Monday, October 31, 2016

The Crushing Truth of Hating Myself to the Core

Every morning, I wake up, and it's the same internal mantra, I hate you. You're terrible. Look at you. Not even worth breathing. Everything about you is scum. You're scum. Nothing would change if you weren't here. The world wouldn't miss you one bit. And that's not me thinking about someone else. That's me thinking about myself. Every morning, every day, and every night, this is what rolls through my mind on repeat. My only relief is when I'm either working or trying to distract myself with an on-going story inside of my head. I used my characters often as an escape from these words. Still, somehow, they come back. They always come back. And I always, always believe them.

Over the past few months, things have become progressively worse. My self-loathing has devolved to a point where I suffer in constant despair. I often find myself romanticizing how my friends wouldn't even notice me missing if I simply stopped talking to them, or if I simply vanished from social media. About how they despise me and how I'm an absolutely horrid person. How I'm just the worst to be around, and how much they hate me for everything I am--and everything I'm not.

It's a pretty crushing feeling to think to yourself repeatedly, Your friends don't even like you. No one likes you. You're a burden. And to know, somewhere deep inside, you believe every single word. Every one. There's a point where it goes beyond me just believing those words, too. There was a point where those words become so ingrained that they're just about burned into my bones. That's how much I believe that little voice. I feel it, deep inside of me, that I'm worthless.

I hit that point about eight years ago. Now, the burns are more like giant gouges, dug so deep that my marrow leaks out from the wounds. No matter how much I try to plaster those gouges shut, they simply crack open again, breaking wider and longer than before.

The more I think about what's going on inside of my head, this tremendous self-loathing, this hatred for everything I am, everything I've done in my life, that I can't help wondering, Am I alone? I doubt it. Self-hatred isn't uncommon. It should be, but it isn't. I bet I throw a virtual stone and at least ten of my Facebook friends have the same self-hatred and deep-down despair that cripples you to the core. That's why I'm writing this. Because, you, my friends, aren't alone, and yes, someone would miss you. I would miss you; I would miss you terribly and deeply and without any way to describe in words the sorrow I'd feel at your loss.

Don't let the self-loathing win. Don't listen to that voice inside of your head, no matter how convincing it is. Please--just remind yourself that you would be passionately missed. That's what keeps me going. I have to remind myself how selfish of me it is to hate myself so much when so many people have put such enormous love into my life. When so many people have shown me their devotion and love for me... and it helps to know that I am loved. Even when the whispers are darkest and the most tempting, I try so hard to remind myself of that outpouring of love.

Because if I don't remember it, if the whispers start telling me that all of that love isn't real and, worse, if I start to believe them... I'm not sure what will happen.

For now, I'm fighting. Please, fight with me.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Facing the Days After

I've thrown myself completely into my work, from revising Frendyl Krune and the Nightmare in the North to working as hard as I can on The Soulless King: Part One. My day-job, too, has consumed me, whether for better or worse. Some days, my skin aches. It's a weird feeling.

I'm still compiling my feelings, my thoughts, and trying to work through the complex surge I've been experiencing over the past week. Sometimes, I'm okay. I can function pretty well and go about my day without any problems. Others, I just stop and start crying because of something stupid. I mean, god, someone texted me about something silly, like a video game, and I just fell apart. Or when my friend who works at a clinic told me about some patients, I cried, but I was also a little glad, because it gave me a little more insight into how things may have been during those impossible years. A battle fought, a struggle so impossible, I'll never be able to understand it.

Still, from what I've learned, from what I've heard, I'm so, so proud of him for what he tried to do. So incredibly floored by how Shannon did his best to come back from the brink. It's an impossible fight, and for a while, it sounds like he was winning. That's truly just downright amazing.

I'm still trying to figure this out. I want to keep focused and keep strong, but it's hard, because I keep thinking about what may have led him down this path. It's frustrating, too, because I really didn't know him the last few years. All of my memories of him are from when we were kids. To me, he was this dorky, funny kid who lit up my life when things got kind of dark. He was just... fun. Like, we were both stupid and we both did stupid things (dares galore at daycare; man, triple-dog-dares ran that daycare). But I get flashes of what he may have been like as he grew older, and it just gets harder. It gets harder, because I think we'd still have had a ton in common.

