Between Two Loves

Most of the posts I make here, lately, have been about my writing. This is currently on hiatus since I am now back at school with a killer schedule. It is also my senior year. I understand that once I graduate it is time to go back out there and get a job but I also have plans to get into a masters program. Unfortunately, I have two passions that are pulling me in different directions and leaves me with a big question:

Do I get a masters in Literature (my current major)? Or do I go for a History Masters (my minor)?

Two subjects I completely love. At times I even wonder if I made the right decision going with a English masters instead of a history one. I am on the edge. I feel behind in knowledge of those who are in the history program. But I wonder if history is a better match for me?

How do you decide? I will let you know when I find out.

Poet do’nit?

To get an agent, sell your book to a publishing house… leading to success is often the main dream of most writers. I know it is mine and I don’t even call myself a writer at this point. I consider myself to be someone who is attempting to become a writer. Mainly because I am unable to make writing a priority in my life due to attempting to gain my bachelors (hoping for Spring 2015!) and being a wife-n-mom. Sleep is necessary as well. In truth, I have only had the minimum amount of time to work on my novel because of my work load over the past few months.

I have been playing with the idea of going the self-publish route with publishing some of my poetry as I work on my novel. In my office is a box full of old journals, loose sheets of paper, old works that have piled up over the years. I have published a few in small contests while in school over the years. I believe in that pile, somewhere, is the first poem I ever had selected for an anthology when I was in 6th grade. Maybe it is time to sit down and rework those poem with the mind of a more mature me?

When I think about the idea of publishing my poetry, it is scary. I rarely let anyone hear or read my poems. They are extremely personal and the few times I attempted to gain entry into the poetic culture I was often met with scathing looks before I even had a chance to share my work. But now, I am to the age I am not sure I care about the reaction. I have wanted to publish something since I was a child. I wanted to create work that would be enjoyed by others. The idea of putting something out there for others to read is one of the scariest things I will probably ever do with my life.

But do it I must. Yes, one day I may finish my science fiction series and get to publish it. But why not grab the bull by the horns to finally put my words to print with my poetry. Now I can stop playing with the idea and instead actually do it. Focus and get it done.

While I do that, I am working on revising my draft so far on my book in between writing my papers for school.

Never Ass-u-me…

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Warning: this is a stream of consciousness post – parts may not make any sense at all to you

Here is the deal… I am 37 years old, overweight, stressed out and I seriously thought for many years: one of the most boring people on the planet. I have yet to graduate college with a Bachelor’s (I received my Associates Degree in Lib Arts about a 1.5 years ago – about the same time my son was born), it took me until I was 35 to get over the delusions of what romance was supposed to be and what I really deserved (to be happy in all ways), I hadn’t lived a life for many would consider normal. I mean hell, my bucket list is still barely put together let alone having much of it checked off. Part of that is due to the fact, now that I look at it, is that I actually have done many things but I have so much I want to do. I flip-flop on whether to have another kid or not, I nag my husband like crazy, I still make wishes and know they probably won’t come true and I have a hard time keeping a blog because who wants to read about my life. I barely do.

Life can often make you feel like you have to have it all at once and that once is when you are super young, barely out of high school and your brain isn’t even fully formed yet to truly appreciate the life you have. This is one of the first things I had to get over when I realized I wanted to find love, real true love and I felt it was too late for me. I was 34 and never had a deep meaningful relationship because I never felt I was worth loving – deep deep issues there. I also lived in the world of what romance is supposed to be by what we are fed thru movies, novels and songs. We often think the idea of the old maid by 25 is gone in todays society but in many ways it isn’t. We are unidated with the idea that we have to have it all by the time we are 30 and if we don’t we are a failure in life. I know I felt that way, in many ways I gave up on life completely because what was the point.

