Tag Archives: rambles

Asking for Help

This is not something I generally admit to, but it seems like all of the books I’ve been reading lately have been saying, “Ask for the goddamn help.” I hate asking for help. But, seems like I need to ask for help to learn how to ask for help? 🤔

Right now I’m in the middle of Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection. I just thought it was time to read one of her books. I’ve seen her TED talk, read articles by and about her. I’m pretty bad about reading book descriptions (which is how I ended up buying a romance novel with my daughter’s name as the heroine. ickety ick ick) so I just figured it would be good advice for how to deal with my own perfectionism.

Well well, what a nice surprise for me. This damn book is all about asking for help and knowing that you’re an imperfect person and asking for help is a perfectly reasonable, human thing to do. That asking for help is part of what makes us human.

And I’ve read Amanda Palmer’s The Art of AskingThat was helpful too. I’ve been doing all this self-help reading lately. Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. That Deep Work book I mentioned the other day. All of them are pushing me towards realizing I can’t do it all myself. I definitely need help to get into that mental space, both to create and then to hone. Sure I can write some wacky romance novel, but unless I have space and the energy to revise and clean it up, it won’t be anything worth reading.

My quest for this month is to ask for help. And, perhaps more importantly, feel like I deserve to be helped. That I’m important enough to help. That I’m not just a bother. I feel like I’ve been disappointed so many times before by asking for help that I’m only setting myself up for even more disappointment. But, it’s a new month. And it’s a new thing to learn. And accept, perhaps.

This feels terribly squidgy to leave up on the internet. But. I can’t be the only one who feels like this. I can’t be the only one who can’t and won’t ask for help. So here it goes.

How do you ask for help? And how do you get over this initial ohmygodican’tpossiblyaskanyoneforanything hurdle?

Thoughts on Trauma

My kid has been watching Trolls. Thankfully, it’s slowed down, but my goodness, for a while it was on all the time.

Since one of my favorite hobbies is overanalyzing things, I spent my precious time cuddled with my child pondering this movie.

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God, look at these monsters. image from Dreamworks

A quick overview of the movie for anyone lucky enough not to have seen it: Bergens eat trolls because eating trolls makes them happy. Nothing else can make them happy. The trolls managed to escape their years of captivity and now live hidden and free in the forest. The bergens manage to find them again and terribleness ensues.

Now, the male lead of the movie had his grandmother kidnapped and presumably eaten by the Bergens. She was trying to save him and got caught instead.

The rest of the trolls are terrible to him. He experienced some terrible trauma. And instead of doing anything that would be remotely helpful, they just make it worse. Huge, noisy parties, ransacking his bunker, and general asshattery to this poor troll.

The message of this movie seemed to be “Just get over it.” Or maybe “Love will help you get over this life-changing trauma.” In either case, they did a terrible job of it. What is this going to say to children who have experienced trauma like this? If they can’t ~find the love~ or whatever to make their lives normal? “Maybe I should sing more?” “Maybe I should hug more?” “Maybe I should realize my life-changing trauma doesn’t matter to anyone else and I should just shut up about it although it has fundamentally changed me?” Like, I don’t get it.

I’ve always tried to treat trauma gently in my writing. I’ve tried to use the trauma my characters experience to work through some of my own issues. But I’ve never tried to gaslight my characters. I’ve never tried to tell them “Just rub some proverbial dirt in it, you’re fine” and have them just move along with their life. No, trauma is this weird tricky thing to work through. I feel terrible for this troll. The rest of their troll society lives in denial about their societal trauma (Our entire race was enslaved and eaten for God knows how long) and throwing loud crazy parties with fireworks and completely unprepared for an attack. And this one troll is trying to stay safe. They’re awful to this poor traumatized troll who is trying to keep them safe.

I haven’t been searching the rest of my kid’s movies for terrible trauma treatment, but I have a feeling I’m going to be finding more now that it’s at the forefront of my brain. It’s interesting to see how trauma is treated and I’ll be curious to point out more as I find it.

The one upside to this is the Hair Up in the Air song is GREAT for being stuck in rush hour traffic because you can just say “GO GO GO” and “We ain’t never gonna stop!” like a million times as you try to get to the airport to pick up your husband because he was in Fresno again. So high five to them for that.

Have there been any movies that struck you as odd or insensitive how they’ve treated trauma? I’m just curious about it now.

