Okay, lovelies. Time for another one of those posts where I blog about my life and my issues, and share gifs to make it all a little more tolerable. As usual, this will be a lot of info, so if you don’t wanna know – watch the sunrise, move along, play some candy crush. It won’t hurt my feelings, I promise.
Ready? Let’s start with the highs.
About a month ago Royally Mine hit the USA Today bestseller’s list and there was much excitement. I actually found out on a wednesday due to that fun trickery with the posting system on the USA Today website where you can see the next week’s post as soon as they’ve built it. I was actually with the Dom that day, both of us working on real-job stuff, when I got the text from Livia Grant. The best part? Not only had we hit the list, we had hit the top 50 on the list!
There was disbelief, and ecstatic screaming. I interrupted the Dom in his office to basically freak out in a high-pitched tone about how amazing it was, and how thrilled we all were. There were texts and phone calls and FB posts and SO MANY GOOD AND WONDERFUL THINGS! I basically looked like this:
and then this where I kept having to double-check and verify, because it just did NOT feel real…
then my Dom, my friends, my lovely readers would confirm with posts / comments / messages that, holy shit, yes, it’s real. I’m a USA Today bestselling author. Holy fucking shit. It’s REAL!
I was ecstatic and so distracted I couldn’t get work done anyway (and I was sitting on about… 40-50 cane marks from the serious caning session he and I had done the night before), so the Dom decided it was time for a celebratory late lunch / early dinner sushi & sake marathon. While I texted / facebooked in the passenger seat with a stupid grin on my face, the Dom drove around to a bunch of different sushi places that were closed mid-afternoon, and then we finally found a place. It was mostly empty, but the food was delicious, and I didn’t care because I was so fucking excited. Literally, mid-sentence of me saying how thrilled I was and how excited I was to do SO MANY THINGS in September, I got a text message from my grandparents saying my mom wasn’t feeling well.
^ me in the restaurant staring at my phone ^
We texted back and forth asking questions, and the answers were… not good. It was one of those things where once the knowledge was in my head, it overwhelmed everything else. Kind of like a solar eclipse (hey, timely reference, right?) because the bright, shiny thing was still there. It was just hidden behind this giant other object and I couldn’t see past it. I felt myself sliding into a low point, away from all the glitter and joy, but in a slow way. Like quicksand, or plunging into darkness at the speed of a sunset.
Yep, the highs and the lows, right?
For those of you that don’t know, my family does not know I write, and my mother has Stage 4 cancer and is not doing well in general. Every text / call like that sends me into immediate thoughts of *is this it*? It’s a constant buzz in the back of my head, and has been for years, and having my grandparents tell me “this doesn’t look good” pretty much guaranteed a full-stop to all things.
I told the Dom I needed to get back to his house, get my stuff, and then go home because I didn’t know what was going to happen. When I did get home I stared at the computer, at all the happy posts and congrats and sweet messages and celebrations from others who had hit the list for the first time… and I couldn’t feel anything. So I just went to bed.
The next day, my mom was hospitalized. Underweight, weak, dehydrated. I went and saw her, which helped a little, but I couldn’t shake the doom & gloom that was keeping all of the golden joy from the USA Today blocked, leaving me in a gray-toned shadow.
She spent about three days in the hospital, got out, but was told she couldn’t do chemo until she was “stable” again. (Side note: she’s still not stable enough for chemo, which means pain because cancer is a dick).
If that were the only thing happening, I would have dealt with it. I’ve dealt with it before, but there were also health concerns for me that I had been putting off and was finally peer-pressured into handling. Without boring you with details, I was having some odd pains, some other stuff, and needed to see my doctor… who literally closed his practice the week before my mom went into the hospital. So I had to find a new doctor, get an appt, and get a bunch of tests done. The good news? I got a diagnosis, but it doesn’t explain everything, so now I’m *also* getting a cancer screening at the end of the month. I’m still having issues / pain, but life doesn’t stop for anyone and so I just tossed another log onto the proverbial fire and said, “Let it burn, I’ll deal with it.”