Part of what helped me grow out of this was opening my eyes. In romantic comedies – the best ones star women who are in their late 30s or 40s not their early 20s. In romance novels – its make believe by women who want that romance in their life. And romance isn’t sex and sex isn’t romance. Romance is sitting on the couch in your PJs, haven’t showered that day and cuddling with your honey as you watch Project Runway on your DVR.

But I digress… a big part of this was that I thought I was boring. I mean, I never really feel like anyone wants to go out of their way to be my friend or get to know me. Because of this I have pulled myself out of the social world. Its hard and lonely at times. I appreciate that I am in school because it gives me a chance to meet some amazing people. But I am finding through my conversations with them… I am very far from boring. Knowing that I probably won’t see them again after the end of the semester (except for seeing them on campus from time to time) I don’t hold myself back and I don’t hide myself. Hell, I barely held myself back in the past but now I just don’t care. And I am enjoying myself so much more. Yes, those doubts come back. Yes, I still have a hard time leaving my house to meet up with people or going some place where I may have to talk to someone… I am still working on that because my son needs to go to the park more often and I am sadly on the verge of becoming homebound.

I am not a shy person, I am actually very outgoing, loud, and I used to be wild (I can’t tell stories about that :p). My quietness is out of fear… fear of being rejected by others. I lucked out and married a man who loves me even though he thought I was more together then I am. But he still loves me and seems to enjoy my company at times.

As I continue to grow up, found my major/minor, hold back from hitting people for idiocy because I realize they still have to grow up as well, and live my life. I am seeing more and more life opened up to me. I find that I am not the only person in the history of the world who became or attempted to become a writer in their late 30s or even later. There is a saying that you are never too old to start something new… but why wait until you are almost too old… do it now. Quit the excuses and realize maybe what you have to say is interesting. I am trying – trying to realize that if people really want to get to know me… will and they will love me for who I am and find me fascinating! Hell, my son thinks I am the awesomeness that awesome… I just need to believe that as well.

As for the people who pushed me aside and decided they knew who I am before really getting to know me… their loss. They saw this one dimension instead of putting on the glasses that put me in 3D. And they will miss out when I finally do start dancing in the middle of the hallway at school to that song I am listening to. I already have it choreographed and have been practicing in the parking structure at school. 😀

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4MzF53je5M

As he says at the beginning (FIND A HERO IN YOU!)

Yes, I know!

I should be doing homework…

Instead, I am sitting in the library playing Pottermore and chatting with people on Twitter. I know that sounds horrible but that isn’t all I did in the past hour and fifteen minutes. I also wrote over 400 words on my story. OOOOOOHHHHH, goes the crowd.

Yeah, I know it doesn’t sound like much but it works. It is something. I wish it was more and at this rate, at about 1000-1800 words a week, I will have a very badly written novel done in another 67 weeks… or by next Christmas. Not really a prime goal for me especially since I had been hoping to be done by the end of the year. But this weekend, instead of working on my novel in the evenings like I sometimes do I spent it finishing up writing a fictional account of someone who was awakened by the writings of Thomas Paine in journal style for a late paper for my History class. Does that count as writing? It was 2,799 words which is about the length of a paperback chapter. It was just as bad but it has given me an idea of a possible story down the road.

That’s part of the problem with wanting to write… you find so many stories out there in the world. It would be easy to jump from one story to another but I got advice from a pop culture icon (I won’t say who but I was excited as peas in soup when he responded to a comment I made) about a month back when discussing multiple projects. He said “It’s important to finish something” and that is when I realized that as I stared at the 13 files I had sitting in my special section of docs for my writings, none of them were finished. Some were barely a page or two, some a couple of chapters or scenes in but none of them were finished. It was one thing to get inspired by an idea and write it down. It was another to completely stop your work then start another one that is once again left unfinished when another idea pops into your head.

