Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . November 25, 2014

Outside my window . . . the sky is a beautiful blue with a just a smattering of wispy white clouds. My neighbor's sugar maple is bare of its orange leaves. It is 38 degrees.

I am thinking . . . kindness and respect and how they intertwine with one another.

I am thankful . . . for more energy of late, and a kinder spirit toward myself.

In the kitchen . . . we had grilled hamburgers last night. I'm not sure about tonight as I am busy thinking about Thanksgiving food to be prepared in advance.

I am wearing . . . a cotton gown and flannel robe.

I am creating . . . continuing to work on my afghan using this pattern from Attic 24, and a lovely set of DK yarn from Stylecraft. It's coming along quite nicely. Each row has 200 stitches and I've completed 36 rows, so that's 7,200 stitches!

I am going . . . to run errands and handle a stack of items I've been meaning to return to various stores. (No therapy because of the holiday.)

I am wondering . . . last week I was wondering about my sinus headaches. Several people suggested I try the chiropractor. Ahhh, sweet relief! I have been seeing her regularly and have gotten a huge amount of relief. My neck was so tight, even she couldn't budge it. It's loosening up quite nicely, and the headaches are diminishing.

I am reading . . . Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson. I just started it last night and I am totally intrigued. 

I am looking forward to . . . our trip to visit relatives for Thanksgiving. This is my favorite holiday of the year, because it is all about people and gratitude. I think it gets short shrift because corporations have never been able to find a way to commercialize it. But that's just my opinion.

I am hearing . . . the hum of electricity, the wheezing of the dog, and ds getting ready for classes.

Around the house . . . I've been taking the slowly but surely approach, and tackling stacks and jobs one at a time. Pacing myself and using self-talk to remind myself that I don't have to achieve order in one day. (And that I'm not the only person living in this house -- I have help messing it up, but not much help cleaning it up, LOL!)

I am praying . . . that we will all learn to treat one another with kindness and respect regardless of our differences. 

One of my favorite things . . . is helping others find joy. This past Saturday was a Fun Girls' Day and I gifted my besties with an early Christmas present. I saw this book reviewed several months ago and knew it was just what we needed. I had such a good time watching them look through the book and enjoy the imagery. That is what gift giving is all about!

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . errands, cleaning, shopping, returns, baking, salad making, packing, travel, family, fun, and food!

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . .
playing with Perler beads

linking up with The Simple Woman

Saturday, November 22, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Friday, November 21, 2014


Every year it sneaks up on me. Every year I promise myself I'll do a better job. Every year it happens again.

Pre-holiday depression. It's not like it used to be. I can get up and get moving, but there is less order and little joy in the things I'm doing. Then come the recriminations. The negative self-talk. Listing my failures. Berating myself for not being HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY all the time.

This year I caught it a bit earlier. This year I acknowledged it, and called it what it is. This year I said, "I remember who I was when walked into your office all those years ago, and I have come so far. I am so much better." I took credit for the growth and healing of the past years.

Yesterday I wrote about taking care of myself. I made a list and put it out in the blog-o-sphere for a bit of accountability. I can preach it all really well, but putting it into practice can be very difficult. 

This year I noticed much earlier, and I've made a plan. Maybe with a plan I can notice other things this holiday season, and in the noticing find a bit a more joy.

linking up with Five Minute Friday

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year . . .

But is it really? Let's be clear I enjoy the holidays. I especially like Thanksgiving because it's all about being appreciative and grateful for our families, friends, homes, and food. We actually have one day each year set aside to stop and really think about how blessed we are. And there is FABULOUS stuff to eat!

But, but. The holidays bring out a lot of other feelings besides gratitude. A lot of those other feelings are the result of societal expectations, but others are experiential. The commercials tells us to feel one way, but our memories remind us of past holidays and how we felt let down.

I'm attempting to write something with depth and meaning and the reality is I'm depressed. Not as depressed as I was a few days ago, but I know it will be a see-saw from now until after the new year. Because it's hard not to feel bummed when my holidays won't look like the TV commercials, and I'll be reminded of family dissension. Reminded of family I don't interact with (by my own choosing and for my own good), but I miss the idea of a family filled holiday.

I have this little voice in my head that reminds me over and over again that it's all my fault that I don't have a TV family. It's all my fault that I'm not over the top happy for 2 straight months of the year. It's all my fault that I'm tired and headachy, and would rather sleep and watch TV than decorate my house, bake cookies, and shop. So I wind up feeling like the Grinch. And I'm not the Grinch. I'm a basically happy, upbeat person. Yes, parts of the holidays are difficult because they aren't the way I want them to be. But I have family and friends that I share the holidays with -- I am not alone. I have more stuff than I will ever be able to appreciate, let alone use. 

