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News and Updates

Self Publish or Traditional?


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I’m nearing the point where I will have to make a decision. Do I self-publish my memoir or should I go the traditional route? I am having a hard time deciding. Here’s why.

My first instinct is to go traditional publishing for a few reasons. First and foremost, respect. Not everyone can get published through a publishing company but anybody can self publish a book, so it would make me feel more like a legitimate writer. As a writer, at least for me, there is constant doubt as to whether or not my writing is any good. Getting published through a publishing company and having a literary agent would make me feel official and I hopefully I would have less doubt.

Next, traditional publishing handles everything…for a price. I don’t know about you but I am not great at marketing. I know what to do, I can picture it all in my head, but when it comes time to follow through, consistently, I have zero interest. I don’t like to bother people. I know exactly how it feels to talk to someone and then they start trying to sell you something. I don’t want to do that to anybody. Of course I want to get paid to write, it’s my dream job, but selling yourself is part of writing, unless I go with traditional publishing.

A publishing company gets paid when your book sells so it is in their best interest to market your book. They will put it on the front of their website, post it on social media, and if you get really lucky, they’ll know somebody that knows somebody and before you know it, you’re talking to Oprah. (Or whomever is her equivalent today). At the very least, they will try to make some money from your book and so there will be effort on their part. However, as stated before, that comes with a pretty heft price, or a percentage of all sales. I don’t know the exact numbers but i’m pretty sure it’s akin to the old record label days when the artist gets like 7% after it’s all said and done.

Which brings me to self publishing.

If I self publish my memoir, I can either sell it through my website and get to keep any profit (minus cost of production and distribution) or I can host it on Amazon or something and get to keep a decent portion of all sales (I think it’s like 35% or something). However, I will have to market myself. *gag*

I hate marketing. I know it’s everywhere and anything I’ve ever purchased is probably influences by some brilliant marketing, but when I think of what it really is, it makes me sick. Marketing is influencing an audience to purchase a product. What does that really mean? Influencing is a fancy way to say manipulating, and audience is a way to generalize (or “other”) individual people. Marketing is manipulating people, and because we live in a capitalist society, it’s supposed to be ingrained in us that its okay. Really, what other way is there to make enough money to survive?

However, I can’t seem to do it when I try. You have to be consistent, selling yourself every single day, every chance you get, if you want to turn a profit. We do it with “likes” on social media, or even to get traffic (views) to my website. The ONLY reason that this website doesn’t have a larger following is because I suck at marketing. If I were to let everything go and really push this site, people would visit it daily and tell their friends about it and it would grow. And if I could do that, then self publishing would make sense because I would be able to cut out the middle man and sell my own book.

The possibility that I could some day do this is what prevents me from reaching out to a literary agent. Let’s face it, digital is the future and traditional publishing is a dying breed. Just like record labels, and cable TV, everything is going online.

I want two things from my memoir (and my writing in general)

I want it to be the best it can be. I want people to want to read it because they connect to my writing and enjoy the escape. I want people to look forward to my next book or my next article or whatever.

I also want to be able to not work a regular job and live off my writing. I don’t want to write things that I don’t want to write though, like working as a freelance writer, taking whatever writing job I can get to get by. I’d rather cut my dick off.

So I sit, still wondering what path to chose. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I need guidance from someone who has done it before. Thank you for reading.

News and Updates

70,000 Words!


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Today I have reached a major milestone in my memoir. I have written 70,000 words. That’s about 230 pages, and I can’t even believe it! Technically, it is enough to call this a novel, but I’m not finished yet. I still have more to say. However, I will be done with this in 2019 and will be shopping it around to agents and publishers!

The best advice I’ve ever received about writing is to write in the morning! I write first thing when I wake up and over the past four months I have written more words than I ever have in my entire life! (maybe not combined, but total for one project).

Thank you so much to those who have been reading and giving me advice. Thank you to those that have been encouraging me to keep writing. Thank you to those that bet I would have given up by now, you’re my favorite! Thank you to myself for getting up, day after day, and writing, regardless of the stress that’s been lingering!

