Monday, May 8, 2017

Depression Isn't "Just" Anything

My depression is no shower for a week because the energy to do that is too much.

My depression is 
"Have you eaten today?" 
"I had a hot pocket and some mints." 
"GO. EAT." 
"I will." 
"Do it now." 
My depression is no sheets on the bed because putting even the fitted sheet takes more time than just draping my blanket over the top and sleeping on top of that.

I was "too happy to be depressed" when I was 15. 

I didn't understand what I was experiencing because no one talks about depression, especially among teenagers.

And, like so many 15-year-olds, I was "above" mental illness because I "wasn't like other teenagers."

Whatever the fuck that means. 

Some days are really, really good and I think maybe it was just a phase.

"Just a phase" is a really bittersweet pipe dream, for me. (I hope it's different for you, reader.)

Gods, I wish someone had told me when I was younger that IT IS OKAY TO TAKE COMFORT FROM "FRIVOLOUS" PURSUITS. 

Fuck, if your depression is eased by video games and TV shows and movies, or board games or collecting rocks (I'm a fan of rocks, myself): THAT IS OKAY. THAT IS WONDERFUL.

Like, goddamn, be fucking proud of yourself for finding a healthy and enjoyable way to cope with your depression. 

Sometimes it's hard to tell if I need to isolate myself or actively immerse myself in social interaction in order to cope with my depression. I try to do some serious self-reflection when I feel myself instinctively withdrawing. 

Is this going to be helpful to me or will this actually prolong this session (for lack of a better term)? The answer varies, and sometimes I'm wrong.  

Having friends who are also neurodivergent in various ways (personality disorders, depression, anxiety, etc) is so validating and helpful in a lot of different ways. Different coping mechanisms, clear communication to avoid hurdles, checking in with each other to make sure we're all getting what we need.

It's not perfect. There are plenty of times when we clash and misunderstandings happen and the different ways we see the world and experience and communicate can result in tangled wires and hurt feelings. But we work hard to untangle them and we understand each other in a way that neurotypicals tend to miss the mark on.

Your depression is valid, whether you're formally diagnosed or not.
Your depression is valid, whether you're taking meds or not.
Your depression is valid, whether others believe you or not. 

(I believe you and I'm here for you.) 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Some Gender With Left Girl

I know this is meant to be a blog primarily dedicated to writing, but screw it. It's my blog and damn it, I'll talk about what I want to talk about.

Today, I want to talk about gender. 

I've been thinking about it a lot lately. I say "lately" and you probably think the last week or so, but in reality I've been thinking about my own gender for around a year now. 

A while back, I had a series of thoughts that led me to the conclusion that I am not cisgender. (I'm not going to go into Gender 101 in this post, but there's a lot of information on the Gender Wiki, which I link to below.) 

I won't go into too much detail, but suffice to say that I don't entirely know what "woman" is supposed to feel like but I don't think it really fits. I said to a friend the other day that "woman" feels like a shirt 18x too big and I feel swallowed by it. But I am also not masc-aligned in the slightest. I do not experience masculinity in any way and feel no affinity for labels under the transmasculine umbrella. I do experience the "feeling of gender" (whatever the fuck that means) most of the time. But I also occasionally do not experience gender at all -- but agender doesn't feel like a term that fits either. 

Around the tail-end of 2016, I was researching nonbinary labels -- at the time, I was trying out "femme" as a gender identity and while I liked it, it still felt kind of incorrect -- and I stumbled on demigirl. 

A quick definition from the Gender Wiki: 

Tumblr n176r6j6281r5b1yro1 500
demigirl (also called a demiwoman or a demifemale person) is a gender identity describing someone who partially, but not wholly, identifies as a woman, girl or otherwise feminine, whatever their assigned gender at birth. They may or may not identify as another gender in addition to feeling partially a girl or woman.
Demigirl can be used to describe someone assigned female at birth who feels barely connected or disconnected to that identification, but does not experience a significant enough dissociation to create real physical discomfort or dysphoria. Demigirl can also describe someone assigned male at birth who is transfeminine but not wholly binary-identified, so that they feel more strongly associated with "female" than "male," socially or physically, but not strongly enough to want to identify as as a woman.
Demigirls may also identify as demigendernon-binary and/or transgender and can be any age. Demigirl come from "demi" meaning half in french. The male contrapart is demiguy.

I really grokked to this and it felt right. It felt good to finally have a word that made me feel like me. And most of the time, I generally do feel like a girl. But every so often, I experience this swing into something else and I don't have a word for it but having a word that encompasses my fluctuating state is amazing and so, so, so validating.

Now, despite identifying as a non-binary gender, I don't currently identify as transgender. By definition, if you do not identify with the gender you were assigned at birth, you are trans.

That said, for me personally (and your mileage may vary) I feel uncomfortable calling myself trans. For a number of reasons, but most notably because nothing about how I live my life has changed with discovering a term for my gender.

My pronouns are still primarily she/her (though I am absolutely fine with they/them) and my gender presentation is still very much femme-leaning. I am an AFAB person who still identifies as femme-aligned 83% of the time.

And as much as I love the term "conditional privilege," I don't feel as though it applies to me on this. Because I present exactly the same as I did when identifying as cisgender and no one would know that I'm nonbinary without my explicit explanation, I do not experience transphobia. So I have a hard time with attaching that label to myself -- it feels very much like appropriating a level of oppression that I do not experience.

