As if I don’t have enough to do on a daily basis I decided I should write a novel. Chances are slim to none that I will ever finish it, nevertheless actually publish it. But it has been therapeutic to begin the process. As a bonus it’s a great way to procrastinate the chores that actually need to get done.

The tale is loosely based on my life’s journey of overcoming life’s small battles of physical pain, loss, depression, anxiety and parenting. It’s been an insightful process to reflect on my past as I become more removed from my more turbulent years. I’ve noticed that most of the tension when I used to think of past events has all but dissipated and I can look back with more of an objective lens.

It wasn’t an easy road to get to the place where I am now. I did attend counseling for a short while and that helped immensely. My therapist recommended EMDR therapy and I was extremely skeptical but in a few sessions I could feel a significant change within. Covid struck in the spring after I had begun my treatments so I stopped my sessions. I truly believe everyone regardless of history would benefit from some form of therapy in their lives.

My happy place in our new house: a reading and writing corner

I also did a great deal of reading. Some of it was mental health related, some of it was related to my passion, a lot of it was just for fun. I knew that I wanted to improve my writing skills because I knew that with zero professional experience my status was indeed that of amateur. I did what anyone would do and googled “best books on writing”. The top pick was Stephen King’s: On Writing. I happily picked this up (aka added it to my Amazon shopping cart). After reading this (rather quickly) I gained even more respect for one of my favorite authors. I follow him on twitter and enjoy his political banter, but I really didn’t know much from his past. Not only is he an interesting person who has been through quite a bit, but he offers a significant amount of advice that is simple to follow. I wrote an essay for after finishing the book and my editor only changed once sentence. So I’m going to give all of the credit to Mr. King on this one.

The next book I have been reading on and off I bought after hearing the author being interviewed on a podcast. Judson Brewer’s: Unwinding Anxiety is a guide on how to overcome the cycle of anxious thoughts and feelings. It gives the reasoning behind the way we feel in those heart-racing moments. There are numerous exercises throughout the book on how to get in touch with our own triggers and how then to deal with them as they arise. I have so many pages marked in this book to circle back to because it was so helpful the first time around.

And of course there is my beloved fiction pile. I have been trying to read more for pleasure because it used to give me joy. There is a difference in escapism in a book than in TV, I find being absorbed in a book to be much more captivating than any technology could ever provide. I didn’t stray far from Stephen King with Misery and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, The Firekeeper’s Daughter as recommended by my sister-in-law, In the Rouge written by my twitter friend Simone Springer (I have the sequel on my to-read list!), and There, There which admittedly took me the longest to read although it is the shortest book but it is very worthwhile. My to-read pile is very large and filled with the latest list toppers but I’m a work in progress, still trying to find the time in the short days to make it all happen!

Do I hope some day that my story ends up on the shelf next to all of these great works? Of course. Is it likely? Who is to say? But the one thing I am learning is that the written word is giving me an outlet to release my stress, has given me focus and fulfillment where the busy-ness of my job and being a parent had left a void. It has given me back a piece of myself, and through those years that I was really struggling, I think what I was missing most was feeling complete and whole. At the age of 38, I think I’m just starting to feel that way.

Why am I sharing any of this? Because several times before this I didn’t think this was possible or there was any point to any of life. The struggle was as recently as a year ago. I was always the first to tell you that I was the most negative person you would ever meet, and perhaps I will always be cautious with my optimism, but I am living proof that it is never too late for some good stuff too.

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