Serious Topic Tuesday Part One: Thoughts on Religion

Serious Topic Tuesday Part One: Thoughts on Religion

deism_symbolI might do two of these today, because on the one hand, I really want to talk about this, but on the other hand, I also want to talk about how women should handle compliments from men, as I have seen a lot of vitriol toward men who compliment women in a respectful way. In this same post, I will finally decide to talk about my sexual abuse, though I will never, ever get into the horrendous descriptions, save through prose poetry in subsequent chapbooks I will be writing.

I just have to say again that Rachel Thompson has been my incredible inspiration. I wish we could meet in real life. From what I’ve read on her blog and how active she is in social media, she is an incredible woman–while also being brutally honest about publishing, which is a breath of fresh air.

Yet, I cannot forget Mariah E. Wilson, whom I know I will one day meet, as it is on my list-of-things-to-do-before-I-die. Canada isn’t a crazy place to travel to, and it’s a very realistic thing I can do.

I hope this topic is not controversial. It’s simply my thoughts on religion. I want to think Annette Abernathy for helping me to shape my thoughts on religion. Though we do have vastly different opinions on certain things, they are different because we actually thought through our beliefs, instead of simply parroting what our different religions told us to think–or politically correct society, as would the case be for me. Funny enough, a lot of Deists are against abortion, but let’s not get into that.

To start off, I am a Deist. Before, I was a weird mix of atheism and agnosticism. But a few near-death experiences created from my own internal struggles changed my thoughts on the world. They are both negative and positive. I am a Deist because I look around our natural world and don’t need faith to know there is a Creator. I’m not sure how my mental near-death experiences drove me into this natural religion, which is what some Deists argue it is. It’s considered natural because Deism didn’t need a divine revelation to create it, like many religions do. It isn’t based on faith. It’s based on confidence.

Deists have vastly different thoughts on our Creator, just as many religions do. For me, I believe our Creator is, in a sense, apathetic, and I have no issues with this. I like this, because it gives us freedom to be human, to learn from our mistakes, and hopefully humanity will slowly begin to change, though humans have not changed at all since our birth into this world. I believe our Creator wants the best for us, but, otherwise, the universe is left to its own devices. Some think our Creator does intervene if our Creator knows that person will make an enormous difference in the world. Some will pray to our Creator to help strengthen them for the day ahead without expecting our Creator to do anything at all.

My other thoughts on this is that our Creator created a primordial soup, that being the Big Bang, knowing the end result. After all, we seriously had less than a 0% chance of our universe coming into existence. This alone leads me to believe there is an intelligent being out there. How that intelligent being came to be is no different from Stephen Hawkins arguing that something can be created from nothing–and we are supposed to suspend our disbelief about that. I love him, though. I truly think he is agnostic in the guise of an atheist.

However, Deism is heavily science-based. To put this in perspective, if science could conclude with 100% certainty there is no Creator, we would have no issues adapting to this. I can’t imagine science ever would, because our Creator is too vast to understand with the human mind, but Deism is, and always has been, very adaptable.

Now on to other religions. I struggled for a time with religions like Christianity because of all the hatred against LGBTQ+ individuals. I had to give the ax on two individuals because of their cruelty toward people who didn’t adhere to the Bible. One said I was going to be a pedophile because I am asexual. That makes zero sense.

My dad considers himself a Follower of Christ, and I was insulted when a man older than my dad said he’d be going to Hell because he doesn’t take the Bible literally. As of now, I don’t believe in a Heaven or Hell, unless science can prove otherwise. But it miffed me, made me so angry. Those are Dad’s beliefs, and I would never, ever rob him of them, no matter how different our beliefs may be. In fact, I’d be more upset if Dad stopped believing, because people who usually stop believing have had something horrible happen to them, and I feel like their religion kept them anchored and grounded to the world, keeping their thoughts positive–the good ones, anyway, like Annette, who believes that God tests people, who believes God lets things happen for a reason. I would be heartbroken if she stopped believing in him, because from what I know of her, her belief in God is what keeps her going, and I want her to keep believing in him for this very reason.

