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  1. You are NOT going off the deep end, Kristen! I love that you are so real and honest and that your blogs bring up stuff that I’m currently working through. It’s wild to me how we can be so on the same wavelength. BTW, I don’t subscribe to any blogs except yours and one by a cook (who happens to be quite good at writing too). You should feel honored. 😉 Love your stuff. Keep on. 🙂

  2. One who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning,
    It will be considered a curse to him. Proverbs 27:14.
    (I suspect the original Hebrew included something about throat-punching the blesser.)

    • Dennis Anthony on July 20, 2022 at 4:27 pm
    • Reply

    Damn. You’re a hell of a writer. Sorry about all that other stuff.

    1. Well, I have had a lot of good things happen too. It was just life and the older you get it seems the more pressure there is in the firehose we’re drinking from.

    • Cheryl on July 20, 2022 at 4:27 pm
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    Way different lens than you, Kristen, but totally hearing you. My supposition is the people (including some good friends) who can’t go a day without posting a half dozen “isn’t it all glorious?” FB memes …? They’re just a screaming ball of jelly inside, dancing on the edge of a precipice. But then, we all have our ways of coping {side-eying myself).
    Glad you’re still kicking.
    Probably have some time this afternoon to watch one of the KL classes I purchase-binged recently.
    Keep on. And thanks. A reminder that writing is about writing is *always* timely.

    • Rachel McMahon on July 20, 2022 at 6:31 pm
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    I avoid social media for my sanity most of the time. Then, on the days when I feel balanced enough to deal with it, I dip my toes in. It’s difficult to find the right balance between going after what I want and protecting what I don’t want to lose. I was in such a dark place recently that I won’t push myself past what I know I can handle. Sometimes that simply means being self-indulgent and wallowing in my fantasy world while the real world argues about gas prices face masks.

    • Roger Nay on July 20, 2022 at 6:50 pm
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    I don’t know whether you’re my hero or to feel sorry for you. I’m also suffering in the Texas heat, have a cat that flings a cupful of litter on the floor each day and have a some Viking blood. My grandfather, Olaf Andersen, was born in Denmark, and his father was Hans Christian Andersen. Nope, not that Hans Christian Andersen.

  3. As another self-isolationist [same 2.5 years and counting], I had to leave Twitter because the rage was becoming unmanageable. My rage. And I couldn’t write. And I hated humanity [ok that one is still simmering below the surface just waiting for the next trigger]. And I couldn’t write. I did keep my blog going, but that was ‘easy’ writing. I couldn’t write fiction.

    The stories are starting to come back, but they are hard work. These days I give myself a pat on the back if I can write 500 good words. Or 200. Or sometimes just 50. Hang in there. You’re not alone.

    • Lauren Craig on July 20, 2022 at 9:51 pm
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    What I find as a HELPFUL Scripture when people are going through things, and boy could I tell you stories, is Ecclesiastes 3. There is a time for everything, including feeling the dumpster fire that is the world. The Bible calls it mourning, but as you said, we’re all friends here. Emotions are a volcano. Either you figure out ways to let off steam or you will explode. The explosion will not be on your timetable either. Coping mechanisms are necessary, especially when you would rather deal with the emotions of someone else(that you love, not a rando) rather than your own.

    1. Well, the post was long enough without me introducing a scriptural debate, but there are a lot of well-meaning Christians who really need to read more of the Bible. They (well-intending) say things that not only aren’t in the Scripture, but are insane if you thing about it. “God will never give you more than you can handle.”

      That is a misstated scripture that states God will never allow too much temptation without providing a way out. If we never had anything we couldn’t handle, why would be need God? Why would a God who wants a relationship render himself unnecessary. Statements like that impress upon us (at least subconsciously) that WE should be God and we simply can’t.

      Like you mentioning Ecclesiastes and Deborah mentioning the Psalms, there are all kinds of places in the Bible, New Testament and Old that TELL us to get angry, to go through the grief, the sorrow, etc. but to cry out to God. This new sugar-coated Christianity might mean well but it is, in my POV, shallow. Like trying to sustain in Flintstone vitamins because we prefer something that tastes like candy than eating healthy for actual nutrition.

      I like the ‘feeling the dumpster fire that is the world.’ YEP. Go read about Gideon or Nehemiah or Noah, or, or or…LOL.