Now, at the time I was given this advice through Facebook comments, I was working on four different things at once and this was BEFORE school had even started. I decided then I needed to buckle down and just finish something. Yes, it may not ever get published but who cares. I can say… “I wrote a novel. It isn’t published but look! I wrote 100,000+ words and it is a completed story! Take that doubts in my head! I did something in my life I have always wanted to do!” (I can only hope that then maybe they will go on vacation to Russia and not come back.) Then I can move onto something else. It of course helps a bit that outside my writing I am raising a very rambunctious toddler who drives me bonkers, taking classes that, oh my gosh, are requiring me to write as well. I am using my personal writing as a way to focus and give me some personal creativity time.

Do I see myself as a professional writer? I don’t know, maybe not but after talking to my professor this morning I did find that if I ever wanted to be a professor – yeah, I know crazy write (haha!) – I had to get published with something. I really didn’t know this, that to be a professor of English you have to know what you are talking about. Weird, I know! One of the best things though, is she offered to help me on another dream project I have… publishing my poetry. She said, whenever I am ready. Which to me has been the coolest thing I have heard since my mom told me submitted her Masters application and before that the sound of my son yelling Mama as I cooked dinner a few weeks back. Alright, I hear a lot of good and cool things in my life but it made me feel really good that a teacher of mine offered a hand to help me. I like my poetry better than my prose and I have always wanted to see it in print, in a collection. I don’t see myself as a Maya Angelou but just a poet who wrote some things when she was a younger… I just wish I still wrote like I used to and every once in a while be printed (my first poem in print was when I was 10 in a school collection, so cool!).

As I have grown up over the years, mostly in the past six since I turned 30, I have learned a lot that I wish I had known when I was younger. I think we all go thru that but I am finding that if you reach out and ask a question you can get so much guidance in unexpected ways. How was I to know that some off-hand comment that I made on a Facebook page would lead to a couple of words that would make me open my eyes in an unexpected way. I am 36 years old, still in college because it took me 18 years to finish my Associates Degree; something I didn’t think I would ever get. I am aiming to finish college with a Bachelor’s but it took a long time for me to realize because someone else smacked my virtual head, that it’s important to finish something. This is important not just with my writing but in a lot of other ways. If you do not finish things… its hard to grow because you never completely leave the path you were on before. You can only stretch yourself so thin, right, how many things have to go unfinished; so finish something and move on with your life. What you finish will be a step to the next level in your life. I wonder if my lack of finishing things so often in my life is one of the reasons I like the which leaves your sentences open-ended, never-ending, never completed. Which is so much of my life…

Annotated Bibliography Suck, Part 2

Okay, now that sonny-boy is down for the evening it is time to finish up my last blog post. I already gave a quick run down on the War of 1812 and the Bombardment of Fort McHenry, where 1000 men were bombed for 28 hours straight. And I complained that I didn’t like annotated bibs even though I will have to write them again in the future… or speculated that I would.

Now, why do I dislike them so? It’s not that I think they are useless, they have their purpose. They breakout for the teachers where you are going with your research and your paper. It helps you compile everything into one area. Where are you going to go back to, to get your research on. I hate them because they are so damned difficult. I can write a bib, no problem, with a little help of the Owl at Purdue (probably the most important resource for anyone in school at any level). It’s the description part of it. I never feel like I get it right or I am doing it correctly, and I hate this feeling so much! I hate feel lost and discombobulated when I am doing something for school. It brings back all those bad emotions from when I was a kid. I can still hear my English teacher from 6th grade shouting in my face about how stupid I am.

Yes, I know, I need to get past these things and I am for the most part. I think everyone gets these emotions during their bad moments. Those doubts that ate away at you in the past can rear their ugly heads when they feel you are vulnerable. School can do this to me so easily. Yes, I love being in school right now but there are times it is such a struggle still. I didn’t give up in high school because I was lazy, I gave up because I knew in my head I was too stupid for it and it wasn’t worth the energy. I believed this whole-hardheartedly. It was draining. It still can be. I can still end up in tears with the pain that courses through my body when I begin to doubt myself. I had support at home but as anyone who has ever been a teenager knows… that doesn’t matter when everyone else around you helps confirm those doubts.

