Oh yes. You guessed it. It is going to be another one of those rambling thought blogs. I find them necessary in order to vomit out some of the copious amounts of thoughts that run through my brain at any given time.
Many of you are probably aware that the last little period of time in my life has been quite difficult for me: financially, mentally, physically and emotionally. My Lupus has been attempting to beat my ass down in ways that are very painful. In the last week, I think I’ve managed all of 24 hours sleep due to it. My life has undergone an extraordinary amount of change recently. I’ve had many obstacles thrown in front of me. Most days, I feel as if I am running an octagintathlon, leaping and flailing from one event to the next in an effort to finish the trial alive. Winning and finishing unscathed, without any bumps or bruises, is not the goal. Survival and just making it through has become the objective.
I have loved ones who are poorly. I have baby’s daddy’s who are trying to make my life as difficult as possible. I have children who are each going through their own trials. I have family members who I wish would just cease to exist. I have people trying to attach themselves to me, not because of who I am but what they think they can gain from it. There are people who attach labels to me that I am not at all comfortable with. I have fear. I have doubt. I have moments of feeling defeated and then…
Somebody will reach out and say something to me, small things, that mean the world to me. I am all about the little things. This can be good and it can be not so good. It means that I’m easily pleased and can get quite giddy and squee with the utmost ease. It also means that I am easy to frustrate and want to bang heads. Thankfully for those around me, I am more patient than I am not. I can hold myself back in the moments where all I really want to do is rage against something. These small things give me the strength, power and energy to leap and flail over my next hurdle. They help me find my inner strength when I am unable to see it. And they always come when I need them the most. Lately, with such a frequency, it is almost unbearable and I feel as if I am going to explode. Unbearable may me a peculiar word to attribute to something that is quite positive. However, I grew up with more negatives in my life than positives. At times, the positives are more difficult to accept than the negatives.
Examples of these small but enormous things are: friends who know that I have an uncomfortableness around being referred to as a ‘celeb’ (Seriously. People call me that and with greater frequency lately), jokingly telling me on Twitter: “Liek OH-EM-GEE! It’s Jules! Let’s all be fan-kids over her and swoon!” Somebody sending me short but sweet email telling me that something I’ve writing really touched them or when people tell me that I’ve inspired them. And not because of who I supposedly know but for who I am and how I live my life. For me, this is really important. I need this in order to tell myself that living with Lupus is not for nothing. I need to know my life is not in vain and that I am doing actual good, even if it is inspiring just one person. I have been so very lucky to inspire more than just one. Somebody saying something or playing a song when I’m feeling the most vulnerable, reaching out in a very sweet and romantic way, a way that only the two of us know what is going on.
And I suppose this is where part of the paradox comes in. When I started with my radio show and online things, I honestly did not think anything would come out of it. It was purely for my own pleasure and needs. And then something happened. Somehow, I got noticed. For some strange reason, people started to pay attention and I had no bloody clue what to make of it or what to do with it. It was not anything I had intended nor planned. It was not my goal. There is one event that I can point to and say, “This is when I stopped being anonymous.” Sometimes I want to both thank and curse the person involved in this turning point. And then I stop myself. Not because I am not thankful for some parts they have played in it but because I actually earned it. I got the recognition, the head nod if you will, because of my work and talent. It was not asked for. Any recognition or head nods I have received have been unsolicited. In fact, I specifically said, “You don’t need to promote this. It is just for fun.” Well… for some crazy reason, they did.
And I suppose in reality, it is not for a crazy reason. I remember a wonderful conversation that I had a few months ago when I needed help regarding a crazy (but awesome) idea I had for a project (which I still hope to make a reality sooner rather than later). Somehow the conversation changed from tips to sharing moments of (to paraphrase), “OMG! When did this become our lives?!?” I remember saying something like, “Sometimes I want to ask these people [who have helped in ways that I never asked for or have gone out their way to do something for me], why me? But obviously I’m not going to ask them. That would be stupid.” The response and following conversation will be something that I will keep with me for rest of my days.
