Category: Life


#MeToo

I nearly didn’t post that hash tag for a number of reasons but not because it wasn’t me. Mostly, or in a large part I would say it was because these days my version of calling you out is to dish what is thrown at me, right back at the person who dished it. You want to comment about my tits I will comment about your dick, or agree with you about how great they are and clearly let you know that they aren’t yours to play with and never will be, you get the idea. If you dish it out you’d better not whinge when I pitch it back. I do this because , at least in my mind, it levels the playing field and lets you know your words have no power over me. I will not as a general rule ignore it, I will not be quiet and let it ride with no rebuttal.

I want to break this down a little. I wasn’t a popular kid. I was teased a lot. I never really thought of it as bullying, but that’s what it was. In those days it was almost always verbal amongst girls or when you were a girl, things have changed a lot as far as that goes. As a result of that teasing I developed a coping mechanism – words. Often bigger words and smarter sentences so I could laugh to myself when the bullies responses missed the mark.

When I was younger the teasing was pretty universal, girls were as bad as the boys. As I got older girls/women somehow recognised their words had little effect or simply decided I wasn’t worth the effort. Boys/men seemed somewhat more oblivious or entitled. Even when I was married and watching my hubby at a gig, guys would approach me and ignore my words of ‘leave me alone’ and ‘I’m not interested’. One night I had to go as far as to tell the pest quite clearly that if he didn’t leave me alone I’d have the bouncers throw him out. His response was something along the lines of ‘bitch!’. I didn’t care about the insult, I owned it because I got what I wanted, to be left alone. The point is though that I shouldn’t have had to do that.

Here are just a few highlights of how this has affected me, it is by no means a complete or comprehensive list.

I was at work once when a co-worker put his hands on me, even after I told him I was happily married and not interested. I pushed him away and told him if he did it again I’d lay him out, or words to that effect, and I spent the rest of my shift making sure I was never alone with him. Again something I shouldn’t have had to do.

Working close in a bar one night, and a male patron tells a very heavily pregnant me, that he’d show me his dick if I let him get another drink. I’ve always wondered what the bouncer saw on my face that night because that patron was rushed out of the bar so quickly I don’t think he understood what was going on. A comment like that should never be acceptable.

Again working in a bar a young guy thought stalking me would be a fun idea. Nothing I said made a difference. What did make the difference was one of the men I worked with. He took him outside one night and five minutes later bought my stalker back in crying, to apologise to me. I never had another problem with that particular person.

As a little positive note, thank you for those men who have stood with me, or got out in front of me.

This kind of thing has been in my life from a very young age. I was incredibly fortunate, my mother paid attention. An off handed comment from me at about the age of 6 led my mother to believe my best friends brother had been inappropriate and she refused to allow me to be over at their place unsupervised. Personally I have no recollection of this but my mother certainly did.

When I started dating my now husband, his ‘best friend’ said to me ‘I won’t take you away from him’, like I was some object to be stolen without a will or a thought of my own. My response in this instance was to inform him I was in no way interested in him and if he tried I’d chew him up and spit him out before breakfast. What gave him the right. (As a little side note I believe I made him cry on possibly more than one occasion because of things he said or did.)

Harassment takes many forms and to my mind bullying and harassment has gotten so much worse since I was a kid. The things my eldest daughter has been subjected to make me so mad and so angry. Sexual harassment has been added into this. The things that some of the boys at school have said and done have meant I have told her that I will stand beside her all the way should she have to use physical means to defend herself or someone else. No it’s not ideal but I will not have her believing she has to sit back and take this crap.

My girls and I all do self-defence, the sheer number of women’s self-defence classes should let us know just how wide this problem stretches. I’ve even gone as far to walk my girls through certain senarios because I’m that concerned about this. My children should not have to know what to do in the event someone tries to attack or rape them. They shouldn’t come home and ask what to do when a boy touches them or makes a sexual comment to them.

I realise there are those who still hold onto the victim blaming culture. I can tell you that there have been times I’ve dressed to accentuate my assests, I do occasionally like to look good but that doesn’t equate to permission. When I was young I dressed that way because as a bullied and somewhat fractured young woman I was simultaneously wanting approval, and society taught me approval comes from sexual appreciation, whilst trying to wrest control of that from the men and boys, to put myself in the driver’s seat. It was to my mind, a variation of the word wall I spoke about in the beginning, it was a way of changing the balance of control.

