Category Archives: The Odd Bit

How Genre Fiction Changes Lives For Real

Sometimes fantasy isn’t very far from the truth.

I’m a storyteller.
It’s what I do.
I’m a writer.

And, not get to get dramatic but stories change lives.
Because stories ARE lives.
Stories are how we as humans relate to other humans and human values, struggles, ideologies, victories, etc.

Anywho, this is a post I wrote a while ago but then forgot about. Nice to know it still 100% applies.

 


A blood prophet is a gal who is born with the ability to tell the future…. If her skin is cut and blood flows from the wound.
This brings great pain until she speaks the prophecy out loud, which she then cannot remember, as her brains switches off and she feels euphoria to compensate for the terrible things she sees.

But what really pinged for me is how she experienced life.
And how OVER STIMULATED she got, so easily.
And yet she still SAVED LIVES.
She matters, has purpose.
Even though she can’t handle more than a few more “images” a day.
When Meg, the main character who is a blood prophet that escaped slavery, began to live in the real world, (that is, outside of a white-walled room with nothing in it, literally), she became way too easily overstimulated by all the new stimuli and her brain sort of “turned off” and she was a zombie for a few minutes. Without even realizing it, she’d zone out, turn off, numb.
You see, Meg, like all blood prophets, was kept in a teeny little room and shown photos of things from the outside world. The only experience with the outside world she ever had.
When Meg has new images or places, situations, photos in a magazine, facial expressions, personal feelings, etc…. and she get’s too many new ones in one day… she’s done.

I realized, this is exactly what I do.
My brain turns off.
Without me realizing it.
I was abused as a child and as such, learned to “detach” or clinically put, “dissociate”.
Meaning, mentally, Daphne wasn’t home.
As I grew older I continued coping with unhealthy situations and relationships this way.
Without knowing it.
Once into therapy, we figured it out.

But I didn’t know it was so pervasive in my everyday life.
I thought it was one size fits all.
Instead, there’s versions of it. Levels.

To spare any lengthy dissertation of my life and experiences in the past four years, I’ll stick with the most jarring and recent realization.
Which came about ONLY once I’d read this book and realized it was an actual thing that happens to human beings.

I started college.
One class.
First semester.
A subject I LOVE.
I approach class every day with enthusiasm, interest, excitement, ready to learn more about what I love and apply it to my life.
And I HATE college.
Let me repeat…
HATE!
LOATH WITH A PASSION!!!

I couldn’t figure out why.
When it finally hit me, I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to figure it out. It was once I’d read three books in this series that I added the knowledge to my life and behaviors in the past months and the light bulb BURST into life above my head.
I am a slow learner.
No, really.
I need to soak in, absorb, directly apply information to my life, and repeatedly read stuff, take notes, dissect, etc. when it comes to learning.
When it comes to doing things in a job, I learn really fast.
When I have to read and learn something new in a book environment, I’m slower than molasses in midsummer.
And it threw me. I’d always considered myself a quick learner. When I had things to do – I excelled. Give me a pattern of activities to do and BOOM I have it down.
Not to mention I got through schooling with ‘A’s in every subject.
So HOW am I a slow learner?
I focused on getting good grades. Not on learning. School doesn’t reward learning; it rewards good grades, doing the work, being disciplined, etc.
I’m a hard worker, I’m disciplined.
I’m a slow learner.
I need to learn at a much slower pace than 3 chapters of twenty-five pages each and 3 assignments with their own set of research and information – in one week. Which is the definition of college.
NOT for me.
Lucky for a gal like me, life has options.

Reading Anne Bishop’s novels on Meg taught me something about life, about myself, about how I learn, and about how often I get overstimulated and zone out, without realizing it.
REAL LIFE wasn’t teaching me this.
NOTHING was teaching me this.
A work of fiction. A story. An urban fantasy. This is how I learned vital information about myself and how I operate within the world.
A work of fiction genre taught me truth no one else and nothing else ever had.
THAT is the power of genre fiction.
It is a lie with more truth in it than we can imagine.
Because no story, no matter how bizarre or unusual, is ever truly made up.


