4/27/18 – UPDATE

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It’s been a while and I wanted to give an update on me and my writing because this matters to me and if you’re reading this, maybe it matters to you, too.

  • It’s been almost a full year since Good You Were Here went live on Amazon! Craziness. To celebrate the anniversary (May 19th) I’m probably going to be doing a giveaway. More on that in the future.
  • I finished a first draft of my short play, Royal Bring Your Dog to Dinner Day. I was writing it for a local homeschool group and learned they are not actually going to be performing a play this year. No worries. It was a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing it performed sometime in 2019.
  • After finishing the play, I picked back up my 2015 NaNo Novel Tulip Season. There’s a lot of very good stuff there but it needs some work and some revising. Not a lot of headway on that but we’ll see. Definitely a story I want to finish and send out into the world sooner than later.
  • I got a little bit stuck and overwhelmed with Tulip Season since it’s a longer book, so I picked back up a story I’ve been developing probably since 2010. It has a working title of Beanstalk and Basket and it’s a crossover of Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood. I’m really excited at the prospect of writing a book for a younger audience since my 13-year-old sister and 8-year-old brother love reading and have been asking me for books geared more towards them.

There are several reasons why I’ve been more absent for almost a month from my blog and from my writing social media in general. I’ve been busy with: life in general, my two other jobs, family/friends/relationship. But I’ve also been struggling with a general lack of sleep, some anxiety, and imposter syndrome.

If you aren’t familiar with imposter syndrome, Wikipedia defines it thus: “Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.”

For me, this has meant feeling like my writing isn’t ‘that good’, that no one really cares about my writing, that I’m too lazy to be a full-time writer, that I should stop trying to make it more than a hobby because I’ll just be wasting my time, and that no one will take me seriously. I have good support systems helping me overcome this but it’s going to be a process. Over this last month, I kept wanting to give updates, especially as I was tip-typing away and making progress on stories, but I kept thinking, “Eh, no one cares, it doesn’t really matter.”

But it does matter. A lot. Stories matter and no one else can tell the stories I have to tell. It may be slow going, but there’s no reason I can’t potentially help support myself with my writing. It will take a lot of hard work, but I’m capable of hard work. I want to put in the work. I just have to believe it matters.

So there’s my update. It is still my goal to have a blog post up every Tuesday and Friday. My overall writing goal for the year is to publish at least one book. I had originally had the lofty ambition of publishing at least three books, but I’m okay with downsizing that goal so I can put out something truly beautiful.

Thank you for reading and thank you for sticking with me. Stories coming soon, I promise. 

God bless,

Clare

 

Related Posts:

Future Projects – 1

What I Wrote Today 4

It Is Good That We Are Here – The Why Behind the Title

 

 

The Tower Princess – A Short Story

I wrote this short story based on the fairy tale Rapunzel back in 2012 for a contest. It was inspired by a girl I knew from online who was suffering from severe anxiety attacks and couldn’t leave her house. It’s not my best work by any means. I’m thinking of rewriting it to be a little more polished (and realistic) so I thought it would be fun to share the original first. Enjoy!

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(image source)

Once Upon a Time, Rae could leave her house.

Rae could ride in cars.

Rae could talk to strangers.

Rae could get in the elevator and go all the way down from the 11th Floor to the 1st Floor, and walk out the revolving doors of the Hotel Tower, and be just like everybody else.

But one day, someone tried to hurt Rae. He attacked her right on the street. He would have used her and left her for dead if a stranger hadn’t helped her get away.

When Rae finally got home at the end of that long, traumatic day, she ran into the Tower, took the stairs to the 11th Floor, shut herself in her room, and never came out.

“I will never go outside again,” she vowed fearfully. “Ever.”

Rae’s mother’s solutions for herself were always temporary, like a Band-Aid. Her solutions for Rae were no different. She thought she could ‘fix’ Rae’s problem by trying to force her to go outside, to be normal again. But all she did was wound Rae deeper. Rae couldn’t leave the safety of the apartment. She suddenly wanted nothing to do with a world that had once meant everything to her.

