Life in Writing

(Re)treat Yourself

Posted by on Oct 28, 2016 in Life in Writing | 1 comment

I mentioned a few posts ago about how much I miss spending time in the forest and what an important recharge it is for me. That period of time–early September–became a turning point for me. The downward spiral I have been suffering from a period of heavy depression for a good part of this year. Essentially, it began and April and only started to taper off in August, and I didn’t even really realize it until I started feeling better and more like myself again. Most days, I could just do the bare essentials of taking care of my daughter–taking care of myself was hardly a part of the equation. I haven’t even done any meal prep since May. I haven’t posted much in this blog all year. I can’t say what brought me out of it, but I remember walking to the library in early August to talk to some kids about writing and being a writer, and it hit me that I actually felt like myself. I hadn’t felt that way for awhile. It hurt a bit. But I felt something else, too–the drive to continue on this route. I don’t even remember feeling awful, but I don’t really remember June or July at all, so that might be telling enough. In late August into September, for about two weeks, my back went out. I was finally starting to feel better mentally and my body decided to betray me! So I had a meltdown. I remember sitting on the living room floor sobbing about what a terrible mother I was because I couldn’t move (?!). I spent some valuable recharge time in Alma that week, hobbling through the forest as best I could. And then, two weeks later when I was feeling better, I started thinking about what I could do to spend more time in the woods. I had spoken to my therapist about it as well and she talked about finding strategies to take that feeling of being in the woods with me. Being in the woods is beneficial for many people, which explains why I feel so good when I’m there. The next steps I spent a whole week out and about with my daughter. We’d wake up at the crack of dawn, as we always did, but we’d eat our breakfast and then go out almost immediately. There’s a lovely little playground that’s very toddler-friendly about a fifteen minute walk away, and we often go there. We went every day that week. I packed a plethora of snacks to ensure our stay was well over an hour long. One of my co-workers had been talking about going to a horseback riding retreat, and it got me thinking about how nice a writer’s retreat could be. This led to a little mental back-and-forth of me telling myself there likely weren’t any in the area, and certainly not ones that would fit my schedule. Maybe not even retreats that would be the kind of wilderness escape I was longing for. So what was I looking for, then? Well, I told myself, you don’t have to be around other people to do it. And that was what set the wheels into motion. I started thinking about what I could do, and when. And I settled on September 29th, in an oTENTik in Fundy National Park. Why oTENTiks? I’m not prissy or anything, but let’s be real: camping in late September in a tent on the cold hard ground–where there are critters, and you need to duck down low and huddle up in your tent, sleep on rocks, and hide your food from potential predators–was not my idea of a relaxing and inspiring time, especially when I was doing this to escape obligation, not create a different one. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it wouldn’t have suited my purposes. oTENTiks are basically the baby of a cabin in the woods and a regular tent. Perfect. I had been wanting to stay in one for awhile anyway, so this was the ideal opportunity. I decided on Point...

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Surprising ways that Pokémon GO has impacted my life