The series I am talking about in the post is Anne Bishop’s “The Others” Series. You can check her books out here. I have only read books #2, 3, and 4. I’m excited to read more.

What have works of fiction taught you?

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Because

So….

Hi!

*awkwardly shuffles onto your screen*

How are you doing?

Just wanted to stop by, let you know you’re awesome, and leave this here…

Put yourself first. You can’t be anything for anybody else unless you take care of yourself. -Unknown

(we can’t give if we’re empty)

(and remember that little tidbit about being in an airplane crash? how we’re supposed to put OUR oxygen mask on BEFORE the adorable, helpless infant? that’s because we will die before we can  help the infant – if we don’t help ourselves FIRST.)

and this…

We will never reach a better life until we can imagine it for ourselves and allow ourselves to have it. — Richard Bach

oh and this too…

“If you get tired learn to rest, not to quit.”

― Banksy

okay, bye for now! (also, here’s an awe-inspiring photo)

and this one too

and this one too – because isn’t it just freaking awesome?!

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3 Key Ingredients to Joy

We need not forget these three core ingredients to a life well lived.

 

1. Don’t take ourselves too seriously.

 

2. Laughter really IS medicine, both preventative and as great treatment. Trust me, I’ve done college research on it. And that makes me more qualified (haha).

 

3. We need to have fun.

Without enjoyment, life has no purpose.

 

Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.

-Gordon B. Hinckley

 

 

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Loss Is A New…. What Word Goes Here?

A collection of thoughts, realizations, and truths for me as I navigate the loss of my Papa from this life.

The first three I published on various social media sites, but after that they’re a first time thought.

He died Thursday 18th at 3:22 am.

 

 

Okay, so…. I’m not good at this. And I’m still stuck in …… I think shock and it hasn’t sunk in.
But Chuck Schultz, my Papa, went home to God Thursday morning at 3:20.
I miss him. I love him. I know he’s happy and safe and feels peace and joy and all the love that there is.
So, yeah. I will just leave this here.
With my awkward and inadequate words to mark with speech the love I have for him, the sorrow over losing him for a time, or the surety that I’ll see him again.
I am ever grateful for the memories.
I love you Papa.

 

I don’t remember my Papa’s laugh. I realized this in a painful panic. In a flurry of grasping memories and desperately trying to hear, just hear the last laugh he laughed in my presence. Instead, I only have tears to offer the silence.

 

 

I’ve never lost anyone before. Not to death. It’s a strange land to live in.

The entire world has changed. Yet it remains the same.

I am confronted with a void where there once was life, tiny memories dropping into the hollow that now presides, trying desperately to breathe life back into the part of my soul where he lived, died, and now is reborn in hope and knowledge that we’ll meet again and begin another journey of colliding souls.

 

I bought him this apron. I’ve only bought two aprons in my life. One for my Papa and one for my best friend.

We loved Snoopy together. And food. Cooking. Recipes. Papa was a chef. A master of cooking. He seemed to be a master of everything.

I wonder if I will see it again. After his funeral. When I must walk into his room and sit with his things and pick through them like a vulture. Oh, what do I want? How horrid. But how beautiful and loving and revitalizing. To bring a piece of him home with me. A physical piece of my Papa to keep with me forever. What will I bring home of him?

 

Wearing my hat.

I miss clicking into my blog posts and seeing that my Papa has commented on them. Because he cares. Because he sees me. Because he’s a sassy character.

And now I feel the void where they were. The incoming comments on my life in his words, from his mind, his heart.

I get excited, wonder what he’ll think.

But there won’t be any comments from Papa.

 

When I was a wee munchkin Papa and I rooted for the Raiders. I knew absolutely nothing about football or why we liked them, but oh man did we love them!

It was our thing.

I wore a Raider’s hat. I now love the color scheme. I still know nothing about football. But I root for the Raiders.