Annette has her own struggles, struggles of which she is very open about, which is why I am not afraid to talk about her on this blog. I want people to realize what an incredible young woman she is. Despite her pain, she has beautiful dreams that I WANT to come true for her. She is intelligent, not blind, and she is someone I look up to. She is beyond inspirational. I could gush about her throughout this entire post, because she is representative of what Christianity should be.

In any case, I DESPISED religion, mostly because it seemed like it wanted to rob marginalized groups of inalienable rights, like oppressing those in the LGBTQ+ community. Yet, the more I became entrenched in Deism, the more I realized it wasn’t religion’s doing. It is people and people alone. They use their religions as an excuse to hurt others, even though I believe, in my heart of hearts, religion would not want this–unless you’re part of religions based on extremism. Annette has shown me this.

I remember one conversation I had with an ex co-worker who told me her mother believed in God. Her mother has a hard life, but she keeps going because of God. Some people NEED this in their lives to keep going. Without God, who knows if she’d still be around. So it is an amazing, beautiful thing religion exists. Regardless of whether or not religion was created to control people does not matter. Religion has evolved to the point where people believe because of how the creation of life is everywhere and too perfect to be mere chance. If Christianity is right, Christianity is right. And I have no issues with this, so long as people like Annette spread that Christianity should be about love and not hate.

I used to rail against religion on my Facebook from articles stating that ‘x’ religion doesn’t believe it should allow certain people rights because their religion tells them not to. In fact, and I may be wrong, several laws have been put into effect that allow people to discriminate based on “sincere religious beliefs.” There are conflicting things in the Bible–and I could be wrong about this. Yet, there are incredible religious people who would NEVER use their religion as an excuse to hurt people. They use their religion almost has a type of mentor to fight against this.

Religion has arguably made some people hateful, but I truly believe those people would be hateful without it. We do become warped by our beliefs and anything that influences us, but I think there is something more than religion going on to make people truly hateful. They’re just using their religion to convey why they hate in the manner they do, though they claim it’s out of love.

Love everyone, no matter their beliefs. I love to talk to people who are willing to talk about their beliefs without being preachy. Conversations like this help me understand that individual more and what positive impact that religion has had on that person.

Religion can be an incredibly beautiful thing when in the hands of the right people. Am I saying everyone needs to believe in a God? No. Atheists and Agnostics have come to their own conclusions through serious thought. As long as they are happy and don’t feel the need to believe believers are stupid, they deserve their beliefs as much as religious people do. Some people don’t need a god in their lives to keep them going forward. Others do. However, I want to point out a few things:

  • If you live your life only doing good things because you’re afraid of going to Hell, then can you really be called a generous person?
  • Don’t even believe that without religion, people would fall into anarchy. I mean, before religion was revealed, do you truly think people went around and killed and raped whomever they wanted? That goes against the survival of our species in the first place, and goes against the rational thoughts gifted to us. In fact, that is downright insulting to the human race.
  • What is it with wanting people to be afraid of God? Shouldn’t god be loving? Fear suggests God isn’t as loving as he seems. I could be wrong.
  • I think people should only believe in a god through careful consideration and not be a believer because that’s what the Bible says or that they don’t know any better. If God is real, he gave us rational thought processes for a reason. Think about why you believe what you do. Don’t believe blindly.
  • Don’t let scientific discoveries shake your faith.
  • Don’t randomly go up to strangers and preach to others. Let those strangers come to you if they wish to know more.
  • Love people without judgment.
  • Don’t be afraid to be MUCH louder than the voices of people wanting to oppress others while making their religion(s) look awful. Change how people view religion. Start movements. Heck, start a parade if you want to fight against those who use religion to be hateful. I’d march along right with you.
  • Don’t be afraid to stand up for your own religion if you feel others are being ignorant about it. I used to be completely ignorant, fighting against it at every turn, believing religion was actually responsible for the downfall of society.
  • Be confident in your beliefs. Don’t shut down because this is what society seems to want. Blog about it. Write about it. Do whatever you can to teach people without preaching. Look up Matthew Turner’s blog. I love reading his thoughts. He is a strong believer in Christ.
  • Keep believing. It’s okay to stop believing, as long as you don’t do so because life has beaten you down. Be rational if you decide to stop believing–have a level head, in other words.
  • Most of all, find the beauty in the varying beliefs in our world. After all, you have to realize you’d believe very differently if you grew up somewhere with another dominant religion besides Christianity.
  • Believe people can be good without religion.

