Bring Me to Life

I was at a semi-local convention recently and was going to sing the above mentioned song…but I didn’t have to because someone else did…ok, I was singing too, from the crowd.

I had to sing to ease the urge to cry…not tears of a negative emotion mind you, tears of being completely seen and loved, exactly as I am.

 

Now, you may be thinking to yourselves, “doesn’t that happen all the time in life?” but I challenge you to really think about the people in your life that do see you and love you for exactly who you are…If that is everyone around you then I rejoice with you…but for me, that’s come on a little more the long way around, and if I am honest, completely honest, it still isn’t there in all areas…and maybe I’m just paranoid but it doesn’t “feel” like it anyways…

 

BUT

 

This is a post about a group of people I KNOW, without a doubt, see me, love me and inspire me, exactly as I am.

 

Four years ago, my friend Giovanna and I, fresh off a year and some change of starting a geek related blog, set our sites on something a little closer to home and attended our first ConCarolinas

We met SO many people that year that I will never forget it! In addition to Gio, I have people continuously in my life because of that event.

 

 

It wasn’t even something I noticed at first. Sure, you have the new Facebook friendships and occasional meet ups (I say occasional because I can be absolute shit at showing up sometimes)…but, a little over a month ago, it came in like the biggest, most beautiful Care Bear stare imaginable.

Contrary to every other year I’ve attended ConCarolinas, this year, I attended as a fan only…in truth, I didn’t even know if I was going to show up, much less as press and/or a guest. I didn’t even know that I knew what imposter syndrome was until I realized that my entire creative life was riddled with it. I was spent, creatively…an absolute disaster…but then I thought of all the people I would miss seeing if I didn’t go. So I went.

 

I don’t know if you know what it feels like to feel “home” at a place that isn’t where you lay your head at night but that’s what this convention has become to me.  I don’t wander around, aimlessly looking for the place I fit…I float toward every single person that lights me up…and thankfully, it’s a good many people now…starting with Gio…

 

WeGeekGirls has been the single best thing for this side of my life in a decade. The friendship that started it has been founded, grown, stretched and strengthened through years of continuing to try and create an authentic and supportive life for ourselves. That has not been easy BUT has born MUCH fruit.

 

I didn’t have a goal at ConCarolinas this year…I just knew I wanted to see the people who have become like home to me…and that may seem like a small thing but let me tell you that it isn’t. Within this group of people are the ones who see in me what I can’t (or just won’t) see in myself, the people who push me because they KNOW there is greatness in there somewhere and people who don’t except my wallflower behavior because they know that I am more.

For the past 4 years, even in this group, I considered myself an outsider, praying for the day that the door opened for me and I sat at the table with the cool kids…this past weekend, at a entirely different convention, I found out loud and clear that there has always been a seat for me there, I just needed to sit in it.

 

Con Fam, you have NO idea how much you all mean to me and how much it means to be a part of your (our) family…to know that no matter how I show up, the place is already set and I am welcome.

It SETS ME FREE and I love you for it.

This isn’t everyone but this is what I have from ConCarolinas 2019

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To: Gio, A.W, Jessica, Joey, Matt, Wanda, Gail, Larry, Theresa, Darin, John Hartness, the Boris sisters, Traci, Nicole, Ben, Nicole, Jim, Nancy, Sherman, Darryl, Matthew, Jim, Erin, Carol, Tiffany, Jason, Melissa, Drija, Levon, Misty, Todd, Patrick, Carrie, Christine, Bill, John Hairston Jr., Herc, Bernie, Marshall…to anyone I may have missed, I believe you already know who you are ❤

Thank YOU for seeing me, accepting me, loving me, inspiring me and reminding me who I am when I forget. I value each and every one of you and know that whatever success my creative endeavors have, you are a part of it.

I love you all!

 

The Wonderful Thing about Lizzie

If you follow me on Instagram (@onwanderwoodlane) you will already know the subject of the post because I @ her A LOT!!!

