The Problem with Past Tense

My dad died in 2006. Death is a strange thing. It’s not like you stop missing someone, but you get used to it. I don’t think you get over it. I think you just learn to accept it. Dad is no longer here. It sucks. it will continue to suck, but it’s the way it is.

Today my mum and I had to re-add me to the safety deposit box because the bank ‘lost’ part of my access. DON’T GET ME STARTED – THIS BANK, MY GOD. IT’S NOT LIKE MY MUM HAS BEEN A CLIENT FOR FORTY YEARS OR SOMETHING. Anyway, we have to review the list of people for the safety deposit box. Guess what? My dad is still on the list. We said, you know, we removed him when he died. He shouldn’t be on the list. You should take him off the list. He’s dead.

The bank dude was like, “UMMMM, I can’t take people off the list without my manager *anxious shifty eyes*.”

We went back and forth for a few minutes, and I finally said, “well leave him on the list, I guess it’s not like he’ll be dropping by to access the box!” My mum laughed and agreed, “Yeah, it’s not like he’ll stop by!” We chuckled, but the young bank teller was visibly uncomfortable.

But, I have a problem with the past tense sometimes. It doesn’t always come up. I’m okay saying “My dad used to own a restaurant” – he sold it before he died. I can also say, ” My dad read Louis l’Amour books.” He did. Or, “My dad tried to garden but never had the time.”

Strangely, I struggle with, “My dad was Greek.”

I know this may seem odd, but it’s like when I say he WAS Greek that he’s no longer Greek or he lost his ‘greekness’ when he died. But he is Greek. He’ll always be Greek. Canadian too! But how else do I say it? He’s “Dead but Still Greek”?

I feel like I need a tense in between past and present.

Death, man. It’s weird even after millions of years of evolution.

 

Uncontrollable Burn (Covencraft #5) – Blurb and cover!!!

LOOK WHAT I HAVE HERE!!!

I’m still on target for an early June release. I’m aiming for June 6 or 13th!

You can face your past, but it doesn’t mean you’re free…
Jade thought facing a Gorgon and her past demons (including the one that shows up in her pantry on occasion), meant she’d get over stuff. Auto-magically, so to speak. It turns out, it’s not that simple. Still recovering from her time in the Dearth and her meeting with Medusa, Jade tries to understand her feelings for Paris. Is she ready to deal with her past as an assault survivor and move forward? Or is she perpetually stuck where she is?

Jade also struggles as Lily pushes for them to be independent. Now that they’re no longer sharing a body, they can lead separate lives. It should be everything Jade ever wanted.

Sometimes for the future, something has to burn…
While Jade struggles with her personal life, the Coven is called upon for magical assistance. A forest fire rages out of control, unable to be stopped by mortal forces. Any witch proficient with fire is called to help. If there’s one thing Jade is certain about, especially now when nothing else feels right, it’s fire.

Out of the frying pan…
If Jade can’t get the fire under control then landscape, houses, cities, people are in jeopardy. It’s gotta be easier than dealing with her feelings, right? Or has she just made the biggest, most fatal, mistake of her life?

Edits – and some notes on book 5 (Covencraft)

I’m editing book 5 (will have blurb up shortly) and sometimes, a particular song sticks with me through a book. For this one, it’s ben The Razor’s Edge by Digital Daggers.

This one really speaks to me for Jade and her struggles.  Here are the lyrics. Bold emphasis is mine.

“The Razor’s Edge”

I think I’m lost
I think I’m broken
It’s not what I wanted
The verdict won’t change
I’ve gone off the razor’s edge
Thought it would be different
Was treading the water
‘Til it took me under

Quick retreating
So stuck in these feelings
I’m taking the beating
It won’t let me go, go, go

I’m scared ’cause the past
Keeps pulling me back
Distorting the future
It’s holding me close
It loves me the most
It’s tearing the sutures

It won’t let me heal
It tells us what’s real
There is no truth there
My vision’s gone black
I’m scared ’cause the past
Keeps pulling me

Seems I forgot
Which way I was going
Echoed mistakes (mistakes)
Repeating again

Quick retreating
So stuck in these feelings
I’m taking the beating
It won’t let me go, go, go