Expect that other article later! Much love, Stars.

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On Being a Busy but Emotionally Compromised Writer

On Being a Busy but Emotionally Compromised Writer

tumblr_mn333xD5HK1rjcjoio1_500I feel very emotionally compromised as I write this. Out of respect, I won’t go into details, but I’m hurting a lot right now, and I don’t want to hide this because I want to be the one author who is out in the open with all her followers. I don’t want to hide behind some guise of perfection. If I’m hurting, I want you guys to know so I don’t seem so elusive or out of reach. But, yes, my heart is killing me in ways it never has before. I’ve always been sensitive, but I used to be able to temporarily swallow problems and deal with them when they needed to be dealt with. Now I can’t do that, and I’m not sure why this is. Is it because I’m afraid of pain now because I’m so tired of hurting that when I do start hurting my brain goes into overdrive? I don’t know, but I woke up this morning wanting to cry and I still feel like I want to cry and I hate it. I hate hurting. I hate hurting this much because it’s now affecting my ability to get stuff done. For God’s sake, it’s my day off and I had stuff planned and I’m finding it hard to do and it makes me angry because I want to get this stuff done but I’m hurting. I’m not even hungry for anything, and my Abilify has given me a ridiculously healthy appetite, so much so that instead of gaining weight, I have lost it (I’m a tiny girl to begin with) because now I’m eating breakfast since I’m hungry for it and it’s jump-starting my already high metabolism.

This is the bad thing about being so sensitive: your emotions hit you really fast and all at once. You feel crippled by them and it’s so hard to stabilize yourself until the problem is resolved the way you want it to be. But, yes, this pain is too painful and I really just want to update on my writing life.

So in spite of this crippling hurt, I’m going to finish my Stolentime chapter. I may not be able to write another one, but I will finish the one I started yesterday. I also have 34 reviewers so far interested in reviewing When Stars Die and I am still seeking more. I will also start looking for blogs for a blog tour (and I will make my minion, my contract manager, contact them *evil laugh*). I’m also going to create a blogging schedule so I can get back into a routine with that because I know that you guys enjoy what I write. I’m also going to start planning a story in the Stars world, but with a completely different character and story. I’m going to put it on my blog and give you guys a taste of the Stars world.

I’m also craving social interaction with writers in my position. I mean personal interaction. It’s great meeting you guys online, but I am a social bug by nature. My writer’s group is great, but they need tips on publishing, how to find publishers, how to publish, not tips on pre-release sells or how authors can interact with audiences, and that’s what I need. Of course, I realize my position is now a special one because I can provide them with that advice, but I need other writers who are published or are getting published, and I have no clue where to even find that. I’m still staying with my writer’s group though because I love the write-ins, but I also know I need more. Perhaps doing readings and having a book release party will help.

My boss also wants to give me more work hours so I can start making sells (my job is a number’s game), but I can’t do that because blogging is part of my job as a writer now and being able to interact with you guys as well as being able to write and edit without so many hours weighing me down. I need my brain to function now.

But, yes, this is just a little bit of what I’ve been up to lately. I hope to have another blog post out tonight. I’ll try to push through.