^ this gif is EVERYTHING right now ^
I really kept telling myself that everything would be okay. Mom would level out, or she wouldn’t, but it’s always pending on the horizon and I would be there for her. My health would get in order, I’d get myself fixed up, and be fine. EVERYTHING WOULD BE FINE. At least, that’s what I kept screaming into the aether while my family in South Texas dealt with a hurricane, then another hurricane hit Florida, and the wildfires, and earthquakes, and political hell…
aaaaaand then my usually stable life as a single mom with my kiddo exploded. I don’t talk about her much, mostly because I don’t think her life / image is mine to share with the random internets, but I am going to talk about the situation right now because it’s the straw that broke me – utterly fucking broke me – this month. She’s only four, in a daycare based preschool (because there is no pre-k in our school district), and I’m sure there are a hundred reasons why she could have suddenly lost her mind (including being stressed about her grandmother’s health, and being aware of my stress from that), but about a month ago she started losing her mind all the time. Epic tantrums lasting 30 – 45 mins where she just screamed and sobbed until she choked because she was so upset, completely nonvocal, and so they kept sending her to the director’s office because… well, class can’t really continue with a kid losing their shit for 30 minutes on the floor where a bunch of other 4 year olds are trying to work on writing the letter A.
I already felt like a terrible mom. A terrible fucking mom who had that kid in public and at daycare.
This rapidly escalated into her hitting/kicking other kids, teachers, and more violence, and then the school started to talk about kicking her out. Basically, if she can’t stay in the classroom, then she can’t stay at the preschool, because the director’s job isn’t to watch kids, it’s to run the school.
Since she was also doing this at home with me (and at her dad’s house) we were at a loss for what to do. Long story short, it has been chaos, panicked insurance talks to find therapists, desperate meetings with the preschool asking them to keep her, convos with my bosses at my day job pleading with them to be understanding, late nights where I did day job work to make up for missing time. Blah blah fucking blah. The main issue is that while this is seriously fucking stressful, IF my kid gets kicked out of this preschool, finding a replacement will be very hard for a TON of different reasons (please do not try and list suggestions on replacing her preschool, I promise I’m researching all options and I’m exhausted enough over it).
This clusterfuck of events, coupled with a bunch of other tiny things that normally wouldn’t wreck me (UPS refusing to deliver packages to my apartments, an ant invasion at my front door, having to stop eating things I like, breaking a glass so I don’t have two of them for bourbon with the Dom) has turned me into a useless mess in the last couple of weeks. Coming to work like an exhausted, stress-addled shell of a person that caught fire at some point and doesn’t have the energy to realize they’re burning because that would take too much effort.
^ something like this. this is how i feel at the day job. ^
The craziest part is that I’m not even listing all of the chaos going on, and the Dom and my friends and everyone keep offering to help, but the problems aren’t things that are easily fixable. My life has just exploded, and I’m so exhausted all the time that the handful of days I’ve written anything this month have been a miracle.
I’m incredibly behind on writing deadlines, not keeping up with promises I’ve made to readers / fellow authors, not being around on FB, not posting my weekly stuff, not participating in an author event I signed up for… and it’s just another nest of things making me feel like shit.
And the thing is, writing it all out helps a little, just because it turns down the screaming in my head for a few minutes to pour it all out into words, but I can’t even tell you when I’m going to feel more like myself. I don’t know when this fucking eclipse will end, because it just seems to be getting darker, and I’m so tired. People keep telling me that things will get better but I’m cursed to be a realist (have never been an optimist) and I am well aware that my mom will die eventually from this cancer shit, we just don’t know when. I know that my preschool can’t keep my kid if she’s injuring other kids, so they could kick her out. I know that the results from my health screening could be good, or could be bad, I won’t know until it’s done – so I do need to do it and I am. I know that my boss won’t continue to be understanding forever, so if I’m not careful I could fuck up at my day job which pays my bills (because USA Today bestseller or not, writing is not bankrolling me). And I know that my friends (online and real life), my Dom, and my family will only put up with me being a trainwreck for so long.
Eventually, I’ll have to not be on fire anymore, or I’ll have to shut up and burn in silence because this shit is fucking depressing.
I think that’s the main reason I just disappeared after the USA Today announcement got eclipsed by my mom’s health, and then the life shit in general. I didn’t want to rain on anyone’s parade. So many people are doing amazing things right now, and I just want them to go and be happy and successful without thinking about the mess that I am.
So, hi. I’m alive. I’m not in the pit with the demons, I’m in a grayscale haze, and my life is on fire, and I’m doing everything I can to get it under control but right now there’s only chaos and I’m sorry. <3 I promise I’m doing my best, my best just isn’t exactly good enough lately, and it’s probably easiest to just ignore the smoke coming from my corner, lovelies.
Trust me, I’ll be fine. Eventually.