 

We became friends YEARS ago via our various, mutual fandoms and haven’t looked back since! I admire so much about her and her story that I had to pop on here and introduce her. She’s my fellow 80’s lover, part of my Girl Power Gang, the one tied with me for Chris Evan’s affection, and the Jerrica to my Kimber…SHE’S LIZZIE

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@thewonderfulthingaboutlizzie photo by me

 

Several months ago Lizzie left the grind of the 9-5 work day and went back to one of her first loves, fashion…only this time she took everything she learned about it, got real about it, turned it on it’s side and started her own, pretty spectacular, web based store

The Thrifty Duckling

 

You can read all about Lizzie’s passion for fashion by checking out the website and/or following it @thethriftyduckling

 

I just received my 4 (or was it 5th) purchase from the shop and honestly adore supplying my closet this way!

For years I have had kind of a mundane wardrobe…not to say I didn’t like my clothing, it just wasn’t anything that truly gave me joy. Shopping has always been a bit of a chore for me. Knowing that I wouldn’t ever be head over heels for something made spending a lot of money on it a source of anxiety for me.

Lizzie (and a few other friends like her) helped me start to look at shopping differently and earlier this year, I began to look into thrift and second hand shops more than larger stores. I can now tell you that 75% of my wardrobe is second hand and most of what I wear daily is also.

Anxiety is a strange thing and I never knew brand new clothes gave it to me until I started shopping off of a different kind of rack. I began to find gently worn, really nice clothing that spoke to me, that helped me breathe again and I liked it!

The Thrifty Duckling has only added to my joy as Lizzie is someone I trust. From the moment the first purchase arrived, I knew that I was in good hands with her at the helm. Not only does she find unique fandom pieces, she finds various shapes and sizes and has a great sense of how something will fit! I have been able to wear everything I have ordered and she lives hundreds of miles away from me. It gives me such a sense of relief to order from her that I generally do it every time I get a shipment.

Here’s a look at my haul so far…

 

 

 

Thanks to another lesson learned while on this thrifting adventure, I make myself set aside a donation item every time I bring something home. What I am finding is that there can be joy in the giving and in the receiving.

For so long it felt a little weird to think about someone owning something before me but looking around my predominately secondhand hobbit hole (which brings me nothing but joy), I have realized, the things that bring us joy are the only things we should have around us, and thankfully that now includes most of my wardrobe!

SO, thanks for making me a #thriftyduckling Lizzie! Browsing your shop is one of the joys of my life!

 

 

And three cheers for my latest shipment…the rescue that prompted this post!!!

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Add some joy to your life and wardrobe…Shop Thrift!!!

All That I Want

I had about 350 words written and then decided to chuck them…

There is something I wanted to say but when I read it back to myself, it felt best left for a journal entry…so here’s this instead.

 

A few weeks ago, I talked about crushes. They have held the largest place in my romantic life because I’ve been historically bad (for lack of a better word) at it. In truth there are a few reasons why I’ve, more years than not, chosen singlehood.

The years of therapy I have been through are not a secret and with them came a lot of healing…healing that needed to happen to make me the kind of whole that can care and be cared for. It hasn’t been easy but has been necessary.

 

Dreaming is something I have done all my life. Through therapy I have learned that my dreams are representations of things that I am continuing to heal from and let go of.

Last night I dreamt of an old flame, one who returns to me often, and in that dream I was uneasy because NEW was on the horizon and I didn’t want to mess it up. When I woke up, I realized I didn’t need to dream about the old flame anymore and somewhere deep down, I knew I wouldn’t.

One of my goals for this year was to simply feel worthy enough to say “yes” to a date and I have done that, which I am SO proud of…even in the silence and uncertainty that sometimes follows.

 

We’ve been conditioned to believe that when something doesn’t go the way we thought we wanted (especially in love), it is failure…but what if it’s so much more!?

For the past 5 years, I have been fighting really hard for myself, though all too often TOO hard on myself…There are SO many areas where I am bold/confident and unshakable…but not in love…

However, ALSO, in past 5 years, I have become increasingly fascinated by uniqueness, mine in particular. It’s something I have, almost, come to see as a badge of honor.

Imagine my surprise to just discover, recently, that, that uniqueness will without a doubt translate into dating. Why I thought every area in my life had it’s own drum beat but love, seriously, blows my mind…I am audibly laughing right now…the guilt I have put myself through for feeling like I need “idiot’s guide to dating” could form a mountain.

Saying “yes” to a date started a GIANT mental/emotional domino affect that is just now making sense but was ABSOLUTELY necessary AND I am oh SO grateful for it.

