Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodnight and Goodmorning

I have a headache.

It's really not how I expected this blog to start. Fact is, I started it hours ago and just deleted everything to start over.


Because I'm tired.

I just don't have the energy to be clever I suppose. So you'll have to settle for the candid version of me and not the belligerent one.

I'm looking forward to 2017. It's already started in other parts of the world and I am hopeful. I want to quietly close the door on 2016 and leave it alone for awhile. Maybe talk about it later when I'm old and wise. Maybe.

I know it was a hard year for all of us. I never knew how a single year could be so heavy to so many people. My ignorance on that is apparent is last year's blog.

I still maintain it's up to us to make the most of it. How we handle the terrible and hopeless and heart-crushing is completely in our hands.

But I hear you.

And the daylight will break across the horizon in the morning. Like always. With the promise of newness and life. A new year, with all new adventures.

I get it now I think. Or at least, I'm starting to.
The hope of new beginnings. It's more than an arbitrary calendar change. It's the promise of rebirth. The reminder that all things end, and new things begin.

We need it. The end of the year. We need the symbolic closing of a chapter and we need to share it universally. We need to know it's okay for things to end and for new things to begin. And no time is that more felt or shared than the New Year.

2016 wasn't awful for me. But it was full. 

Stories were written and published, friendships were strengthened, new relationships forged, bad habits broken, loved ones were lost, tumors were discovered, hugs were given... And love was there. Through it all.

 Happy New Year.
Here's to hope and sunrises.
May we have more than we can measure.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

So I Have a Brain Tumor


Don't freak out.

The good news is, it's not cancer. 
I feel like I need to tell everyone that right away.
Not. Cancer.

I also keep telling people it's not that big of a deal. Because, in all reality, it's not. It's a very small deal. 4mm to be exact. Just a tiny little deal that's affixed to my pituitary. 

I'm not sure how long it's been there. My guess? A long time. Judging by my ongoing symptoms. But the stress of the past year or so seems to have really punched those symptoms into a whole new galaxy. 

Fatigue, brain fog, continuous weight gain (despite working out and eating healthy on a regular basis), inability to lose weight in my chest, pain in my joints and muscles, messed up menstrual cycles, migraines and more. 
I was sad. Unnaturally so. I like being happy. I strive to be happy. I chase down happiness with a harpoon and make it my trophy. But it was getting more and more difficult to get out there and hunt for happiness every day. I kept telling people I knew something was wrong. 

[And I think that's a really important thing to recognize in yourself. If you know you're not okay, if you know something's not right, please, please, please, go to a doctor. If your doctor isn't interested in listening to you, go to a new one. Keep going. Figure it out. Don't stop until you have answers.]

My first couple of doctor visits were incredibly discouraging. They did blood work and listened to my symptoms and sent me out the door with a, "Well, you're fat and tired." Because when you put on double digit pounds between doctor visits, they look at you with professional disbelief as you tell them you do eat healthy and exercise. 

I can't even begin to explain to you the frustration with working out and having every workout feel like it was my first. There was no progress, no real muscle growth, absolutely no weight loss. 

And the harder I tried, the worse it got.

Until I finally went to an endocrinologist in Sioux Falls. I was referred by my dad and brother who both have Hashimotos. I thought maybe that would be my answer. I mean, why not? Both my dad and brother have it, we have very similar symptoms. It makes sense. 

So this new doctor ran all new tests. Within a couple of days he had scheduled an MRI. 

Because. Tumor.

After years of feeling like I was just crazy, everything was suddenly moving very fast. I had a doctor who not only believed me when I said something was wrong, he was excited to help me figure out what it was. Though I can't say I was super happy about thinking it might be a brain tumor.

But then, two days ago, I got the results. 
So much friggin' relief it was unexpected.
And while the problem really is (literally) in my head, I'm not crazy.

After so many years of blaming myself and trying to fix the problem on my own, I have this thing that is wreaking havoc with my brain and body. (And Hashimotos isn't ruled out. We just have to treat the tumor for a few months and then check things again.)

So, the is my life with prolactinoma. I start cabergoline tomorrow and I'm excited. Maybe that sounds ridiculous, but it's the truth. I'm looking forward to fighting back now in the right way. I don't think it's going to be easy. In fact, I expect it to be the hardest thing I've ever had to do. 