These are the same doubts that stall my writing as well. I have always wanted to be a writer, it was my secret dream but I am scared shitless of the possibility of success and/or the negative reviews that will come my way. Even the best writers in the history of the world have their haters. I do not know if I can successfully navigate that minefield when it comes down to it. The question than becomes… is achieving my dreams worth the negativity that will be aimed in my direction. Will I be able to, emotionally and mentally, survive it. I am luckier now then I was a few years ago… I have a husband who believes in me and will do anything to protect me. He also doesn’t allow me to drown in my own doubts, which he doesn’t understand why I have any. I don’t understand how he can’t see it. But isn’t that usually away… we are our own worst judges. I am harder on myself then anyone else could ever be; which could be a blessing but it can also be a negative because nothing is ever good enough in my own mind (when I think of my own expectations of myself).

So, the annotated bib? I will be doing it, even though it may be late, because I need to. I will swallow my doubts and get on with my life. It’s only a couple pages right?

Annotated Bibliographies Suck…

I am currently working on several papers for school. One is due next week in my English class and I am supposed to write a critical study for one of the short stories in our book for class. The other one is in my History class and due at the end of the semesters and counts as our final. We could do it on any historical subject in American History prior to 1865 (the class title as well). But its not that we can just wait until the end of the semester and write it all at the last minute. We have several deadlines in class that will be graded that get us through major steps. Our first one was the topic – with the help of my prof I decided to focus on the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore/War of 1812.

Now, tomorrow, we have to turn in our annotated bibliography for the paper. If anyone has ever written one, you kinda know why they suck to put together. Instead of having months to research and find your documentation, we have a few weeks to gather together what we will be using (5 primaries, 5 secondaries) for our research. Not only listing them but putting down a description of the item and the reason for using it. What it will support, etc.

I am sure they have a purpose: figure out your research, have it all focused and such. And I am sure this won’t be the last one I will ever write (especially since I am thinking of taking the next section from the same Prof) over the next few years for school. I am guessing they are necessary for thesis papers and such. My hubs and I have discussed the possibility of me going for my Masters after I get my Bachelors… I am sure they will be due then. But it is hard, having to find ten resources on what is considered a very minor skirmish in a war most people don’t even know happened. Strange as it may seems.

One would wonder why I would go for this subject then. Why not go for an easier topic like: Salem Witch Trials, Ben Franklin, Jamestown, etc. Other then the fact that they are super obvious to me as topics (I actually heard two people discussing the Witch trials with the prof), I grew up knowing about Fort McHenry and what was important about the day of the Bombardment beyond that of the writing of the National Anthem. My grandmothers family is from around there… about a short 10 minute drive, so when we would go to Baltimore for vacation and visit family it was always a destination we would visit as well. Why not? It is a beautiful place, full of history.

Why was it important? It kept the British from taking Baltimore, which at the time was considered more important then Washington being burnt down. Washington at the time was just starting to become the hub of the American government. The White House was there, famously burned down by the Brits, and the Capital but it was not the city it was today. Many people were afraid that if Baltimore (one of the countries richest and leading ports) was taken, the Brits could make their way to Philadelphia. So, our 1000 men at Fort McHenry, holding off the Brits for 25 hours and making them turn around was a big moment in our national history. That was in 1814, before the famous Battle of New Orleans with Andrew Jackson and two years after a war began with our invasion of Canada.

This year is also the bicentennial of the start of the war, I bet you had no idea. We didn’t really celebrate it but we should because it really affirmed us as a nation in the eyes of the rest of the world because we were able to hold our ground.

Now, I would love to lecture more but alas my son just woke up and I need to go get him.

Back 2 School, Mama!

Here I sit, in the campus library, during my third week of school. I am exhausted, getting over being sick and looking at the books from the two classes I am taking. All the while feeling completely overwhelmed already but at the same time satisfied with being here. My parents are almost always shocked to hear about how much I love being in school now because I was a horrible student when I was younger and hated having to go. In fact, I probably missed more of my classes then I attended because I could care less by the time I reached my senior year. I had learned that I didn’t matter after I got tested for LD’s (learning disabilities) and I really didn’t care. I knew I was going nowhere in my life.