I am not “bad” at dating, I am just “ME” at dating…and it’s looked like a desert waste land for so long, because, friends, I was on journey…a journey I required…and now a journey that’s ready for an oasis or two 😉

And guess what, it can look as unique as it wants to because I wasn’t meant for a societal love story…and as of right now, I no longer expect it 🙂

 

 

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A Cup of Cheer

As amazing as my post yesterday made me feel about my writing frequency, I kept the blog tab open and was hit with a little guilt that there isn’t enough balance flowing through this space.

40846561193_b14c1510ce_kI remember feeling so cleaver when I came up with the title of the tab that would house my tea drinking obsession and I set out on a rather ambitious goal of regularly posting about the tea I drink.

Nowhere in my mind did I think that would be a problem because I really do drink it all the time…and I did…

 

Last year, at the end of the summer, I visited some friends in Chicago and they introduced me to David’s Tea. I was instantly hooked and have been very blessed that those same friends have kept me well supplied in the months that followed.

In fact, it’s about the only tea I drank for the months of December-Feb and I kept track of all of it…I saved tea bags, tried my best to give honest feedback…it was great, until it wasn’t.

My goal is to drink and enjoy tea, not critique it. So, when I sat down to start planning blog posts about it, nothing interested me about posting my reviews…and ultimately, not only did I stop taking notes about my experiences, the drinking of it slowed also…

And then May happened…

Drinking a good cup of tea is part of who I am, part of my self care and I gradually forgot that along the way.

Maybe it was the pressure to track every sip that crossed my lips or maybe guilt that I spent so much time with one brand but whatever the reason, I shut the door on this room and I am here to bring it back to life.

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The above photo was taken at a dear friends house. It’s an herbal blend from, you guessed it, David’s Tea. In my search for the literal dozens of tea sachet wrappers to share, I found this and thought to myself, this is what I want to share instead.

A cup of tea is comforting and soothing to me…like a friend or a good hug. Sharing tea with people amplifies that experience for me and I think, ultimately, that’s what I wanted to do here…share a cup a tea, with a friend…

So, welcome again to this corner of Wanderwood Lane.

That being said, as much as I enjoy big brands like David’s Tea, Tiesta, Yogi, etc., I’d like to focus on smaller brands, perhaps home blenders, that would potentially benefit from the exposure. If you have a small tea company in mind you think that I should try, please leave a comment!

 

 

***For those curious, David’s Tea remains one of my favorite brands of tea. I think I tried over 25 blends since discovering them and there isn’t a single one that I couldn’t finish. By all means, Check them out!!!***

 

 

I’ve got a crush on you

Almost 2 months away seems really bizarre…

The truth is I have been writing. I’ve written letters to pen pals, two poems, a chapter in my book and LOTS of letters that I’ll never send. The lesson I learn time and time again is that I process exactly how I need to, in my own time and in my own way…and I am kinda diggin’ that right about now!

 

I am excited about today’s post because I have promised to be apart of this for months and haven’t followed through, yet. My friend Ashton has a great website called Eight Hundred Words and I found their writing prompt today the perfect opportunity to participate.

 

The Prompt: Tell the story of a crush you never actually spoke to (or did and it ruined the crush).

Now, my romantic life may only be a comedy to me but this is a chance that I can’t pass up…so, here goes.

It was evident from the beginning that I would be unable to pinpoint just one encounter because, well, I kinda do the same thing, EVERY, SINGLE, TIME.

For a decade I’ve been telling myself “I want to be a writer”, while the millions of sheets of paper left in my wake scream “what, exactly, would you call this?”.

As silly as it might sound, more than half of those sheets of paper have served to witness me, pouring my heart and soul out. Writing with pen on paper, even though my handwriting is plain awful most of the time, helps me process and I hand write often, to this day.

**

I’ll start with a story over a decade ago.

I was helping a friend work her handmade candle booth at a craft fair one fall when I noticed a guy helping his grandmother in the booth 2 down from ours. We made eye contact often but my feet wouldn’t make the trek over to say hello. SO, I wrote a short note of hello and my number on a piece of paper and made my booth partner take it over. The first thing he did after he received it is call me out for not bringing it over myself. Crush, Crushed…

YEARS later…

Befriending people comes really easy to me, guys especially. I like to think it’s because I grew up with two brothers and can relate a little better because of it. Probably also why I all too often put myself in the proverbial “friend zone”.