The response I received was, “Why not? I mean don’t ask them but I think the question you should be asking is ‘why not you?'” I had a quick reply to that, “Because I’m just this girl from a very small city in Canada. There is no reason for anybody to do anything for me. And yes I realize they are just people too. You know that. But they are extremely busy and probably get a load of stupid requests all the time. And yet, when they can, they find moments for me. Something I do not expect but is nonetheless appreciated.” And then he said (and I’ll never forget this), “It doesn’t matter what town you’re from when you live on the internet.” This conversation helped illustrate to me that I must be doing something right. That I may have more talent and abilities than I’m willing to give myself credit for. Most importantly, it helped to teach me that I’ve earned (through my own talents and hard work) any moderate successes (that for me, on a personal level, are HUGE) I have achieved. At the end of the day, I can proudly say I’ve gotten to where I am through my own blood, sweat and tears, not through the work of others. And I think it may all finally pay of, with real money (I’ll get to that eventually).
The last week and a bit has been a blur of events. I was finally able to announce one of my sooper sekrit projects (if you missed the news, check out this post and this post over on Geeky Pleasures). I figured out what it is I’m going to write about for clp.ly. And then there are more people reaching out in ways that cause me to want to yell, “SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! I want to tell you to fuck off right now. But only because I don’t know how to deal with this event as you just blew apart my brain!”
One example of this, is someone (not going to name names) leaving a comment on something I posted somewhere which reads, “I just came here to say “Hi Jules!” It was another moment where I wanted to get all melty and d’awwwwh and say, “thank you for taking a little bit of your time out for me and stopping by just to say hi” in ways that are even less eloquent than that, in ways that would leave me looking like a downright idiot. And in reality, I wouldn’t be an idiot but it is a result of me truly appreciating the really small things that people do, especially when there is no need for it.
And then, I received this email (Email shared with permission. Names removed to protect privacy):
Well then, Jules… If I haven’t made it abundantly clear yet…
I’m just this guy, you know? But when I say it, it’s not like when Wil says it. I’m actually at the bottom of the totem pole. So, whenever you do something as gracious as shamelessly finding a way to mention us when there’s no need to… Well… You’re like, MY [Name redacted. Me being compared to this person (not Wil Wheaton) left me at a complete loss for words and rational thought as it is someone I have a HUGE respect for]. It geeks me out to no end. Thank you again and always; I know you’re not just doing it because we’ve become friends, but on that note I’m so glad that we’ve become friends.
It was all I could do to not call this person an asshole for saying something that caused me to become extremely overwhelmed. But the thing I appreciated the most about his comment was not that they likened me to someone I have a huge respect for. It was because they see and appreciate that I don’t promote something just because they are my friend. And it doesn’t matter what it is that I put on Geeky Pleasures, except for the gaming press releases that I receive. It doesn’t matter how big of a name or how small of a name somebody has. I promote things on my site that I truly believe in. Not because it was asked of me. Not because it is expected of me. It is because I truly enjoy it and am very happy that I’m given the privileged to consume these things that people have made (we are not entitled to these things). I want to share the things I like with others. So when I see something I like or believe in, I’ll write about it because I chose to. I get quite pissy when people ask or expect me to mention something.
That being said, if you come across something you think I’ll like, I have no problem with an email being sent to me saying something like, “I thought you may enjoy this.” And if I feel it necessary, then I’ll make a mention of it. Also, if you want me to review something you’ve done, great! I’d be more than happy to. This doesn’t mean it will be a good review, even if you are my friend. It will be an honest review. This is one of the reason I found writing a review for Memories of the Future so difficult.
I’ve also been getting a lot of “guidance” type questions from people in the last couple of weeks. This is very strange. I am trying to figure out when did I go from the person who seeks others for questions and become the person people want to ask questions regarding media related things. Most days I still feel as if I’m a novice even so I’ve been working in various parts of the industry for years. I am still the person who asks others for advice on these things. And now people are asking me. It is such a strange phenomena. Sometimes I want to ask the people who’ve been nice enough to give me their advice, “How do you manage your life without wanting to explode with awesome giddy, squee and excitement over it all? Especially since etiquette tells us, in public, we are not to show our excitement. We are to remain ‘cool’.” But I stop myself because I know they are just normal people, who like me, keep asking themselves, “When did this become my life?!? Holy shit, this is awesome!!”