I’m scared ’cause the past
Keeps pulling me back
Distorting the future
It’s holding me close
It loves me the most
It’s tearing the sutures

It won’t let me heal
It tells us what’s real
There is no truth there
My vision’s gone black
I’m scared ’cause the past
Keeps pulling me

I’m scared ’cause the past
Keeps pulling me back
Distorting the future
It’s holding me close
It loves me the most
It’s tearing the sutures

It won’t let me heal
It tells us what’s real
There is no truth there
My vision’s gone black
I’m scared ’cause the past
Keeps pulling me back
I’m scared ’cause the past
Keeps pulling me

 

I also have a song that I’m listening to for book 6 [Untitled as of yet] by Digital Daggers, BUT I CAN’T TELL YOU BECAUSE OF SPOILERS.

BUT IT’S THERE. AND I KNOW IT.

Uncontrollable Burn [Covencraft # 5] – status update!

You guys! I am THISCLOSE to finishing primary writing on book 5. My first draft is usually pretty close to my end draft [which is good or bad – take your pick!]. I’m just about to start chapter 17 [as it is numbered right now] and I think I need about 5000 more words to wrap it up. Then we’ll see what gets added/deleted during edits.

As I posted earlier, I have clinical depression and I just changed meds. Me finishing this book couldn’t have happened without it. Or rather, I could have done it, but a June release? Dude. IDK. I was working all of January and February to be on time and I’m a little behind, but I’ll make it! But if I hadn’t felt better? I would have still been back at 250 words a day, which is how I wrote book 4. Like, it can be done. But it sucks. Writing a book like that feels like chiseling out of marble with a teeny-tiny chisel. You can do it. Your exhausted and defeated most of the time, but it can be done.

But! I’m AM feeling good, and writing faster so that didn’t happen!

I’m happy with where the book has gone, emotionally and action-wise. It’s always a nailbiter to see if other people like it, but at least if they don’t, I know that I like it. [and if you don’t like it, I hope you tell me GENTLY why so I can review and learn! But if you post a review, you should know I make my sisters read them for me, lol. See my page on reviewing for why]

I will be in contact with the cover artist shortly and hope to post that as soon as it’s ready! I’m EXCITED. I don’t have the back blurb written yet, but will post as soon as I do. This book, generally, is a straight continuation of book 4, Dry Spells. Jade is continuing to deal with Lily being her own person, her feelings about her past, and her feelings for Paris. And then while she’s working on that, a Forest Fire happens! DUN DUN DUN.  Stay tuned!

 

 

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We’re up all night to Get Lucky! [Or for mental health, your choice]

AWWWW YISSSSSS.

Okay, so not as much fun as Pharell and Daft Punk, but! Still FUN

I’m stepping up – and staying up – to defeat mental illness!

The CAMH One Brave Night for Mental Health(TM) challenge is a Canada-wide challenge to inspire hope for Canadians living with mental illness.

I took the #OneBraveNight challenge because I want to inspire hope for people living with mental illness now – and to defeat mental illness. By making a donation to my One Brave Night, you are helping CAMH improve access to care, conduct research to find better treatments, and build more spaces for healing. 

If ever there was a challenge made for us night owls, this is it!

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS STAY UP! or go to bed and pledge for me to stay up! I PROMISE I CAN DO THIS!!!! YOU GUYS, THIS CHALLENGE WAS MADE FOR ME.

 

The Problem is, I’m not Winston Churchill

So, in an effort to be more open and honest about my struggle with mental illness, I try to give myself pep talks. I’m like, hey, Winston Churchill had depression. His reference to the ‘black dog’ of depression that haunted him is well known. Then we have a number of well known artists that struggled with mental illness. Today, there are a lot of celebrities that speak about it as well, owning their mental illnesses.

The problem is, I’m not Winston Churchill. I didn’t save the free world from tyranny. I’m also not a well known and prolific artist, whose works are known throughout the first world (and making a gagillion dollars). I don’t have a hit record, a blockbuster movie or a pithy, New York Times Best Selling book about myself and my illness.