I sat in my therapist's office on Tuesday and felt relief wash over me as tears squeezed from my eyes. She reminded me that PTSD from childhood abuse is one of the most difficult diagnoses to deal with, because these traumatic events happened during my formative years. In my case throughout my formative years. The negative patterns are imprinted on me. It's not that I am unwilling to let go of the past, but rather that it is imprinted on my brain. So, yes, it's going to crop up. There are going to be triggers. Getting over it doesn't mean it didn't happen. Just like getting over the flu doesn't mean you don't remember how sick you felt when you had it. 

I read a quote this morning -- 

“If you believe you deserve nurturing only when you’re extremely upset, you’re like the majority of survivors who feel they have to be totally falling apart before they slow down and take care of themselves. But taking care of yourself should not be confined to times of crisis. Nurturing and taking care of your needs should become a daily habit, not something special to be pulled out in an emergency.” The Courage to Heal Workbook by Laura Davis

and it reminded me to take care of me. So that's what I'm doing. I drinking lots of water, paying attention to what I eat (but not too much!), resting when I'm tired, getting some exercise, doing yoga, seeing the chiropractor, talking with my therapist, and planning some fun things just for me. 

When I dream about the episodes of abuse, it is as if I am reliving them. The key is to remind myself when I awaken that I didn't cause the dreams to come anymore than I caused the abuse to happen. I'm learning to see the return of the dreams as my subconscious telling me to slow down and take care of me. It's not my fault, but I can do some things to help myself.

With those ideas in my head (and in writing) I can enjoy lots of things and people and food this holiday season, hopefully release some those expectations, and just be in the moments to come. 

linking up with Just Write


Write a haiku about what you see out your window.

Warm sun streams through my window
Leaves barely hang on
Blown afar by freezing wind

linking up with Writer's Workshop

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Simple Woman

FOR TODAY . . . November 18, 2014

Outside my window . . . the sky is a brilliant blue. My neighbor's sugar maple is still holding onto a few orange leaves. It is 18 degrees!

I am thinking . . . about this quote my bestie sent me --

I am thankful . . . a warm home and lots of hot tea!

In the kitchen . . . I'm enjoying the return to warming food -- breakfast casserole, hot fruit compote, chili, grits and tomatoes

I am wearing . . . my homemade cotton gown, flannel robe, and a shawl.

I am creating . . . a new afghan, just because! I'm using this pattern from Attic 24, and a lovely set of DK yarn from Stylecraft.

I am going . . . to therapy, then lunch, and home to do home-y things all afternoon.

I am wondering . . . if there is something to be done about my winter sinus headaches. I seem to wake each day with a pounding headache. I run a humidifier, drink lots of water, and follow the allergist's instructions, but I'm still getting daily headaches. Arrrgghh!

I am reading . . . Wicked Autumn (Max Tudor #1) by  G.M. Malliet. I was hoping for another good mystery series, but I'm not really enjoying this one too much. I'll finish it up, but then move on to something else.

I am looking forward to . . . a warming trend toward the end of the week. We don't usually have these kind of temperatures until January or February, so it's been difficult adjusting from 50s and 60s to 20s and 30s.

I am hearing . . . the hum of electricity and the wheezing of the dog. 

Around the house . . . I'm trying to get into a better routine with day to day cleaning. I never would have imagined that after 29 years of marriage, I'd be struggling with finding a good, consistent routine for housework.

I am praying . . . for peaceful holidays for everyone. 

One of my favorite things . . . is colorful yarn. I'm loving this new project because it is all about the color.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . therapy today, yoga class tomorrow, and Bible study on Thursday (if I can get myself there!). The weekend is pretty clear except for shopping for annual Thanksgiving food drive at church. Don't want to forget to fill those bags!

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
today my father in law would have been 82.
Happy birthday, Byron!

and Squeaker turns 15!

linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cheese Grits and Roasted Tomatoes

I haven't posted a recipe in a good long while. Recently I was cleaning out on of those baskets where you throw everything in a fit of cleaning -- what? You don't have those around your house? -- Anyway, at the bottom of the basket was a slightly crumpled page torn from Southern Living (May 2014). I glanced over it, wondering why I'd saved it. Cheese Grits and Roasted Tomatoes. That's why I'd saved it.

