DCC is famous

Anyone remember when I was a legal assistant for a minute? My good friend/former employer Craig Calley will probably tell you I wasn’t too bad at it, and I even took a class at FSCJ on probate issues while I was working with him.

Well, Craig practices in Jacksonville, FL, dealing with probate, guardianships, etc, and he did this interview today talking about why everyone needs a will. Go see him if you’re in the Jax area and you don’t have one! It’s a quick and painless process, and it’ll save your family a lot of stress when you’re gone.

Digging up old words

Last week, I decided for some reason to gather up all of my journals in one place for a picture. I think this picture was for Nicole. I knew some were on one shelf, and some were buried more deeply, lower, on another. I knew that for the oldest, the ones I wrote starting from age 12, I’d have to find a blue lock box with a combination. This box was a gift from my grandfather when I was little, and I’d always kept my most precious secrets in it.

The problem was, after the last couple of moves, I wasn’t certain where the box had ended up. I checked the most likely spots– and no, I won’t tell you where I keep my “good stuff”– with no luck. I did have luck in an unlikely spot, which was in with the linens. (Not, like, hidden between sheets, but stashed between Rubbermaid tubs of extra quilts. We have a lot of stuff.)

Next problem: it had a combination. What combination could possibly have been meaningful to me in my youth? And then I remembered: no, it wouldn’t have been meaningful. I changed it all the time, to numbers that were deliberately not meaningful. My next task was cracking the code. Starting with 000…

Eventually I figured it out (I didn’t time it, but it didn’t take long; I just listened to music and rolled digits around). I pulled out the books and gathered them all into a stack, so that lying before me was my life story: my journals from age 12 to present.

Of course, I had to read them.

I won’t go on too long about my experience in reading what I’ve read, because it’s been weird, but I’ll just say that at first it was difficult to separate myself from the child writing those words. I felt her feelings. As I read on, I began to examine what made that girl tick, and see patterns and external forces that shaped her. It’s been interesting.

The theme that always threaded through my words in those journals was writing. I wrote a new story, I want to write a novel, I went to career day and I met a novelist. It’s how I was wired. So I declare that my current slump is over, starting immediately. I shall hit publish on this post and turn back to writing my book. I’m so close to finishing. I must be frightened of the light at the end of the tunnel or something. I can do it, though. And I will. Just watch me. 👏🏻

PS I had hoped I would use the word “nostalgia” in this post so I could link to a video on Isabella’s spoken word YouTube channel that I got a kick out of, but damned if I made it through a post about journals and my youth without it. So, for some bonus fun about Toys R Us, go here and watch.

SMART update

It’s been a little more than six months since we started holding our weekly SMART Recovery meetings at the main downtown location of the Charleston County Public Library. Lots of faces have come through! It’s been great! Some weeks, it’s bigger than others. Usually, we have just the right number for a balanced discussion.

If you know someone in the Charleston area who’s dealing with an addictive behavior, SMART Recovery is a great option. The local meeting information is on their website, along with online meetings, forums, and more.

Hope to see you soon!

Summer’s coming

Oh, by the way, I have a nephew.

His name is Riley, and he is bigger than that by now. I haven’t even met him yet. But I’m an aunt. (And that’s the Frappuccino friend I bought him before he was born, because I’m a weird aunt.) I get to meet him over the summer, when we’ll travel to Indiana.

Also, I have a new job. I started working last week at Nordstrom Rack, and I am quite happy about it. The environment is a world apart from T.J.Maxx, and I’m still learning, but I am quite happy so far. (I’ve already been back to T.J.Maxx once as a shopper, and waved to all of my busy former colleagues. I guess I haven’t been gone long enough for it to be much of an occasion. 😂 )

I have Poshmark inventory coming out of my ears. It’s time to have a list-a-thon.

Calm the hell down

Earlier this week, I emailed my therapist about various zaniness going on in my life, and the first line of her response was, “Calm the hell down.” First of all, thank you for not babying me, but instead telling me to put on my big girl pants. Also, good advice in general. I’m not the only one who’s wound up so tight that outrage or offense are instant reactions to everything. That’s the whole country. Calm the hell down.

She went on to advise me specifically on what I’d asked about, reminding me that other people’s issues are not my issues. I have a hard time with this one, as an empathetic person. I find it difficult to set certain boundaries with people I care about. I’m working on it.

She didn’t ask me how the writing was going, which meant either there were already too many topics to cover, or she assumed it wasn’t going at all. In any case, that assumption would be correct. During April, when I had planned to scramble and finish the last few chapters, I actually wrote one. Just one. It was tedious and un-fun. I’ve gotten this far on this project and I’m starting to resent it. I have such a short attention span. Why haven’t I been writing short stories all along?

Honestly, I’ve begun to doubt that the whole thing is any good. Those who have read it in its entirety seem to think the dialogue is the best part, so maybe I should be working on it as a screenplay.

I have several days off between my last day at TJMaxx tonight and my first day at Nordstrom Rack later in the week. I’ll see what I can come up with during that time.

Keeping it together

I’ve become slightly obsessed with bullet journaling. Occasionally I’ll post my weekly layouts on my Instagram. This method of organization is perfect for me, because it blends creativity with OCD tendencies. It helps me see what I need to get done and, looking back, how I’ve spent my time– but it also gives me a way to track habits and goals, large and small. The time I spend planning each layout is calming, too. Even when they turn out screwy-looking, I love them, because they’re mine. My pen collection is outgrowing my desk.

