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Being Overwhelmed

Sometimes it seems like there are just too many things to do and not enough time to do all of them. Or any of them, once in a while.

Lately, I’ve been having a lot of times like that. I had two books release within less than a week, one under each of my two pen names, and that led to trying to scramble to promote both of them. I’ve been trying to help my 17-year-old with college applications and the dreaded financial aid applications, as well as trying to give her moral support about her classwork. I have a couple of writing projects I’m working on, and was just given another by a friend.

And then there’s housework. And appointments. And errands. And… auuughhh!

Fortunately, I have a group of really good friends who’ve had their own “auuughhh!” moments from time to time, and who understand having too much to do. Over the weekend, I reached out to them and asked for whatever help, support, and encouragement they could give. And all of them agreed to help in one way or another, whether it’s helping me break down some large tasks into smaller bits (which is always difficult for me), or being a “brainstorm buddy” for the stories I’m working on, or just reminding me I’m capable of getting these things done and telling me to stop procrastinating.

It isn’t always easy to reach out and ask for help, especially knowing that you aren’t the only one who gets overwhelmed and has a lot to do. But it’s always good to have support, and the people in your life don’t know you need support if you don’t ask.

Worried

On Friday, I briefly met up with a friend whom I hadn’t seen in a couple of months. He had something of mine that I’d asked to get back, and he couldn’t stay to talk because he was in the middle of a time-sensitive project at work. I appreciated that he was willing to even take the time to meet me at all, though it might have been nice to have a bit of conversation with him since we haven’t talked since the last time we saw each other.

He looked different from the last time I saw him, though. It’s hard to explain. He was always a fairly happy, high-energy kind of guy, but Friday he appeared weary. Not just physically tired, but completely “I need a break and I’m never going to get one” weary. Even when he smiled at me, it was a tired smile.

Even though he and I don’t interact much anymore, he’s still my friend and still matters to me. And, partly because friends are important to me and likely partly because I have anxiety disorder, I worry about the people who matter to me. All I can do right now is hope that he’s okay, and that if he isn’t, he’ll reach out to me for support as he’s done in the past. Meanwhile, I’m just going to keep him in my thoughts and hope that if things aren’t okay for him right now, they will be.

Meeting New People

With my usual lack of grace at thinking up blog post titles, I realize this one might be a bit ambiguous. So to clarify, I’m talking about the ways people might meet other people. I’m not giving advice; I’m definitely not qualified for that, seeing how difficult it is for me to meet people.

Actually, that’s kind of what this post is about. I realized over the weekend, as I settled in for two days of not seeing anyone besides my family, that I don’t actually know many people. I don’t have an outside-the-house job, so I have no coworkers to interact with. Hubby’s parents only live a couple of blocks away, but I don’t see them much. I’ve lived in this town for over six years, and still don’t know many people because…

I don’t know how to meet them. That’s my confession for the day. I have no clue how people meet other people and move from “Hi” to hanging out and having coffee and chatting on the phone.

I have less grace with social skills than with blog post titles.

I’ve never really had an easy time with meeting people and making friends. When I was growing up, it was easier because I was in school, so I had plenty of other people around. But even then, sometimes I would find a friend who after a week or two decided friendship wasn’t going to work out with me. Once I was out of college, I had jobs, but socializing with my coworkers didn’t happen. At my last teaching job, it was particularly painful; the other two women who worked in the classroom I worked in often made plans right in front of me, knowing I was listening. It was junior high and high school all over again.

Obviously I do meet people occasionally, butĀ it’s rare and they don’t usually stick around in my life very long.

I know how whiny this post sounds, and I don’t mean it that way. I’m an introvert, I have social anxiety, and I seriously don’t have good social skills. Social stuff is like a foreign language to me. But at the same time, sitting at home all day knowing that even if I wanted to have coffee with a friend, I don’t have a friend to have coffee with… it’s kind of lonely. And the last time I tried asking a professional for solutions, her answer was, “Just meet people. It isn’t that hard.”

Um… maybe not for her…

So how do you meet people and make friends?

Feeling Restless

I’m having one of those days where I know something needs to change, but I don’t know what.

I have a friend back in my life who I thought I’d lost. Changes in his personal life caused a rift between us, but fortunately, that rift was temporary. We met on Friday and talked things through. Our friendship won’t be as time-intensive as it was, and won’t include hanging out at his place on the couch watching TV, but the basis of the friendship, and the associated emotions, are intact. For which I’m very thankful. That’s one thing that *doesn’t* need to change, but after a month of no contact with this friend, the reconnection is probably contributing to where my head’s at right now.

I have a new friend in my life who’s very comfortable and fun to be around, but something isn’t quite clicking. And I don’t know what it is. I like spending time with him, but something tells me this is going to be temporary too. Which is unfortunate if it turns out to be the case, but sometimes people are put in our lives for only short periods of time.

My romance writing is still in the flux state it’s been in, and I’m getting a little tired of it being there but can’t quite figure out how to change that. Aside from still being unsure whether I can write the type of thing I used to write, there’s also the realization that I only have two publishers remaining that I would be likely to submit to again. Which rules out some of the things I might want to try writing.

This site has a lot of stuff on it that’s been here for a very long time. I’m going to be going through it this week and deleting some old images from the media library, as well as the oldest (pre-2014, for the most part) blog posts. Clear out some space, and maybe some old energy.

But mostly it’s just a day of “what do I want to do, how do I want to do it, and what if I can’t?” I think everyone has days like this sometimes.