I never met a grit I didn't like. Seriously, grits and cheese and cold autumn go together just fine. Of course I didn't have the exact ingredients on hand, but I had enough to make it work just fine.

Roasted Tomatoes

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a pan a 7 x 11 baking dish. Slice 1 lb. (or however many you have) Compari tomatoes in half. Arrange in pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle generously with olive oil. Bake 20-30 minutes, until tender. 

Now these are fabulous just as they are, but wait until you pair them with the cheese grits. Heaven!

Cheese Grits

1/2 cup milk
3 cups water
1 t. salt
2 T. salted butter
1 cup stoneground yellow grits
2 oz. Laughing Cow cheese (I used the light, but any would work)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I use the Mexican blend)
salt and pepper to taste

Bring milk through butter to a boil in a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat. Stir in grits, reduce heat to medium low, and cover pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes or until grits are tender. Fold in both cheeses until melted. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Top with tomatoes and serve.

So yummy! So filling! So comforting!

linking up with Made by You Monday

Saturday, November 15, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Friday, November 14, 2014


It still crops up. Usually when I least expect it. Memory pain. Last night and this morning I had that recurring pain in my leg. I haven't struggled with it in a while, so I immediately began wondering. Trying to figure out a cause. Fussing at myself for hurting again.

It still comes. Pain and memories. I don't seek them out, and sometimes I can't figure out the trigger. And maybe there is no trigger. Maybe it's just part of the reality of surviving the abuse. It becomes a mind race of sorts. Don't let the pain throw me back into old coping mechanisms. Don't start berating myself for things that aren't (never were) my fault.

So I am reminded again of that phrase that my counselor has used and that I have read too many times to count. Be still and sit with the pain. Don't panic. Don't run from it. Accept it. And in my stillness the pain may not subside, but it doesn't increase. Deep breathing. Being still. Accepting. These are all good things. Things I can do. Reminders it is not my fault. Not then and not now.

linking up with Five Minute Friday

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Name . . . Your Faves

3. The meaning of your name…does it suit you?

According to Behind the Name, Melanie means "black, dark". I've known that for years. I also know I was named after Melanie Wilkes, just like the article says. But wait a minute, I've already done this one for Mama Kat. You can read it here.

So let's start again. 

5. Share a list of some of your most recent favorite things.

1. New teas to try. Okay I might have gone a bit overboard on this one.

2. New tea mugs. I really only meant to buy one. But they came in sets of 2 and they were really cute and I had a gift card . . . 

3. I'm still in love with my new/old Hoosier cabinet.

4. This little corner in my office/nook.

5. This new recipe that was super easy and yummy, especially for a cold winter night. I served it with apple/chicken sausages.

linking up with Writer's Workshop

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Just Write

I've been thinking about writing a lot more lately. Between 31 Days of Writing and NaNoWriMo, the idea of writing, being a writer, has been more concrete in my head.

Last night as Alan and I were re-watching Finding Forrester, I was caught by these words:

Why is it the words we write for ourselves are so much
better that the words we write for others.

Followed immediately by this:

No thinking - that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is... to write, not to think!

This resonated deeply with me, because it is truth. When I write from my heart and soul, with the editor muted, the truth is so apparent. The struggle to find the word or phrase that expresses just what I want is cut short, because I don't worry about words or phrasing. I speak from my heart.

Writers are frequently damaged people. We write to clarify what is floating around in our heads. We write for ourselves. I write to clear the fog, to see the truth, to find evidence, to convince myself of reality, and to reclaim my self-esteem. I don't know if those are honorable intentions or not, but that's why I write.

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
― Ana├»s Nin

linking up with Just Write

Late Autumn Flowers

linking up with Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . November 11, 2014

Outside my window . . . the skies are November blue filled with sunshine for now. We are expecting rain later today. My neighbor's sugar maple is still a brilliant orange!

I am thinking . . . writing. And writing. And writing. It's NaNoWriMo!

I am thankful . . . for a wonderful weekend with fun activities, good worship, and time with my family and friends.

In the kitchen . . . we've been cleaning out the fridge and pantry. But we did have the first pot of Ham and Bean Soup with Skillet Cornbread on Sunday night.

I am wearing . . . one of my white cotton gowns and my flannel robe.

I am creating . . . on NaNoWri. I've got over 10,000 words written. Over 1/5th of the way there.