Now to make things even more awesome for me, I think it is all finally starting to pay off in a way that goes beyond HUGE personal satisfaction. As I’ve mentioned many a times in the past, when I started on all of this, it was for my pleasure only. I never planned, expected nor wanted to make a living from it. It was purely a hobby (in many ways). Then life threw me a curve ball and I’ve had to attempt to turn all these things that I’ve built into money. Without being an egotistical asshat, I am quite good at what I do. I am so very self-critical (I think this is true of a lot of creative types). I know when something I’ve produced is crap (even so others will tell me otherwise) and I know when it is good. I know what my strengths and weaknesses are in any given task. I know that I have many valuable skills, abilities and attributes.
I’ve gotten where I am because I have never been afraid to try. When I applied at the radio station, I went into it thinking I will not get the job because thousands of people will be applying. Sure enough, thousands did. But for some strange reason (well it isn’t strange, I just have a really hard time giving myself compliments), within a couple hours of sending in my application I was contacted for an interview. During the interview, I was hired on the spot and within a couple of weeks, I was asked if I wanted to be the Program Director. I’ve taken many such “risks” since then. Every single time I approach someone about something, I always expect a no. The results have been far from my expectation.
Last night, I decided to take another such risk. I saw another ad. This time for a writing gig which I thought for sure thousands would be applying for. To make it even better, it is a paying job which I get to do from the comfort of my home (something that is necessary). It is a writing job that, in many ways, is quite prestigious or at least has the potential to be. In the application process, you only had 2 paragraphs to illustrate why you think you would be a good addition to the publication. ONLY 2! Well, we all know long-winded Jules is long-winded. I wrote my two paragraphs, gave the links asked for and sent off the email. I went to sleep thinking I would be damn lucky to hear anything back because 1) The ad was over a week old, and 2) I know the industry and I know how much crap has to be waded through to get to the good things. Today, I got a response from the founder and publisher.
I’m assuming he liked what I wrote as he is forwarding my information on to the rest of the team. I suppose you can say I’ve been short listed. This really is a major accomplishment for me. I didn’t fail the audition process. I was able to impress in only two paragraphs. My inner editor did its job (I’m sure some of you wish my inner editor would do its job as I type out yet another blog that is sure to be near 3000 words). And to make me even happier about this success, I was asked my advice (once more), this time as a writer. Keyword here: writer. Not as a blogger. There is nothing wrong with being a blogger but there is this bad taste associated with “bloggers”, “self-publishers”, etc. There is this very unfair image of the blogging community. A very misinformed image, perpetuated by mainstream media. And I do consider myself to be a writer as well as a blogger. So it felt nice to have someone ask me advice “as a writer” and from a publisher no less.
This put a (much needed) added spring to my step. I woke up once more after only a couple hours of sleep, feeling beyond exhausted and like someone beat the shit out of me in my sleep. I was at a point of wanting to curse every thing and every one.
Then immediately afterwards, kid2 came whizzing into the house (my sister has had him for the last 3 weeks). I got extremely happy (because I miss his terribly) thinking my sister was bringing him back 3 days early. He quickly dashed my happy to sad by informing me, “I’m only here to get my iPod charger and then I’m going back to auntie Catherine’s.” However, before my sadness got the better of me, he added, “Can I have a hug?” I said, “Of course! I’ve missed you so very much!” And then he gave me the hardest bear hug he has ever given me. It was so very much needed and exactly at that moment too. My week and a bit has been yet another one filled with really high highs and really low lows. At times, I’m having great difficulties navigating it all.
My children are my reasons. I have been very lonely without the constant chatter from kid2. He will be 12 soon but he still finds excuses to crawl into bed with me. And he still wants my hugs. After giving me the longest and hardest hug ever, he whisked down the hall to get his charger and out of the house he shot. But not before “I love you”s were exchanged. I cried for a bit after he left for two reasons: 1) I was sad to see him leave when he has been gone for so long; 2) He still wants hugs from mommy.
These are just a small fraction of my thoughts floating in the aether and the events of the past little bit. Aren’t you glad I don’t share them all? However, now that I’ve purged some of them, hopefully I can get back to more focused writing soon. And at just over 3000 words, I’ll stop.