There Are Four Days Until NaNoWriMo 2016

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_participant

I suppose the title says enough. There are four days now until November first. As some of you might know, November first, for some, marks the beginning of the years most hectic month, but not because of Christmas shopping and turkey basting. It’s hectic because we get to begin a lot of that and write a novel. If you haven’t already read my first NaNoWriMo post, I encourage you to do so here. I won’t go over survival tips at this time, since I have some of the main ones in the last post. I am here to encourage you.

I didn’t do NaNo the first year I learned of it. I thought my friends were nuts for trying to do such a thing, especially since we were all in high school at the time. I had been writing but everything I wrote was small. Mostly short stories and poems. I didn’t think a high schooler was capable of writing something that long, after all we were still learning the basics, weren’t we? I was mistaken of course, and it wasn’t until the next year that I realized it. As my friends became more and more comfortable with sharing their work, I started to realize that someone so young could still write well regardless of how many classes they took. Writing isn’t about how many classes you have under your belt, nor is it about how official the writing is. What I learned is that to be a writer, you have to write. You can’t wait until you’re ready to write. You have to just do it, and poorly. You write poorly for however long it takes until you learn on your own what your own voice sounds like. Each writer has their own voice, and the words you use only help your voice, but no matter how many fancy words you throw in there, your voice is still your voice. So just write.

I can barely even share my writing with the world, but I’m going to write a novel. I already have a novel written, and two half complete novels. Those were the stories I  gave up on and then proceeded to beat myself up over. What kind of writer gives up on their writing? Truth is, most. In fact, they all might have given up on a story at one time or another. Not all stories are meant to be published, or even finished. There’s nothing wrong with that. I just suggest not giving up on each and every story, there are some that will sweep you away in the blink of an eye and you’ll be along for the journey just as your readers will be. Writing is fun and I encourage you to seek out the thrill of writing a story. It’s addicting too, so before you know it you’ll have plenty of notebooks filled up with different colored inks and quotes wrapped around your wrists and arms. Trust me, that was our thing in high school.

Don’t give up, if you’ve considered participating in a NaNoWriMo season, I strongly suggest you go along with it. The mere curiosity is proof enough that you are ready, otherwise you’d be wondering about cutting out paper snowflakes or which dumplings are best, the poofy light ones that float to the top of the gravy or the ones that are dense and doughy and sink to the bottom. You’re wondering about writing, writing a novel at that, so I say you’re ready. The time doesn’t get more perfect than it is now, with NaNo in just four days. You even have enough time to plan, considering most seasoned WriMo’s don’t even do that much before November first.

Give it a try, I promise you’ll like it.

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The lit candle

I’ve been struggling all day. It was my first (and last) day at a fast food restaurant that I was originally optimistic about. It didn’t take long for the red flags to pile up however. The morning crew wasn’t even ready for me, I had no uniform and they didn’t have one for me, so I ended up in a shed trying to help find one of “the old ones”. And within the first hour, I was ringing by myself with no help when I needed it because the person training me was running between me and the drive thru. There were a few health safety flags that went up (like the cashier touching hash browns with no gloves and the lack of hand washing regulations). I was already stressed, not because it was busy (my previous jobs were far busier) but because I was here for training but was being treated as a regular employee. The big red flags were regarding the breaks, which I was told they don’t offer. Yet there I stood, watching two shift leaders rotate their breaks.

There’s plenty more but I think maybe my point is out there, plain and simple. I’m not cut out for low level food service, at least not poorly  managed food service. My moral compass is a bit too strong and the real thing that tipped me over the edge was the warning that I can’t loiter before or after my shift. Well, apparently ordering a meal and sitting down to eat is loitering because the assistant manager watched me and my boyfriend eat after my shift, and he kept checking the time. This place doesn’t treat you like a valued employee, but more of like someone they own. Nobody had bothered telling me that I can’t have my hair in a pony tail, or braid, but it must be in a bun (which my hair is too fine and thin to keep itself in). Just like I can’t wear light blue nail polish, it must be one of their approved colors. I didn’t get the job to be controlled, but at the very least they should have told me during orientation so that I knew before I walked in and got yelled at.

So I spend the rest of the day dealing with the anxiety of what do I do now? Do I quit or do I push through, ignore the safety and health violations that are so clear, and all of the other red flags? I just cant do that, I’m not the type who can handle seeing an ungloved hand in a strangers food or a floor drain overflowing and nobody doing anything about it. So by the time my dad got home, I was having a bit of an issue deciding, and my boyfriend and I had a heart to heart, and I was pretty emotional. The first thing my dad did was light a candle. He sits down, let’s me vent, then says “Hey, if it doesn’t work then it doesn’t work. That’s okay.” Up to this point I hadn’t realized, but my anxiety was coming from not wanting to disappoint him. I cried. We talked, he shared his experiences with me and I realized that its okay to not be cut out for food service. I want a customer service job. One where my job matters, not one where I have to basically be the slave, doing all of the lobby work while everyone else stands behind the counter just talking.

I felt better, and had pretty much made up my mind that I would quit after my next shift the next day. I got ready for bed knowing I would have to get as much sleep as possible because I had to wake up and eat a big meal. I went to blow out the candle my dad had lit and realized that he might have actually lit it to help calm me. He did, after all, send me a relaxation care package for Christmas one year. I love my dad.

And I love candles. And at the moment that I blew it out I was able to calm down. I use a candle flame (or incense smoke) to meditate, so this isn’t surprising that it would calm me. But its the appreciation for such a small thing that hit me. I’m over here all focused on the heavy things that cause my anxiety to flair, when I’ve got it so good right now. I’m trying to get out of this cycle of anxiety and depression, but I’m eager to change the world now. I know, even if I don’t always remember, that I cannot pour from a cup which is already empty. In order for me (and you) to change this world, we must first fill our cups. Preferably with earl grey, but you can chose a different beverage, or even soup! I have to heal myself first, and allowing my job to cause me so much stress just won’t do. I spent all of yesterday in a panic, putting in applications to places that I either already had or that are now hiring. I searched online for jobs, looked for at home jobs (I was unaware that you could do some of them without a degree) and rode my bike around putting in paper applications to mom and pop shops.

I’m okay. I can calm down now, and I know that I can be happy, despite my current situation.

For anyone who feel hopeless, I recommend taking a second to heal yourself. For me, I am able to look for other work, and I am lucky for that. But for those who don’t have that opportunity, I suggest finding your lit candle. It might be in a warm bath with Epsom salts, or cuddled up on the sofa with your dog. I struggled for so long before I found out hose too heal, and I’m clearly not the best at it. But this is why I encourage you to try. To know your own self worth, because you are beautiful and intelligent and strong. Every person on this Earth is worth it, and every person deserves their shred of peace. I encourage you to search within for that peace because sometimes the outside world is too dark, too cold and too heartless for those who seek happiness. Only then can we all begin to heal this world, and only then can we bring peace to those around us.