I am going . . . to therapy and then to run a few errands. I saw some Christmas tea and a mug with a hedgehog on it at T.J. Maxx the other day! I have a gift card, so I'm going to gift myself!

I am wondering . . . why I can rarely respond to difficult comments in the moment. It's been one of weaknesses for as long as I can remember. I am learning to listen and not fill compelled to respond in the moment if I don't have the words I need.

I am reading . . . The Walkers of Dembley by M.C. Beaton. Number 3 in the Agatha Raisin mystery series. I think I was in need of mindless fiction reading.

I am looking forward to . . . and enjoying a week with very few extras thrown in. Last week was incredibly busy, so that has made the slower pace of this week all the more pleasant.

I am hearing . . . the hum of electricity and the wheezing of the dog. Ds just got up and turned on his music and the shower.

Around the house . . . dh and I have been discussing small, inexpensive things to do around the house to make it look nicer. It's pleasant to have his help and encouragement in this arena.

I am praying . . . for a friend whose husband is declining physically. Also for my bestie's husband who leaves for Ukraine today. He volunteers with Youthreach International, and is going over to scout some new locations to work with orphans as their previous location is now in the war zone.

One of my favorite things . . . is a day at home! I got that yesterday and it was lovely :)

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . therapy today, a new yoga class tomorrow, and a possible business trip with dh on Thursday. Squeaker (the dachshund/beagle mix) has a check-up at the vet on Friday, and then the weekend is blessedly clear!

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
a little corner of my world

linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, November 10, 2014


I had one of those weekends. No, not the awful ones. This was one of the good ones. No everything wasn't perfect, and my house didn't look as if Martha Stewart were visiting. But that was okay, because my kids were there and everyone was happy and relaxed (and tired), and we all got along.

Let's start at the beginning of the weekend. 

I went with one of my besties to see another bestie in a play that opened Friday night. This had the potential to be unpleasant on one level, because my parents came along. I just never know how interactions with my parents will go, but I knew it was a show they'd be interested in seeing.

LB and I grabbed a quick sandwich and picked my parents up. After getting lost once, we made it to the show and ran into a few people we knew. The show was wonderful, and CCD was fabulous (really the best!). My parents enjoyed the show and apparently enjoyed meeting and greeting afterwards. 

After we dropped them off at their house, LB said, "That's just sad." I had am moment of panic, before she completed her thought -- "They treat you and me exactly the same. It's like we're 2 people they know and they're a nice old couple we took to a play." That's it in a nutshell with my parents, they aren't mean or hateful, they just don't offer any intimacy. Oddly, that was a helpful conversation.

On Saturday morning, LB arrived at my house bright and early to pick me up for Presents with a Purpose. We got our table set up and had plenty of time to chat and crochet while shoppers came and went. We sold quite a bit, raising nice bit of change for Youthreach International. Dh stopped by and bought me a t-shirt from The Well as it was very hot in the store and I was wearing a sweater. 

By the time I got home I had a crushing headache. Dh and ds had gone climbing so I crashed on the sofa after taking some Advil. Later when they came in, dh suggested dinner and movie as we had missed our usual Friday night date night. We went to a local bar/burger joint and had a tasty burger and fries followed by a lovely baked apple dessert with extra ice cream. Although dh would have preferred even more ice cream. We did a bit of shopping between dinner and the movie, getting dh some new pants and socks. (We lead a very exciting life!) Then it was off to Big Hero 6. Yes, it's Disney's latest kid movie, and yes it was wonderful. And no we weren't the only grown-ups sans kids in the theater.

Sunday morning was a good worship service with family communion tables and interesting stories including a Patti Smith story. (The lesson can be heard here). After worship, dh and I stopped by the store for a few items I needed for dinner.

We spent a pleasant afternoon, helping ds with a paper and making soup, banana pudding, and cornbread for dinner. Dd and her roommate showed up and we all sat around eating, telling stories, and laughing. 

I rounded out the evening by watching part of the Green Bay massacre of Chicago (NFL for the disinterested readers). 

It was a good weekend.  A bit busy, but filled with good things and time with some of my favorite people.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Friday, November 7, 2014


To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven
-- The Byrds

I look at where I am today, and I am reminded of the constant ebb and flow of life. I see changes everywhere.

Growth is painful, but necessary. If I'd known then what I know now 
. . . a useless endeavor.

So I'm turning in the direction of my dreams. Dreams too long put on hold. Scared and excited at the same time to be stepping out to take my turn.