Posted by on Oct 3, 2016 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

The date is Sunday, July 17th, 2016, and the time is 4:30 PM. I’d been waiting all week to hear any news of the official Canadian release of Pokémon GO, having decided to wait for official release rather than download the APK file. I’m hanging out in the kitchen at work and I decide to take a peek in the App Store, as I hadn’t all day. I type “pokemon go” into the search bar and I’m shocked when I’m met with the legitimate game as the first result. All week, I’d had fake duplicates staring back at me. My excitement was probably a little unreasonable for a 30-year old mom. I’m not going to lie: I’ve been waiting basically my entire life for Pokémon GO. My love for Pokémon in general hasn’t wavered since I discovered it in grade 7. There was a brief period in my life in which I treated Pokémon Diamond as though it was my full-time job. In short: I love Pokémon. As a mom to a very busy toddler, I don’t really get many chances to play video games. That makes me a little sad sometimes, as I do truly love gaming and have a lot of feelings about video games in general. Pokémon GO shone in the distance like a beacon of light in my dark, stagnant gaming life. Finally: a game I could play while out with my daughter. There was nothing I couldn’t love about this. It was perfect for me. And it still is, 2 and a half months later. So, here are some ways that Pokémon GO has impacted me. I’m looking at my phone far less (and therefore using less data) This is the one that surprised me the most. I thought I would be using my phone more. Before GO, I would often open up my phone and browse through Facebook while out on walks, checking my notifications and sometimes making posts. Not only has GO forced me to be more aware of my data usage, but it’s kicked Facebook off my data usage list altogether, along with the similarly high-cost Snapchat. I’ve been more productive With my mind away from my phone, I’ve been free to think of other things, and those thoughts have wandered back into the creative realm after a bit of a pause. Walking gets my creative juices flowing, too. Because of these things, and because of PoGO’s ease of use, I’ve been thinking more about what I can write while I’m out for a walk. I am attributing my recent resurgence in posting on this blog to that. I really am! I’m exercising more Don’t get me wrong: I usually do exercise quite a bit and I feel I lead a fairly active lifestyle. Nonetheless, I have found that GO has gotten me up and motivated on several occasions–particularly if I have an egg that’s close to hatching. I’m bonding with strangers and friends in new ways Within the first few days of playing the game, I ran into a couple of teenage boys who both had their phones out. Since you can usually tell who is playing by a glance, they called out to me “Pokémon GO?”. We high-fived in passing, then I proceeded to utterly fail at taking their gym from them. My point is this: I would never have interacted with these guys on a normal day. I rarely interact with people I know if I can help it, let alone strangers. I have gone on 2 AM Poké-hunts with co-workers and ridden in a car alongside a friend in PJs, and have simultaneously done a hostile takeover of gyms in Albert County with my friend while he was on his delivery route (Team Mystic for life). PoGO has led to some amusing and often impromptu social situations. For someone who resists spontaneity, this has been a refreshing change of pace. It has diversified daily outings with my daughter, and we’ve had some unique family outings Knowing that Centennial Park was a nest for Machops was reason enough to go, but the fact that...

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I miss the forest

Posted by on Sep 12, 2016 in family, Life in Writing, parenting, reflection | 1 comment

I was worried that I was starting to grow resentful of my daughter. My beautiful, intelligent, affectionate little 20-month old daughter. The thought was abhorrent to me! I love her so much. How could I resent her? For starters, I felt the pressure of being unable to sit down and write. To quietly read a book for an hour at a time. To do something other than cook, tidy up, or sit there staring at Facebook comments for 5 minutes in between all that. But it’s funny how a change of scenery, even for an afternoon, can alter perspective drastically. I was feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and physically run down. My back was out. I was tired of spending week after week just recovering from work. I asked Mom if she could take me and Amelia down home–to Alma, where I grew up–and she took us on a Tuesday afternoon. We had a late lunch when we got there, and then went up to Fundy Park for a walk in the woods. The difference in my mental state was almost instantaneous, and it was staggering. The smell of the trees. The silence–all sound beyond us was absorbed by the forest. Watching my daughter interact with nature without worrying about colliding with strangers or her running into traffic. Having both of my parents nearby, while I’m there–not giving me a break, babysitting, or helping me with chores, but the four of us interacting all together. Then I realized that I don’t resent my daughter at all: I resent the fact that I have to spend my time with her recovering, healing, and preparing for the inevitable return back to work later in the week and the repetition of the cycle. I resent throwing out my back and having to work all weekend, then spending the whole week conserving and recharging my energy so I can work again with my back still out because there’s my recovery time is short, and I can’t afford time off unless I’m, you know, dying.  I resent having to micromanage every single day to feel like I’m getting enough enjoyment from my stay-at-home mom moments. This is the life I’ve chosen–the life I want. I get to be home with my daughter 4 days of the week while working the other 3. We don’t have to sink money into daycare and I get to be as much of a stay at home mom as we can afford. On the flip side, Brad also gets a lot of quality time with Amelia on the weekends, when our roles essentially reverse. It’s a good choice, even if it means that time with my husband is limited. Last year when I was on mat leave, though, I was home every evening and weekend could slow down at the end of the day. I could go for a walk or go write at a cafe. I could spend time with my husband and daughter together as a family on weekends, and the whole day was ahead of us. I didn’t have to worry about cramming as many chores as possible into the evenings–and still wake up to a messy house–or the laundry tower on top of the dryer. At least it’s clean. It’s about ten PM, and I’m walking alone outside. The post rainfall has collected in the tall grass and it catches the streetlights, winking at me like fireflies. This is home, even still–all leaf smell and damp, cool air. I learned lessons here. I was bullied here. I also had my first kiss with the boy who would grow to be the man I married here. And, for some reason, here is just where I need to be tonight. I don’t resent her. I miss the forest the most–the freedom to spend more than a day or two breaking from the norm and escaping outside, enveloped by the perfect silence of nature. I have chosen this life, so there’s no point in lamenting. This is what I want. But my priorities and focus can change. Being a toddler-parent is a weird time, so I’ve heard, and I believe it....

