The Journey Thus Far

This, I suppose, is a late blog. It’s been a interesting and busy couple weeks for me. This weekend alone I had three events (working at one of them “write” now!).

Yesterday, I had a good session with my social worker. We joked a little and talked some. I had a few good days in a row, and a lot of the issues I’ve been dealing with are not as big and scary as they have been. I still know they are there, and when the shoe will drop again. Because I have so much going on in the next few days that he mentioned not to overwhelm myself and use stress-release strategies to remain able to deal with normal stress and trigger stress (if it comes up).

I’m doing okay, even if I’m a little over busy. I’m hoping that I know my limits and that I won’t overdo it again. I have R&R planned for Tuesday, which will be much needed and should be good.

IMG_5775Anyway, last night I attended the Like a Girl: Perspectives on Feminine Identity release party where I was invited to read my poem, “Sharcas.” It was amazing to hear others read their poems. This is a fantastic collection of poems and stories based around what it is like to be a woman. Kudos to Lucid Moose Lit and their staff. Amazing work! Go buy a copy to support this literature and support the work of Lucid Moose.

I have another anthology release on Monday night, which will be pretty awesome too. Like I said, very busy.

I’ll keep you all updated on how things go. Thank you for following 🙂

Please support me on Patreon—a site for creators to connect with patrons. Your support will help me worry less about how to survive and more on how to create better art (including blogs!). I appreciate any and all levels of support. I post poems, short fiction, observations, and blogs (before they appear here).

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Trip to San Jose: Silicon Valley Pride

Though it’s been almost two weeks, my last post Emotion-Related Muscle Tension felt more important to post. This is more a fun post than what I’ve been publishing lately.

Anthony and I just before hitting the parade.
Anthony and I just before hitting the parade.

Anyway, I was invited by @actuallyanthony to attend Silicon Valley Pride in San Jose, CA for the event Cosplay Attends Pride—a group of dedicated cosplayers who marched in the parade and walked around the festival grounds to make the festival more … festive. Anyway, I also found out that Steve Grand would be performing.

Me as Derek Hale
Me as Derek Hale

Though it took me a couple days to decide, I made plans to go. I told my social worker about pride, and he thought it would be a good idea for me to go outside my comfort zone. Hell, going to a city I’d been to once before for a convention (where we barely stepped outside the hotel) and knowing absolutely no one. But, it meant I got to meet Anthony, as we’d been following each other for years on Twitter and Facebook, and that I could see Steve Grand perform again.

Sunset on I-5

I drove up I-5 after working all day (yes, I have a history of making some pretty poor decisions, but the festival/parade was on a Sunday, so I didn’t have too much choice). The drive was pretty brutal, but I made it in about 5.5 hours, which isn’t too bad.  No traffic out of town, and none getting into San Jose. I checked into my hotel and basically threw everything around the room (hot mess!) and showered before passing out. Early mornings are not my thing and the parade call time was supposed to be 8 am.

New friend Alice and I near the end of the event.
New friend Alice and I near the end of the event.

Well, that call time did not happen. I could have totally slept in until about 9 am. We didn’t get to the parade staging area until about 10/10:15. Oh well, I still had fun, even if my feet and back were murdering me by the end of the day. It took me about 3-4 days afterward to recover (#yoldie). Anyway, the event was a lot of fun and a meet some really cool people. Including Alice, pictured to the right. Pride events are not all that fun without friends, at least for me. So making new friends with Alice, Anthony, and Martin, I got to experience one of the most fun prides I’ve been to in years (sorry Karina! PDX pride wasn’t that exciting, even with the great company of you and Matthew!)

FotorCreatedPhotos on left: Black Widow and Thor, Black Widow with Derek Hale, Garnet.

I took plenty of pictures included. The cosplayers were super great—I felt a little out of place with mine, but I still had fun. Not too many Teen Wolf fans maybe … lol.

FotorCreatedAnyway, it was a bit warm out that day and there was a lot going on. I made sure to walk around the festival out of costume (aka out of my leather jacket) to experience everything. By the time Steve Grand was set to take the stage, I was ready for dinner and a nap. But not to worry! I watched the show (though it was a little loud and I probably have hearing damage, oh well #yoldie). It was fantastic. I had only seen Steve Grand perform acoustically before when he came to LA. It was awesome to hear the band with him as well. Super high energy. He met people on the side of the stage afterward and remembered me from the aforementioned performance. He’s super sweet.

After the festival was over, and I said goodbye to everyone, I ventured out on the town for a couple hours before I decided to retire for the evening. I meant to visit friends in the area, and only managed to see Jenn. I wanted to get home and rest—more driving and an unsure place to sleep wasn’t going to work.

Even though it took me about a week to fully recover, I’m glad I made the decision to go. It was worth the time, money, and the little bit of pain and I had to endure to go.