I brought home his Raider’s belt buckle. His Raiders ring. What odd things to keep. They’re little bits of him. Right here. Where I can hold them in my hands while I tear up and learn how to let myself cry.

Papa taught me that. Cry. By dying he made me all aware of how if I didn’t shed tears, pretending, faked it, I was disrespecting our bond. Truth. Love. Those tears mean something. And I’m no longer ashamed to cry anymore for any reason in front of anyone. What a gift he’s given me. Even not being here, he’s teaching me about life.

 

I kept three of his ties. They still smell like him. I never want to wash them. I never want the smell to leave. I wonder if I put them in Ziploc bags if his Papa scent will keep.

 

I remember his laugh. It’s faint now, but growing. A shadow memory, cruelly fading in and out. But I won’t let it go.

It will come back, fully. If not I’ll hunt for it.

He laughed a lot.

 

 

People say, “I’m sorry for your loss”.

I used to say that to people.

I don’t think I will any longer. I’m not upset by it or anything like that. But its a wee bit meaningless at this point when I use it on others. Becuase now I know. Now I’ve felt it. Experienced it. Losing someone I love. Sometimes we don’t need to have anything to say. Just sit with someone, acknowledge the pain, understand that there are no words to fix it or make it better.

 

It’s a jumble of emotions, thoughts, and new understandings.

I am trying to step back and witness how I am moving through this.

Grief isn’t a 5 step process.

 

Have you lost anyone you love?

How did you and how are you dealing? 

How are you changing?

What do you see differently?

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Shame vs. Guilt

Shame is bad.

Guilt can be good.

 

Shame is when someone eats an entire box of donuts and someone says, “You’re disgusting.” Or, “You will never be a good role model for kids”. Or something else equally shaming.

Guilt is when someone eats an entire box of donuts and someone says, “Eating all of those donuts in one sitting is kinda gross.” Or, “Eating all of those donuts isn’t something you want to model for your kids.”

 

Shame = YOU are wrong, bad, disgusting, an idiot, not good enough, etc.

Guilt = something you have DONE, an action or decision you’ve made, is bad, disgusting, and so on.

 

The difference may be in one word, but the difference is in reality, HUGE.

The difference between shame and guilt is whether or not we hate ourselves or something we’re doing.

 

Shame tells us (whether we heard it from ourselves or someone else) that there is something fundamentally wrong and disgusting about us. It tells us we aren’t good enough, we’re broken, we cannot achieve anything of value. Shame tells us that we have no value and never can.

Guilt, on the other hand, tells us when we aren’t doing something we approve of. Our actions, motives, or words aren’t lining up with our values or beliefs.

 

For example: Bob steals from Sandy.

Bob has three options.

Option A: Feel guilty.

Option B: Feel ashamed.

Option C: Feel guilty and ashamed.

 

Option A gives Bob the ability to say to himself, “hey, self – that was messed up! I don’t believe in stealing. I feel terrible about what I did. I know it was wrong.” This gives Bob the ability to make amends with the person and then make life changes to ensure he doesn’t steal again. This also allows Bob to tell himself that what he DID was wrong and bad and terrible. Bob does NOT believe Bob is wrong and bad and terrible. Guilt allows Bob to condemn his action of stealing, feel bad about it, make amends, then move forward with the intent of following through on his values and belief. Which, in this case, is ‘thievery is wrong’.

Bob also needs to look into why he stole, what his motives were, and so on. Guilt allows him to do that. It gives him the comfort that Bob is a good identity to have, a good person. Simply a person who made a bad decision and now needs to adjust his way of living to align his future actions with his values and beliefs.

 

 

Option B gives Bob a very limited doorway for positivity. This doorway is squeaked open only if Bob realizes he is shaming himself and needs to stop. Then targets his guilt and does the inner work.

If Bob doesn’t do this, and continues to shame himself, his inner monologue goes something like this.