      Just it can feel in our modern ‘filtered’ lives that it is only okay to get angry/upset about outside events but anything personal needs to be airbrushed. We cannot help the world if we do not first help ourselves.

  4. ? relatable!

    • Valley on July 21, 2022 at 12:12 am
    • Reply

    OMG. How I needed to read this. Especially today. Every point hit home (and with such outstanding eloquence, I must add). LOL. Raising my java mug in a toast to all who truly understand what you said.

    1. Raising mine now. And no inspirational quote. Reads, “I don’t like morning people. Or mornings. Or people.” Which, technically isn’t true but since I am giving myself permission to be grumpy 😛

  5. That’s something I like about the Psalms. There’s the “praise the Lord everything is glorious” bits and there’s the “I’m just a worm and everyone hates me, do me a solid and destroy them all” bits. We don’t have to be sitting there frantically pretending we don’t feel how we feel, while God sits there knowing perfectly well how we feel and wondering when we’re finally going to talk to Him about it.
    If God wanted us to put a nice face on things He would have given us more than one face.

    1. I love everything about this comment. And YES!

  6. I’ve also had a super close relationship severed, and I also get tired of all the super charged “it’s all good” when it’s not all good. And I do tell myself, I have nothing to complain about for the same reasons as you mentioned. But truth is, we all have ups and downs, and other people’s sufferings don’t take away from our own. Why pretend we’re brilliant when we’re not? A burden is a burden is a burden; good to deal with them as they land on us, instead allowing them to pile on top of each other. Here in Australia, we’ve had to deal with our fair share of insanity … Writing is the best escape for all kinds of hurt.

  7. You’re not alone on the precipice. A long-time (and still a persistent) optimist, several traumatic events and nine years of learning to pray by writing about the prayers of the Bible have helped me to learn to lament, a valuable aspect of prayer that many spurn or even condemn. Thank you for kicking me into awareness about letting “squirrel” tasks distract me from my writing goals.

  8. I’ve had that dream!
    Probably because when i was at college I didn’t turn up for half the classes (and I still passed so… how useful was that course?) Mostly i had the exam dream when starting a new job. (I haven’t had it since retiring.)
    Sugar is bad for you – doesn’t every nutrition blog tell you so?
    The other bit of your post I bonded with 100% is…Nobody cares about my sob story.
    You can tell that when their eyes glaze over.
    I will turn it into a short story and enter yet another competition.

  9. Surely, you are Miss optimism ?
    Great writer at that???

    1. Usually. I have a bad habit of masking hurt with humor or work. When my father died badly and unexpectedly in 1999, I actually showed up to work the next day and had no idea why they thought I would be staying home since I hadn’t called in other than to say my father had died. It’s been a long road of learning stoicism is great but can be bad in too high of a dose.

      1. ?
        You are really stubborn and brave?
        You actually did that?

        Anyways, it’s left for you to control.

  10. Hurray Kirstin! You have given me permission to *spam* all Happy-Clappy emails to make room for the serious stuff. Love your logic on staying optimistic by throwing a few well-aimed axes. Ugg!

  11. It’s okay to cry. And scream. Crying gets the sad out of you. Screaming gets the anger out of you. Can’t keep it all inside. Gotta get it out in a safe way – not hurting yourself or others.

  12. I just snorked iced coffee through my nose at Lambentations.
    Thanks for your transparency, and all the painful laughter I suffered while reading this post. There are times when Everything Just Sucks…
    Friends help. Iced coffee and good books and primal screaming help.
    Thanks for helping. Mwah.

    1. It is good to laugh when it sucks. I just have to be careful because I use humor as a deflection to not actually FEEL what I really need to FEEL.

  13. I SO relate to this, Kristen. I try to always remain optimistic in any situation, but sometimes… Well, one thought hit me as I read this sentence, “Embrace the darkness, move through it and give yourself permission to not be okay.” Without darkness, light is not visible. So, it’s in that contrast we find what we need. Great post!

    1. Fabulous observation! Yep.

  14. I love all your posts, Kristen, but I really love this one. Maybe this is a bit tangential, but you made me think about my coming out of several years of severe depression (basically in remission the past few years). I had to learn some things to survive, especially in the beginning, when I didn’t want to survive. I had to allow that some things I would never be able to fix. Some questions I would never be able to answer. It was okay to just do the minimum sometimes. It was okay to feel what I wanted or not feel anything. No time is wasted if it’s a gift to yourself. Allowing yourself to just survive means you’ll be around to be a gift to others in the future, because there are pretty good odds things will get better.

