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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflection of 2013

So I wasn't going to write another blog until 2014, but as I reflected over the past year and the crazy roller coaster ride it's been, I realized I had another post I needed to write.

2013 by far has been the most amazing, terrifying, saddest, happiest, hardest year of my life. In the last twelve months I experienced some of the most intense emotions since my brother passed away fourteen years ago. Nothing prepared me for what I went through this year. Here are the top 13 highlights of 2013:

1. Childbirth. Magical, terrifying, beautiful, ugly. Something I never want to go through again yet I'm happy I did it.

2. Becoming a mom. I never envisioned myself being a mother because I've never viewed myself as the mothering type, yet here I am with a gorgeous baby girl who is about to turn 1 in a few weeks. She is the light of my universe and now that she's here, I can't imagine life without her.

3. My first real surgery. I've always been scared of going under the knife, but when the IUD perforated my uterus, I knew I had no choice. Happy to say, all went well.

4. Postpartum depression. Kicked. My. Ass. But guess what, I kicked his ass right back. Thank you mediation, yoga, swimming, supportive friends, and Zoloft for backing me up.

5. Learning the fine art of Balance. Working 40 hours a week, full-time mom, and trying to write has been a struggle. I might never be a professional juggler in circus, but I've got skill, baby.

6. Letting go of expectations. Motherhood is the best teacher in releasing control--not that I'm not in control of my life, but sometimes things just need to be allowed to play out. They don't always turn out the way I wanted them to, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

7. Accepting help. Another thing I've learned as I was thrown on the deep end of the motherhood whirlpool is I can't do everything alone. The whole saying "it takes a village..." yup, it really does.

8. Discovering my limits. Childbirth pushed my pain limit over the edge and postpartum depression shoved me down to the slimy bottom of the bog of ultimate suck, but by doing so I learned to set boundaries and take better care of myself so I can be the mother, wife, friend, daughter, and citizen of society that I want to be.

9. Passing my CTR exam. In my day job, I work in the cancer registry for a local hospital. I LOVE my job. This fall I took the Certified Tumor Registrar exam (4 hour test, by the way) and passed even though I was completely sleep deprived, didn't have much time to study, and I was going through another bout of depression. I don't know how it happened, but am glad I have that credential behind my name.

10. Watching my daughter grow. The best part of motherhood is seeing your offspring discover the world around them and learning how everything works.


11. Learning to write again. Pregnancy and motherhood did a number on my brain. In the last year and a half I have only written one novel (my YA mermaid fantasy) and started about 10 different stories, but never finished them. Any attempt to focus on one project was like trying to empty the Pacific ocean one teaspoon at a time. But I didn't give up and discovered I had something else inside me I never knew existed.

12. Starting a new blog. As I began exploring new ways to express myself through writing, I knew I needed to start a blog that focused on motherhood, pregnancy, and all things modern day women face today. http://urbangoddessrevealed.blogspot.com/

13. Completing my first nonfiction book. Last week I finished writing the last chapter of a memoir/self-help book about postpartum depression and ways I was able to kick it's ass. Urban Goddess Mama is about 20K words long and will be self-published sometime in February or March of 2014. I never thought I would write nonfiction, but when I started documenting my journey over the last year, I knew I couldn't keep this to myself. There are other mothers out there who struggle and if my story can help lessen their suffering, then putting myself out there is well worth the effort.

There you have it. Happy New Year everyone.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Book Review: Half-blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I just recently tweeted about staying up until 2 am reading Half-blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout. That's a huge thing these days especially since I became a new mom earlier this year. Reading into the night is not something I can afford in my already sleep-deprived state. So if a book has captured me so much I'm willing to sacrifice a perfect night when my daughter decided to sleep the whole time, is well, a pretty damn good book.

I purchased this novel about almost two years ago after I read Obsidian (The Lux Series) and bought everything out there at the time written by her. Half-blood is part of the Covenant series.  I first read Daimon, the prequel to Half-blood. But when I started on Half-blood, I simply couldn't get into it.

Fast forward major career change at day job, pregnancy, and childbirth to a couple of days ago when I was browsing through my Kindle and decided to read something I'd already purchased rather than buying. I gave Half-blood another try. I was doing pretty good getting through about a chapter a day while I pumped at day job. (Trust me, reading is the only way to get through pumping, my least favorite thing about motherhood.)

So last night after daughter went to sleep I decided I'd read a little until I got sleepy. At this point I was about 40% through the book. My eyelids were starting to get heavy. Yawning became more frequent and then I got to about 46% (the end of chapter 10). BAM! Wide awake.

Oh. My. Gods. I had to finish the book and it was all I could do NOT to log into the Kindle store to buy the rest of the series when I reached the end at 2 am. Curse you, Jennifer!

The book is like Vampire Academy meets Greek mythology spun together in a delicious web of romance, snarky banter, kick ass action, and brilliant imagination. Jennifer has a way of luring you into her world of demigods and trapping you there until you read the last line of the book, but then only to realize you've become an addict and need your next hit. Soon. So many twists, so many fantastic characters that burrow under your skin, making themselves a comfortable little nest. No wonder she became a NY Times bestselling author publishing mostly through indie press. And it's a really good thing she writes a lot and has multiple books coming out each year.

Thank goodness I have a whole week off starting Christmas. You know what I'll be doing. I admit it, I'm a J.L Armentrout junkie and now it's my mission to get as many converts. Here's the link to purchase Half-Blood. You're welcome and Merry Christmas.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005OCPT00/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title

 See you all in 2014.

Cheers,
Melania

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Some writer inspiration

A couple of weeks ago I had a down day where I did nothing. No house cleaning, no cooking, no writing, no working, no to anything that resembled the slightest bit like work. The whole day was devoted to reading, playing with my daughter (after she let me sit in my recliner and read for an hour- miracle of miracles- I know), and watching TEDtalks. I've been reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Memoirs aren't my usual literary drug of choice, but years ago I'd watched the movie and really liked it. When I saw the book on sale at Powell's, I didn't think twice about buying it.

Love the book and her style of writing. So bare. So honest. And I really liked her TEDtalks. So much so that I felt I needed to share it. What she speaks about can be applied to any creative endeavor and with all the struggles I've been experiencing with my writing, this video couldn't have come at a better time. Plus I could not not share this gem with you all.


Of course after watching this, I had to Google "Elizabeth Gilbert videos" and I came across this one which kicks ass. You'll have to go to Oprah's site to view it. I bookmarked both of these videos to watch when I get down about my writing.



http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Elizabeth-Gilbert-Talk-from-O-Magazines-10th-Anniversary-Video

The take home message, "just show up."

Enjoy!

~Melania