Death is frustrating and enraging and breaks my soul again and again, because I just think of how close I was to finally reconnecting with him after so many years of searching. Years of thinking I was crazy, because I had no evidence Shannon or his sister even existed. I honestly thought for a while that I made them up as imaginary friends. It wouldn't have been the first time.

Knowing he was real king of makes it harder. There are things I want to show him. Stupid things I hope he would have liked. Game Grumps, for example, or my husband. I honestly think that Shannon would have really liked Micahl. Oh, and my brothers? Forget about it! Man, those three would've been perfect friends, haha. The chaos they could have reaped... I just laugh thinking about it. And then...

Just... ugh. A sourness has crept into my soul. Not bitterness. I'm not bitter, but I feel... sour, like everything just isn't as sweet right now. I think that'll pass in time. Death takes time. Mourning takes time. I keep trying to force myself to focus on other things. On happy things. But the other day, I was talking with a friend about some of the things going on in her life, and they're pretty heavy. She explained how she was trying to force herself to be happy, because happiness comes from the inside (and she's right, of course; my depression and anxiety are much better on days that I make myself be happy and focus on only the good things in my life). I could tell, though, that she was really struggling with her happiness, so I told her that it's all right--healthy, in fact--to be upset, to mourn the bad things going on around her. I explained that her feelings are valid, and that she's allowed to be upset and angry and cry. It's how you start healing, after all.

I think I need to take my own advice. Let myself mourn instead of forcing myself to just shut everything down. Time will heal this. I've reconnected with two amazing people, and that's a positive note. One I can be more than satisfied with. I've learned a lot about myself and a little about my past. But for the next few days (see: my weekend), I'll be letting myself mourn a little more deeply so my heart and soul can begin to heal.

There are other things going on in my life. I've had to relinquish my D&D session time. Mostly because of work and time constraints, but there are other more personal reasons for needing to walk away. I'll miss playing, but I know in my heart I'm doing the right thing for me right now. Sometimes it's all you can do.

For now, I'll be writing, mourning, and spending time with my memories. Because right now, that's really all I can focus on. Thank you, all, for the love and support over the past week. Truly, your support means the world to me. Just remember to tell the people you love and care for how much they mean to you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Of my Childhood Best Friend

I'm not sure how to approach this, but I do know that I'm angry and sad and have broken into tears more times in the last few hours than I have over the course of years. And it's all because after searching for an old friend through Facebook for years in the hopes that he or his sister were on social media, I finally found him. I finally found his page.

And he's dead.

I don't know how, I don't know why, but he's gone. This kid... well, this man, because he was a man when he died--we were pretty close as kids. For a while, he was the only friend I had. My true best friend. The only one I played with, the only one whose house I visited, and the only one who visited my house. He came to all of my birthday parties. His sister was my sister's best friend. We all got along great. He and I would terrorize our sisters, because c'mon, that's what siblings do. He always showed off his latest baseball cards or his Pokemon cards or we played ball in the street. He was the reason I started playing Pokemon in the first place. I got cards just so I could trade with him. I got a GameBoy Color, just so he and I could play together. We told dumb jokes to each other. We laughed and shared our dreams and got picked on.

And now he's gone.

I don't know how long he's been dead. I want to respect his family and not ask, not pry, because we literally haven't spoken in a decade and a half, but... I want to know how long I've lived while he has not. But I need to respect them. I need to respect that his sister probably doesn't even remember me or realize how much his death has impacted me, even after we haven't talked for so long. I need to do that, even when I want to know what happened and why it happened and why I couldn't have stopped it. I keep thinking, I could have been there if I'd searched harder, if I'd found him sooner. I could have stopped this. He might still be here if I'd just...

If I'd only...

If I'd...

But I don't think there was anything I could have done. I'll never know. Maybe that's why I'm so angry. Why my heart and face and chest and entire body hurt so badly right now. Because I'll never know if my presence would have made a difference in his life or not.

My soul hurts.