Slowly, Rae’s friends, even her closest friends, abandoned her. It was as though they feared her broken, isolated condition was contagious, and they left her. Even Rae’s mother, living in the same apartment, distanced herself and liked to pretend there wasn’t a lonely, sad girl behind the door to Rae’s room.

Rae was all alone.

 

Meanwhile upon a time, I was the stranger.

I had always been curious about Rae. I was working for my BA in architecture at the same college where she was taking art classes in the city, and even though I never had the nerve to say hello, I started following her from time to time. I tried to be subtle, but when she daringly strode into shiftier neighborhoods, I hung around just in case.

And that one day, I was there to save her.

During the twelve hours we sat next to each other in the police department, I managed to talk to her.

“Hi. My name’s Patrick.”

She didn’t answer, but I knew her name. Rae. Rae Elizabeth Ponce.

“Are you alright?”

Then, she looked at me, with those beautiful eyes that were suddenly so full of tragedy. She shook her head slowly. “No.” she murmured. “No, I’m not.”

When Rae disappeared, I knew she had gone up to the top floor of the Hotel Tower. It broke my heart to hear her closest friends write her off at school. I could only guess how lonely she was, and I decided to contact her online, offering her support.

At first, she was suspicious of me, even resentful. But I gave her time, and gradually, she accepted my offer.

Years passed, and I graduated from college. Rae and I became close friends and we talked on the phone frequently. But Rae stayed stuck in her tower. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore.

I wanted to see her again.

So I walked to the back of the Hotel Tower building and found the fire escape. I had to jump onto a dumpster to reach it but then started climbing up without thinking. I didn’t stop until I’d gone as far as I possibly could. Then, I gave Rae a call on my cell phone.

“Hello?” she said quietly. Her voice was always a little hoarse from underuse.

“Rae, it’s me. Patrick. I’m under your window. Let down your fire escape.”

“What?”

“Let down your fire escape. I can’t go any higher until you do. I’m coming to see you.”

“You mean… open the window?” Rae asked nervously.

“Yes. You can do it, Rae. I’ll be waiting for you.”

It took a while, but finally, I heard the rattling and clattering of metal stairs unfolding, and the long, unreachable section of the fire escape tumbled down until it stopped at my feet. I climbed up two more stories, and I found my princess waiting for me at the top, sitting on her balcony. She had her arms wrapped around her knees, and looked a little bit like she might blow away in the wind.

For a moment, she just stared at me, afraid and unsure.

“Rae,” I said gently.

Rae started to cry. She leaped up and embraced me in a tight, desperate hug. She hadn’t seen anyone but her mother in two years.

 

And so, our worlds, our very distant ‘once upon a times’, collided.

Rae was so afraid, and I didn’t blame her. She didn’t invite me into her room for a long time, but when she did, I could tell how sacred it was to her. It was the only place she felt safe.

A year went by, and Rae’s mother never knew I was there. She was gone most of the time, and when she was home, she was usually recovering from drugs or drinking. I was afraid for Rae, but she begged me not to tell anyone about her, or her mother.

One night, Rae and I were lying side by side on her floor and gazing at the very few stars and helicopter lights out her window. We’d just finished watching a movie together, and it was almost one in the morning. I knew I should leave, but I hesitated. 

Rae suddenly pulled away from me. “This will never work, Rick. It never will.”

I looked into her eyes. I watched them glisten in the semi-dark.

“No. It will. Even if you never leave this place, Rae, I’ll make it work. I’ll be here for you. Everything will be okay, I swear.”

Finally, Rae let herself fall for me. She pulled me to my feet and kissed me. It was the most beautiful, innocent kiss any girl ever gave me.

Suddenly, the door to Rae’s room flew open. Her mother stood in the doorway, breathing heavily. She had a half-empty bottle of beer gripped in one hand, and she advanced on us quickly.

“Get out!” she slurred. “Get out of my daughter’s room you—”

“Mom, no!” Rae cried, as her mother grabbed me with surprising strength, and pushed me out onto the balcony.

“Stop!” Rae sobbed, trying to pull me away from her mother. “Let go of him!”