We build the defences we can and we push a great majority of these things aside and just get on with life. We do this because hitting your head against a wall of those telling you it’s nothing, it doesn’t matter, or to just get over it, gets tiring, not to mention headache inducing. The point though is we shouldn’t have to.

I find it incredibly sad that it has taken the fall of a celebrity to give this movement so much power but by goodness we need to use this momentum while we can to affect the changes we are so desperately in need of. It starts in our homes, work places and schools. It starts across genders. It starts with women not sniping at each other and to stand united. It takes men to understand that, for every time you didn’t believe, didn’t step up for a woman in the multitude of situations you’ve seen, didn’t help when they asked, or dismissed their concerns, that it did damage.

I consider myself a strong woman who certainly knows how to fight her own battles. You know what though? It is tiring. There have been times I’ve wished I simply didn’t have to stand up to a guy whilst other men stood around enjoying the show or ignoring it completely.

We need to come together, the good, the light that is in humanity, I have to believe we can put our egos aside and stand, arm in arm, in the face of inequality (subtle harassment) and the more blatant extremes – words, actions, and all the variations in between, and stare it down. To say NO MORE. That behaviour is no longer acceptable.

United things can be changed, not the past but we can learn.

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Why Conventions?

It is just past that time of year again and I have just volunteered for two weekends of convention work. I get asked all the time if I get paid to do these. The answer is in the word volunteer. A volunteer does not get paid.

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So why then do I spend all this money and time to volunteer six times a year all around the country. There are people that say I wouldn’t do it unless I got something out of it. The answer to that is of course I do. The problem is they mean something financial or in product and I don’t.

Here is what I do get out of it in the clearest and simplest terms I can; I get friendship and family. I also get jet lag, excessive tiredness and con flu and yet I still keep signing up.

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I’m going to elaborate on the positives for a minute though. In doing these conventions I have made some of the best friends I have. I work in a high pressure environment, it’s a job I love don’t get me wrong but there isn’t a lot of place in it for geeky conversations. The people I work with accept that part of me but mostly they don’t understand it, not like my convention family do. Also for me conventions are personal and I try to keep a lot of my personal out of my work. My con family allow me to embrace that part of my personality. They accept that geeky, nerdy part of myself that loves fantasy, sci-fi and so many things pop culture. These are the people who get my one off random quotes, they are the people who break into Disney songs with me. They are the ones who understand when I say I don’t like people, or I just need space. So many of us have levels of anxiety or introversion, so we understand it in each other.

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I have a lot of fun on these weekends but I also work very hard. All the people I work with, work hard on these weekends and sometimes for very little gratitude. Sometimes convention goers are really rather rude to volunteers, I’ve seen it in person, I’ve read it in comment threads. I’ve been sworn at and abused (in my case I barely notice it because of my job, but most people don’t deal with that sort of behaviour on a daily basis).

There has also been a whole surprising group of people whom I’ve met and have added depth to my convention experiences, regular patrons. I get plenty of smiles, hugs and compliments from the faces I have seen again and again. We rib each other, laugh with each other and sometimes cause people to look us us weirdly with the way we interact because I am a volunteer and they are paying customers. Guess what, we don’t care, and we don’t care because on one level we understand each other and we have formed a relationship solely through the fact we often see each other at these conventions. (Thanks to Scott for this memory – though I still wonder why you would want me in your pic, how ever flattering it was to be asked.)

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I have to add that in all this craziness and hard work I am privileged to have some really awesome stories of the wonderful people I’ve met and maybe I’ll put some of them in another blog post sometime. There was the Carrie Fisher line, the Peter Cullen kiss, push ups, being knighted and being given the title Evil Kylie but like I said, maybe better kept for another time.

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On these weekends I spend hours dealing with thousands of people as part of an awesome team. Then I crash. Here is the thing most people don’t understand. I am largely an introvert. So many people don’t really understand what it means to be an introvert. I can do well in social situations, I have no trouble performing in front of people and a can manage a crowd, however by the end of the day I am exhausted, totally peopled out. The less people I have to deal with the better and the friends I travel with during this times are much the same. It is not unheard of for us to talk until food arrives, then not say anything till the food is gone, go back to where ever we are staying and go to our separate corners and not speak. An introvert is energised by alone time, not people time.