That is all, thank you for reading this, and I will keep you posted when I reach the next mile stone!

 

Motivation, Musings, News and Updates

New Year’s Resolution


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This year I am going to finish my memoir and hopefully get it published!

I also want to get more viewers to my site, especially participants that will submit writing to me for my “What’s Your Story?” section.

Most importantly, I want to be happy and as stress free as possible. I put in some serious work in 2018 to lower my stress and I made it a good portion of the year being happy, but the last month started taking its toll on me and I can feel myself slipping backwards. I am fully aware of it and doing what I can to prevent myself from taking too many steps back. Sometimes a step back is necessary to move ahead, so I’m going to chalk it up to that and keep it moving.

Writing has been my outlet that has saved me from breaking. I always feel better, calmer, lighter, after writing. It feels so good to put my laptop screen down, signifying that I’m done for the moment, and knowing that I am one step closer to finishing this book. I can’t express the joy I feel in being proud of myself. It isn’t a feeling I’m familiar with. I’ve always downplayed my achievements because they weren’t things I cared about, just what I thought I should do. Writing this book is something I care about, and every day that I write, I still can’t believe that I’m actually doing it. If I can, anyone can, a tired cliche that I loathe myself for saying, but (again at the risk of sounding cliche) it is true. Ask anyone who knows me personally and they’ll tell you, I had the potential, but not the drive. But here I am, new year, 52,000 words deep in this memoir. I can’t be stopped and I can’t wait for you all to read it when it is done!

Happy New Year!

2019’s mantra is “Keep it light, Dutch. Keep it light.”

Motivation, News and Updates

The First Draft is Done


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Today is a very special day. I have finished my first draft of my memoir. It is just a skeletal outline of the whole story, but it give me a framework to work with. I have just over 50,000 words and 157 pages.

I have been taking notes along the way and already have at least another 30,000 words to add. So, I am a little ways away from being completely done, and like my professor told me in college, “When it comes to writing, nothing is ever done, just due.”

I can’t even begin to express how happy I feel about this. I never thought that I would actually do it. I have been talking about writing this memoir for a decade but didn’t sit down to do the important part…writing.

The only thing that kick started it was my final project for my master’s degree. I didn’t want to write a thesis paper, so I asked if I could do something more creative. They green lit the idea to write a sample of my memoir, then a 10 page paper “justifying” it. I had an adviser, Askold, that guided me through the process and read my work along the way, but most importantly, he gave me deadlines to adhere to.

After I finished the requirement for the project, I passed it in and received my passing grade, only to tuck away the memoir and not look at it again for almost a year.

I made a promise to myself that since I spent my twenties focusing on physical growth (I was skinny growing up so I hit the gym and kitchen hard), I would spend my thirties on intellectual growth. That meant more reading and writing. I wasn’t keeping that promise to myself until a few months ago when I read this quote that said, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who can not.” That hit me hard for some reason.

I made a new morning routine that I still stick to. I wake up early everyday, and the first thing I do is make coffee and sit down at my computer and work on my memoir. I don’t have a word count that I must hit, but I average about 1000 words daily. Then, I read 25 pages of a book. Then, I write a blog post. That’s the routine and it has changed my world!

50,000 words, four 300-500 page books read in a just a few months. I can’t wait to see where I am in a few more.

News and Updates

100 Pages


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I have officially passed the 100 page mark for my memoir. I never would have dreamed that I would find the discipline to sit down and write this book. I had the idea nearly a decade ago, and I wrote a few pages here and there, but I have made it my goal to sit down and finish this project once and for all!

I am thankful to my friends that have been helping me along with encouragement and feedback. I can’t even describe in words how much it means to me.

The more I write, the more I believe I am a writer. I have fallen back in love with my passion and I hope you all enjoy it when it is finished!

100 pages and counting!

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News and Updates

10,000 Words


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Today is a very special day for me. I have reached 10,000 words of my memoir. It was my first goal, and milestone when writing this book. I feel like I have accomplished a great task and even though I have tens of thousands of words left to write, I am proud.