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Project updates

Posted by on Aug 29, 2016 in Life in Writing, projects | 0 comments

Hello! Holy smokes. It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Being a stay-at-home mom 4 days of the week and a night-shift waitress for the other 3 has left little time for much else. Except Pokémon GO. I have been trying to pick away at various projects as much as I can. Trying to do this while also doing Normal Adult Things like paying bills and feeding my family has made creative work a bit more slow-going than usual, but here’s an update on how things are going nevertheless! Retail Hell – This is certainly my most successful project to date! I’ve now been working on Retail Hell, my webcomic, for over a year with no end in sight. I’ve seen a huge spike in followers lately–over 300 since the beginning of July–so I feel the project has truly lifted off now. I’ve also switched to digital art. I’m still actively writing a comic a week and may, eventually, do more. I’d certainly like to! Mushroom and Anchovy – This is a trilogy of novels that I wrote many years ago and have pondered on ever since. I’ve never been completely sure of what I should do with them. I’ve decided to compile them into a single three-part novel and crowd fund through Inkshares! This way, I can keep the book as it is–a silly, strange oddity–and distribute it to anyone interested in reading it. I’m not really sure who the target audience is, but if you want to take a look at it, you can read the first chapter for free and without signing up for anything at the link above. At 50 followers, I’m going to begin my crowd funding campaign. Population: 1, Redux – Ahhhhh. Uhhh. Okay, hear me out. So, I’ve reached a level of massive scope creep. I blame Undertale. Pop: 1 was going to have a few endings and just be the absolute bare minimum of what I’d originally wanted. After playing Undertale, I decided I wanted to put more effort in. Now, it’s blown up and has over 15 endings, and I’m not even close to finished. I like to think this will be worth it, but I know about 3 people will actually play the finished product, so I’m just kind of hoping I feel accomplished by the end of it. Maybe. So, I’ve given up on a release date. Population: 1 will be released when it’s released. It will be unnecessarily large, but it will finally be in the form it should have been when I first wrote it. This blog – Well, I’d be lying if I said I was working hard on it. Truth be told, the blog has sadly taken a backburner to everything else going on in my life. I absolutely haven’t given up on writing in it and have a few drafts I’ve been trying to whittle away at. I’ll update when I can! Makeup??? – Having less time for writing has meant I’ve turned my creative endeavours in another direction and I’ve decided to use makeup as an outlet. If you’re curious, take a mosey over to my Instagram account. I’ve been doing themes since I went back to work to keep things fresh on the weekends. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve learned a lot! Patreon – I’ve decided to start up a Patreon account in an attempt to help further my projects along. Anything I make–no matter how small–goes directly to my projects. Hilda Hobbletoes – This project was placed heavily on the backburner and is simmering as a future children’s book. It’s still being thought of, so I hope you can look forward to future updates. Amelia – Of course the reason for my being so busy is because I’m raising an intelligent, engaged little girl! She’s always up to something. Lately she’s started really talking and it seems like she has a new word every day! She’s nearly 20 months old now–over a year and a half–and I’m not really sure where the time is going. A few weeks ago, I was invited...