I love my convention times, in some ways I need them, they are 180 degrees removed from my working life. Afterwards though there is always a crash. The crash is the come down but it is also necessary because I need to re-energise myself and I do that by being by myself.

Convention time is over for the next 5 months and I will now get right back into working on book two of the Oparna Legacy for those who care.

So Many Thoughts

I have so many things spinning around in my head.

Some times it is so confusing in there. There are so many stories floating around at times. It’s difficult to focus on just one. So right now I’m working on a couple of things. First edit of book two is a current big red mess. Well the first 100 pages at any rate.

My other project I’ve not touched whilst I’ve been on leave. Instead I’ve worked on knitting and sewing projects. Creative is creative after all. I quite like doing creative things with my hands there is something incredibly satisfying in it. It is just something I don’t do very often anymore as I have so many things going on.

It can be a very full schedule when you’re a wife, mother, full time employee and a writer. Oh there is also my convention habit.

I love my life, mostly. I guess I just wish things would happen faster. I wish I was already published, I wish certain other things had gone my way and a few other things were different. Things that I don’t need the world to know but that would make my life a little easier.

Part of the problem with the internet is it is so easy to over share. I could complain about the things that have gone wrong, the problems I have, but ultimately what would be the point? Complaining online won’t solve my problems. It may be cathartic in the moment but what can it possibly achieve? It won’t fix anything, it won’t make anything go away. I don’t understand why people do it.

Whining doesn’t help in anyway. You know what does help? Getting on with life. Doing what you are good at. Fix your sights on the goal, pick yourself up out of your pity party and put one foot in front of the other. That is how you get to where you want to be.

Life for most of us is not about the quick fix, it is about the long journey. Sure there are lucky people in life, those for whom things come easy. For the rest of us we work at it. We take one step after another, stopping to recharge, refocus and step again towards that goal we hold so dear.

Oh My Glob!!!

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Wow! I totally had no idea that I’d neglected this page for so long. That is simply terrible. For myself not so much for anyone else. This is my writing blog. The one that details my journey and, let’s be honest, my geeky stuff as well. If I can’t regularly add to this how am I going to manage when I’m published and needing to keep a profile as an author. Of course that is the hopefully vain part of me that dreams that someone will care. A girl has to dream right.

So.

Where did I leave things?

June Nova and a signed contract. Both great things. Now six months have passed and what has changed? Nothing and a whole heap. November bought another Nova tour. Yay!!! These events are my stress relief. They give me the chance to catch up with friends from around the country and shmoose with people I admire from various reactive pursuits and pretend they will remember me the following day. It’s okay I know they won’t but I’m a writer I spend a large amount of time living in a fantasy land.

12279208_10208499849113168_8893095336609938655_nYou may wonder though, how the chaos and busyness of a weekend convention, where I barely get to eat sometimes and grab pee breaks when I can find a minute, can be considered stress relief. Well when you have a day job that many would consider one of the most stressful out there, any kind of change is a relief. Plus I get fun stories and sometimes ever funner (it is a thing now) pics.

12305998_896270337135300_2107145663_nWriting takes up a chunk of my spare time. I have finished my first run though of book two. Even though my intention had been to step away from Evayn and her story for a while and work on something different. The story it seemed had other ideas. It simply would not let me go. I’m not sure whether that was because it was the most unformed part of the whole thing and I had a whole heap of world building to do, or because the characters weren’t ready for a holiday yet. Whatever the reason, the second act is now loosely formed and I’m happy with it.

Now I’ve finally been released to step away from them and have completed three short stories for a friend who wanted to collaborate on a project. The worst part of it all is I’ve written them and sent them off and now I’m waiting for a response. That as we all know is the worst part. What if he doesn’t like them? What if they really don’t fit his interpretation of the very loose parameters he gave me? What if?

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I’m not sure how much that matters though. Well it does and it doesn’t. See writing is really very complicated in it’s simplicity. Full of double meaning and both sides of coins. It matters in that I really do want him to like them. I want him to feel they are useful for the project. On the other hand though, I am really happy with the stories and have a special place in my heart for the characters I created. So yes,it does matter if he likes them, but also it doesn’t.

