A Very Merry Christmas from TNYAG

So. I had a blog post typed up that I was going to post this morning, but decided against it. It was definitely a post where I was a little bit vulnerable, but I didn't get into the topic as much as I wanted to.

Before I do anything else, I just want to say that I'm fine. I know that a lot of you saw my mom post about me needing an MRI and possible concern of a brain tumor, but it's safe to say that I'm okay. There's no tumor, and my brain looks perfect. The reason for the concern is some vision problems I've been having, which are actually because of my Lyme's disease.

During this whole COVID mess, I've been learning a lot about myself, and I've been spending a lot of time alone. I'm sure a lot of you can relate.

Everyone has different standards for where they sit with COVID, and because of that, a lot of people I care about and love are completely unwilling to do even socially distanced hangouts. It's hard. I really miss seeing people's faces. I really miss hugging people. And, quite frankly, I feel very lonely.

I see my family and I see my coworkers, but I have no one that chooses to see me. I have people who see my parents, or want to see my family, but I think that's a little different than someone wanting to see me. Everyone says, "Well, it's for your protection."

But, I'm sorry, when did you get to choose what's safe for me? To be frank, you don't. I know my health issues, and I get to choose how I protect myself. You don't get to choose for me. If you aren't comfortable spending time with me or others, just be honest and say that. Don't tell me it's for my protection. I can take care of myself, and frankly, I find it a little offensive, especially when my doctors have all told me that I don't need to be overly-concerned or paranoid about getting COVID.

So. My choice.

That being said, I understand how hard it is for people. If I'm not at work, I don't leave my house. I mean, I'll go grocery shopping with my mom and stuff, but that's really it.

My whole being hurts because loneliness is something I've always struggled with, at least a little bit, but I feel lonely in a much deeper way now. I can't even picture a future where I get married -- I mean, where would I even meet someone? I'm doing online classes, and I can't go to church until probably the New Year (I do have relatives I can't risk getting sick -- and this has come from them, not me.)

I've become too dependent on social media, I think. I spend my time there hoping it will fill the void in my heart, hoping it will stop the ache that just sits there all the time. It hurts more than I can comprehend. And I need to take a break from it, I do. But… I'm just so bored. That makes me sound like a child, but it's true. I feel like I'm living in that one episode of Supernatural, or Groundhog Day or something.

Do you know how difficult it to have to think that I'm lucky? That I'm lucky because last year when I was bleeding out in a hospital bed, my mother was allowed to be with me?

That event is not something that is easy for me to think about, and as the anniversary keeps getting closer, I can't stop thinking about it. It's heartbreaking to think that there are people dying alone.

We live in such a broken world that it hurts me. Everything aches right now, everything is mourning inside of me. Our society is hurt in a way I've never seen before. Society is depressed, and it breaks my heart to see it.

It's gotten hard to even bring myself to write. All of my words feel stiff -- fake. I was excited to get writing again, I had a burst of creative energy, and now? Now, I just feel inadequate. Especially when I look at the publishing industry and realize what a mess it is. I'm stuck trying to figure out what genre to publish my book into. Is it New Adult? Or Young Adult? There's so many issues with both genres, and it's infuriating. It doesn’t help that I do as much research as I can, but a lot of what I find is from unreliable sources (i.e. unpublished authors).

I think there's a lot going on right now, and it's really difficult for me to just sit and be with myself because I feel like that's all I've been doing. It was strange, how quickly my creative energy drained from me. I don't even want to read. Or play video games, or do anything. And maybe it's just because I've been getting headaches from the barometric pressure and haven't been feeling myself. I'm hoping that's it. But, I'm doing my best. I think that's all I can do.

It's hard to focus on the things that are in my control. And you know, for a really long time, I didn't do much anyway. But… I really just want to go to the movies, you know? I want to go out and do Christmas things. I don't want to go under lockdown again. I just… Miss being with people and seeing their faces.

COVID has been difficult for everyone, more so for some than others. There's truly no advice I can give that can solve all of the problems we have.