When we were kids, Shannon was... he was smart. Funny. Always smiling. Taking dares from the other boys at the daycare we were in together, even though they treated him like crap. I never really understood that. Maybe it was just because he was an awesome guy. I always figured he'd become something amazing, you know? He was the type of person who could really change lives. Not just talk about doing it, but actually do something about the world we live in, actually do something to make the lives of those around him better. I figured he'd always become something so profound that the world would just... change for the better because of him.

That goodness has been snuffed out. But... I mean, do I even have a right to feel this way, to be this angry, this hurt, this... lost? Especially after not talking to him or even seeing him for so long? People change... something must have changed. But I don't know what. I almost don't even care. I'm so mad right now... at no one, at everyone, at myself... He might have been dead for five years for all I know. Longer, maybe. And it's just... unfair. I feel like the world should be screaming and mourning and raging all at once over the loss of this man.

I wasn't there, so I didn't see the tears shed, the screaming and mourning and wailing of his family after he died. Their pain and heartache weren't something I witnessed. I didn't witness any of it, and now, everything seems so... so quiet over his absence. No obituary. Nothing. Just... just silence. I keep wondering how anyone could go on after losing someone like him.


Just love the people you have with you. Reach out to people you cared for or were close to in the past. Because one day, you might stumble across them, but it could be too late. Too late to say everything you wanted to say, too late to tell someone how much they meant to you, what they did to impact your life, how they made you a better person just because you knew them. Too late... too late to even say goodbye.

RIP, Shannon Fox. The world has lost a great light.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Things are Happening... and they're EXCITING!

Hey, everyone. Sorry for being so quiet lately. There's been a huge change in my life recently--a good one, of course, but a change nonetheless!

I got a second (see: paying) job. Full-time as an editor for an amazing company. It's been an insane couple of weeks, and my schedule is nuts, but I love it, and I wouldn't change it for the world. Especially since this is giving me money to pump back into my true passion--my books. My Inrugia, my amuli, my ekra, and denayn, and all of the characters who rule my life.

That said, no, I have not stopped writing or working during this time. To give you an idea of what's going on, my amazing editor is currently working on two of my books--The Soulless King: Part One and Frendyl Krune and the Nightmare in the North. We're just about done with The Soulless King: Part One, which, OH MY GOSH. Gals and gents, I honestly never thought I'd see this book written. It just seemed so... so big and so beyond my abilities, but with Phil checking my every mishap along the way, double-checking my work... well, it is happening. I'm truly so glad and thankful that he is my editor. Fate is crazy like that.

Speaking of which! I have a book signing coming up this December at a local Barnes & Noble! At least three of the Frendyl Krune books will be available for you to purchase and have me sign, and I'm really hoping the fourth one will be ready and in print! Here's the address and phone number:

Thorncreek Crossing
701 E 120th Ave
Thornton, CO 80233
(720) 872-2619

My signing will be in the afternoon of December 20, but it's going to be so much fun! Come down and meet me and pick up some great Holiday gifts while you're at it!

And of course these aren't the only projects I'm working on right now. The Soulless King: Part Two and Part Three are in my queue and getting their comeuppance, I promise. ;) Also in the works is a stand-alone book called The Rise of the Four Kings. All of these are going to be released by Evolved Publishing next year.

I'm still (very slowly, as they aren't a priority right now) working on the Yorsyl Rises series and Axis of the Soul. Part III should be coming out here in a month or so, depending on my schedule. I'm going to try and get back into releasing Axis once a week, but we'll see. I want to redesign the cover, and I think that might be what's really holding me back right now. I made the current cover, but I'm not happy with it. We'll see what happens in the coming weeks.

My amazing VA for the Frendyl Krune series and I just got off the phone, and things are going swimmingly for the first Frendyl Krune audio book. If I have my way, the same VA will be working with us on the Soulbound series as well. Fingers crossed, please! He's super talented, and I'd love to have the opportunity to work with him again!

There's one more project that's taking up a good chunk of my time, but I'm not going to talk about it until next year. Sorry! I want to make sure everything's in order before anything's announced.

Gosh, when do I sleep? Well, if I slept, I wouldn't be able to bring you fun stories! Anyway, I hope the next update won't be far off. Have a lovely night!