Like a house is built one brick at a time, a book is written one word at a time. Just keep writing!

 

Motivation, News and Updates

Black Friday Update


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Let me begin by saying that it was stupid of me to attempt a new diet two days before Thanksgiving. Especially a Keto diet considering Thanksgiving is the carbiest holiday of the year! I’m not giving up, but I definitely chose to enjoy myself on Thursday.

With that being said, I want to remind those who are struggling with bringing new, good habits into their life that there will be days that are set backs. Don’t let that turn into giving up! I had two successful days of Keto, then I carbed up. Does that mean those two days are worthless? No. Even though I have to start over, I learned alot from those days. First, I learned that I can do go a whole day with minimal carbs. Second, I learned what meals to eat. So now, it will be much easier to attempt it again! Don’t let a set back ruin your motivation. You still learn with every attempt. I know people that attempted to quit smoking, 5-6 times before they actually succeeded! The goal was still reached, and they are living a much healthier life now. You just have to keep at it. What is the old saying? “If at first you don’t succeed. Destroy all evidence that you tried.” Just kidding. “Get your ass back in gear and try again!”

I think it is important to admit your failures. Especially when you’re like me and bragging all over the internet that you’re accomplishing your goals. You never now who is reading, or listening, and taking your words to heart. The problem begins when someone is influenced by you, but they reach a set back, and when they compare themselves to you, Mr. “Never fails” then they think they just aren’t capable of being better. I’m here to say, I’ve failed my way to success, every time. There are always set backs. I don’t feel bad about them anymore. I used to, but now I know that they are part of the process. Water beats stone every time in the long game.

erosion

After indulging in some delicious food, my wife and I decided to go to bed early to wake up and go out shopping. We didn’t have anything in mind that warranted being out at midnight, so we got up at 6 and headed to the stores after the mobs have left. It was slow at first, not really finding anything great, but after 8 hours of shopping, we made out pretty good. We got our daughter some stuff that she wanted for Christmas, and we got our puppy some bones and a few hoodies. He’s a little guy and it gets mighty cold in Massachusetts.

I took the day off from posting, but I’m back at it again today. Perhaps the break was necessary because this very morning, I finally figured out the plot of my book! I’ve been writing a fiction story for a few months now. I have written 50-60 pages, most of which is being thrown out, but it led me to where I am now. I have far fewer pages, but they’re good pages and I’ve got the plot now so it is going to zoom from here! I’m so excited. I used to write all the time in the past but when I reached a road block that would demand me starting over, or throwing out most of my work, I’d give up on the story entirely and start a new one. I thought that If I didn’t write it perfectly on the first go, then it wasn’t a good story. How dumb was I right? Now I know, writing is rewriting. A college professor changed my world when she said, “Nothing is ever done, only due.”

I just wanted to share what is going on with me, with you. I’m just so excited to announce that my book finally has direction and I can’t wait to get back to writing it! Have a wonderful day!

 

News and Updates

When Plan Z Fails


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January 1st, 2011

It was a night to remember. I had spent New Years Even with my new wife and beautiful daughter. We drank champagne, sparkling cider for the little one, and ate junk food, while we watched the ball drop on TV to count down the new year.

3…2….1.. Happy New Year!

We cheered and raised our glasses, smiling, laughing, and sharing our resolutions. I had just been promoted recently to an E3 in the Navy, which I couldn’t believe seeing as though I had just been promoted to E2 two months prior, after graduating from boot camp. My Navy career was off to a great start, and I couldn’t have been happier.

Let me go back a little bit. I never planned on joining the military, in fact, I was dead set against it. I was going to be a big rap star. That was plan A. I always joked and said, “Joining the military would be my plan Z.”

After a failed attempt at a rap career. After the 3 years of being homeless. After the drug overdose, I decided that maybe plan Z was looking like a good idea. I was living in California, if you could call it living, and I called my dad up and told him that I wanted to join the Navy, and asked if I could stay with him until I left for boot camp. He agreed so long as I was serious.