But, I'm going to try.

The first thing I suggest is to take things one day at a time. Or just even one minute at a time. Learn your limits, and learn not to look too far ahead. It will definitely overwhelm you. I'm definitely struggling with this myself, simply because I'm ambitious and have big dreams. It's hard for me to not, but it can go negatively incredibly fast.

I'm in love with the idea of owning a bookstore one day. I actually already have a location picked out? But, I tend to get discouraged when I think about COVID and how few bookstores that aren't Barnes & Noble are around. I do the same thing with my writing. I have a bad habit of letting myself get discouraged because it's a difficult industry to break into. I get overwhelmed, is mostly what it is. Even though I've had agents I've submitted to reply and say something along the lines of, "Hey, this isn't my niche, but you're a great writer." It's encouraging and discouraging at the same time. I'm deeply insecure about my writing sometimes. Most of the time, I'm incredibly confident in it and I love my characters. As I read more novels and spend more time researching the publishing industry, however, I tend to waver a little.

It's hard.

And I know very few people who prioritize the things I prioritize, and that's okay. To each their own, you know? But it's different now. That's the only way to describe it, I think. Different. Weird.

I do feel like COVID has shown me a lot about not only myself, but the people in my life. I've learned a lot about issues I didn't know I had. It's bizarre. There's a lot to unpack, and it's not something I'm necessarily looking forward to.

I am constantly in a state of "Let's make things better," so I'm used to dealing with things I don't really want to.

I also know this probably isn't the blog post that everyone wanted. I'm sure with the anniversary of The Trauma being tomorrow (or Sunday, depending on how you count it), that's what people would've preferred I talk about.

I'm sorry to disappoint anyone who was looking forward to a profound blog post about The Trauma, but that's just not something I'm ready to do. Here's a link to the first part of the podcast I was featured in though, and I talk about it in more detail there:

https://open.spotify.com/episode/4ym2GX8RePMSIrt19Lu0zl?si=15WyQbjdQ0-dHoLFfJECPA

You know, I'm actually really proud of myself for saying that The Trauma is not something I'm willing to talk about right now. There would've been a time where I didn't say no and talked about it anyway. It's going to be a really hard weekend with it being the anniversary, and you know, I'm just glad I'm going to get some down time.

I can admire the way I've changed and grown over the past year, but it's nice to not be looking back for once. I'm happy to be looking forward for once, and not have it be riddled with heavy anxiety. Instead, It's something lighter, and happier. I'm excited for my future.

I don't remember the last time I felt that way.

But, it's important to be happy about the future and not dreading it. I want to make a vision-board for 2021. I think It's something everyone should do.

Find something to be excited about.

Find something to dream about, because if you can't dream, you have no hope.

Find something to make you excited, to look forward to every day, even if it's something as small as doing your hair, or wearing your favorite pair of slippers, or maybe even eating dinner after a long day at work. For me, it's actually going to work. I love my job and I love to be around people. I'm excited about Christmas. I am Lily from Dash & Lily levels of Christmas excitement. I found something to be excited about, and I'm letting myself be excited about it. You should too.

Just... be happy. Be excited.

You deserve that much, friend.

I was speaking with a friend, and we were talking about how it's been a crazy year and how we deserve to be happy. And, you know what? She was right. Everyone deserves some happiness this holiday season. Everyone deserves a happy 2021 as well.

So, that's what I wish for you, friend.

I hope you take my two pieces of advice to heart:

1. Take it one day at a time.

And

2. Find something to be excited about.

I probably won't post again until after Christmas, but I wanted to tell all of you just how grateful I am that we've come this far. I have big plans for a few future projects, and I really want to start working on a memoir. But, let's see what the rest of 2020 brings, and we can get into the New Year before I make any super crazy plans.

Thank you for coming along on this journey with me. There's no way to describe how grateful I am for every single one of you.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and an absolutely magnificent New Year.

With much love,

Natalie



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