My mind is teeming with ideas and I am trying a little something new with this blog soon. You'll be seeing a lot more of me, and that's actually something I can promise this time.
Tonight I am jittery and restless, but also sort of tired. I'm in a strange emotional state that Holly Golightly might call "the mean reds" ("You mean like the blues?" "No. The blues are because you're getting fat, and maybe it's been raining too long. You're just sad, that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid, and you don't know what you're afraid of.") and I have a bunch of stuff on my mind. Overwhelmed with things I need to do, but not actually doing much at the moment. Getting started on grad school applications, for one. Really started, not just doing research. Cleaning my apartment for another - mainly because it seems like a Sisyphean task. I'll push that particular rock up the hill only to have it fall right back down, courtesy of my roommate kicking it, so to speak. There are floors to be swept and mopped and counters and sinks to be scrubbed, trash to be unearthed from behind and beneath furniture, etc. It's not my mess, but I have to do something to make it not so bad to stay in for however long I have to be there. Enough complaining, though. Life is beautiful, too. Some things are very good and there's much to be excited about as well. I have to keep remembering that.
But that mood is what sparked the idea for this particular post. I know a lot of people who have been down and lonely and dragged down by their own serious case of the mean reds. With this in mind, I decided to create a list of things that we could all do to try and combat that mood.
1. Get Creative. For me, I think creative endeavors often help me through emotional speed bumps, but that can really mean so many things. Maybe you have a lot of ingredients to make some yummy comfort food. Get cookin'! Or you have blank CDs to make your friends music mixes. Try making a fun mix of songs about being strong and happy! Make a scrapbook! Start a journal! Cut up an old magazine, gather glue sticks and cardboard and make a huge collage! Clean! Yes, even finding innovative ways to organize your clutter can make you feel better. Listen to an upbeat soundtrack while you work.
2. Jump into something new with careless abandon. Again, I feel like this can mean all sorts of things. What it especially should mean is, GET OUT OF YOUR OWN SPACE AND YOUR OWN HEAD FOR AWHILE. Seriously. A change of scenery can make a lot of difference. Walk somewhere new. Take the long way. Bring that upbeat soundtrack along on your mp3 player. Go to a new place to sit and read or people-watch. Do short-term volunteering or look for a free class, reading or lecture, concert or whatever in your area and go check it out. Go outside and make sidewalk art.
3. Find connection. Even the most introverted among us like the occasional social time and going without it for a long time can sometimes make you feel disconnected and not a part of the world. That's a painful feeling, I know. So here are some ideas: reconnect with an old friend you haven't seen in a long time - invite them out to some place you have been wanting to check out. Or perhaps there is someone you've never really spent any one-on-one time with - from work or school or a friend of a friend - who you would like to get to know better. Invite them out for coffee, a walk or some other low-key outing. If none of this is possible, try virtual friendships. Join an online forum, a Facebook group, a Livejournal community or somewhere you can go to post thoughts on something you care about and find others who you can chat with who may feel the same. Or prove that letter-writing is not dead and find yourself a penpal! Here are some websites that can help:
Facebook group for Penpals, Snailmail, Mailfriends, E-Pals & Postcards
Black & Pink
Or pick up the phone and text/call someone who can make you laugh. Because laughter really is good medicine, if not the best!
4. Take good care of yourself. This seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes, when you're feeling down, you let things like exercise, nutrition, even hygiene fall to the wayside. Eek! No! Just don't do that! Kidding aside, taking a nice bath or shower, eating a good meal, doing even light exercise all can make you feel amazing. Always take your meds - if this is a medical condition, like depression, stay on top of it and be sure to talk to your doctor if there is any change. Take yourself & the way you feel seriously. Be good to you.
5. Don't give in to wallowing or self-pity. Actually, I am aware that a little wallowing can be a good feeling. So go ahead...watch a sad movie, cry your eyeballs out, get it all out of your system. And then breathe and realize that dwelling on something, giving into self-pity and making defeatist statements only prolongs your misery and loneliness, as it can drive people away and drive you deeper into the core of your sadness, where it's harder to climb out. Sometimes, it even leads to self-fulfilling prophecy.
And that's really all the advice I have. I hope it helps someone. I know it's not always easy to lift yourself up. Don't be too hard on yourself.
UP NEXT: I alluded to it before in this post's intro. I will soon be posting newly revised chapters of my second novel, written several years ago during NANOWRIMO, each week on my blog. Here's a brief synopsis:
It's 1985. Dallas is on T.V., Madonna is dominating the airwaves and all Betsy wants is to stop having panic attacks, book a bigger gig for her band and get over her ex, Callie. And then there's Asha, who only wants to go to prom and be happy – which wouldn't be so hard if she could stop living in the shadow of her mother's misdeeds. When these two are thrust together, the connection is instant and surprising – but will their relationship survive their pasts?
The novel originally had the working title We Got The Beat, but I have since decided that Turn To You (also a nod to the 80s band, The Go-Gos) makes a better title. So there you have it. Tune in on Wednesday for the first chapter, and every Wednesday until its conclusion. And be sure to leave me feedback in the comments section! I'd love to hear how others think I could improve the story or what their thoughts are on the characters, their interactions and how well I capture the time period.
You're all wonderful and thank you for reading!