Please support me on Patreon—a site for creators to connect with patrons. Your support will help me worry less about how to survive and more on how to create better art (including blogs!). I appreciate any and all levels of support. I post poems, short fiction, observations, and blogs (before they appear here).

Emotion-Related Muscle Tension

This might be the hardest post for me to write. There are a few good reasons I don’t want to write it, and that is because I feel vulnerable. But there is a better reason to write this post: there simple isn’t enough information online about it and from a perspective that isn’t clinical.

As many of you know, I’ve been dealing with weird muscle tension and pulled muscles since November of last year. Though it has been almost an entire year since, I’ve figured out what the problem was very recently: emotion-related muscle tension. Most search results on this topic are stress-related muscle tension, which is similar in a way.

Sometimes the road is long
Sometimes the road is long

I haven’t mentioned this before, but at my last session with my social worker, we discussed Complex PTSD/Complex Trauma (though I believe they are moving toward the label of Complex Trauma). From what I’ve read, I believe I may have this particular disorder. Regardless of the causes, I still have to deal with the traumas. I will be seeing my social worker today, but I really want to post about this so anyone else who may be dealing with the same issues can come to understand what I’ve come to understand—the activist and educator in me wants to tell the whole world.

Anyway, I discovered that my muscle tension is related directly to the suppressed emotions of the Complex PTSD. When I try to relax, especially when going to sleep or in general, my muscles tense up. This is because I’m “letting my guard down” and my body is trying to release the emotions I’ve keep repressed for so long. Literally, my body is contorting into a physical expression of the emotion, regardless of whether or not I feel that particular emotion at that time. I’ve learned to let my body do what it needs to, to release the tension and emotions. By feeling and expressing the emotions (often several times a day: fear/anxiety, crying, and anger) the muscle tension I have goes away and I feel lighter and better.

It’s difficult to be able to release them as often as I need to. I’ll have to take breaks at work to go in the back and let go, stop what I’m doing at home and close the door to let it loose. It’s disruptive, but far better than holding on to them even longer. Even though I’ve only know this for about two weeks, every time I release, I feel like I can live. For example, at work last week, before my mini-vacation to San Jose, I was feeling miserable and down and was so tense. I let out emotional stress in the morning and immediately felt like I could actually get through the day (and had another 5-6 releases), whereas before, I was struggling to want to do anything at all.

The journey will be difficult, but worth it. Thank you for being a part of it. If you think this might help someone, please feel free to share this post.

Support my writing at Patreon—a site for creators to connect with patrons. Your support will help me worry less about how to survive and more on how to create better art (including blogs!). I appreciate any and all levels of support. I post poems, short fiction, observations, and blogs (before they appear here).

August 2015 Reads

1. Poetry Magazine March 2015 [link to purchase]

As always, Poetry is a great literary journal. Always has at least one fantastic poem (if not completely full). They’ve been branching out more, but there will always be Greek mythology-laden poems harkening to the literary obsession started by the Romans. Anyway, some great poems in here: “Diameter” by Michelle Y. Burke, “Sunday in the Panopticon” by Charlie Bondhus, “Biohack Manifesto” by Jillian Weise, and “Two Men & a Truck” by Laura Kasischke.

4.5/5 stars: subscribe to this if you like contemporary poetry.

2. breakable things, Loren Kleinman [link to website] $9.99 Amazon

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Warning: descriptions of violence against author.

You may remember that I posted a blog recently, “We All Have Bad Days,” and the writer who inspired that post sent me a copy of her latest book of poetry. It’s taken me some time, but I read through all of the book. Her style is different than what I’m used to here (Long Beach and Los Angeles poets). There is a lot of darkness, violence, and early morning beauty in these pages. The title poem opens the collection and is a superb example of concise, hard-hitting poetry. My favorite poem was “The Beds I Slept In.” If you like dark and sometimes violent actions juxtaposed with often breathtakingly beautiful images, this is a book you should pick up.

4/5 stars: great images and use of words, recommended.

3. East of Los Angeles, John Brantingham [link to purchase] $15.00 Amazon

51iEvVoHkvL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_John Brantingham is a poet local to the San Gabriel Valley, and hosts a lot of writing workshops, readings, etc along with being social glue. He teaches at Mt. San Antonio College. I’ve had this collection for a long time, and just now read it. There are some really great poem in here. He discusses childhood, nature, and of course, the nature of LA and his relationship to the cityscapes and suburban areas that make up this metro area. His poetry is often reflective and self-aware in interesting ways. Some of my favorites from this collection are “What I Remember” and “In a Canadian School.” If you like self-reflective poetry about the relationships of people to place, this is a great collection.

4/5 stars: simple imagery and words that make you think and feel.