I'm going to keep writing. The stories may just take longer for a little while. (Brain fog is no joke, yo.) I'm not going to let a little tiny brain tumor stop me from chasing my dreams. But I do ask for your patience. You've all been so amazingly faithful to me and my stories. It's overwhelming at times when I think about the love you've shared with my words and with me and with each other. I am truly thankful for each and every one of you.

So, don't freak out. 
Everything is going to be fine. I promise. 
Some days will be harder than others, but I'm more than willing to put in the work to make this the best life I can. 

One more adventure.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Writer and the Pirate

I feel general discouragement when I think about online book piracy. It's frustrating and kinda ticks me off. But I mostly think about people who steal books online as rather faceless. Which is how I'm sure they think of me and all the other authors they're stealing from.

But none of us are faceless, are we?

These past couple of weeks I have gone beyond discouraged to disheartened. Because people I know participate in piracy. I'm taking it personally. I know I'm not supposed to and I never did before. But when it's a friend, co-worker, colleague or even in this case a fellow writer, it burns in my chest. I think it's my heart. Possibly indigestion.

Piracy is so big right now, it is affecting whether or not writers are going to make it. In some cases, it already has.

But that's the bigger picture. And there's about a dozen blogs and articles going into great detail and depth on online piracy as a global issue.
Tonight, I'm feeling personal.

Writing, telling stories, putting my heart out there...that's my dream. It's a big one. It's the kind of dream I never wake up from and am always chasing. It has it's own pitfalls and milestones. It's already full of heartache and hard work.

When you download a book illegally, you're sending a message, passive aggressive as it may be. Your actions stand in the way of my dream. Your actions make my pursuit harder.

None of this means I have any intention of stopping.

So you've made it personal. You figuratively spit in my face and called me unworthy.

Hear me when I say you're wrong about me.

You're wrong about a good many of us.
We won't stop and we thrive on challenge. 
What I want to know is, are you really comfortable being that person? Being the one who stands in the way of someone's dream? 
Think about it and get back to me.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Love Letters Part 2

It happens in the small bubbles of time between the day-to-day events. The boring transitions that occur, connecting my life from one moment to the next. 

I remember these transitions in my past being filled with a homesickness. A longing to get through with this next thing and get home. If the lull lagged and gave me even greater pause to think about the underlying emotion that existed in those spaces, I would whisper, "I wanna go home."

It seemed nonsensical. I felt it. As soon as the words passed my lips, my heart would tumble into foolish reprimand. How ridiculous to want to go home when I was very often already at home. 

Still. These pauses existed. And the ache remained. 

I don't know the exact moment they changed. I think I became aware of the switch slowly and suspiciously. 

At first, I thought you were perhaps a fantastic distraction. An exuberant example of how life ought to look when it is well lived. Maybe my pauses were  hurried now, anxious to join you in the next moment. I held onto you, while in the back of my mind believing the homesickness would eventually return. 

It's been more than a decade. 

My transitions from one moment to the next are now filled with a very real sense of peace. A knowing that at the end of every day, you will come home.

To me. 

I no longer wish for a home I've never known. Because I found it. Or, more accurately, it found me. It found me in those boring, empty pauses that hold life together like stitches in a blanket. 

Now, when the lull lags, I take a deep breath and let myself feel it. The knowing of where I fit.

I don't wait for it to pass. I don't dread the tedium. I thank God for one more perfect stitch in our life.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Love Letters Late at Night part #1

I love you now.
I've loved you for a long time, but it's always been in the now. I love you in an ever present state of being

I loved you back then
When we were young and we said ridiculous things about the sunrise and what we thought it might represent. 
When we were sleepless and careless and every little trip in the car meant more than the last
I loved you during all of it.

I will love you tomorrow, of that I am sure. 
Every day I know I will go to bed loving you and wake up the same. 
Therefore, I know I will love you in a month, in a year, in thirty years. 

But it has never felt like I loved you in the past. 
And it will not feel like loving you in the future
Because, and this is significant so pay attention, I will always love you now.


Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Weight of Your Life

I lost someone this week.
Technically, the last day of last week, on Easter Sunday.
And also technically, we lost her.  As a collective group of humans.  

We all lost her together.

 I never know how to respond to moments like this.  They seem to be happening more often as I age, which I think is normal.  At least, people say it is.  People who have been there.  People who have had the unwelcome and unfortunate experience of losing.