I’m just… me. I have a full time job. I get to work on time. I try to make it to the gym. I write books in my spare time and self publish them. I have good friends. There’s a screw loose (no pun intended) in my car on the driver’s side and I think it’s the reason the right side speakers don’t work. I could get it fixed, but it’s $250 just to have the dealership take it apart and LOOK AT IT. And so… I can live with it being broken.  I spilled hummus on my shirt the other day and had to keep on working with a big ol’ hummus oil stain on my shirt. I pay my bills and I try to be good to my friends and family.

So, what do you do if you struggle with depression and you’re not a celebrity or posthumously recounting how you dealt with your troubles while being simultaneously instrumental in saving the free world?

It’s like… it’s allowable to have a mental illness if you’re famous or a celebrity or a creative FORCE OF NATURE. You can be JK Rowling, AFTER Harry Potter is a HUGE hit and tell the world that you struggled with mental illness. (FYI, for the record, JK is the QUEEN OF TWITTER FOR EVER]

You can do all that AFTER you’re already a success. Then it’s just an added complexity and heart-wrenching fact about who you are.  LOOK WHAT YOU ACCOMPLISHED WHILE YOU WERE STRUGGLING. *pats you on back*  A ROUND OF CHAMPAGNE FOR THE PERSON WHO DID ALL THIS GREAT STUFF WITH MENTAL ILLNESS.

But what if you’re just YOU? What if your biggest accomplishment is making it to your job every day on time? Or making it to the gym ONCE A WEEK, ONCE A MONTH, OR EVER? Or heck, making it TO THE SHOWER once a day, once a week or once a month? Then it’s a different ball game, my friend. Those other depressed, mentally ill people, they are in the BIG LEAGUES. They had their struggles and WOW LOOK AT THEM NOW.

What about everyone else that struggled and DIDN’T write a best selling book or save the free world? What if you’re only managing to keep yourself alive and pay your bills?

I feel like no one wants to hear that. It’s not romantic enough. It’s not dramatic enough. It’s not enough that you made it through the day without actively OR PASSIVELY killing yourself. You’re still on the farm team and no one gives a shit about how hard you struggle.

If you feel like you’re in that category – the farm team – I see you. I KNOW YOU’RE THERE. You’re working hard and it sucks and it’s shitty. But your struggle is real and if I had a lottery to make you the winner of, I would. You’re doing it. You’re still here.

 

#farmteamunite, #depressionfarmteam #iplayyourgameanddon’twinbutsurvive

A Personal Post

Internets. I’ve always struggled with how much personal ‘life’ to share. On the one hand, I like blogging and I like putting stuff out there. On the other hand, I’m well aware that in our digital age, we are judged on our online content, and that’s often a tough pill to swallow.

Many times I’ve drafted posts about my struggle with depression and mostly all of those times, I’ve ended up deleting what I’ve written, too scared to hit the publish button. I feel there’s a stigma attached to mental illness. Not as much as there used to be, but it’s there nonetheless. It’s in causal jokes and conversation and as an undercurrent to society. Perhaps I’m more sensitive to it because I struggle with it.

Perhaps not.

At any rate, I’ve made a personal commitment to talk more about mental health. I’m in a really good place right now and that wasn’t always the case. And if this post, or perhaps my subsequent posts on it [as I hope to blog more about this in future] help or reach even one person, then it will be worth it. I worry, though. I worry I’ll put this out there and somehow, sometime, it will come back and bite me in the ass. You know? It’s okay to JOKE about being crazy, but to actually say you struggle is still inviting criticism, scorn and misunderstanding

I’ve been on the same medication for sixteen years and recently, I had to face the facts – it wasn’t working anymore. I was terrified of changing and terrified of not changing. I got lucky. I changed my meds and the new one my doctor put me on is… WOW. IS THIS HOW THE REST OF THE WORLD FEELS? To quote hyperbole-and-a-half, “Maybe everything isn’t hopeless bullshit!” [and if you’ve never read her blog post on depression  and you’ve suffered from depression or know someone that has/is, I highly recommend it.]