One of the habits I track is how I’m doing with my Poshmark closet. I’m still a small-time seller, mostly doing it for fun. I’ve been trying this year, though, to kick it up a notch, since I have so very much stuff I need to sell. My next short term goal is to become a Posh Ambassador, which is what they call their top-tier sellers– the ones they list as recommended on other users’ feeds. I’ve already met all of the criteria for that title except for one, which I’m working on daily. If I only make enough money on Poshmark to buy more stuff to sell on Poshmark, then I’m happy, because I’m being paid to shop.

Another habit on my radar is smoking. I quit on my birthday a week ago, with the help of Chantix. It’s giving me strange and vivid dreams, just like it did when I took it years ago, but for now, it’s tolerable. As I told my mom this week, not smoking can be boring. I’m not sure what to do with my hands (like Ricky Bobby). I keep wanting to take breaks from whatever I’m doing and sit outside, even if all I’m doing is sitting inside. To that end, I bought a squillion York Peppermint Patties so I have something minty, if not precisely menthol like my Camel cigarettes, to occupy my hands and mouth while I hang out for a few minutes on the porch. So far, I haven’t had any physical cravings; I’ve only had behavioral ones. I imagine that makes sense after twenty years of doing anything.

The writing is trucking along, albeit more slowly than I’d prefer. I was just thinking recently about how NaNoWriMo was a great motivation in November to keep me writing at a steady pace. Then poof!– magically I realized that Camp NaNoWriMo is in April. It’s a little different than November; the goal isn’t to slam out a 50k-word novel in a month, but to set your own goal on whatever writing project you want. My project will be to wrap up and edit my first novel. I had had ambitions of a research trip for the second book by April, but that will have to wait until fall. I’m really in no hurry. It’s taken me this much of my life– what’s another few months?

Just do it

2018 is 1/12th over. What have I been doing? Working, mostly. It’s taken until this week for the schedule craziness to normalize, and now I’m getting around the number of hours I had discussed when I interviewed. I’m glad, because now I’ll be able to get back to the book.

In addition to having less time for writing because of work, the writing itself has slowed quite a bit. An hour spent with the book lately is usually used reworking something I’ve already written instead of creating something new. When I do cobble together new words, it’s slow going.

I try to give myself a break by reading, most recently this gem about the writing process by John McPhee. Even though he writes nonfiction, reading his book made me feel like I just need to loosen up and do it. I’ll only get better if I can get words out.

This year, I’ve started bullet journaling, and I’ve posted a few pictures of my layouts on my Instagram. It’s keeping me organized and focused, and it gives me an excuse for my pen obsession (can I say Pilot Frixion retractable gel pens??).

Starting this first day of February by sitting down determined to finish this chapter today. Wish me luck!

SMART is here!

On Friday, after months of waiting, after taking my eight-week facilitator training course, my SMART Recovery meeting finally began– the only one in Charleston.

Folks looking for recovery support groups here in the lowcountry have no shortage of options, if 12-step is what they’re looking for. Now there’s an additional tool they can add to their tool belt, with SMART.

I won’t rhapsodize too much about it here, but the main differences between a SMART meeting and a 12-step meeting are that SMART is open to people with all types of addictive behaviors, from substance abuse to problem gambling to eating disorders; the tools SMART offers can be applied to all. The meetings are run more closely to a group therapy setting than a 12-step meeting (in that cross-talk is permitted and encouraged), because SMART tools have their roots in cognitive behavior therapy. There are no steps or sponsors, and the S in SMART stands for Self (Self Management and Recovery Training)– in that you have a choice in your recovery, and you’re not powerless. SMART meetings can be used in conjunction with 12-step meetings and/or traditional therapy. It’s all about crafting a path to recovery that works for each individual.

If you’re local, the details of the new meeting are on the SMART website— click Meetings, then Local Meetings, then search for Charleston. I’d love to have you! The first meeting was a success, and we have room in the meeting space for plenty more.

November wrap-up

Let’s just say November didn’t turn out the way I’d anticipated.

Although I’ve at times been nuts about journaling, and have written mounds and piles of (beginnings of) novels in my past, this month, I didn’t prioritize that. Now, granted, getting a new job and taking a week-long trip for a Tony Robbins conference did cut into what had been my perfect little manic writing routine of the previous month (which, in case you’re wondering, looked something like, “wake up, writewritewritewritewrite, eat?, smokesmoke, writewritewrite, smokewritesmokewritewrite, ignore position of sun in sky, sleep a few hours every few days”; it’s kind of astounding how much I got done when I was insufficiently medicated). But the life I lived this month has been fun and interesting and full of all different types of new people.

Some of those new people were at Unleash the Power Within West Palm Beach 2017. Everyone I met there hoped to get something different out of it, or had a different expectation, from business prowess to relationship repair to recovery, and I think they all got what they went for. I think I did, too. I’ve also gained a new world of people at my neighborhood T.J.Maxx store. Everyone there has been amazingly welcoming and supportive. I love my team. I come home from every shift happy. I mean, I’m tired. But my it’s my post-surgical knee that’s mainly tired, not my socially-hungry soul. If I had a fully functional skeleton, I’d be working at T.J.Maxx all day, and, since I’m already asking for things I can’t have, I’ll ask for the ability to function on no sleep, so I can stay there and just keep shopping there all night. 😂

So I don’t regret the time I didn’t spend writing. The writing is a good dream, and one I intend to nurture as the year winds down, but I feel good about the way I’ve spent this month: feeding the part of me that knows being connected to people is productive.

The new goal for the book is to be done by the end of the year.Who’s with me?