Turning the Page

I’ve always appreciated the metaphors that incorporate books. Closing the book. The next chapter. Turning the page. The book is always better… you get it. I’ve measured my life by the books I’ve read. I can remember who I was and what period of my life I was at by thinking about the first time I read a given book from my past. So it feels apropos to use this symbolism today. Because today I am turning the page, ending the chapter, closing the book, etc, on a rather long, difficult stage of my journey. And let me tell you it is GLORIOUS.

Today, I am leaving my position at a job that has contributed to the downward spiral of my mental health over the last 18 months. Y’all. Y’all. It’s been hard. I’ve not been okay. And while the job hasn’t been the entire reason, it’s been a large contributor, and I spent 18 months (has it really only been that short a time?) holding on for dear life some days, and circling the emotional drain most others. I stopped writing and posting much because I was just so mother loving tired. And that’s where I’m gonna leave it. Because it benefits nothing and no one to rehash the ugly details over and over, so that’s that on that.

PEACE OUT GIRL SCOUTS

I cannot begin to express how relieved and joy-filled I am that not only am I turning the page on what I’ve already started referring to as the Dark Year, (don’t worry, I ain’t no Blodreina) but I’ll be starting up a new position back in the field of my heart- cartography and geospatial… things. I can breathe again. I can write again. I feel like Rapunzel in Tangled, and I’m breaking out into song, throwing lanterns around like candy. You know the scene.

It’s not going to fix me overnight. And I’m not heading to a dream job on a pedestal, as I’ve done to myself before. But it’s going to give me space to breathe and space to mend and space to pick myself back up and start putting one foot in front of the other again. It’s already giving me the ability to understand who God is to me and how He’s working, and I like feeling more secure in that. And that’s a post for another time.

You’re probably like, “whoa, Cait, this is a really heavy post with a lot of really personal information and now I’m uncomfortable.” That’s cool. But here’s the thing: life’s too short to rug sweep and hide our struggles. So, this is me. This is why I’ve been quiet, and this is what’s been happening. The plan is to keep writing, to keep posting and reviewing, now that the fog has lifted.

One thing you can count on me for sure though: I am a huge advocate for speaking up about mental health and breaking the stigmas around it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting help when your brain needs it- whether its via proper medication and/or counseling. I’m a fan of whatever gets you back to healthy. It’s just as important as keeping the rest of your body healthy, and I’ll shout from this soapbox forever about it.

Next up: Mairin starts 1st Grade. And Jack starts actual preschool. *insert screaming into the void here* And I’ll be back with more on the book I’m writing and the books I’m reading and the adventures we’re having. Meanwhile, picture me as pre-crazy Mel. At least 3 friends from separate friend groups sent me this gif today, and that made me happy to be known so well.

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Review: The Silent Years by Steph Messa

Okay, at the moment, this gorgeous book is still searching for a publishing home (coughLETITHAPPENLORDcough). But I was very privileged and honored to read its early versions, and YOU GUYS. I cannot brag enough about how much the words this woman writes continue to inspire how I view myself and the women all around me.

The Silent Years takes on the misogynistic worldview of Abrahamic religions in a fantasy setting with an incredible cast. Adair battles against the expectations forced upon the women in her society to discover the truth about their gods, and finds her voice with the help of her sisters and friends. Love fights hypocrisy and harsh law to set the record straight and restore a forgotten god to her rightful place among her brothers. Beauty is found in all creation. Courage prevails. Self acceptance and love. Strength in friendship. These are some of the powerful messages engraved throughout this story. The world building is haunting and luscious and ethereal. The characters are relate-able and hilarious and perfect in their flaws.

It is one of my greatest parenting wishes to have a signed hardback copy of this book for my children to read many times over, as I have. Everyone, EVERYONE should be reading this book. TSYaesthetic

Review: You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn

I had the chance to read an early copy of You’d Be Mine, and y’all, I couldn’t put it down. 11/10 recommend this if you’re looking for gorgeous story of love and heartache set amidst the backdrop of today’s Country Music scene.

I have to admit, this story really brought me back to some roots I thought I’d left in the dust, and has definitely inspired a newfound appreciation for country music, both classic and modern (something I honestly never thought would EVER happen). But Annie Mathers and Clay Coolidge sucked me into their chaotic world of summer tours, music label string pulls, and just writing really outstanding, personal, raw songwriting (several original songs written by Hahn that had me in straight up TEARS).

The characters face some personal demons that have the reader rooting for them from page one, and their chemistry as they perform together on summer tour is electrifying. Swoony moments filled with witty banter and passion for their craft. Can’t wait to read anything else Hahn writes because it’s a very talented writer that can make me fall in love with country music!

Paired best with some Johnny and June playing in the background and a big ol’ pitcher of your southern grandma’s sweet tea.YBMaes

Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Listen. I liked the premise. I liked the concepts. I even liked some of the world building. But this book gets such a low rating from me because I honestly don’t know how this book ever made it through publishing in its condition. The first quarter of the book was a snoozefest of info dumping and extremely uninteresting video game history. The video game research Cline had to have done for this must have been extensive, but it does his writing no good to copy and paste. Speaking of writing, the MC was completely robotic (and not in a cool/nerd way), and I just couldn’t connect with him at all. No character development. All of the supporting characters were way more interesting and deserving of a POV.
Once the action picked up, the plot was catching but predictable. I couldn’t put it down through the more thrilling moments. But the ’80’s nostalgia and gaming encyclopedia distracted from the story constantly.

Honestly, this book read as a gratuitous redemption fantasy of a 40-50 year old creeper living in his mom’s basement, living vicariously through a better version of his life. -11/10 do not recommend.RPOaes

Setbacks

Broken frames, broken hands, broken lungs, broken.

Things that seem so easy to others, that were once easy to me are chasms. There is no way across. They spread wide before my feet and all I can do is slump to my knees in defeat.

 

If someone was to look inside this head full of chaotic lines and white noise, they’d face a battlefield of words and ghosts of words, thunder and rain and far off lightning.  They’d duck and sprint through torrents of tears and the fog of pain. If they make it out, they, too, will have lost the words and the ability to run, to jog, to walk, to stand.

 

Senseless, numb, dazed, vacant. Suffocating, shaking, vibrating, overwhelming fear. There is no in-between here.

 

They didn’t tell me about this in school. I didn’t know it was going to be a war from the starting gate, islands of light dotting this ocean of every thought, ever fear, every hope, every dream. Islands to cling to in desperation as the tide pulls at my legs, at my waist, at my neck.

 

Tenuous grips on truths and half truths, washed out by the onslaught of too much. Too much failure. Too much fear. Too much knowledge. Too much noise. Too much. Too much. Too much.

 

Let me float back to the top, let me set my clouded eyes on that horizon they named hope, with a resilience that was never mine. Let me breathe a breath without the water clogging in, let me grasp again at the fickle sand, let me mend.

 

Mend my frame of mind, mend these shaking fingers, mend my half-filled lungs, set me back upright again.

Starting out

Want to get this out of the way, yes?

Don’t mind me, just starting this here blog that will mostly be book reviews and discussions, spilled ink thoughts, random asides, and musings on the writing process. Also probably a bunch of other useless crap, but hey, I can and I will.

Carry on.