In my late 20’s/early 30’s I happened to have several great guy friends. We had dinner together, played video games (especially Rock Band and/or Guitar Hero), had long phone conversations and hung out weekly. It was amazing to be forming such incredible friendships but unfortunately my hopelessly romantic heart wouldn’t let me leave it there.

To the one…I went over to his house the day before he was about to be out of the country for a month to tell him (vocally) how I felt and a new roommate was moving in, so I lost my nerve and ended up writing an email a book long. His response was “he never saw me that way”.

To the other…I played the true friend for years, watching the ending, beginning, ending of his relationships until he hit a seemingly solo run. We chatted and had dinner often and I just knew we were working up to something. Losing my nerve became my middle name around this time and as lame as I feel, I ended up telling him how I felt in a very vague text that was never addressed.

It took a while but eventually, both of those crushes were crushed too.

 

Within the past 6 years…

 

  • I had a MAJOR crush on an up and coming musician that I got to meet one time. I had a lengthy letter, telling him how wonderful I thought he was, in my pocket but didn’t have the nerve (shocker) to give it to him. So, I mailed it to him, weeks later, with hope.
  • I started attending a writing group and met a guy that I was quite taken by, had the chance to smooch, chickened out and never got another chance. I typed him out the equivalent of a parody song and then put it in the computer’s recycle bin. That one at least made me laugh.
  • A guy I am a pretty big fan of wrote a book that only made me like him more. I wrote to him on almost every page of the book, hoping, somehow, he’d know it. Years later I met him in person and we are friends 🙂
  • When I get the nerve to verbally say something to a crush, I literally say something about how cute they are (like a school girl), turn and all but run away (like a school girl) and then end up writing (another letter I’ll never send), saying all the things I meant to say to them in person.

 

 

The reason this prompt was so perfect is because the one of the things I want to do the most in the world (convey thoughts and feeling via written word) isn’t really hard for me…at all…I do it all the time without even realizing it…I guess it just takes the right prompts to remind myself I do!

 

Maybe I’ll get better at the crush game, maybe I won’t but at least I know I’ll always have something to write about!

 

Thanks Eight Hundred Words! This was fun!

 

 

 

A May Day

It’s just before 8am on a Sunday morning and I’ve been tossing and turning for the better part of an hour, so I though I’d put the coffee and on and sit down to write for a bit.

My mind has been busy as of late and thus my anxiety through the roof.

A dear (and true) friend reminded me that writing was one of my tools and this morning I had to remind myself that I had this corner of the world to put some of it in.

My thoughts started in a really good place this morning, so I wasn’t upset to be awake sooner than usual on a day off, but weight quickly crept in and so I know it’s going to take more than coffee to get me going.

I had originally planned to apologize and speak to why posting has been so sporadic these past few months but then realized I am here to live a real life, with authenticity and transparency…so I won’t be doing either of those things…

 

What’s on my mind this morning is, in many ways, no different than most other days, the overcast sky and still of the morning are just amplifying it…the Heavy and the Light…

A lot has happened in my mothership market of Charlotte (and it’s surrounding areas) this week, even just this morning…the kind of things that make me want to gather the ones I love and hold them close…the kind of things that make me want to be held.

So much has been shared in our Heart Camp group this week and while we are there for whatever each of us may need, a lot of virtual hugs, love, light and peace for the hurting has been sent this week.

One of my best friends told me last night that she might be moving soon and even my wide eyed wanderer was saddened by that news…

But good things woke me this morning…something that was new a few weeks ago is hitting a comfort level that makes me smile, it’s my Grandmother’s 80th Birthday and she shares it with some pretty amazing people and as I type, the sun is coming out and lighting up my office.

 

It’s SO easy, almost too easy to let the Heavy things in life be our constant companions… This morning I am grateful for the trenches in which those that love us get in with us until we both find our way to something more hopeful.

We have to hold on to the Light, even if it’s a minute by minute refocusing…we have to fight for those moments that remind us that in all that, frankly, sucks in the world, we are the ones with the power to love, support and lift eachother out of the darkness.