It's a strange thing, the word "lost."  Especially when used in the context of death.  Because it's not as if they've been misplaced.  We know exactly where they are, it is we who are lost.  We are the ones suddenly without someone who had just been there moments before.

My thoughts often tumble around, mixing with my feelings on the matter, getting stuck and tangled.  I sometimes blurt out a random memory or idea at the strangest times.  Just allowing my mind to process it the way that it does, because fighting it would be tragic and even more painful.  I keep thinking about the very obvious absence of her.  The movement of the earth as she departed it—subtle, yet undeniable.

It's odd... the weight of a soul.  Especially a soul such as hers.  When alive, you are aware of their soul, of their life and heart.  It's clear in their eyes and speech and expression.  But I have never felt the weight of a soul like when it departs.

An absence exists.  One that I feel on every level of my conscience.  Someone was there, and now they have left.

And the weight, the abstract, beautiful shape of their soul...  Have I taken the time to enjoy it while she was here?  Did I notice the big and little details that added up to all that was her?


There were things I missed.  Things I ignored.

Until I felt the weight of her soul suddenly lost to me.

But of course there's more, I think to myself.  Of course souls do not simply cease being.  They're too grand and too important and too heavy.

My faith is such that I absolutely believe in more.  In better.  In paradise.  I believe that the weight of a soul, unable to be measured by our meager and limited sciences, finds, at last, perfect rest.

I believe this goodbye is temporary.

And I am so looking forward to seeing her again.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Being In Love With You

I had never planned on falling in love with an explorer.

I had no idea how to prepare for such a thing.  I had believed love would always be messy and painful and a terrible thing to find yourself in.  Explorers love the adventure.  They don't give their heart to anything but the wind and wherever it wants to carry them next.  How does an explorer fall in love when they've been in love with the unknown since the day they were born?

But how quickly your lips became the only place I ever wanted a kiss to land.  How incredibly fast was the decision in my heart to follow you into oblivion if you so chose.  Your tendency to run first and look later has always had my stomach in knots.  But I would be a fool to let go of your hand.  

I began this journey with you intending to love you even if you never loved me in return.  Even if I was the only one risking my heart, I told myself I didn't mind.  That loving you was a privilege.  That loving you would be galaxies better than not.  Your mind is complex and its depth is immeasurable.  I wanted to walk among the forest of your soul for as long as you would allow.  I swam in your stories of discovery and music and I pretended like I could make a home there.  I could hide a piece of myself in your many layers and then even if we ended, a part of me would be with you always.  I loved you without being careful.  I loved you foolishly and obsessively.  I loved you in all the silly ways a girl loves a boy.

But then you started to love me back and a new chamber of my heart began to beat for the first time. 

Being loved by you has been the grandest adventure of my life.

You love me the only way an explorer can.  You love me in the questions and the lines drawn and crossed.  You love me in your constant quest of getting my laugh, my smile, my joy.  You love me in your careful yet unrepentant challenges to my comfort zone.  You love me in the push.  

Sometimes you reach for me in the middle of the night, just to be sure I'm still there.  It wakes me, and I don't mind.  Because it's a midnight reminder that you even think of me in your dreams.  A thing I never expected, but now find I don't want to live without.

As time passes, I grow more accustomed to your ways.  It doesn't scare me when you ask to see inside.  Because, even though you may appear to be a brash and bold conqueror of things unknown, you are gentle with me.  Protective.  You stand guard outside my heart and you will fight to keep the dark from penetrating.

And these actions have only made you more desirable to me.  I never grow tired of the new discoveries I make as you let me shamelessly explore the forest of your existence.  I had no idea a person could be so complicated and vastly beautiful.  If I go too long without seeing you, I begin to crave you.  The way a person craves fresh air after having been penned inside for too long.  I need your ideas and words and dreams.  I need to feel you growing and building and exploring.

And you give yourself to me.  

I know I'm the only one allowed to see the raw and untamed portions of your heart.  I know that I'm the only person allowed to run with you, side by side.  Take me with you always. 

As we grow older, I realize how rare it is what we've found, what we fight for.  I am thankful.  I am humbled.  And I am very much in love.  With you. 

I never planned on falling in love with an explorer.  Looking back, how could I not?