It took a year to get in. The military was flooded with people, and were actually looking to downsize. During that year, I was spending all of my time working at Walgreens, and seeing my girlfriend and her daughter. The day finally came that I left for boot camp, in July of 2010. I came home in October and proposed to my lady.

engaged

We went out to a fancy engagement dinner

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We got married in December. I was a whole new man. I gained some weight and muscle back. The Navy dentists fixed my teeth. I got a hair cut and clean shave. I got my confidence back, and I was dead set on being a squared away sailor, possibly for life.

My phone vibrated, I never had the sound on, and it was Mark. He called to say that he was outside. I checked the time. 3:00 AM. I had dozed off for a few hours while waiting to be picked up. I kissed my wife goodbye and left.

Mark and I were in the same duty section. Our base in Connecticut was on whats called “Christmas stand down,” and we were allowed to take 1 week of leave, either the week before Christmas, where we’d have to return to base on Christmas day, or the week after Christmas, having to return by New Years day. Mark and I both got the second week off, and he had a car on base, and happened to be from Massachusetts as well, so was kind enough to give me a ride to see my family and bring me back to base.

When I got in the car, he had the windows open, and was pounding back an energy drink. I told him that I was exhausted and going to sleep, but to wake me up if he needed me to take over. We pulled away from the house, and once we hit the main street, he turned the music back on and blared some high energy, rock n roll. I have no idea how I managed to fall asleep.

I woke when the windshield shattered, and the second I opened my eyes, I felt a quick sting in my right eye, and then blackness. A piece of the glass cut my cornea. I had no time to think about that. My immediate instincts said to get out of the car. I heard Mark grunting in agony, trying hard not to scream. I tried to open the door. It wouldn’t budge. The windows were still open, so I jumped out of my window and ran over to Mark’s side and helped him get out of his. We moved quickly through the snow towards the road. It was pitch black, not a street light in sight.

Once we were far enough away from the car, Mark collapsed. He had shattered both of his feet. I’m amazed that he was able to walk on them at all before that. Adrenaline is one helluva drug. He realized the pain suddenly and the screams began getting louder. I had my cellphone in the pocket of my pea coat, Navy issued, and called 911.

“911 what’s your emergency?”
“We need an ambulance, we were just in a car accident.”
“How many people are with you?”
“Just me and my friend. Just two.”
“Was there any other cars involved in the accident?”
“No, we hit a tree.”
“Where is your location?”
“I…I don’t know.” I began to look around for any indication of where we were. “I can’t see any signs. It’s pitch black. We were coming from Massachusetts towards Connecticut. I… Mark.. Do you know where we are?” He was screaming and couldn’t hear me. “Mark!”
“Sir… Sir” The woman on the phone tried to get my attention.
“I don’t know where we are.”
“Sir, we have you on GPS, an ambulance is on the way.”

After we hung up, I ran over to Mark, and I crouched near him. I didn’t know what his injuries were so I just kept telling him to stay awake and keep his eyes closed. He apologized over and over. I kept telling him it was okay, and I repeatedly said that I can’t see out of my right eye. We spoke in circles between repeating our injuries and apologizing until the ambulance arrived. The moment I saw the flashing lights, I collapsed in the snow and just laid there. They took us on two stretchers. I can’t remember if we were in the same ambulance or if there were two. I just remember flashes from that point. They spoke some medical jargon, while asking me questions. They took out scissors and began to cut my pea coat.
“No, I can take it off.”
“Sir, we need you to sit still.”
“No, this is part of my uniform, it’s expensive.”
“Sir, they’ll give you another one.”
“No they won’t. It’s expensive.”
They cut it off anyway. They also cut off my clothes.

I saw Mark only for a brief second when we arrived at the hospital in Rhode Island. They carted him off in one direction and me in another. I was in some sort of lobby area, when a nurse approached me and asked if there was anyone they should call. I, for the first time, got to say,
“Call my wife.”