Opening Your Heart

Open Heart

Since you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably noticed that the tagline for this site is “Open Your Heart.” I’ve talked a little about that in past blogs, but it has a slightly more personal meaning for me right now.

To be honest, there’s always been a personal note to it. I’ve had some hugely negative experiences in past relationships (which I’ve also discussed in other blog posts, as well as other venues, so I won’t get into it right now). Being able to let someone new into my heart several years ago when I met my husband was scary as hell. It was much safer to keep my heart closed, my guard up, and my true self hidden.

But over time, I did open my heart to him. With a lot of support and patience from him. And for the most part it’s been well worth it. Of course things aren’t always wonderful and magical with him. What marriage is? But if I’d never been willing to open myself up to possibilities after my first marriage ended, I wouldn’t have the man I have now, who has continued to be supportive and patient even when things aren’t great.

Right now, things are good with him. But a few weeks ago, a very close friend, someone I’d put more trust in than anyone else I know (yes, including Hubby), was dishonest with me and broke a very important promise. Because of the level of trust I had with him, that betrayal was a lot harder to deal with than it would have been from most people. Which means that it’s hard to trust anyone else right now.

As tends to happen often in my life, as soon as I decided that I was going to batten down the hatches and not deal with anyone other than Hubby and my kids, I randomly met someone who has the potential to become a good friend. If I can open my heart enough to let him. It isn’t any less scary to do that now than it was when I met Hubby, but it might be just as worth it.

Friends With the Ex?

Last week, I posed the question on Facebook of whether it’s possible to become friends with an ex. A couple of people responded that it hadn’t worked for them, but for the most part, the consensus seemed to be that if both parties are adult about it, and the relationship didn’t end on a hugely negative note, it is possible. Especially with time.

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In my life, for the most part, it hasn’t worked out that way. I’m only in contact with two of my exes, and one of those is only because he and I have kids together. We definitely aren’t friends. Just co-parents.

But the other one, surprisingly, has become a good friend, and I think that’s probably because he and I were more friends than anything to begin with. It was a long-distance relationship, so for the most part we just talked on the phone or texted. The relationship actually ended because he was in my area on business for a few weeks…and seeing each other didn’t work as well as talking and texting.

Because of the way things crashed between us, he chose to sever all contact with me, and it took six months before I was comfortable enough to reach out to him. But as soon as I did, we spent part of a conversation hashing out what had happened, and then picked up the friendship right where we’d left off. He’s now one of my key support people, just like he was before, and he’s the one I trust with the most about my life because he’s the one I know won’t judge anything I say.

If you’ve been in a relationship with someone, the ending isn’t easy. Even if it’s completely amicable and you’ve already agreed you’re better as friends, sometimes you need space for a little while to decide whether the friendship can work and how to go about it. And if there were hurt feelings on either side, the healing process might take longer.

But to my mind, if someone was worth having in your life in the first place, and assuming there weren’t strongly damagingĀ reasons (like abuse) for relationship to end, they’re worth trying to keep as a friend as well. It might require time and patience, but there’s no reason not to try.

Random Thoughts

Because I was having a hard time thinking of topics for this week’s blog, I decided to just be random about it. I guess these are more questions than thoughts, so feel free to answer if you’re so inclined.

Why do some people think hugs can be given to total strangers with no hesitation, while others think hugs are foreplay?

Do cats have some kind of radar that tells them where you are at any given moment? Because mine always lurk near me, even when I try to hide…

Same thing with kids. How do kids always know where you are?

How many dishes have to get broken before I stop my 20-year-old from washing them?

How does my 20-year-old not know how to wash dishes yet?

How the heck is she 20??? That makes me… old!

Why is it that sometimes friendship seems more intimate than a relationship?

Why does it have to Monday?

Bass-ic Facts

Just to be clear, that’s bass the instrument, not bass the fish…

Four months ago, as I may have blogged about before, someone close to me handed me a bass guitar in response to my whining that I needed a hobby. All he gave me was the bass and the instruction, “Figure out how to play this.”

He’s a musician. He’s been playing guitar for over a quarter century. He plays entirely by ear.

I didn’t think I would be that good. But…after four months, I’ve learned the bass line for three or four classic rock songs, composed two songs of my own including lyrics, andlast week, my friend let me create and record the bass line for a song he was putting together for one of my book trailers.

We have plans…and I’m not going to say more, because I don’t want to jinx anything.

But meanwhile, I’ve progressed far enough that I decided it was time to have a bass of my own instead of using his. So this beauty is all mine…

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And I can’t wait to learn to play more!

A Thank You Letter

There are a lot of people in my life, both personal and writing, to whom I’m thankful.

There are three who I particularly want to thank, and I want to do so publicly because they deserve to have other people know how awesome they are.

So… Steve, Mike, and Paul, thank you.

What's In A Word?

Thank you for being my biggest cheerleaders in my writing career.

Thank you for assuring me that *you* know one day I’m going to be a big name, even if I don’t believe it.

Thank you for all the times I’ve cried on your shoulders because I’m discouraged, and you’ve just listened and told me it will be okay.

Thank you for reading some of my books and telling me they’re really good; Steve and Paul, given how much you guys read, that definitely means a lot.

Thank you for adding “yet” every time I say I’m not earning as much as I wish I were.

Thank you for constantly reminding me that I’m reaching people, and that’s why I started writing in the first place.

Thank you for just being in my life. I’m not great with words that aren’t in stories, but please just know how much you mean to me.

Thank you.