My Constant Flow of Cheer

My Constant Flow of Cheer

This little thing right here is part of my optimism.
This little thing right here is part of my optimism.

Did I mention I am stable on meds now? I have no idea, but if I didn’t, now you know. My magical cocktail: Trileptal, Seroquel, and Abilify. The Trileptal controls the mania, the Seroquel does the same and helps me sleep, and the Abilify treats bipolar depression, which is so difficult to treat for most of us.

I can’t believe how happy I am now. I know it’s not because When Stars Die has a publishing contract because if that were the case, depression would still be breathing down my neck, and I’d know it. I wake up every morning, thinking, “When am I going to be not sleepy so I can live?” instead of, “I just want to sleep all day because everything feels stale and pointless.” It’s terrifying to know my brain chemicals are fully in charge of my mood–one blip, and I could wind up depressed all over again. But it’s beautiful to feel this way. I feel like an immensely different person: confident, driven, motivated, loving, sensitive, artistic.

For anyone who has ever suffered from a mental illness that took a while to treat, it truly is the little things that make a big difference. I have my appetite back. It was so strange feeling hungry for the first time in a long while. I couldn’t pin down the sensation until my stomach started growling ten thousand times. I’m also not tired all day long. I used to yawn hundreds of times each day, begging to go to bed so I could just sleep away everything. I have energy. I just want to do things all the time now and I view sleep as a hindrance to productivity–but I do sleep because I know I need it. If I were manic, I wouldn’t even care.

Because I have my appetite back, I no longer struggle with irritability and anxiety. I feel perfect, just cheery, optimistic, hopeful, ready to take on the day. When I was depressed, the fight didn’t feel like it was worth it to me, but now that I’m better, I realize the fight was definitely worth it, and I hope to remember this the next time I’m depressed. As my therapist says, “You are going to feel better because you always have felt better.”

And to think that it was just at the beginning of last week that I still struggled with suicidal ideation.

The Exhausting End is Here

The Exhausting End is Here

This is unfortunately true. But my bright smile are hopefully real now.
This is unfortunately true. But my bright smiles are hopefully real now, and I truly am willing to help those who need it.

Stars, I’m actually waking up three hours early! Instead of 12 or 1 o’clock, I’m waking up around 8:30 or 9:00. This is either because I have a reason now, or I’ve found the right medicinal cocktail. My therapist and I think it is the latter because yesterday was the first time I wasn’t irritable in the morning, I wasn’t tired at all throughout the day (until night, obviously), I didn’t feel depression trying to drag me down, I was able to eat more and not feel cramped in my stomach, and I was able to just bask on Cloud 9. I don’t think it’s because of the super incredible news I received. I mean, I sobbed when I found out I was in the recital (tears of joy), but I still felt depression stalking me. I don’t feel it stalking me. I don’t feel its dark shadow.

I think I’m still fighting anxiety a little, just the anxious feelings that come on for no reason, but there aren’t any anxious thoughts accompanying the feelings. They’re just there for whatever reason, and, for me, I’d frankly prefer anxious feelings with no anxious thoughts over depression with anxious thoughts any time. Sure, it’s still uncomfortable, but I’m not snappish and irritable now. Usually talking with my parents irritates me, but now I find myself speaking with them without that irritability present.

In any case, yesterday was the first time I felt fantastic since being manic. But I’m not manic–I think I’m finally happy. It’s odd, too, because I’m on 2 mg of Abilify (this is a child’s dose. I’m 22) and have only been on it for six days. I’m 5 ft. 5, 114 lbs, and have a small frame. I also have a fast metabolism, which is why Seroquel doesn’t give me the munchies, for those who understand medications. So perhaps it is reasonable to conclude that the Abilify is working.