I quickly realized how panicked she would be if the nurse called her and left a message saying that I was in an accident and in the hospital so I asked if I could be the one to speak with her. I left a message, saying I didn’t make it back to base, and that I’m in the hospital in Rhode Island but that I’m alright.

I remember waking up in the hospital bed, in a room, feeling exhausted but the drugs kept the pain at bay. My wife showed up, it was an hour drive, and she looked shocked to see me in such a vulnerable state. My dad showed up shortly after too.

The doctors said that I had a concussion, a fractured sternum, and a corneal abrasion. A few months of medicated drops in my eye and my vision returned. Mark wasn’t as lucky. He spent several days in the hospital getting his feet operated on. It took months to recover enough to return to duty. He eventually got back on track, and as far as I know he’d still in the Navy.

I appeared alright sooner, but as I went back to work, I had pains in my back. I couldn’t stand or sit for too long without being in unbearable back pain. I couldn’t pass my fitness tests. I looked fine on the surface, but my lower back was definitely not. It took many tests and attempts, but due to my injury and the fact that the Navy was looking to downsize, they decided that I was no longer worth the investment, and they let me go. I received an honorable discharge, and my GI bill. They thanked me for my service and that was it. Plan Z failed.

I didn’t know what to do. I decided to roll into college, not for the education, but because the GI bill would pay my rent so long as I was a full time student. So, two weeks a civilian, and I was taking a full course load while reexamining my life and direction. It took a long time to figure out what I would do next. Years of classes and degrees and I finally decided that I would take the firefighters exam.

I know what you’re thinking. “How could you be a firefighter but not a sailor? What about your back?”

You are correct for thinking that. My back is still in pain, though over the years I’ve managed to find ways to bring it down. So long as I stay light weight (I was power lifting in the military and got myself up to 205 lbs. I’m 160 now) and stay flexible. I stretch daily, and I keep my core strong. So long as I eat good and avoid foods that cause inflammation. My back pain is manageable. I’ve completely changed my life, mostly for the better, although when I slack and eat too much junk or miss too much exercise, my back reminds me that I’m not as healthy as I think sometimes. The doctors said that I will probably have worse pain in my 50’s and 60’s so I’m trying to get in the fire department. Kick ass for as long as I can, and get a decent pension.

I took the test this past March, the physical exam in the summer, and I am currently in the waiting part of the process for a job opening. Wish me luck!

You never know where life will take you and how your whole future can change in the matter of seconds. How one car ride can decide your fate.

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Musings, News and Updates

I Tried “No Poo” for 2 Months, Here’s why I stopped.


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For those that don’t know, “No Poo” is a method of not using shampoo in your hair. I am an adult and that sounds silly so I wrote it in the title to get your attention, but I will be referring to it as “shampoo” from here on.

A few months ago, I was surfing the web, as I often do, and ended up going down a rabbit hole of nonsense. Somehow, I ended up on an article that was praising the movement of not using shampoo anymore. It was actually convincing because it stated that other animals produce natural oils to keep their hair clean and smooth, and that we do too, but using shampoo removes those oils and then we need conditioner to put it back in.

I have always used both shampoo and conditioner and never really considered why. Another rabbit hole ensued.

I read some articles that stated people aren’t supposed to wash their hair every day. It used to be that we were recommended to wash it once a month. Then, after the creation of mass produced shampoos, that number changed to once every two weeks, and then eventually, daily. As with everything else, it became about profit profit profit. I tend to be susceptible to claims that “It’s all a rues to get more money!”

So I thought, “This is bullshit, they are making a profit off of my beautiful hair?! Hell No!”

I decided to stop using shampoo AND conditioner.

Just like everyone else’s story that I read, or watched on YouTube, the first week was rough. My hair didn’t know what to do with itself. It was oily and felt like I had gel or glue in it. It actually held in place like I had product in it, which was kind of cool for a while because I normally would style my hair with products and now I didn’t have to.