The last thing I remember was Rae’s mother breaking her beer bottle over my head, and shoving me over the balcony railings.

I fell eleven stories to the ground.

 

I woke up in excruciating pain, barely able to move, and unaware of my surroundings.

Sirens wailed somewhere, echoing in my ears.

“Rick! Rick please, wake up, please speak to me!” a familiar voice sobbed above my head.

As I slowly came to, I found that I was lying on the hard, cold cement surface of a sidewalk. I opened my eyes and saw my Tower Princess looking down at me, her tears dripping from her cheeks onto my forehead.

“I… I’m alive,” I breathed in amazement.

“You better be,” she replied, kissing me in relief. “I came out of my tower for you.” 

 

 

More Like This: 

How Ted Met Penny

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Anxiety, Gratitude & Self-Compassion

Late in the day, but here is my post, as promised. I’m currently committed to doing a blog post every Tuesday and Friday, and today my little dinosaur-themed reminder went off on my phone, telling me that this is a blog post day.

Today was weird. So was yesterday. I had a horrible hair day that turned my self-confidence into a little pile of mush, I learned that a friend’s father passed away, I learned a man from my parish also passed away, I didn’t get enough sleep, I ate too much sugar, and my roommate has left town for the weekend.

I feel troubled, disoriented, anxious, not myself. I’m reflecting very hard on life and death. Everything feels too scary and hard right now.

As I thought about what I could possibly bring myself to post while I’m feeling all these messy, complicated things, I decided this was what I needed to write.

Here is a list of things I’m grateful for, and some reasons to be compassionate towards myself. Maybe my lists will help you. Maybe they will prompt you to write your own.

Right Now I Am Grateful For…

  • This Nature’s Truth ‘Happiness’ essential oil blend I just got.
  • These growing pains. All I have grown and will grow into.
  • The gift of writing that God has given me.
  • Hope. This hope that what is broken can come back together, what is messy will be beautiful, and that I know who I am and where I’m going, no matter how lost I feel in this moment.
  • The fact that Joe and Tweetie will be back in town this weekend. I’ve missed them.

Reasons to Be Compassionate Towards Myself…

  • You only just moved. The change is catching up with you. You are adjusting to your new place and in some ways a new life.
  • Death is scary. It’s sad. Don’t let it become an anxiety that eats you up inside. You can use this awareness of how fragile and uncertain life is to foster gratitude, love, and mindfulness.
  • It’s okay to feel disoriented and not like yourself. You are changing and growing. Growing can be painful. But you have changed and grown before; you will come out better and more beautiful in the end. Eventually, you will feel like yourself again, even if she is someone different in the future.
  • God’s got you, and you are where you’re supposed to be.
  • Life is always changing. Tomorrow is a new day. You will be okay.

 

What are you grateful for? What are some reasons to be more self-compassionate? Thanks for reading, new post coming Tuesday. God bless,

Clare

 

Other Posts On Anxiety:

A Ride Home

Winter

Journal Entries 1

How I Journal – Prayer In Spite of Anxiety

How I Journal – Prayer in Spite of Anxiety

First blog post of 2018!

Today I decided to share how I journal, specifically for prayer. As a person who suffers from a lot of anxiety, for a long time, I found it very difficult, sometimes impossible, to pray. A little over two years ago, I was feeling really anxious and out of it and just not myself, and I remembered this widely recommended grounding exercise for people with anxiety:

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I started journaling, sort of following this method, only instead I wrote HOW I AM FEELING RIGHT NOW… followed by writing out how I was feeling Mentally, Emotionally, Physically, Spiritually.

It helped so much to keep me in the present moment, sort through my thoughts and feelings, and quiet myself. Prayer became possible because all I had to do was sit down and start writing tangible things, then relate those things to the Lord. Over time I’ve modified it to fit where I am in life.

How I Journal

Step 1: Open journal, blank page (string lights totally optional). My journal is a 3-N-1 from Markings and was purchased at Walmart.

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Step 2: Date, time, and location on the top of the page.

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Step 3: I write FEELING. Underneath that, I write out every feeling I can articulate.