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December doesn’t belong to you

Posted by on Dec 22, 2015 in Life in Writing, Uncategorized | 2 comments

The amount of people getting genuinely angry over a greeting is growing increasingly confusing to me. I’m talking about the greeting “happy holidays”. “Happy holidays” is a wonderful, all-inclusive greeting that encompasses every holiday being celebrated in December. Lately, though, people have been claiming that “happy holidays” is being used to avoid offending anyone. These same people, then, are getting offended over the avoidance of  “Merry Christmas”. This has gone from an attempt to include others, to the assumption that we are trying not to offend others, to people being offended by trying not to offend others. I can’t be the only one who thinks that progression is silly. The thing is, most people don’t get offended at “Merry Christmas”. People say “happy holidays”, not to avoid offending anyone, but rather to avoid excluding anyone. It is a courtesy. It is meant to curb the violence that is assimilation and erasure–a violence that, for some reason, we feel we are entitled to dole out just because we are in the majority. To add, there is more than one holiday around this time of year. Even if you do celebrate Christmas, the New Year is just a week after. “Happy holidays” collectively says both. Most people celebrate more than one holiday during this time. Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan and many others are also celebrated, and that’s why we get so much time off from work or school–so that everyone gets the opportunity to celebrate the holiday of choice. Christmas is almost always the majority. Saying “happy holidays” to someone doesn’t mean you’re taking away from Christmas, but rather that you’re acknowledging that many people live in our part of the world who may celebrate differently from you. If this seems like a no-brainer, that’s because it should be! Do we really need a reminder that different people celebrate things differently? Take a moment to realize that people are wishing you well when they say “happy holidays”. They are not trying to offend you; they are not trying to avoid offending anyone. They are telling you to enjoy this time of year, sometimes despite the fact they don’t know you well enough to know what holiday, if any, you celebrate. And, by the way, if you feel it’s ridiculous to get offended over someone saying Merry Christmas, then I would counter that it’s equally ridiculous to get offended over someone saying happy holidays. December doesn’t belong to Christians. December doesn’t belong to any one denomination. Canada is not a Christian country, but rather a beautiful cultural mosaic that respects people of all religions and creeds. In fact, there is no one Christian nation; there are merely nations with a Christian majority. So happy holidays to you, no matter which holidays you celebrate or recognize. And if you don’t appreciate my greeting, that’s cool too. I’ll gladly save it for someone who does. Please follow and like...

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The great taboo

Posted by on Oct 9, 2015 in Life in Writing, Uncategorized | 1 comment

I’ve always found our society very strange: the way we dance around topics, the way we condone violence but abhor sexuality, the way our “morals” allow us to unapologetically condemn others based on skin colour and sexual orientation. The way we put a taboo over something that affects 20% of Canadians directly, and all Canadians indirectly. Mental illness is a huge topic. It makes a lot of people uncomfortable, because it’s widely misunderstood. As a society, we don’t talk about mental illness well at all–we call people “crazy” and blame violence on the mentally ill, even though mentally ill people are more likely to be victims than they are to perpetuate violence. There is a seemingly unending list of non-facts and unnecessary fear-mongering. The mentally ill are thrown under the bus time and time again, used as scapegoats to avoid discussing the deeper issues. Some people are willing to speak up, thankfully. That alone can help bring about change. My name is Katie. I have generalized anxiety disorder (also known as GAD) and social anxiety disorder. I also suffer from depression, which, I have been told is directly due to my GAD. My mental illness does not define me, and does not make me a dangerous person. It explains some of my actions and, thankfully, gives me something to fall back on when I don’t understand why my brain is reacting a certain way to a situation. I try not to use it as an excuse, but it’s hard sometimes. Mental Illness Awareness Week is drawing to a close. I urge you, this week and all weeks, to consider that mental illness is a health issue like any other. Try showing some compassion, even if you don’t understand. Let’s work together to end the stigma that looms over mental health and get people the help they need. Mental health is such an incredibly broad topic that I don’t feel I can properly give it the time deserves in a cursory blog post. I felt that, on this week, it would be important to say something, no matter how small. Please follow and like...

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