I enjoyed not using shampoo in my hair, for the most part. I think my hair looks and feels great! I would just shower every few days and use just water to wash my hair, scritching my scalp with my fingernails, and then massaging it with my fingertips. However, after a few weeks, I began to have severe dandruff.

I read that it would be part of the “healing” process, while your hair re-balanced itself. So, I decided to wait it out. Another week and some change and it was only getting worse. So I looked into alternative methods. I got some of that apple cider vinegar and mixed it with a little water and boy does that stuff smell terrible. I  showered and used it in my hair a few times, but the dandruff just wouldn’t go away.

This bothered me mostly because I enjoy the thought of being all natural and truly human. I liked how my hair looked and felt without using any products, but I just couldn’t stand the dandruff. So, after two months, I caved.

What I did though, was spend a little extra money on some high quality shampoo and conditioner. I got No Parabens, all natural, top o’ the line products.

That first shower reusing shampoo was A-MAZING! I didn’t want to get out of it. I took my time massaging my scalp and scratched all of the itchy, dry parts with my nails. My conditioner smells fantastic and I put some in my hair and let it marinate for 5-10 minutes before gently washing it out. A few showers later and I am back to being dandruff free!

I no longer use shampoo with each shower, that is what I’ve taken away from this, and I paid attention to the quality of product that I am putting into my hair. I am currently growing my hair out and right now it looks and feels awesome!

I am pro “No Shampoo” but I recommend finding a way to counter-act the dandruff, and if you figure out something better than the apple cider vinegar, because that stuff is smelly ass in a bottle, please let me know and perhaps i’ll give it another go!

 

Motivation, Musings, News and Updates

I am a Writer


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I finally figured it out.

It has been 31 years that I’ve been on this earth, and I have been writing for most of them. The moment I could put words into sentences, I wrote my first short story. Of course, back then I thought they were long stories, being around 5 hand-written pages.

I can’t remember when it stopped being fun. I don’t think it ever did. What I do know is that when I was writing those stories, I didn’t think about anything else other than writing them. Once I reached middle school, I became painfully aware of what other people thought of me. I only thought about what I should write that would make them like it, or me.

The crazy thing is, I have never received a negative comment about my writing, from anyone. That’s mostly because I never shared it with anyone that wasn’t my inner circle of friends. I wrote stories that were a bit longer, but I couldn’t seem to finish them. I would get an idea for a new story and then start all over.

What was really happening was that I would get to a point in the story that would demand a revision. I’d find a hole in the plot, or a character flaw, and once I reached that point, I began to criticize my writing as if I were someone else. “This is what they’d think” is the frame of mind I would be in. I would rip the story apart verbally, then literally, eventually turning the anger inward and telling myself how terrible I was. I spoke on behalf of everyone I knew, and even those I didn’t, as if I had just read my pages aloud in the school auditorium and was met with boos and insults.

Starting a story feels great. The idea is fresh, and you haven’t had the time to develop it much, which means you haven’t had time to find its flaws. I love thinking of the opening line. “What can I write that would make people want to read the 2nd sentence?” It might be my favorite part. So I lived in the constant state of blissful creativity to a slow decline, ending at malicious self-hatred and doubt.

This cycle continued for years. I just turned 31 and it was only recently, like a few weeks ago, that I finally figured it out.

Now, for those who know me, you probably know that I spent most of my teens, up until my late twenties writing rap lyrics. The short version is that, besides writing stories, I love poetry. I began writing poetry and stories around the same time. However, poems are shorter, which means that I can write them while still in the creative bliss state. I’ve definitely turned negative on some of my poems, but I have boxes, like BOXES full of ones that made it.

Around high school, 2001, I was going through puberty, and poetry wasn’t considered manly. As boys, our biggest insult we could deliver to each other was the suggestion that we were gay. Poetry…gay. It’s so dumb, but we were kids, and we were dumb. For some reason, if you take that same poem, and put it to a hip hop beat, now it was rap, and rap was suuuuuppper cool. Thus, I became a rapper.

My rap journey could be an entire 3 book series in itself, but for this post, just know that it was some of the most fun I have ever had in my life.

