And warm jumpers.
On which note…
Picture via Introvert Doodles.
And warm jumpers.
On which note…
Picture via Introvert Doodles.
I keep seeing posts on my Facebook from LGBTQ* feeds – which I like having, as they give me a different POV, a different worldview, which I seriously need. But every time I see one, I get a little knot of nerves in my stomach. It’s usually a complaint about how someone’s got it wrong, a lecture on how to do it right, a PSA on what words to use.
If I’m struggling with anxiety – which I am today – I just want to cry.
I’m going to get it wrong. I’m going to be in so much trouble. Everyone’s going to yell at me.
I write a trans* character in No Man’s Land. Ghost was born with male genitals, but doesn’t want surgery, and she uses female pronouns. One lovely friend gave me the words that fit; trans-feminine non-binary.
I’ve basically gone with what felt right for the character. Ghost is her own person, her own personality; she doesn’t want to fit in to a mold. She’s outside the rules of her particular society anyway thanks to her talent (being able to see invisible things is gonna make your worldview a little weird) and her sarcasm, general no-shit attitude and snarky personality make her stand out already. It doesn’t feel off to me to have her non-conforming to gender attitudes; she is what she is. She doesn’t want female genitals or attributes – not that she likes the male ones, but eh, it’s a body – but prefers female pronouns. She doesn’t really consider herself anything other than herself.
And I’m scared that I’ve Got It Wrong.
I have tried to research. I have, over the years, read a lot of different perspectives, and I try to keep up to date now. But when everything I read is telling me off, lecturing me, telling me I’m wrong…but there’s so many different perspectives anyway, and everyone’s got different ideas…
*curls into a ball*
I’m going to keep writing anyway, damnit. But it’s fucking hard.
I’m also scared in a wider sense. Again, I’m going to get yelled at – I’m constantly told that I’m privileged, that I’m not allowed to be scared, that other people are worse off than me, that because I’m white and living in a relatively stable country, I’m not permitted to feel scared. But the world, and life, is fucking terrifying me right now.
I don’t know if I want to live in this country. I don’t know how to help, how to change things, how to make my voice heard. I vote. I try to support causes that I believe in. I try to add my voice. But I’m not naturally an outgoing person, and – as you may have guessed from this post – I hate putting my voice out in case I Get It Wrong. I always have. I’ve gotten better over the years, but it’s still a major part of my personality. And I’m feeling lost for what I can do that will make a difference.
I don’t like this country. I don’t like this government. I hate that people all over the world are being abandoned, their health is being compromised, their rights removed – for, it seems, money, or religious beliefs. It just seems insane to me that you’d let something like the NHS fail. It seems insane to me that universal healthcare is so hated in the US. It seems insane to me that someone could be hated simply because of who they love or what religion they subscribe to. I hate the idea of control of ideas, of restricted access to information, of banning websites and using tracking and censorship in the name of protection. I hate that so much money is wasted on defense systems when those with disabilities are being told they’re scroungers and made to fight for a basic survival need. I hate that immigrants are being turned away simply because they’re Not From Here, greenfield sites are being turned into housing when older buildings are being left to rot, teachers and healthcare professionals are ridiculously underpaid when those making more money than they could ever spend are allowed to hide it. The world feels like it’s going mad; I know it could be far, far worse, but it’s still scary right now.
Apparently I’m in a minority for thinking all of that.
And I’m scared. My personal life is a mass of shifting sands and uncertain decisions; I’ve had a shitty two years on a personal level, and I’m now looking into the face of another year of hard work and hard choices, and I’ve got no idea where I’m going or if I’m doing the right thing. My country feels like it’s slowly going mad. My writing feels like it’s treading a path between offending everyone and trying to give representation and support to people who don’t get it. It’s feeling pretty overwhelming.
If you want to comment, you’re welcome – just keep it civil, please. If you want to contact me privately for any reason my Twitter is the best way.
I don’t often talk politics or gender on here and I’m not likely to continue – so if you’ve got this far then thank you for reading. Normal schedule will resume once my stupid brain stops over-worrying about everything!
So, I’m part of a thing called Cake Club. Basically, it’s a small group of authors who get together every few months, talk goals, and eat cake.
The cake is the important part. You can tell by the name.
One of the members was ill this month, so it was just Adrian and I. In between plotting chaos (which may or may not come to anything, so watch this space) we also updated each other on progress and what our plans are. Adrian did an update on Saturday, and while I did tell him everything I’m up to, I’m going to put it here too – just to give myself a public record of incentives!
I like having my progress bars in the sidebar (down to the right) – it lets me see how I’m doing. Greensky’s ongoing, and I’ve submitted No Man’s Land to more agents to bring my total there up to eight. I’ve also had one short story accepted; I’ll tell you more about that when I know more!
My aims for the next two months, before the next meeting? I’ve got the Shadow series to rewrite; I’m having some time away soon (if plans work out) so I’m hopefully using that as dedicated writing time. No Man’s Dawn is in progress, currently on 18000 words with things roughly plotted. No Man’s Sky is at about 50k and needs to get to 70k, so…eh. Ongoing. I’m thinking about it!