I can DO THINGS now. THINGS AND STUFF. STUFF AND THINGS. I don’t have to make a list or have a two hour pep talk. I’m writing book 5 and it’s ACTUALLY PROGRESSING. Book 4 was written in the midst of a depressive spell and every 250 words was like.pulling.teeth. But that book taught me you CAN write something 250 words at a time. The process WILL SUCK. But it’s possible.

But now, I have to write 1000 words a day if I want to meet my personal target for book 5 AND THIS IS HAPPENING!! I can’t tell you the last time I was able to write 1000 words a day FOR A SUSTAINED PERIOD OF TIME. WHAT??? I KNOW!!! no one is more excited than me! [because I always write for me first. Sorry, not sorry. It’s true. I write because I like to tell stories and I like to see them written out. If the internet cancelled indie-publishing tomorrow, I’d still be writing].

I hope to talk more about this in the future. I actually want to write a book about being creative and trying to honor that while also struggling with mental illness. But for now, I’m very happy to be back writing Covencraft and poking at the multitude of ideas that strike my fancy!

So yeah. If you’re the one person in the world that reads this and takes something from it…. Hi. I’m Margarita. I have a major depressive disorder. And I’m living my life and making it work.

 

 

 

 

Getting back into the gym

Okay, so yesterday was my first morning spin class in a LOOOOOOONG time.

Good test of my READY FOR THE GYM system. Too bad the system failed. Although I was able to make it through!

  1. I forgot my towel – but, luckily the gym had one I could use. And the ladies at Hot Shop are all GEMS and so nice, that I don’t get scared to ask.
  2. I forgot work socks – but luckily had an extra pair of gym socks that I could wear to work and then change into a pair of shoes I keep at work that need NO SOCKS to wear indoors.
  3. Was missing face cream – again, a bummer, but not a deal breaker
  4. Was missing makeup brushes – used my fingers, still looked okay
  5. No time to dry hair – but managed something work-able [no pun intended]

So this weekend’s ‘goal’ is to CORRECTLY pack gym bag! and to actually have two separate ones. One for workouts BEFORE work and one for workouts AFTER. Workouts after work need clothes. Maybe spin shoes. Workouts before work need an entire trolley of products and items to get me into ‘ready for work’ state that must be finely managed.

Both need a waterbottle.

Easy goal for the weekend and it will make me happier with myself!

Side note – it’s been so long since spin classes, that I’ve lost my ‘butt callus’ – my butt is killing me from the seat after one class. Guess I have to build that up again!

 

 

 

End of the Year Thoughts

It’s been interesting as 2016 comes to a close, the kinds of posts I’ve been seeing on social media. Most of them are of the kind, SEE YOU 2016 DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOUR ASS ON THE WAY OUT.

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I don’t particularly ‘get’ the new year. I mean, I get the idea of the calendar and keeping time, but there’s really no inherent difference between Dec 31 2016 and Jan 1 2017.

But I can definitely see the lure and appeal of STARTING FRESH – I loved school supply shopping as a kid and loved new binders and pens, pencil cases and erasers! so pristine in their newness and the way they had promise as yet untapped hidden inside them. [if you’re Canadian, you’ll recognize these pencil crayons!!]

laurentien-package-2

But, there’s also something to be said for an old favorite pen topper, or a busted up refillable pencil – well used and well loved, or maybe just the fact that it’s BEEN THERE.

I think a lot of people feel/felt let down by 2016, as if it were somehow the fault of the year, and as soon as that calendar flips, we will all be new people living in a new world. But I learned a long time ago that where ever I go, there I am. What I mean is, we will all be the same people in 2017, living in the same world, so if we want to see change, then we have to change ourselves. I have goals and resolutions like the next person – although cosmically, there’s no real shift in anything when January starts, I’m not immune to the promise of something NEW or DIFFERENT. What I hope is that my changes will be successful because I’m willing to change –  I’m putting new inputs into my system and expecting different outputs.

BE THE CHANGE WITH ME.

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I wish everyone the best in 2017, and hope that if 2016 was painful for you, you can rest easier now that it’s done.