Monday, August 13, 2012

Change of Perspective

It's pretty in the winter, too
Months ago, I tripped into the Winter Wonderland of Maine, and it saved my life. When I arrived, I was still crying on a pretty consistent basis, I barely knew anyone, and I had no money. At all.I was only able to relocate due to donation and loans from close friends and family members (this number easily passed $1000).

Upon my arrival, I was awkward, anxious, and uncomfortable, and froze 90% of the season, but it was better than being in sweltering southern heat. This Wednesday, I got the opportunity to hike the trails I spent all winter attending what I considered mountain therapy, and the view was amazing.

It hit me just recently that it's August. Close to the end of the month is what I consider the beginning of the end. I've already warned my managers at work that the next two-three months I may be an emotional mess because Hurricane Irene hit around that time last year, and then everything turned in to a shitstorm. The flashbacks have already started in the form of pumpkin spice lattes, Fall leaves, and certain songs that I have to change immediately. It doesn't help that my current WIP is rocking out in North Carolina, so I'm constantly re-triggering those memories, anyway. The simple truth is: the fact that I'm still standing blows me away. When a friend visited me recently, I expressed that half the time I feel like a cat that's been thrown in the water to test if it can swim.
Peter taking a sit break. Notice there is no shade?
My back is peeling...

"Well, you sure as hell can swim," my friend said.

And it's true. Whether I want it to be or not.

It's weird, because even though I've had some crazy neighbors and crazy roommates, in the last almost 12 months, I've felt more stable than I have in a long, long time. I've had most of the conversations with the people I've needed to, had a few relapses, but otherwise, I've been okay.

I've also written some kick-butt novels that are in the submission game, so maybe, hopefully something will develop with that. Without what happened in September and October, those novels would not exist.

So when Peter, a friend from the mountain, came to visit and said he wanted to go hike, I invited myself along. It's been a couple of days and my body is still recovering from the mileage, but during our water breaks, and sit breaks, it gave me time to breathe and reflect on life. First, my knees and hips felt like they were about to explode (kind of like a soda bottle that someone played soccer with then opened...only my knees hadn't opened yet). It was a constant reminder that even though I've changed my name, traces of the life I lived last year are still present.

The chair lift...with no snow
Peter would jump on certain rocks and tell me about some of the jumps on the trail, which I faintly remembered from the winter months. And while he stood there in the sun, and the trees were green with life, I could see the snow and the marks my snowboard made. Before I'd started as an instructor I'd been too terrified to try anything he spoke of. Now, I can't wait until it snows.

My hair was short then. It's long enough to be pulled into a ponytail now.

When we got to the top, I had that "We're here already?" feeling. It seemed to go so fast (though I was pressed for time). We sat on the chair lift, and I've never seen chair lifts without snow. It was breathtaking.

The hike down was substantially easier, just with an increased risk of tripping over a loose rock and falling to our death. (Okay, a little dramatic, but I did stumble quite a bit.) When we got to the bottom, I could feel the sunburn setting in (I refuse to wear sunscreen, even though I burn like a Ginger), but we went to the river, anyway.

The moral of all of this is that sometimes, all you really need in life is a change of perspective. Nothing ever stays the same. Snow melts, friendships and people change, you move from a basement into an appartment, you relocate. If you're like me, you chop your hair off, change your name, and fake-it-til-you-make-it.

Friend refused to take picture.
Yay auto-timer
One of the things I've learned through mental health is to give yourself things to get excited about. So I keep looking forward; to November and finding out if I got a position I've been waiting for since May. To December and snow. To going to Utah to visit my sister, or Michigan to visit my other sister. I never stop in September or October. It's straight from August to November, December, January...

And so this year, for the first time in...forever, I'm trying to look forward to October 19. It's my half birthday, but last year it held a little more significance. This year, I'm going to try to go camping, be around friends, celebrate life, and the trails and trials I've survived.

I've had countless people ask me recently why I don't get discouraged when I get rejection letters. Compared the the last year I've lived, having an agent say, "Sorry, this isn't for me" is the least of my worries. Especially because I'm keeping the faith that one agent will say, "Hey, let's chat. This rocks."

Friends constantly try to tell me that people don't change. Well, I'm living proof that they do. If you feel like you're crashing down hill, it's never too late to change everything about yourself and go to places you've only imaged. Even if it's the querying process, or the submission process, keep your feet firm, and push yourself to keep going. You'll be amazed what happens a year from now.

Happy Monday!


  1. I'm being reminded of that scene in Dead Poets' Society where he makes them stand on the desk.

  2. You're so inspirational. Seriously. You've got so much worked out already about life, I am not even sure you realize it. You're way ahead of the game!

    1. Thank you, very, very much. This really means a lot to me :)


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