Confused yet? I probably am, but that is pretty normal for me.

Now those stories are doing what they will in the ether I have begun working on a different project. I’m finding it fun and interesting and not at all sure where it will take me story wise. I have an overall view of it in my head but it is very unformed. How it all shakes out in the end will, hopefully be a very interesting journey for me.

So I have finally done another post, hopefully with this new year, all its potential and all my plans (and a book launch baby!) I will maintain this page in a better manner than last year. That is about as close as I have come to any kind of New Years resolution.

Take care peeps. Enjoy your journey.

I Haven’t Left

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Not really, though with the time that has lapsed between posts it probably seems like it. There is a reason though. I think it’s pretty good but I’m not sure if others will.
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June was my SupaNova month. Mid year con time and I just love it. Sometimes the experience you get from a con is so very different to what you think it might me. Some of the guests will be everything you expect, other far more and some, not at all. It all goes together to make one awesome melting pot of experience. I always love my time at con, I love my con family. For me it is a world so removed from my everyday job they should allow it be a tax deduction under stress relief.
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However that is only part of why I’ve been so absent from this page. I informed my munchkins that due to their materialism Christmas presents were going to be made this year. Sounds great in theory but in practice that means I have to make stuff. Argghhh! That’s not because I can’t but because it is another time consuming thing I’ve added to my list of time consuming activities. Still I have made progress on that front I’m already well into gift three and I’ve found it not a bad counterpoint to my work day. Also I can do it whilst I’m binge watching shows so all good, two birds one stone and all that.

However that is still only part of the story. The biggest part of the story is… I’ve just signed my very first publishing contract!!!! You have no idea how much I’d like to type that in all caps, but then I’d be shouting at you, ah to hell with it…I SIGNED MY FIRST PUBLISHING CONTRACT!!!!
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You have no idea how happy that makes me. Or maybe you do. I know there are plenty of dreamers out there with the same dream as me. What kept me busy though was I went back on the finished manuscript to check a few details and, as always with something you’ve put away for a while I saw things I could tweak. So I tweaked the whole 100 000+ words. Then sent it off and joy of joys got a contract back to sign.

The problem is I know that is just another step on a long road but others think that means the book will be out in a couple of months, so I’ve had to explain that no it will take a bit longer than that. Still not even that takes the shine off my news. So now I’m motoring along through book two so it will be in a really good spot by the time book one is set for release. So all in all my writing journey is progressing well and I hope to make it back here more often from now on.

As Things Stand

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Wow. For ages I’ve been meaning to add another post to here and somehow things just keep getting away from me. There was holidays, Christmas, actually catching up with people and plenty of writing.
If you know me at all you’d know just what a big deal the catching up with people thing is. It’s not that I don’t like my friends it’s just part of me is introverted and actually getting me out of the house to catch up with people can be a big thing, I really have to put myself into the right headspace to do it. I even know I’ll have a good time when I do but somehow the making plans and following through can be a bit tough. The only time I have no problem is when I’m hitting SupaNova and catching up with my geeky/nerdy family or when I’m in a theatre show.
Also there is the thing that I’ve so much on my plate, I’m working on several writing projects at the moment so that takes up quite a bit of my headspace.
I’m excited about the first book which is finished and with a publisher, the waiting part is long and hard but it is simply a necessary part of the process. Also part of the process is realising there are a few things I need to tweak so it fits better with book two, which I am working on as you read.
Sure I could self publish, many people make a wonderful success of that these days. There is a thing though about actually being picked up by a publisher, having someone else believe in your work enough to say, ‘hey we’ll take a chance on this’. The other thing is that self publishing takes time, if you do it properly and right now my life is so very full. As well as book two and a couple of short stories, I’m training to stay fit, to learn better and fun stuff to include in my fight sequences, I work at being a good parent (for those of you whom that comes easily too I hope you realise how blessed you are). I am also still cranking in the hours at the regular job, fortunately I have a job I enjoy, which puts me in a better place than a great number of people. And there are always more books to read.
So all things considered life is busy and good and one day soon I’ll be able to announce a publication date. What an awesome day that will be.
For any writers out there, just keep writing. Writing is a journey and an interesting one at that.