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I bundle my physical and emotional feelings here, so whether its tired and hungry or happy and hopeful, they go here. I elaborate on whatever I need to, like what is making me sad or what I’m feeling excited about.

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Step 4: I write THINKING ABOUT.

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Here, I pretty much empty my mind onto the paper. Work, a conversation I had, a movie I saw 7 years ago, song lyrics and book characters…whatever is in my head, I write it down.

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Step 5: I write SPIRITUALLY.

howijournal7 (1)I write out how I am feeling spiritually. Empty? Dry? Far from God? Joyful? Hopeful? Aware of His love and presence? Whatever it is, I write it down.

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Step 6: Relate all of this to God. Write down anything and everything, but take time to just be quiet and be with Him.

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I’ll often read scripture and reflect on it here as well. As difficult as it can be, I try to let God lead this conversation. I praise Him, I thank Him, but I invite Him to be with me and to speak to me.

BONUS: GRATEFUL FOR…

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This is something I just started doing recently; taking time to write down a few things I’m grateful for every day. Gratitude can be an excellent remedy for anxiety because it moves your focus out of your anxious head to all the blessings in your life.

 

And there you have it: How I journal and pray in spite of anxiety. If you try this, I would strongly encourage you to tailor it to you. Maybe you want to be more specific. Maybe you want to just write down your thoughts. If you are severely anxious, you could actually go through the original 54321 grounding exercise and then just sit in quiet with God. That would be a perfectly beautiful way to get into prayer in spite of anxiety.

I hope you enjoyed this. If you have any other insights on praying when you are an anxious person, please share them!

New post coming Friday. Thanks for reading and God bless,

Clare

 

Other Posts On Anxiety:

A Ride Home

Winter

Journal Entries 1

 

Blogmas 2017 – Day 14/31 – Turning 23

Today I turned 23 years old and here, in no particular order, are 23 things I learned while I was 22:

  1. God’s timing is perfect. I still don’t believe that on an emotional level but I have come to trust Him enough to know it’s true.
  2. Gatorade can heal almost anything.
  3. You have to be patient with your heart. Just because you get on Bumble and try out that whole dating app thing doesn’t mean your heart will be in it. Go ahead and delete the app. You’ll get there someday.
  4. People heal and grow at their own pace, some faster, some slower, and that’s okay.
  5. I am doing better than I thought I was.
  6. I have more work to do on myself than I realized.
  7. Laziness feels gross. Being lazy gives you the emotional equivalent of going too long without a shower or without brushing your teeth. Bleah.
  8. You may never be able to get rid of all the anxiety in your life but you can learn how to manage it and be stronger than it.
  9. There are no free snacks on Spirit flights.
  10. There is no shame in going to counseling, even if you think you’re ‘not that bad’. It is empowering to take steps towards being a better you.
  11. You can have a crush on someone and not actually like them at all. I think I’ve learned this one before but I guess I needed to be reminded.
  12. Anxiety makes you feel sick sometimes. Tough it out. Eat some food. Listen to Fear by Ben Rector. Distract yourself. You are more real than your anxiety and you are capable of being kind to yourself in spite of it.
  13. I am, in fact, a Taylor Swift fan. (Sorry, Mom.)
  14. I am lactose intolerant. Goodbye, yogurt. I will miss you.
  15. You must proof-read your book. Mercilessly.
  16. It’s okay if there are some typos in your book. Yes, some people might judge you for it, but some people won’t even notice, you can always fix it, and it’s a learning experience.
  17. Pray. Every single day. I’ve learned this one before, too, and that’s okay.
  18. God is merciful.
  19. I do actually like my hair long. My hair may never be fully low-maintenance and that’s okay.
  20. Saute the onions first.
  21. If your headlight is burnt out and you don’t change it, you will eventually be pulled over.
  22. Sometimes all it takes is putting yourself out there. Be brave. Make the first move when you need to. It is worth it.
  23. It is good that I am here.

 

So grateful for my life, to BE alive, and looking forward to another wonderful year. Thank you, Jesus.

Thank you for reading, God bless,

Clare