“Hello Darkness, My Old Friend”

It’s pretty amazing, the song “The Sound of Silence”. I’ve always really liked it for various reasons, especially the visuals the lyrics provide. Even the “alternate lyrics” versions we came up with in Mixed Company at Prospect High School (I’m looking at you, Anne.).

I’m not going to lie and tell you that the last few days for me have been easy, because they haven’t. They haven’t exactly been the worst days of my life, though, either. At work, my colleague Paula is away on vacation — and we had agreed to this when we hired her, so there are no surprises there — and it has thrown me back into doing both her job and my job. It’s only a week, yes, but sometimes taking it all on feels so very overwhelming for me, especially since there seems to be no end in sight to training up someone while trying to do my own job.
Read Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

“Look for the Helpers…”

Being 11 September here in New Zealand — even though the infamous 9/11 happened on 12 September 2001 here — some of my news feeds are showing images and sharing articles about the anniversary of 9/11.

Every year, I feel something different. Having been through our own set of natural disasters — the initial quake occurring a week before the 9th anniversary of 9/11 — something struck me quite strongly today as I saw this image:
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25 Years Ago(-ish), I Started College

Around 25 years ago, in late August 1992, I started college (erm, university for you British English speakers out there). It’s a right-of-passage many Americans go through every year when they’re 18, and I’m sure there are many stories about how that first year went for a great many people. Maybe my experience was unique, but I’m pretty sure it’s not.

What I can tell you is I remember my Mom crying when I started college at Northern Illinois University. My excitement due to my freedom was tempered by how upset she was. Being the very anxious person I was and continue to be, I wondered if I’d made the right choice. As an aside: my counselor keeps telling me I do things to please other people instead of myself, and I’m not living my life authentically if I keep doing this. On the other side of this argument, I stayed at college because it was what I wanted, even though it did hurt my mother initially (and maybe it was more of a, “Oh my God, my oldest son is 18 and leaving home and I can’t protect him any more”, which I understand but I’ve never been through so I can’t compare that experience to my own experiences).

Sorry. I digress. You should be used to that by now if you read any of my blogs.

Read 25 Years Ago(-ish), I Started College

Living In The Here and Now

I originally wrote this blog in May 2016 but never published it. I’m not sure why I didn’t, but here it is, updated slightly.

Over the past few years I’ve written about emerging from a period of suffering from the dissociative disorder known as depersonalisation, the result of a lifetime full of anxiety and a short, rather deep bout of depression. (You can read the latest entries: “Recovering from Depersonalisation” and “Reducing Anxiety through ‘Staying Present’“, or any entry on depersonalisation through looking up the tag #depersonalisation on my blog.)

But I want to take you a step back to the 1990s as a kind of example of why living in the here and now is important.

Read Living In The Here and Now

Remembering Oma 30 Years After Her Passing

The photo of my Oma that everyone thinks is me in drag!
The photo of my Oma that everyone thinks is me in drag!
30 years ago today (26 February), my Oma passed away from intestinal cancer, 1 month shy of her 66th birthday and about 1 month after the diagnosis. I was nearly 13 when she passed away, just shy of that age where you start appreciating the stories and history your parents and grandparents share with you, if you’re interested in family history and that sort of thing.

A few months ago, one of my cousins asked me what Oma was like, and one thing that struck me recently was that out of all my cousins on my Dad’s side of the family, probably only my brother Brian and I remember or knew Oma the best.
Read Remembering Oma 30 Years After Her Passing

If You’re on a Critiquing Site, Expect Critiques

I know I kinda touched on this particular critiquing issue the other day in a Facebook post, but I’d like to take the opportunity to expand on it a bit.

For those of you not in the know, I belong to a writing critiquing site called Scribophile.  (For all you writers out there, I can’t recommend this site highly enough.)

In the 6 months or so I’ve been involved on Scribophile, I honestly have never had too many problems with the other writers on the site.  For the most part, they have been lovely, supportive people, some of who have challenged the way I look at my stories.  It honestly has been a real asset in improving my writing.
Read If You’re on a Critiquing Site, Expect Critiques

“Ben”: A Published Poem by Yours Truly

So, there’s been a lot going on in my life lately, and I’ve not been able to blog as much as I’d like.  Sorry about that.

One cool thing I ended up doing last week was I took that blogger’s advice that dissociative people should undertake something they love and work with it.  Okay, I haven’t been writing as much as I would like to write lately, but searching on Google, I found an online writers’ group called Scribophile, which features writers who want critiques from other writers about their works.

I’ll talk about that more in another post, but it’s refreshed my drive to write again.

Read Ben: A Published Poem by Yours Truly