I’m going to admit it’s wretched that my mind is totally dependent on pills to balance it, mostly because all pills have the potential for serious side effects, but for now, I’m just going to be grateful I’m balanced out. Depression has had me trapped for almost two years and now I’m finally seeing the light again. I’m excited about life. I want to go back to work and be sociable so I can make appts., which turn to sales, which means commission and demo money for me along with my minimum wage. I am even picking my hours back up–just for the summer. During the school year, I won’t do more than 12.

It’s just such a relief to be breathing now, when I’ve been holding my breath for so long. Therapy helps too. As well as positive thinking.

I know there is a possibility of me becoming depressed again (or even manic) because bipolar disorder is often a lifelong illness. But I won’t think about that. For now, I will enjoy the life that I have and appreciate the small things that I never appreciated before all of this. I will even think about Emilie Autumn who is currently kicking bipolar’s butt and being fabulous all the while.

What Depression Feels Like for a Writer Like Me

What Depression Feels Like for a Writer Like Me

My Stars, this is a very honest post. I hope you can handle my honesty because I want you to be able to know me, all of me. I don’t want to hold or hide anything back, so if you’re the kind of person who is uncomfortable around real people, stay away from this post.

I’ve decided to up my blogging to twice a day, in case you haven’t noticed. One blog post will be personal, and another will be purely writing related. This one I’m writing because I’m feeling the depression puppeteer pulling on my strings and trying to make me do its bidding.

I use American McGee's Alice a lot because I feel like her a good majority of the time--not abused by an external force, but my own mind.
I use American McGee’s Alice a lot because I feel like her a good majority of the time–not abused by an external force, but my own mind.

I hate the way I feel right now. I’m irritable and exhausted and feeling a little hopeless. I finished chapter one in my new novel and am 1/3 of the way through chapter two. I know I can finish chapter two by dance class tonight–well, rather, I should–but I’m exhausted and don’t have it in me.

It honestly sucks breathing right now. I just want to stop. I just want to sleep. But I can’t. Not without meds. It’s terrible. It really is. I feel like my brain has given up on me. It doesn’t want to function right without meds. It hates me, and I hate it. It’s a terrifying thought knowing my moods are at the whim of chemicals in my mind. Certainly I can control the way I think, but not the way I feel. And I’m trying to remind myself that I can become better again, but it’s hard when you’re at war with your mind and your mind is telling you that it’s hopeless, how can you feel better when you feel this way.

Right now, I feel like I’m not good enough, as a human being and a writer. I feel like this new novel will turn to crap because of my traitorous mind. I feel so dispassionate right now, about everything. I don’t want to go to dance tonight. I don’t want to be around people. I just want to take my meds and go to bed and wake up hoping for a better life, a better day.

I shouldn’t be feeling this way. My website, my blog, is finally kicking off. I’m getting lots of likes on posts. I’m finally getting followers. I should be proud I was able to outline 37 chapters plus an epilogue last week, that I finally imagined a story that can rival When Stars Die. I have so many ideas of what I’m going to do to market When Stars Die that I should be bursting with motivation to hunker down and pound out the chapters for my new novel (I already have a freaking cover design in mind for this novel!).

But I can’t feel anything but apathy and seething hatred for feeling this way. My therapist tells me I need to accept the feelings, but it’s hard when these feelings prevent you from doing what you want to do–because you don’t want to do it at the time but you know you normally would.

I honestly hate cliché gifs like this, but there is no other way to describe how I feel at the moment.
I honestly hate cliché gifs like this, but there is no other way to describe how I feel at the moment.

Depression does this. You are its puppet. You cannot break the strings. Some days you can control what the strings do, and other days you cannot. This is one of those days for me. I pray during work tomorrow I’m not so run over that I can’t work on my novel during the lulls at work. I’m a freaking writer. It’s what I do, what I need to do.

I’m on a new medication though. Abilify. My therapist thinks I’ll like it. Unfortunately, I’m on a child’s dosage, so I probably won’t feel any improvements. Another torturous month, I suppose. But Stars, I’m not giving up. I might be giving in, but I know things aren’t always this way.