As we act in the direction of our dreams, 
we are given strength and courage.
-- Julia Cameron

linking up with Five Minute Friday

Thursday, November 6, 2014

12 Lines

Write a post in just 12 lines --

I've been guided by numbers since October 1st.

October was 31 days of writing and I wrote 34 posts.

November 1st started NaNoWriMo -- write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I've got 5031 words written so far.

Right now I need to write 1799 words a day to finish on time.

I've been timing myself and can usually write 300 to 500 words in 15 minutes if all goes well.

I'm not used to thinking in terms of numbers with my writing. 

I write.

I don't count.

Counting is my husband's job (he's an actuary).

But for right now, I'm counting as I write.

And hoping the words I write will count somehow.

linking up with Writer's Workshop

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Authentic Living

There's a lot of stress in my life right now. 

Some growing pains on the home front. I'm seeing my parents this weekend. A few news items that have triggered some bad stuff and made me angry. And then there is NaNoWriMo. I am determined to carry through. I've chatted with other NaNo writers, my husband, and my therapist about ways to work around and through the triggering the writing is setting off. But I've only written one day, so theoretically I'm behind. I've got 1385 words written and I should have more like 6800! I'm fighting the panic driven need to catch up. 

So I'm trying a new approach today. I'm going to write. No order. No outline. No plan. Free writing (more or less) for set periods of time, and see what happens. No one imagines that after 30 days this is going to publisher ready. It's a rough, rough, rough draft. It's a starting point. 

I'm also considering moving my computer to a different location for NaNo writing. Maybe a change of scenery will encourage me to see this writing as different, and give me a bit more focus.

Meanwhile I'm reading lighter material for rest and relaxation. I've still got a few projects to finish for Presents with a Purpose which is this Saturday. And I'm going to see a play with my parents on Friday night. Lots on my plate. So I'm reminding myself that working at my pace is perfectly acceptable, maybe even appropriate since I am me. No one else can set my pace for me. And I'm stopping at the top of each hour to regroup a bit. Saying the Lord's Prayer to re-center myself and remind me of my true calling.

This authentic living can be a tough act when you haven't been doing it all your life. But more and more I see the beauty and value in it. 

linking up with Just Write


linking up with Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . November 3, 2014

Outside my window . . . the skies are overcast and the trees are dulling out and losing their leaves.

I am thinking . . . about so many things my head may explode!

I am thankful . . . for a day with my bestie yesterday. We talked and cleaned and lunched and crafted. It was a good day.

In the kitchen . . . we had a baking bonanza last week: oatmeal raisin cookies, Pumpkin Lasagna, and apple/craisin dump cake. Ooh, and the yummy beef stew I made with leftover post roast.

I am wearing . . . a tank top, flannel robe, and my turquoise and red shawl.

I am creating . . . more goodies for Presents with a Purpose (November 8th -- The Well). I am also participating in NaNoWriMo.

I am going . . . to vote, pickup a prescription, therapy, run a couple of errands. Then I'll come home and pack lunches for RITI. Do a bit of housework, and then it's dinner with Alan and his pals from the Malaysia trip.

I am wondering . . . about getting through the tough times. Learning to be authentic and compassionate toward others at the same time.

I am reading . . . The Vicious Vet by M.C. Beaton. Number 2 in the Agatha Raisin mystery series. Quite entertaining.

I am looking forward to . . . a play this weekend -- Twain and Shaw Do Lunch 
and then Presents with a Purpose 

I am hearing . . . the hum of electricity and the wheezing of the dog.

Around the house . . . organizing and sorting paper and clutter. I hate the process, but love the results. 

I am praying . . . for my husband as he is over-scheduled right now, and for patience for me to be supportive.

One of my favorite things . . . is reading just for fun. Recently I had fallen into the belief that I had to read only "quality" material, e.g. deep, thought provoking, psychological, historical, or theological. I've returned to my beloved British cozy mysteries, and they are quite relaxing.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . so much to do! All good things, but I've probably overbooked this week -- therapy, RITI lunches, and a dinner tonight. Tomorrow a meeting with a yoga instructor. Thursday is Precepts. Friday is a haircut, dinner with my bestie, and the play with her and my parents. Saturday is Presents with a Purpose, and then back to church on Sunday. I usually more of a hermit than this week will allow!

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
Dopey, one of the 7 Dorks

linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, November 3, 2014

NaNoWriMo and PTSD

Let me start by saying, I promise every post in November will not be about NaNoWriMo, and I doubt I'll be sharing much, if any, of that writing in this space.