Courage

I’m not brave. I mean, it’s pretty obvious. I was that weird, quiet girl hiding behind a book growing up and I’m still that weird, quiet woman. Nothing has really changed. Maybe I’m better at hiding my inner weirdo, but she’s still totally there.

Anyway, there’s this popular little bit of self-help/stoic advice. What’s the worst that could happen and how bad could it really be? For a lot of men, the answer is, I lose my business and things are hard and weird for a while. But for women, the answer is: some man kills me or stalks me or sends me rape and death threats.

And it’s not like this is clear out of left field. It’s not like this is something that hasn’t happened. Women are killed and raped by men all the time.

And the last thing I’d like to do is bring this sort of craziness down on my family.

I know this is very unlikely. But this is one more stumbling block in my way. I can’t not think about this. But I can think about it and work through it and have some contingency plans.

Anyway, this is the thought I’ve been playing with lately. I’m working through my feelings about it and how to deal with it. And I think once I’ve either decided the risk is low enough, I’ll move forward.

I wonder how many of these stumbling blocks are of my own creation? I suppose I’ll find out as I cross them off.

Pupdate

Now that the dogs are feeling better and have figured out what to do with their tongues— Brigadoon especially. “I have no teeth. How do I hold this damn thing in my mouth now?!”— they’re doing their normal dog things. They’re still on pain meds, but they’re seeming super normal and happy again.

Now that they’re feeling normal, I’m feeling better.

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sleepy dogs in sunshine

Now just waiting for my productivity to catch up again 🙂

On Triggers, part 2

Donald Trump speaks the same way my abuser did. Braggadocious, misogynistic, pathological lying. 

After the rough time I’ve had after seeing Carmen, I wasn’t ready for this. I wasn’t prepared to feel so scared again. I wasn’t prepared for someone like that to represent me. And my God, it’s happened. 

There’s so much everywhere about this. So, I won’t add much more. But, I don’t know how to make my world better. I don’t know how to make the world better for my little girl. I’m just… I’m just rocking my sadness hangover still. 

I’m hoping my flight or fight response is going to settle down soon and we can get back to real life. We can get back to living and growing, not going backwards. 

I’m totally drunk and don’t feel like writing blog posts while crying. The sun will come up again tomorrow and we’ll figure it out. I’m just hoping I stop feeling so scared soon. And I should probably stop drinking so much too. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Anyway. Life goes on. And I figure Rome survived Caligula, so we can survive Trump, right?

I’m Home!

And totally jet lagged. I fell asleep at eight and woke up at ten and now I’m AWAKE (it’s just past one now).

But, I didn’t take my laptop with me, so I’ve been checking all my stuff that I couldn’t check on the iPad. Thought I might as well say hello here too!

Some quick thoughts:
* Japan is rad
* The vending machines in Japan are rad
* International travel with an almost-4-year-old is fun and scary at the same time
* Jet-lag is pretty crap
* Taco rice was an enormous let down
* Calpis soda and Bikkle are amazing tasty drinks. I hope to find some here local.
* Once my jet-lag gets better, the first thing I want to do is write
* The pendulum swing between toddlers kicking/shaking/smacking each other and death by hugging is amazingly short
* If you fall asleep listening to Hamilton on the airplane, without a doubt, you will wake up just in time to hear him dying and then you’ll be sad and confused and jet-lagged and you won’t be able to fall sleep again
* Home is pretty goddamn fantastic 💗💗

Impostor!

Sometimes I think the Dunning-Kruger effect and Impostor Syndrome are two sides of the same spectrum.

I’ve been reading lots of romance stuff all over the place and sometimes I’m certain my writing is better than what I just read. Like, significantly better. But the truth is,  I just don’t know any better.

Then, sometimes I’m certain I’m the crappiest writer that ever picked up a quill, or a pen, or picked at a keyboard and I can’t even call myself a writer. It’s all so goddamn fake I can’t even stand it.

If I could just find my Golden Mean between the two. Or if you prefer Buddhist philosophy, the Middle Way. (Have I mentioned I have a philosophy degree? It pops up in the most absurd places sometimes in my daily life. I can’t recommend a philosophy degree enough. Interesting and fun to play with.)

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Heh, or maybe me thinking that the Dunning-Kruger Effect is at play is Impostor Syndrome making me doubt myself. That I do know what good writing is and I can write well and it’s only my self-doubt making me question it?

In any case, it’s a fun sandbox to play in. And hopefully, I’ll find my Golden Mean sometime soon.