“I stole something. I’m a horrible human being. Who steals from a working, single mother? I’m disgusting. No wonder I’m single, alone, hated, fat, gross, mean, etc. No wonder everyone hates me.” Bob feels disgusted with himself. He feels ashamed of who he is. Bob feels uncomfortable with his own existence and brings up every negative thing about himself, every negative situation, thought, and feeling from his life to back this theory up that Bob is indeed, a horrid excuse of a human being.

Guess was Bob does with this? He hates himself. And will repeat the thieving behavior. And then hate himself more. Rinse and repeat.

Shame keeps us locked in with whatever we hate about ourselves. Shame tells us there is no possibility for change because we are flawed at a basic level and can never be any good.

Shame lies to us and we do nothing to change.

 

Option C is what I’m fairly certain most of us feel.  And our shame smooshes our guilt with a twenty pound dumbbell again and again and again until it’s little more than a twitching inkling in the background of our minds that only further backs up our shame’s reasoning for why we are horrid human beings who deserve to suffer in their horrid human fate because that’s just how life is and we’re all going to die anyway! See option B.

 

We have a choice.

Choose option A.

Seriously.

We all do bad things. We all have and we all will. They’re called mistakes and we instantly recognize we just hurt someone’s feelings or have that liver clenching moment when we realize we forgot our best friend’s birthday.

We all do things wrong. That does not make US bad people. Unless we value hurting people to get ahead. Unless we value chopping people up in little bits. Unless we think it is fun to hurt people, animals, children, etc… we are not bad people.

We make human mistakes because *ahem* we are human. Not robots of unfeeling perfect precision. Thank heaven!

 

When we do things wrong, it is our responsibility to feel our guilt and do something about it for the better.

 

And I KNOW this is hard advice to follow. Three years into a support group and four years into therapy and it’s only now really pinging for me. But it does make sense. I has sunk into my stubborn skull, darting past the negative loops of habit ingrained in my brain.

We can all change for the better.

We have to want to.

And if all we do is shame ourselves, we will never fully believe we are capable and deserving of doing better, of change in the direction we want to go.

 

 

We are deserving. We are valuable. We can change. We can allow our guilt to help us to take a realistic look at our behaviors and spring us into becoming who we want to become. Who we choose to become.

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How a Doctor Explained Bipolar vs. Normal People To Me

 

You know what I would love?

If, as a society – as HUMAN BEINGS – we stopped putting “versus” in between different kinds of people.

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Gorgeous, Grotesquely So

As I do more and more things I’m afraid to do, I come closer with one scrapingly vibrant truth.

 

I’m going to get weird.

 

Off and on.

I’m quite certain it will be a progressive thing.

But it’s an inevitable one.

Of course, there’s the fact that I’m bipolar and I’ll also always be kind and sweet and positive and optimistic. Sometimes quiet and kept to myself. Other times boiling blood will drip down strange imagery of shiver-inducing forest scenes in the horror movie that hasn’t been made yet.

Regardless.

Finally, we’ll all be face-to-face with the grinning madwoman inside my bone marrow, striving painfully to rip my skin off.

Isn’t that what we all want?

To strip ourselves down to the bare bones – the most real, vulnerable, risky, ALIVE parts of ourselves – so we can then add them up to the robust and flowery weight we carry and the choices we make and figure out how we maneuver within this construct to make up a real life human being?

Aren’t we all secretly, terrifyingly sick of the secrets, the hiding, the fake we project in this frightened world of souls trying to find truth by hiding, twisting, pretending, and obscuring?

 

I find I’m already getting weirder. In my day to day life. I care less and less how people will react, what they’ll think. I’m taking risks. It’s risky. It’s baby steps or bust. Everyone has to learn to walk over and over and bloody over again, our whole freaking lifelong.

 

It’s like unzipping my skin, throwing the dermis on the gritty asphalt and walking into the ritzy white floored hotel for all to see, bloody footprints left behind with every step forward, veins and muscle, bone showing through while pre-packaged pretty lies gasp and point from within their professionally tucked stomachs and reshaped noses.

Everyone down with that?

 

 

 

….Most people, when they’re inspired, they get excited, energized, and ready to go. Me? I get weirder than normal.

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