I wrote almost 1400 words on Saturday (11/1) and was surprised at how quickly I began to struggle with PTSD symptoms -- shaking hands, racing heart, roiling stomach. It's difficult to want to write things out, but still be so overcome with emotions while doing it. Unfortunately it also makes me question how "healed" I truly am. I think there is still a part of me that believes I will get to the point where talking about it (or writing) will not induce any emotional response -- that is how I will I know I have arrived at healing. Not very realistic. 

So the question becomes "How do I write it out without suffering from it?" I pulled out my journal from the beginning of therapy Saturday night to check some details and dates. As I began to read I was drawn into denigrating myself from that time. I shook it off and reminded myself to think kindly on this person, as I would for anyone else with a traumatic story to share. When I set the pages aside, I realized I had no idea what time or day it was. That is how quickly I fell back into the old coping mechanisms.

I reached out for help. I posted a query on the help thread at NaNoWriMo --

Okay I'm new to this whole thing. I am writing a novel/memoir based on healing from childhood sexual abuse. I REALLY want to do this, but already this morning I'm getting hit with dizziness, upset stomach, and mild panic from just beginning to write about specific episodes.
I have been blogging about this topic for 5 years, and I really want to create something more lasting that will get my story out and hopefully help others.
Here's my question: How do I pace myself and know when to take a break? I know I need to write around 1700 words a day to complete this thing. So do I break it up in smaller timed sessions and just walk away when the timer rings, or do I just keep writing even when the PTSD symptoms start to kick in?
Any insights would be greatly appreciated.
And these are the responses I got --
"Agh, I can't answer your questions.  But I'm suffering from the same thing, although very much milder.  So just wanted to give you a hug."
"My sympathies for your situation.  :'(  
I'm not sure what to offer, but I think the MOST important thing is that your mental health > NaNoWriMo. Maybe you'll be better off writing something like this over a longer period of time so it doesn't inflict too much. Remember, NaNoWriMo is just a self challenge, and if it becomes too distressing to force yourself to do it, you aren't under any obligation to carry on. 
Other than that, take breaks, and make sure you always put yourself as a priority. Maybe, if writing one scene is painful, you could switch to writing a lighter & more positive scene if you still want to make up that word count."
"Normally I'd not message someone in a generalized place like this site, but...  
Considering I just had to take a full dose of xanax (I prefer half) and beta blocker to get a ptsd episode under control by an accidental triggering (got to love random conversation just triggering ya out of no where, hmmm?), I can thoroughly relate to your comment about not knowing if ptsd/bouts would wreck your NaNo efforts.
Of course the good news is I got some caring responses. Comments that validated the same things I had been thinking. Give myself some grace. This is ultimately for my benefit, so I can set whatever rules and guidelines work in my particular case. 
Yesterday I talked with Alan about it, and he used those exact words -- Give yourself grace. He also reminded me that the writing didn't need to be primarily about the episodes of abuse. It's not a recounting of horrors, but rather about how I became who I am in spite of the abuse. He also "gave me permission" to stop and change subjects at any point. There is no need to stay with a particular arc if I need a break, but that doesn't mean I have to stop writing. Just switch gears.
Yesterday I took the day off -- one of the recommendations from other writers. Today I am setting up a way to establish a routine for getting the requisite time in to accomplish this goal. I need about 2 hours a day of writing time to get in my 1700 words a day. What I'm realizing is that for the sections specifically about the abuse, that time will need to be broken up into much smaller portions, maybe 5 to 10 minutes. But that's okay, because it's my story, my method.
I keep coming back to that Anne Lamott quote --

And that keeps me going.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014

I am not a novelist.

I can't write fiction. I love to read fiction, but I can't write it.

Each year the month of November is devoted to writing your novel. The goal is to write 50,000 words in one month. There's a website and Facebook page to keep you motivated. You can log your word count each day. Heck, there are even prizes. 

I've consider doing it for 3 years. THREE YEARS. 

I signed up yesterday after reading their description of "novel" -- We define a novel as “a lengthy work of fiction.” Beyond that, we let you decide whether what you’re writing falls under the heading of “novel.” In short: If you believe you’re writing a novel, we believe you’re writing a novel, too. 

Okay, so basically I can write anything I want and call it a novel for the purposes of this event. 

I did the math. It's close to 1700 words a day. Uhm -- that's a lot of words to all come from my head.

So wish me luck. I'm starting my memoir as a novel this month. I'm changing names to protect the guilty -- for the time being.

I've got 677 words so far.