    1. Awww, thank you so much. Yes, I think we creative people can really struggle. I know I feel like I am always supposed to fix everything and should always be doing my best and that is not realistic or sustainable. But like y’all I am a WIP. These posts are terrifying to write, but I think we need to give each other permission to be humans. And so happy you are here with us and I SO get it. I’ve had bouts of the blues I didn’t think I’d SURVIVE. This blog helps because I have you guys and feel I am here for y’all and at least in that way I matter.

      ***I know I matter in other ways but when you’re really in the mean reds life is rarely logical.

      1. ???

  15. Oh, Kristen. Oh, oh, Kristen. Some days you channel my thoughts to such a degree that I’m wondering if I should have an MRI to get my brain swept for bugs. 😀

    Thank you for this reminder, as always. I’ve always told people I’m an optimist, but there are days when it’s hard to be one for everything you’ve listed above and more. I find that on those bad days when there’s nothing good, nothing positive to focus on, I just spend my minutes and hours focusing on getting through the day. The rest, I decide, can sort itself out later.

    It’s sort of the same approach I used to take with the kids when they were little and parenting used to be too much. I would just keep reminding myself that bedtime was X hours away and use that to get me through.

    Here’s to not being so optimistic on some days!

  16. I hope you feel a bit better now. Sometimes a good rant helps.

    And there is every reason to feel not good. Wildfires raging, everywhere in the world it seems, wars, violent demonstrations, floods, high winds and hurricanes, high inflation, poverty, hunger, persecution, endangered species, pollution of air, water and ground, increasing stupidity of people, politicians who want to be dictators, far right and Nazis increasing, disappearance of grammar, selfishness, pandemics. I think I’ll stop there. I’m depressing myself.

    But while it’s OK to be not OK, it’s still pretty damned uncomfortable when you aren’t.

    • Faith Cormier on July 21, 2022 at 6:40 pm
    • Reply

    Dear Kristen, I have to preach this Sunday and the OT lesson is from 1 Kings 19. I’m borrowing your Snickers bar story. Thank you so much! It should shake the congregation to their core. Or maybe make them hungry. Seriously, I may never read that passage again without thinking of Snickers.

  17. Oops, those question marks are supposed to be smiling emojis. Guess emojis aren’t allowed in replies. You get my drift 🙂 And I think I can safely state we’re all very glad you’re around for us, too.

    1. LOL yeah I was getting a bit confused WHAT they were but was pretty sure the code was at fault and you weren’t blasting out ? marks 😀 .

  18. I was going to a Presbyterian church before the pandemic. My faith has drifted sideways during the isolation and political upheavals. What helps me get through hard times are books by Pema Chodron, the Buddhist writer. She talks about dealing with pain (mental and physical) by turning toward it. Sometimes fear and avoidance of pain makes pain that much worse. And holding back emotions leads to vivid moments after the dam finally bursts.

    I sympathize with your comments about betrayal. It’s hard to deal with a backstabber who is very close. When it happens to me, I start to wonder about who I can trust.

    • C.Love on July 22, 2022 at 9:06 am
    • Reply

    Another excellent post. Very relatable. I’ve cycled through most of this and some deviations of my own and I’m sure if we lived in the same neck of the woods, I’d enjoy having a cold one with you. Adulting is overrated but easier to fake when you don’t have spouse/spawn. I’ve arrived at a place where I now navigate whatever the hell this is with the reminder that “there is no spoon”.

    • Helen on July 22, 2022 at 9:23 am
    • Reply

    Good rant. Thanks.

  19. All I can say is Thank You! Virtual hug.

  20. I love how you so honestly expose your feelings through your writing. The good, the bad, the funny, and the not so funny. It’s also reassuring that there are so many of us who are dealing with the same mixed bag of emotions. There are days that we all need help to keep going, just to put one foot in front of the other. Thanks for sharing your bits of wisdom with all of us and for being that inspiration to keep writing.

  21. I loved this post so much, I just may take one of your classes.

  22. Book of Lambentations ? … LOL. I’m pretty sure we all needed to hear this. When I have a down day, I allow myself to have a down day instead of denying how I feel or telling myself not to feel that way. See the nut. Be the nut.