Enough of the self-pitying. It took years for me to come to the conclusion that I wanted to get my degree, no matter what. It hasn’t been easy. It took me eighteen years to get my Associates Degree, as well as attending five or six different community colleges in three different states, and I am now working towards my Bachelors. It also took me that long to realize that I wanted to get a degree in something I loved. I could care less about getting a degree in something that would guarantee me a big paycheck. As well as the fact, that I wanted to be able to get into a field where I could hopefully work around my child/ren lives, and not them live around mine.

My biggest hurdle was that this semester I was going to have to put my Son into daycare if I was going to continue working towards my degree. My hubs and I had long conversations. I wanted to just give up and stay at home with Son and any future children, I didn’t need a degree right? He pushed me and encouraged me to keep going. Son is almost a year and a half, he has spent his entire life up to now with just me. It will possibly be another year and a half before we can even comprehend having another kid. He needed to be around other children, to learn to socialize with kids his own age. I know there are some out there that consider my decision to go back to school as a selfish act, because I am putting that above taking care of my Son. Hell, I feel that way as well but I keep reminding myself that getting my degree will hopefully benefit him one day as well. He is also seeing that education is important because I am studying with him and in front of him. That as long as you have a dream, you can fulfill it no matter what your age or barriers that come up. My barriers were self-inflicted: I never thought I was worth the work to get a degree. I felt I was no one special so why try. Just like in relationships, my lack of self-love was hidden behind a false front of confidence (I didn’t need no one or anything to make me happy) when I was dying inside. I don’t want my son to grow up seeing that in a woman… a self-hatred, lack of self-respect. I want him to see me as a strong woman, who works like crazy for her dream.

Yes, I am giving up three days a week with him… well, partial days but our time together now is more precious. For three days a week, it is just me and him. On Saturday and part of Friday, its only daddy who exists. I am also giving up time with my husband. We now only have one day a week together because of my school schedule but those days are more about us being a family then me being with Son while Daddy works around the house. Hubs gets Fridays while we are at school to work and get things done. By the time we get home… we can be together. Saturday we can go out. Or they go out and I stay at home and study. Its working, it’s not easy but it works for us in the hopes that one day we can take bigger vacations together and show our child/ren the world, or get them into better schools, help them with activities, etc.

I also look at the benefits of Son being in school; I say school not daycare because they do learning time even if it’s a very broad amount of learning. In less than two weeks, his language skills are getting better (he says bye now), he is learning to wash his hands, put on his shoes, drink from a cup, serve himself food, etc. The school is also on campus, which helps me feel more secure. If something happens, I can be there within two minutes from anywhere on campus. He has an actual teacher who leads his classes, and comes up with lesson plans as well as at least four other ladies he can flirt with while he is there. He listens better than before, though he is still a handful, and like I said this is just after two weeks of classes. Maybe it sounds like I am justifying myself and in a way I am because I want to make sure he is happy. Yes, we have gone from not caring that mommy is even the room to screaming when I leave; but it doesn’t last long and when he takes his naps, we have a ton of fun when we get home. Some days there are screaming fits, especially when he is over tired and he is constantly wanting to be outside now but he sleeps better than ever (actually tries getting into his crib himself).

So, here I sit, wondering still if I am doing the right thing for our family and the answer will always be yes. We have goals for our family and to reach them, I need to be able to attend school. But I couldn’t do it without the support I get my Hubs. One of the benefits of marrying one of your closest friends, is you know that they always wanted the best for you and always will. While yes, we have to sacrifice time as a family and some alone time so I can study, we see it as being worth it. I lucked out with my Hubs cause he believes in me in a way that I wish I could believe in myself. Guess I need to take the time and look at myself through his eyes more often.