Beyond that, it’s basically business as usual for me. The thing I like is that I am – despite all my frustrations – in a rough routine for writing. I know when my next few short story deadlines are; I’m happy with my three-times-a-week-plus-Sunday blog post schedule, and I’m reading enough to put up the occasional review. I keep enough ongoing that I still feel that I am writing.
It makes for a fairly boring update, but everything really is trundling along! I’m just waiting for news from agents (good or bad), waiting for submissions to come back, waiting for more anthology calls that I can write for or submit to, waiting for my novels to progress chapter by chapter, waiting for the ideas to fall into place. This is what a lot of writing is – step by step progress, one word at a time, one story at a time!
I don’t know how much sense I’m making. But I’m writing this just because…I don’t really know. I guess I need to.
It feels odd, still. As my housemate said the other day, it still doesn’t feel like anything’s happened. Like he’s just going to walk in the door again one day. He doesn’t feel gone.
And yet there’s a hole in my heart, and an empty seat in the house, and gaps in my day where there should be an email or a text or a smiling face at the train station.
It’s the little things that hit me the most. The ones I expect I can usually deal with – but it’s driving back along the ridge at night, singing loudly, and then feeling the tears start because I just want to be able to turn around and see him there in the back seat, smiling. It’s reading a line I wrote and thinking how much he liked it. It’s stepping out of the front door and hesitating a moment before I lock it, because surely there’s someone else coming to the canal with me?
He still walks beside me. I am so grateful to have known him, despite every moment of heartache it gives me.
Some people walk through life so quietly that most people don’t notice they’re there until they’re gone. And then – they aren’t there, and there’s a hole.
So I guess what I want to say is this:
If you think you’re worthless; if you think you don’t have a place, you don’t make a difference, you don’t matter….
You’re wrong. You do.
I only knew Ryan for a year. He wasn’t someone who made the world shake as he walked; he was quiet, thoughtful. You wouldn’t have noticed him in a crowded room, and you probably wouldn’t have glanced twice at him if you saw him on the street.
He didn’t think he was important. He felt so small, so tiny, so powerless. He didn’t think he was special or funny or different or clever or beautiful. He didn’t feel that he was anyone.
You think you can’t make a difference. That you don’t matter.
To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.
I have suddenly lost someone who meant a lot to me, even though he didn’t think he was important.
I miss the smile. I miss his long fingers, his quiet words, his interested glance. I miss the man who was always up for a walk or exploring, the writer who experimented in so many worlds, the fanboy who was always up for talking about anything that interested him. I miss the small things that made up everything about him.
I miss my friend who didn’t think he was brilliant or funny or clever or intelligent or wise or amazing, and who was every single one of those things.
And yes, I did tell him that he was, regularly.
(He was a derp, too, and an idiot. I told him that on a regular basis as well, although mostly when he drilled through water pipes and stayed up until 3am because the cat fell asleep on him and he didn’t want to move it.)
But you matter.
He didn’t have a choice in life. He got taken away just as he was getting started.
If you’re feeling small or worthless, if you’re feeling unimportant, if you’re just feeling grey and nothing.
Don’t choose to end things.
You will leave a hole in too many hearts that will never entirely heal, no matter how small or insignificant you think you are.
I feel that I’ve had a lot of doors slammed in my face recently.
[Insert cliche here about one door closing and another opening, or “just keep going”…]
But it hurts. It frickin’ sucks.
I’m suffering from writer’s block at the moment, which isn’t helping. I’m not feeling delightful enough to write GreenSky and I’m struggling to get into the world again. I’m pondering No Man’s Sky and No Man’s Dawn, which isn’t helping me actually write. I’ve got a stack of short stories, but can’t make progress with any of them.
I’ve just had two short stories rejected; shorts that I was honestly confident about. I liked them and I thought they were good stories. And while I know from the editing side that it isn’t often possible to write more than a standard rejection letter to authors, from the author side it really sucks to not know why you’ve been rejected. I don’t know if my story didn’t fit, wasn’t quite right – or, as my fears are telling me, was simply crap. And that feeds back into the rest of my fears, particularly about Not Being A Proper Writer.
I’m struggling with home life too. I’ve got a whole load of doubts and fears circling. I’m on my own a lot at the moment and while in some ways I quite like it, it does give me far too much time to listen to my own thoughts and worry about what I’m doing or feeling.
I still don’t know what I’m doing with jobs. I’m three months into my six-month break and I feel that I haven’t done anything. I’m worrying that six months off will completely screw any future jobs I try to get. I’m worrying that I’ve done the wrong thing. I’m wondering if I could have coped with the anxiety to stay just a bit longer in my last job (and that’s when the rational voice pipes up with “hell no!” so at least there’s some sanity there). I’m wondering which direction I want to go in. I feel like so many doors have slammed on the job front that I’m facing a wall of missed opportunities there, too. I know most of them have been out of my control, but I’m still very much blaming myself for all the failures.
I’m walking on quicksand in every area of my life, and still feeling completely lost. I’m still walking, but it’s tough when I’m not sure where I’m going.
But hey. I keep writing, keep submitting, keep walking. I just have to make the decisions as they come up, and do what’s right for me. I’ve got some wonderful people supporting me, and I’m grateful for them every day. I just need to keep going.