Towards the end of my rap “career,” I was making music with my friends, as usual, but something was different. When I used to make songs, my friends would make a big deal about it. They were impressed with my lyrics and my ability to string syllables together. For some reason, perhaps they weren’t impressed, or perhaps they were just used to it from me, I don’t know, but for some reason, the compliments stopped.

Then, I began hearing my first ever, believe it or not, after a decade of rapping, I received my first negative critique. It came in rapid fire succession, by the people I valued most. My producer, my friends, even my wife.

“Just rap, don’t sing.”
“You sound the same on every song.”
“You sound different on every song, you need a unique style.”
“Try switching genres.”
“You’re too political, nobody wants to get lectured on a track.”
“It’s cool, but you aren’t saying anything of substance.”

The list goes on. Suddenly, everyone was a critic. The compliments stopped and everybody wanted to put their two cents in. I know they didn’t mean any harm, but it got in my head. I doubted my ability to create. It was like reaching that point in the story where I had to revise, and the flaws in my plot made me hate myself. I hated myself.

I made excuses, I blamed others, I created obstacles to prevent me from making music. Eventually, I just stopped writing altogether. I haven’t written a lyric in years. I fell into a deep depression.

I managed to keep myself afloat by working out. A good workout is like a quick pick-me-up. It suddenly made the weight of the world bearable enough to put a smile on and go to work/school.

I felt like a failure in music, a failure as writer (having never been published), and a failure at life. I have done things that others would consider an accomplishment, for example, I went to school (for English composition, masochist? Or cathartic?) and achieved a master’s degree. I remember talking to Penelope about it and I told her, “I feel like I settled for a master’s degree.” I didn’t realize how ridiculous that statement sounded, but she told me I should definitely write that down. I felt like I settled because it wasn’t my intended goal in life. I wanted to be a big time rapper, and so every day that I went to school and not the studio felt like I was giving up on my dream.

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a video from Dr. Bruce Lipton. It was about the movie “The Matrix,” which I love, and how it is more real than we think. Not the actual events, but the idea that we live in a world that we create with our minds. I recommend going to watch them, as they are too long to summarize accurately here, but he gave some tips on how to retrain the brain. Basically, I have a brain that is programmed for self-sabotage and self-defeat. My mother has the same mentality, and I learned it from her. It isn’t her fault, she had a tougher childhood than mine, but through no fault of anyone’s, I have this type of mind set. I could write forever about this idea and its link to impoverish neighborhoods, but perhaps in another post.

I tried some of the techniques that I had just learned and I can’t believe it, but it works! One of them, as silly as it sounds, is while you are laying in bed, about to fall asleep, your brain is dropping into a lower frequency, Theta waves, and that is like being in a hypnotic state. During this state, when you are feeling yourself about to drift off, but are still conscious, just start thinking, “I am happy.” while picturing yourself being happy. I did this, and the following morning, I woke up in a great mood. Maybe it is the placebo effect, maybe not, I don’t know but I have been doing it every night since, and so far, I have been feeling great!

Feeling great about myself is new. I have always been full of self-loathing and have many times looked in the mirror, saying aloud, “You’re worthless” or “You’re ugly” or “stupid” etc. I have never liked me. The past few weeks, I actually do. It is an incredible feeling. What’s crazier is, I have been writing again, every day. I enjoy writing by hand, and so I bought a nice fountain pen, and I have been writing a fiction story. I have 26 hand-written pages so far, and I already have reached that point of finding plot holes. This time, I just wrote down some notes on a separate sheet of paper, and kept writing. I look forward to waking up at 530 in the morning to write. I write a few pages, no pressure, and then I read. I haven’t read a book for pleasure in god knows how long. So I decided, I’m going to add blogging to my morning routine. I don’t care what about, or who reads it or doesn’t. Not anymore. I cared so much that I gave up on it when I didn’t get praise. Now, I don’t need it.  I don’t need anyone else’s validation.

I write, therefore, I am a writer.