    • Michael E Gutowski on July 29, 2022 at 9:29 am
    • Reply

    This one may be your finest hour of human wisdom, but it seems such a thought enters my head after reading your posts. By the mind devolved into “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” moments. All the best, or worst, whichever the moment prefers.

  23. Good Lord . . . the MOST impressive thing about this post is that you strung those words together and made perfect sense in a place where nothing is making sense right now. I got past the ‘chemo brain’ only to encounter the ‘covid brain,’ so I live in the “trying to find the ax” sector most days. But this struck a chord because I’ve worked hard the past few weeks to FIND THE TIME to make *&%# happen. Love you, Lady. Thank you for finding the time to help make us stay real.

  24. Okay, so I read the thing on the viking “trying to find my damn ax that was in my hands 2 second ago thing” to my wife. Because that’s funny, we all do that. But then, I’d been trail building about 2 months ago in a remote area with a bunch of young men from Trail Life, and someone set down my 4.5 pound Collins ax, and promptly forgot where they set it.

    Now, please don’t get me wrong–it’s just an ax–but we did a subsequent trip (12 miles round trip in one day) hiking in to see if we could find the ax. We found a rattlesnake and a bear, but no ax.

    So my wife says, after I read that thing, “You really miss that ax.”
    Me: What? No! This has nothing to do with that. This is a viking thing.
    Her: No. You miss the ax.

    Sigh.

    If it makes you feel better, the king of the horrible motivational poster “Hang in there, Baby” with the kitten hanging from a rope was a guy named Victor Baldwin, who photographed his cat in 1963, and later decided to start selling the posters. If it helps at all, remember the cat eventually DOES have to let go and land and go about its business of spreading litter from the litter box all around parts of the house that you don’t want to clean. I’m sure there’s some meaning in there somewhere, but I haven’t found it.

    1. It is true. We do need to let go. I took a couple days off after posting this. I was just so shredded and all my efforts were an exercise in circling the drain. Feeling a lot better. Unfortunately, burnout and stress have the same effects as drinking. It removes your ability to think clearly, which is why people need designated drivers. The drunk honestly BELIEVES they are okay to drive. It takes an outside person to intervene. Stress does the same thing. What we most need, unfortunately we are the last to see. I think posting this blog and seeing all the thoughtful comments was a wakeup call for me. I was ground to a nub and just kept trying to put in more TIME to compensate.

      And yes it is a Viking thing and I would have gone looking for my axe as well. Mine are REALLY nice. Thanks for the lovely comment!

    • Benjamin Munro on August 4, 2022 at 12:28 am
    • Reply

    Your blog definitely hits close to home. As a teen who hasn’t even started high school, writing a book has been a near impossible task. I only ever write when, as you said, I’m ‘in the mood’. The pain that prevents me from writing is that I am not good enough. My writing will never be as good as someone like you. I’m too young to have the experience to write a book that people will enjoy. Sure, my progression over the year has been massive, but I will never be able to match the shear amount of work it takes to be an author. Or so I thought before reading this blog post. Your blog has really shed a new perspective on writing a book. And as a pre-published author, I thank you for you opinion. I hope I never forget what you have done for me today.

    1. Oh HONEY! Writing a book is HARD. The fact you are even as far as you are is incredible. I was 35 and writing when I was ‘in the mood.’

      And you’d be shocked. You might not have the experience, but you offer a fresh perspective. Just remember that, while it is a lot of work, anything worth having is a lot of work. Also, all big things are merely a compilation of a LOT of little things. If you wrote three pages a day, you’d have a respectable first draft in 67 days or roughly 9 weeks. Three pages is doable. That is 750 words.

      But, I will say any career, even one you love (or probably especially one you love because it’s easy to overdo it) can get overwhelming. It would be one thing if all I had to do was write, but like you even know…life can get in the way. It isn’t JUST the writing, it is all the stuff AND writing. Everyone needs a breather now and again. And we creative types tend to feel emotion more acutely than most people. Part of why it’s also good to FEEL the bad stuff is because those emotions are the driving force of great fiction. If we don’t stop long enough to feel our experiences, not only will we struggle personally, but we’ll ALSO have a hard time recreating them for an audience.

      I am glad you are so open to learning and thrilled to meet you!

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