to face would see me stumbling over my words. Embarrassed that I would even think someone would want to hear what I had to say.

Writing and publishing is easy. I put my work up and if someone wants to read it they will. I don’t have to worry about it. I don’t have to feel embarrassed because they are choosing to seek it out and view it. Some part of me knows it’s the same with videos and at the same time… I don’t believe that.

Worse, I know where this comes from.

I never learned the art of making friends. It’s even harder to keep them. A huge part of this was my marriage. My boyfriend calls me Rapunzel as  I was kept in a tower, away from everyone for most of my life.

Before marriage we lived in a little plot of land far from anyone else. My parents were usually away and the only company had were my three sisters who I did not get along with. So I spent most of my time reading. Even at school.

After my marriage I started having children. I tried to make friends, but I didn’t know how. I was shy, and scared. Honestly I don’t even know how I got married except that after several women cheated on him he finally picked me because I couldn’t cheat on him. I didn’t have friends.

One day, many years into my marriage, I told my husband how frustrated I was with it. I was loanly, and he was gone a lot. Why couldn’t I come hang out with him and his friends?

“They think you’re a bitch,” he said.
“But why?”
“Because you left the room to go watch cartoons with the children and never said a word.”
“But they were smoking. You know I can’t breath smoke, I just start coughing and can’t breath. I thought it says more polite to quietly excuse myself than make a fuss. Why didn’t you explain?”

He never explained. He never encouraged me to make friends. In fact it was just the opposite. There were excuses of why I couldn’t go out. Accusations of the few friends I had saying and doing things behind my back. Lack of transportation. Lack of phone. Lack of money.

So I spent my time, locked in the tower with my books.

When you’ve been locked in the tower for so long the outside starts to look scary. You are told people are out to get you, steal your man, use you and throw you away. You’re afraid. But the tower is safe. The books are good. And everything is okay.

I look outside and I want so badly to be happy and healthy and have friends. I want to call someone up and say “let’s go to the movies” or get coffee or just go to the zoo. I want that so much, and every time I try I… I want to cry.

It’s easy to stay in the tower. And so hard at the same time.

The camera, staring at me with its unblinking eye, is a window to the outside. A path out of my tower.

But I will keep trying. Keep pushing that button. Keep crying. Eventually, someday, maybe I can break free of this tower.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2014 in Commentary

 

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That’s What He Said

I use to use google reviews as ways to check out new businesses. They aren’t scammy like yelp. But right now my company is trying to get google reviews. And boy are they pushing it.

“Look at this as an opportunity to practice promoting yourself” said my boss. He knows that I’ve published books, and that I’m struggling with getting noticed, reviews, and basically anything that says ‘hey look at me, I wrote this, you should read it’.

And he isn’t wrong.

It’s incredibly difficult to draw attention to myself, or anything I do. It goes against everything I was trained… stay unseen. Stay unheard. Your opinion isn’t valuable. No one cares. You’re not worth it. No one likes you. No one will ever love you.

So I find myself confronting all these things I heard for all of those years. And some days I make little breakthroughs and I can say ‘see, I did this and I think it’s good.’ (Well, mostly I say I think it’s ‘okay’ because I don’t want to disappoint anyone.)

And other days I freeze. The words get stuck on my tongue. I want to run, hide, cry, and just get everyones attention off of me somehow, anyway possible.

I recognize that this was caused by years of abuse. I recognize that the whispering in my head telling me that no one cares, and no one wants to hear what I have to say isn’t right. DEPRESSION IS A LYING BASTARD!

Half the struggle is recognizing this. Before I knew why this was happening I let my fight or flight system kick in and I would retreat. Get quite. Go unnoticed. After 30+ years of practice I’m really good at it.

But I don’t want to be that person anymore. I want to write, and I want to share my stories with people. I want to know that my words will live on even when I’m gone. I want to inspire others to follow their passions, and their loves.

And really… I don’t want to be broken anymore. I don’t want what he did to me to be what dictates my life from here on out. This is my life, and I am worthwhile, and I have something amazing to say. People do want to listen to me. They do want to talk to me.

So… I wrote a book. And I’m really proud of it. I hope you read it some day.

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Posted by on March 11, 2014 in Commentary

 

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