Still do the things that bring you joy, even and perhaps especially in a Heavy season because we MUST continue to offset the balance…we have to.

 

Writing is one of the things that brings me joy and I am so glad I leaned into it this morning.

 

“Love is still the most powerful force on the planet” and I am sending it to you all today.

 

Happy Birthday Momaw Martha!

February’s Tangled Web

As I mentioned in the last post of Turn the Page, reading really hit a lull for a few weeks.

I am a true believer in everything that happens is trying to teach me something. February not only came/went too quickly, it had more than it’s fair share of challenges (lessons).

My take away was (as obvious as this may be to most) that no matter how enthusiastic the goal, I have to WANT to read what I am attempting to read.

Choosing an Austen after a memoir probably wasn’t the best choice. Don’t get me wrong, I adore her, but let’s face it, my head & heart have to be in the same place to fully enjoy it.

So, instead of throwing in the towel, I spent two weeks trying to get myself into it…

…it turned out like the photo below…less than stellar…

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Needing to save February from a big old goose egg, I turned to one author I knew would get me back in the swing of things…Gail Z. Martin

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Gail is one of my favorite authors and with countless (ok, I could count if I wanted to but I don’t 😉 ) books in a half dozen worlds, there is always something from her I can add to my TBR pile!

To save my February reads, I chose…

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Cassidy Kincaide runs Trifles & Folly in modern-day Charleston, an antiques and curios shop with a dangerous secret. Cassidy can read the history of objects by touching them and along with her business partners Teag, who has Weaver magic and Sorren, a 600-year-old vampire, they get rid of cursed objects and keep Charleston and the world safe from supernatural threats.

When zombies rise in Charleston cemeteries, dead men fall from the sky, and the whole city succumbs to the “grouch flu,” Cassidy, Teag, and Sorren suspect a vengeful dark witch who is gunning for Teag and planning to unleash an ancient horror. Cassidy, Teag, and Sorren—and all their supernatural allies—will need magic, cunning, and the help of a Viking demi-goddess to survive the battle with a malicious Weaver-witch and an ancient Norse warlock to keep Charleston—and the whole East Coast—from becoming the prey of the Master of the Hunt.

Tangled Web is the third book in the Deadly Curiosities series and though I can’t pick a favorite just yet, this one is very close to the top. Teag is a character I have grown very fond of. The idea of weaver magic intrigues me and I have been anxious for more of it in a story…Boy did I get it.

The familiarity of setting with this series helps me to really immerse myself in the story and Tangled Web is no different. As the cover suggests, the team has to deal with horses, both living and undead, and the case briefly takes them to Aiken, SC. This was a welcome and pleasant surprise as I have a cousin that lives in Aiken and I have seen how big the area is on all things horses!

One of the things I appreciate most about Gail is her attention to detail when it comes to coming up with both friend and foe in this series. It would take me a while to name every ally/villain but suffice it to say that I have wanted to learn more about the ‘old ways’ of multiple people groups because of her work in Deadly Curiosities. 

Tangled Web was indeed the perfect choice to spur me into my March reads and I am so happy I chose it!

 

About the Author

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Gail Z. Martin is the author of Scourge: A Darkhurst Novel, from Solaris Books. Gail is also the author of Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel and Trifles and Folly 1: A Deadly Curiosities Collection, the latest in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC; Shadow and Flame is the fourth book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga; The Shadowed Path (The first Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures collection), as well as Iron and Blood a Steampunk series, and Spells, Salt, & Steel, both co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

She is also author of Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen); The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities and Tangled Web. Gail writes three ebook series: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures and The Blaine McFadden Adventures. The Storm and Fury Adventures, steampunk stories set in the Iron & Blood world, are co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

Gail’s work has appeared in over 35 US/UK anthologies. Newest anthologies include: The Big Bad 2, Athena’s Daughters, Heroes, Space, Contact Light, With Great Power, The Weird Wild West, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, Alien Artifacts, Cinched: Imagination Unbound, Realms of Imagination, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens, Gaslight and Grimm, Baker Street Irregulars, Journeys, Hath no Fury and A Haven Harbor Halloween.

You can also find Gail on: Twitter @GailZMartin, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin