A Hulk Short Story In Pictures

Hulk11

hulk22

hulk33

hulk44

hulk55

hulk66

So that was my Hulk story in 6 quick and roughly drawn pictures. There are lessons here. Levels, man. Levels!!! Deep shiz and all that.

Much love to you,

me

And here’s a random picture of Fang for no reason.

IMG_4513

(bee tee dubs he’s thinking about DEVOURING ALL THE THINGS)

Advertisements

Self Care When You Feel Like You’re Living Through A Raging Suckfest Of Utter Doom

Without getting political, it’s rather glaringly apparent that many people are hurting right now. Heartbroken, horrified, shocked, grieving, swinging between seething rage and hopelessness and back again. I empathize because I’m in the same ocean liner that just slammed into a Glacier Of OMFG WTF Is Happening????

During times of great uncertainty and pain, we need self-care. As many of you know, I’ve lived for many many years with major uncertainty and fear and great pain, the details of which aren’t important right now. What is germane is that I have acquired some coping techniques and self care tips from some great minds along the way. I’m going to offer them (the techniques and tips – not the brains of those great people) to whoever may need them. Take what you’d like and leave the rest.

Breathe

Yes, I’m seriously gonna start with that one. Sounds cliched as all hell but it’s damn effective. One technique I was taught is this:

  1. Sit comfortably and no, it doesn’t have to be in the legs crisscrossed, palms up and resting on your knees position, but it can be if that’s what you’d like.
  2. Think of what you wish for in life, not material things per se, but stuff like hope, peace, healing, health, to be heard, to be seen, to be loved, to have featherless dinosaurs etc. Narrow your choices to three or four per meditation session.
  3. Breathe in for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds, and then say a  metta* for yourself. *metta – (n) lovingkindness, the Buddhist virtue of kindness; also called maitri.  Example:
    1. May I have peace
    2. May I have hope
    3. May I have healing
  4. Breathe in for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds, and then say a metta for someone you are thankful for.
    1. May (insert person) have peace
    2. May (insert person) have hope
    3. May (insert person) have healing
  5. Breathe in for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds, and then say a metta for someone you feel neutral about – neither positive nor negative.
  6. Breathe in for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds, and then say a metta for someone you dislike.
  7. Breathe in for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds, and then say a metta for everyone universally: e.g. May all beings everywhere have healing.

Repeat these slogans as needed (from al anon)

  • One Day at a Time.
  • Let Go and Let God.
  • Easy Does It.
  • Listen and Learn.
  • Together We Can Make It.
  • First Things First.

One Day at a Time

For me, this slogan means: stop obsessing about the future and all the horrible things that might happen. Stop catastrophizing. Live this day, in this moment, and quietly seek out beauty and peace. Don’t grasp at it, just let it happen. And if I can’t feel peace, then I need reach out to someone I trust and ask for their help, with the expectation that the universe will respond with love.

Let Go And Let God

I’m not a religious person. At all. I rejected the religion of my childhood (Evangelical Southern Baptist) long ago. I don’t believe in a deity of any sort. So for me, “God” means two things:

  1. The group of fellow human beings whom I have learned to trust
  2. The belief that hope and loving kindness actually do exist in the universe

When I’m thoroughly stessed to the max, when matters are out of my control, I try to pause. All this raging against the machine or frantic worrying or pacing is getting me exactly nowhere fast. I take a moment and I do one of a few things:

  1. I think back on conversations I’ve had with wise people, or about quotes that wise people have said. I gather strength from their wise words.
  2. I ask the universe to “Hey universe, how about sending some of that seemingly illusive peace and loving kindness my way? Thanks, kinda need it right about now.”

For you “God” may mean something different and that is perfectly fine. When you feel overwhelmed, try to Let Go and Let Your God and see if this helps.

Easy Does It

Basically this one means “Relax, already!”. Anger, fear, and worry make us tense. Our muscles contract, we grit our teeth, our heart beats like a crazed horse inside our chest. This is a healthy response in a flight or fight situation. But unless a rabid rhinoceros is bearing down on our ass, this biological stress response isn’t doing us a lot of good if we maintain it for long periods. The flight or fight response was designed for the quick battles, for sprints – not marathons. And as we all know, life is a marathon, not a sprint. If I spend hours getting worked up about the sucktasticness of certain aspects of life, I’m gonna wear myself out in no time. And if I’m worn out, I can’t be of use to myself, my loved ones, or the world at large.

Righteous anger and justified fear are useful and neccessary, but we can’t function 24/7 in MAXED OUT RAGEFEST or HOLY SHIT WE ARE ALL DOOMED mode. So when I feel like roadkill run over by a convoy of ten-ton stressmobiles, I stop and say “Easy does it, You can be a warrior later, self. But for this moment, park your hammer of Thor, and take it easy. Relax. Recoup your strength.”

Listen and Learn

For me this one means: Girl, you do not have the answer, alright? Accept it. You’ve been beating this dead Velociraptor for days now and no matter how hard you whack on this thing, you ain’t bringing it back to life, you hearing me? So what you need to do now is turn to sources outside yourself. Go read. Go listen to others. And I mean listen, not just sit there ruminating on shit while the other people are talking. Listen to them and you’ll be surprised what wisdom you’ll find out there.”

Together We Can Make It

I’ve felt alone in many of my traumas in life. As I look back, I realize this didn’t need to be the case. Now I know that if I am willing to reach out, I will most likely find others who are going through what I am going through. Who are feeling what I am feeling.  We humans , no matter how reclusive or introverted, are social beasts. Knowing we are not alone in our pain/anger/fear is therapeutic for us. When I’m angry/scared/worried, I now reach out to those I trust, to people who I know will empathize and listen without judgment. To people who won’t beat me up for my feelings but who will lift me up and – if I ask for it – provide me with advice or words of wisdom.

First Things First

When a great trauma happens, a lot of times our first reaction is to go “OMG LOOK AT ALL THESE PROBLEMS NOW AND OMG I MUST FACE THEM ALL RIGHT NOW RIGHT THIS SECOND OMG THE ENEMY IS EVERYWHERE AND I AM A METAPHORICAL LONE SPARTAN WITH A POCKET KNIFE  FACING TWO ZILLION PERSIAN ENEMY FORCES WITH ALL MANNER OF ADVANCED WEAPONRY AND FIGHTING ELEPHANTS AND SHIT ALL BY MY LONESOME SELF OMG! When life feels like this, I have to remember to do One Thing At A Time. AND to do the most important thing first. Sometimes that most important thing is paying a bill. Sometimes it’s putting food in my body because – hello – I can’t face the hordes of fighting elephants when my blood sugar is tanked. Do the most important thing first. Then breathe and do the second most important thing. I often put everything else ahead of me. I let other stuff, other people take priority. But I’ve learned that if I let my physical, mental, and emotional energy be depleted, I’ll shortcircuit. Now I do first things first and if that means taking time for self-care before I take on the BIG SUCKFEST OF RAGING SHIT-COVERED HORDES OF PUKE-WORTHY VILENESS then that is what I prioritize. After my tank is filled, then I can ramp up my engines and face the Suckfest Elephant Horde.

Some other things I’ve found helpful when I’m feeling thoroughly crushed by the ten-ton suckmonkeys of life is to:

go outside

play with Fang the Kitten of Destruction

watch a comedy

cry without judging myself for crying

do some small nice thing for myself

distract myself with drawing or doing a mindless craft

listen to upbeat music (music is a powerful mood alterer)

do a good deed for someone

That’s all for now. I need to get out of this chair and get some sunshine. And then I’ll be back, replenished and ready to FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT AGAINST THE SUCKTASTIC HORDES OF GROSSNESS!

Before I go, I’ll leave you with some cute shiz. Go, my fellow humans, look at cute shiz, and then FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT AGAINST THE SUCKTASTIC HORDES OF GROSSNESS!

much love,

me

drawinghusky1A rare photo of a Hoppy Huskerpupper of Floofhappiness

drawinggecko2A baby GrabbyToesLoveyGazeHuggabooGecko

newfuzzykittydonetext2A tiny fuzzy kitty who loves you soooooooooo effing much

A Twitter Monster Story

So the other day, Fritz the werewolf was chilling on his couch and laughing over events of the day when he tweeted this out…

forblogwerewolf111

Well, within minutes, The Count went on a mini tweet storm (which may look kinda familiar in its style…)

forblogdracnew

forblogdracnew2

forblogdracnew3

Their friend Franklin was in his laboratory adjusting some stubborn hardware when he checked twitter, read his TL, and had a few words to toss into the interwebs…

forblogfranklypassiveaggressive

Melvin had been DMing with a particularly hawt 6000 year old, when he saw Fritz’s tweet…

drawingmummy1

and, hoping not to have to leave his engaging DM convo to run a certain critical errand, he sent his buds this…

forblogmummy111

forblogmummynext

Well, Franklin still wasn’t quite finished and had more to say (to the interwebs and not any monster in particular of course…)

forblogfrankenstein222

 

frankensteinforblogspelling

At home, Fritz sighs, clicks off twitter, hear’s the doorbell ring. Answers it…

forblogwerewolftext

Meanwhile, after a long, hard day trying to find purple people to eat, Theodore stops at the Starbucks visited earlier by his monster bros, orders a Pumpkin Spice latte, drops his butt into a chair, reads his TL, posts one tweet…

and can’t close twitter fast enough.

He drinks his Pumpkin Spice Latte, which tastes nothing like purple people, but at least it isn’t sentient candy corn. That shit’s the WORST.

forblogmonstertext

THE END.

Hope you enjoyed my weird Monster twitter story. Happy Halloween everyone!

And I hope you’re enjoying all the weird monsters in your life!

 

Much love,

 

me

 

The clip art I used for the monsters avis can be found here:

http://cliparts.co/halloween-cartoon-picture

http://www.clipartkid.com/funny-monster-cliparts/

Writers and Empathy

Empathy – (n) the ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation.

Cambridge English Dictionary

Empathy – (n) the capacity to understand or feel what another being (a human or non-human animal) is experiencing from within the other being’s frame of reference, i.e., the capacity to place oneself in another’s position.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empathy

Empathy – (n) FEELING ALL THE THINGS FROM ALL THE THINGS EVERYWHERE ALL. THE. TIME.

The Unabridged Dictionary of Sonya

DrawingEmpathNewType

I’m empathetic. Ultra empathetic. Supermegamajorlyexpialadociously empathetic.

If you’re a writer, there’s a good chance you are too.

Being an empath is great for writers.

Empathy makes us able to put ourselves in another’s place, feeling what they would feel under various circumstances. It allows us, therefore, to write great characters.

Empathy propels us to write. All these feelings we experience? We need a way to process them, to understand, and maybe even heal some of them. Many of us turned to pen and paper, a keyboard and a screen, 1s and 0s to harness our tsunami of feelings and use it for good – like hydroelectric power, but it’s word power. And instead of generating electricity, we generate stories, stories that can hopefully have great power to entertain, to educate, to broaden minds, to heal, or make people laugh.

Empathy is a gift.

It can also be a beautiful affliction.

Those who know me know that I have a daughter in immense pain. I care for her as best as I can. I also have another daughter who is still trying to heal from an attack two summers ago. I cannot take away either of my daughters’ pain and trauma. I can only be here to love and support them and share their tears and hold them when they cry. Maybe you too have people in your life in pain. If so, you understand the toll that being an empathetic caretaker can take on one’s energy reserves and soul. To be able to function, sometimes I find that I must limit my exposure to any pain beyond that of those I’m fighting to keep sane and quite literally alive.

Sorry this post just took a sad turn didn’t it?

Anyway, the point I wanted to make to you, my fellow empaths, is that yes, being an empath is a gift. But sometimes we must protect ourselves from the world’s torrent of incoming bad feelings.

Especially on social media.

Especially during 2016, this exceptionally tough year.

I love the beautiful parts of social media: my friends, the beautiful souls in my writing community, the support, the love, the creativity and humor.

I abhor the dark parts of social media.

And I don’t know if I’m the only one who feels this way, but to me, social media feels darker and uglier this year.

Tens of thousands of disturbing, sad, horrifying, angry, angsty tweets or FB posts bombard us every day. The barrage of terrible news seems endless. Gruesome images are tweeted and retweeted (or shared) thousands of times.

We’re exposed to the ugliest sides of humanity. Racists and misogynists and bigots and bullies plague the timeline, spewing streams of hate and poison.

Some days, it’s all too much. Some days, we have to step away and recover from what feels like a prolonged, violent attack on our psyche.

Empaths need to practice self care and some days that means avoiding social media. It can mean blocking hateful people. It can mean muting negativity. Some days it can mean ignoring certain hashtags. Some days it means cuteness therapy in the form of cat gif retweeting. Some days it means coping by engaging in unadulterated silliness.

And that’s okay.

Sometimes I feel guilty for turning off the news or for muting a pessimistic rant. I’m getting over feeling guilt though. I try to keep myself informed on current events while avoiding being beaten upside the head with them. Protecting oneself is important. When I’m feeling strong, I actively engage. When I’m exhausted or heartbroken or deeply troubled or battling depression, I give myself permission to raise my shields against the onslaught of darkness. I give myself permission to retreat. To recover. To recoup my reserves. I go outside. I play with Fang the Kitten of Destruction. I draw. I write. And I leave the internet for a while.

And that’s okay, empaths. Self care is important. You are important. You take care of you, then you’ll have the strength to take care of your loved ones, your writing community, your readers, and your fellow humans on this tiny beautiful marble we all share.

DrawingEmpathHappy3

 

Sleepy kitteh floof therapy for anyone who may need it…

FangBabyDesk

And irrepressibly happy Fang the Kitten of Destruction therapy…

FangHappyGrass1

 

Much love to you,

 

me (and Fang the Kitten of Destruction)

 

Wisdom from Fat Cat

 

Fat Cat passed from this life in the waning hours of daylight on Wednesday the 25th of May. I’m writing this post between crying jags, so if the flow of this piece feels less than flow-y, that is why. If you’re worried that this is a sad post, it is and it isn’t. It’s equal parts laughter and tears – kinda like life.

Fat Cat was already an old dude when I met him, tucked in a dusty corner of the cat shelter, tended by staff, but forgotten by the world. I liked him immediately. I liked his big, innocent eyes and his ginormous dimensions. I loved the way he climbed up on my husband’s lap in the “Get Acquainted!” room, stretched out full length, and kneaded on his upper chest as he gazed into eyes. Clearly this was a feline who loved big. Who loved…

e x p a n s i v e l y.

I picked him up (“Oh my gawd, dude, you’re like a Kitteh the Hutt!”) and carried him to the front desk. When they asked me what name I’d like on the complimentary collar tag, I looked at him and said (rather dramatically), “The Universe has ordained him Fattimus Cattimus. Fat Cat for short.”

“Okaaaaay,” the guy behind the counter said, and noted the name in all the legaleeze parts of the adoption papers. I pulled out my wallet to pay the adoption fee, but the guy shook his head. “He’s old so we don’t charge nothing.”

“What?” I thought. “Old cats have no value?” My empathy reaction – which is like a fight or flight reaction but sorta the exact opposite – kicked in full gear. Well, thanks shelter dude, there’s a fine stab of depression right in the gut, since, you know, the statement is so reflective of our modern culture where old things, old cats, old people, are so often devalued (a subject for another post – one I’d rather not write so maybe someone else can). I hugged my fuzzable old man protectively as if to say, “FAT CAT HAS VALUE EVEN IF HE’S FROM THE LATE FATTIMUC CATTIMUS JURASSIC PERIOD!”

A shelter lady brought a slab of cardboard over and, like some sort of physics-design-magician, folded it into a nifty cat carrier. “Wait,” the dude behind the counter said. “I’ll get some duct tape or somethin’. That thing needs some…” he looked at Fat Cat’s belly “…added reinforcement.”

By now I’d concluded that Counter Dude was purposefully trying to shred my cat’s little feline self esteem. Although, he did have a point about the reinforced carrier. My biceps burned from holding my catnormous beast.

I brought Fat Cat home and showed him around and didn’t really impress him until we got to the part of the tour that involved His Food Dish and also The Bag Of Temptations Cat Treats. At this point, he looked at me as if to say, “Yeah, you’ll do. But keep this dish-bitch full at all times got it? Also, I prefer Catnip Temptations treats. Because reasons. Now where’s the nearest sunbeam? I’m overdue for my 21 hour-long nap.”

Except he said it sweeter than that, because Fat Cat was a lump of pure gentleness. And a lump of not-so-intelligent, endearing simpleness. And I learned a lot from him.

IMG_2192

Fat Cat being clueless that Fang the Kitten of destruction is about to pounce on him.

 

Fat Cat, like all cats, enjoyed the simple pleasures in life: food, snacks, more food, more snacks, long naps, sunbeams, unconditional love, and the occasional stinky dude’s shoe.

As someone who fixates on “being productive” and “working hard” and “getting the job done”, to the point of causing physical and mental harm to myself from overwork and neglect, I’m trying to take more breaks and to be more mindful of the simple pleasures life gives us – sans the malodorous tennis shoe thank you very much.

 

Fat Cat didn’t worry about the future.

I’m trying, Fat Cat. I’m really, really trying.

 

Fat Cat didn’t care about his size, or his age, or his meow that was ten times too small for his body. He was so self-accepting that next to the word self-acceptance in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Fat Cat.

Self-acceptance? Darn you, Fat Cat, this one is hard! But I’m trying to accept all of me, I really am.

 

Fat Cat wasn’t a people pleaser. You didn’t like the way he lifted his back leg high and groomed his ass end on your desk while you were trying to work? Well dommage, humain qui est pas un chat et donc a des opinions douteuses de toute façon. Translation from French Kitty Dictionary: Too bad, human who is not a cat and therefore has dubious opinions anyway.

I’m trying to set healthier boundaries, Fat Cat. I’m trying to set WWFCD Do? boundaries (What Would Fat Cat Do?). And I think I’m doing better.

 

Fat Cat was afraid of the vacuum cleaner.

Hey, Fat Cat, know what? So am I, honestly, so I get it. That bitch will work your ass into the frickin ground – or the pet-haired-covered carpet. And you know what, Fat Cat? Maybe the carpet doesn’t always have to be so super clean. I’m learning to let the stuff that doesn’t matter slide. When my time comes, will I be lying there regretting that I didn’t vacuum that tsunami-of-pet-hair carpet every damn day? No, I won’t? Then eff it, self, let that tsunami slide. Just let it go. Thank you, Fat Cat, I’m going to spend more time and focus and energy on the stuff that matters.

 

Fat Cat wasn’t afraid to show affection. Lawd but that cat loved to love.

I’m a natural lover (not a fighter). But certain elements of my early life repressed my natural tendency to love openly. Tragically, this happens to many of us. But, Fat Cat, I admired your fearlessness in loving others. I admired that you weren’t afraid to express your affection. So I’m trying. I’m trying to reach out without fear and let others know how much they mean to me.

 

So, thank you, Fat Cat for all that you taught me.

Thank you also for all the years of your goofy, big-selfed, fuzzable company.

Thank you for the snuggles, the head-butts of love, the long gazes in which I’m sure you were telepathically telling me how much you loved me and not that it was time for me to feed you cat treats again.

Thank you for sitting in my lap during hundreds of thousand of words written. You made each hour warmer and more beautiful with your purr and your loving spirit.

Thank you for cuddling next to me in bed.

Thank you even for the times you kneaded on awkward locations of my anatomy to wake me up between 5:30 and 6:00 every [insert all the cuss words. ALL of them] morning. Because of you, I saw many beautiful sunrises and got a hella lotta stuff done before 9 a.m. every day.

But mostly, thank you for being you. You brought immense joy to my life and I will always and forever love you, my precious boy.

 

Now I’d like to celebrate Fat Cat’s life in pictures.

Starting with all the times he graced the cover of PEOPLE magazine…

FatCatPeopleMagazine

UntFatCatPeopleMagDone1

FangFatCatMagazine1

And a few illustrations that show Fat Cat’s caring side…

FatCatBlogCollageBESTEST222

Fat Cat was always my best critique partner: Fat Cat, what do you think of my prose?

ktfco

And although few people knew this about him, Fat Cat fancied himself a rockette…

IMG_0713

And he loved, loved, LOVED his little brother, Fang the Kitten of Destruction…

FangSink

So here’s to you, Fat Cat, my oh-so-huggable, ever-so-tolerant, fluffalovable, not-so-smartable, gigantically gentle soul.

I love you,

Me

FatCat6

And to my fellow writers and their cats everywhere, much love to you all,

 

Me (and Fat Cat from his little kitty afterlife)

FatCatPortrait2

 

Writers are Pudús

 

Last night I said to my daughter, “I need an animal to draw. I think I’ve drawn them all. Meh hippos, uncaffeinated llamas, rabid tree mice. I’ve even drawn a happy mushroom, and a hipster potato. I need something.”

She looked at her phone and searched the interwebs for a minute. “How about a pudú?”

Because I am not weird at all, I replied, “A pudú that you do so well.”

She looked up. “You’re so weird. They’re cute. Like utterly cute.”

“I’ve never heard of a pudú but if they’re as cute as their name, they’re probably Totesy McDorbsy.” I leaned over her phone to check out this creature of Utter Cuteness. Definitely cute, especially the babies (as babies of most animals are).

She read the description of the little beastie: “Pudús are a very solitary animal whose behavior is widely unknown because of its secretive nature…”

“Oh my God, they’re writers!” I said.

Ignoring me, she continued. “Pudús do not interact socially other than to mate.”

“Oh my God, they’re writers!”

“Easily frightened, they bark when they’re afraid.”

“Oh my God, they’re writers!”

“Their fur bristles and they shiver when angry.”

“Oh my God, they’re writers!”

“Their home range is small, about forty acres, and consists of crisscrossing, well-trodden paths.”

“Let me guess – Starbucks, home, library, Starbucks, printer cartridge ink run, library, Starbucks, home. Total writers.”

She sighed. “And they stand on their hind legs to look for food.”

“Oh my God, just like writers do!”

She rolled her eyes, switched to a YouTube channel, and played Desiigner’s PANDA.”

I pulled out pen and paper and rushed out a drawing of the new official Writer’s Patronus, the Totesy McWriterFace…

DrawingPudu3

Here’s the way cuter real thang…

pudubaby

To all my fellow writer pudús,

Pudú the pudú that you do so well!

(Translation: You do you, you awesome you, you.)

That is all.

Later pudús,

Sonya