Now -- keep in mind that nonbinary is a gender experience under the transgender umbrella, and most NB folks I know also identify as trans, and that is 100% valid. This is simply my own experience and not indicative of anyone else's experience or opinions.

It's an issue that I admittedly go back and forth on for myself, believe me.

What about you guys? Do you also identify as nonbinary but not trans? If so, feel free to share in the comments or @ me on twitter! I'd love to know the thoughts of other nonbinary folks on this issue.

Til next time!


Thursday, December 1, 2016

For Love of Publishing

I've been writing, off and on, for over ten years now. I've spent a good portion of that time immersing myself in the publishing industry in one way or another. Whether it was going to writing conferences, reading blog posts, fooling around on twitter with popular authors, conducting interviews, or actually working for authors, I've been involved with it for a long time.

I unabashedly love the publishing industry.

This isn't to say that it doesn't have issues. It absolutely does.

(The yearly publishing of Nazi/Jewish romances really needs to stop, guys. For real.)

But I think my favorite thing about the industry is watching it learn. From the readers to the writers, and from the writers to the agents, from the agents to the editors, until it finally makes it way to the publishing houses themselves and the readers again. It's this beautiful cycle from the consumer to the creators that spirals from folks who have worked to improve the industry to the people who weren't even aware that it might need it. And then the cycle begins again, and so on and so fort.

No one can say that the industry doesn't learn. It may be slow, but it gets there eventually.

I love that I can say I've watched the industry go from totally clueless to actively seeking out diversity, not just in content, but in content creators. I love that I'm seeing the industry grow and change for the better.

Keep calling out the bullshit (especially those damn Nazi romances because seriously who the fuck keeps writing those????) because it only helps make our world better.

But don't forget that it's okay to love the industry too. If I didn't love it, I wouldn't be so happy to see it grow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Day of Enjoyment

I had the apartment all to myself yesterday. I didn't have to put on pants, and only managed a bra because I had to take the dog outside. (And I do not pass through the threshold to the outdoors without a bra.)

I basically had the perfect atmosphere to get shit done on my book. So instead, I went on Netflix and watched the entirety of The Seven Deadly Sins, an original anime (English Dubbed) that I became weirdly invested in after the first four episodes. (Ban is my baby and no one will take him from me.)

I also made a  new patch for my punk jacket in progress,

A photo posted by Mires Wolfe (@mireyahwolfe) on

Logically, I know that it was a good idea for me to take a day and just sort of veg and do something I enjoyed for no other reason than because I enjoyed it. But it's hard to not feel like I'm being lazy or neglecting other responsibilities. I should've been working on my book, putting job applications out, cleaning my room, or working out, or whatever the hell else my brain could come up with.

But the fact is that I really enjoyed just taking a day to watch a silly TV show, and playing with paint.

It made me feel good, and that is 100% a valid use of my time.

Feeling guilty about it is a waste.

So, if you've recently fucked off and done other seemingly lazy but fun things instead of being "responsible" and "productive" -- do not feel guilty about it. I'm here to tell you that you probably needed that day.

I know I did.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Change of Location

As of this upcoming Monday, it will have been a month since I moved away from my family to a whole new state. After weeks of packing, and shutting off utilities, and then a grueling 12 hour drive, I arrived in Florida.

A photo posted by Mires Wolfe (@mireyahwolfe) on

I moved in with my bestie, Jenn Basel, and her partners. Since then, my days have been filled with pokemon go adventures --

A photo posted by Mires Wolfe (@mireyahwolfe) on

A photo posted by Mires Wolfe (@mireyahwolfe) on

- hanging out at the local coffee shop, the big-ass library in town, and learning the bus system. I'm also job hunting, and desperately trying to get back into working on DMM. Slowly but surely, guys.

Hopefully, I'll start having more substantial posts to make here soon. If only because I'm reading more, so I should have some reviews posted over the next few months. So, stay tuned?

And feel free to follow me on Instagram -- I post there pretty often.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Book Review: Selling Seduction

Selling Seduction Selling Seduction by Allyson Lindt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Pre-Ordered from Amazon

Five minutes ago, I finished reading Allyson Lindt's newest title Selling Seduction (Your Ad Here Book #1).

I pre-ordered the title last night when I remembered it was dropping today, since it's my day off and I wanted to enjoy a fun romance.

(Full disclosure: Allyson & I have been friends for a number of years, but my review is totally separate from personal regards)

I'm still grinning over this book. Admittedly, one of my biggest weaknesses in the romance genre is the Best Friend's Big Brother Trope. It doesn't always work well, but Allyson pulled this off beautifully. Right off the bat, you know what's going on, who all the players are, and what kind of issues Mercy and Ian are facing.

There are a few little twists and turns plot-wise that were so perfectly done that I had to stop and gape at my computer screen. I'm at a coffee shop, so I couldn't scream at the computer the loud "WHAT" that I wanted to, but I did immediately send a tweet to Allyson, shouting because I had not expected the plot twist that happened.

The emotions in this book were so vivid and realistic, the obstacles that the heroes were up against felt just as valid as if they were real people. I felt like the dialogue was on point--and I particularly liked the way that Mercy would call Ian out when he would shove his foot down his throat.

Something I realized about halfway through the book was that Mercy is an amazing example of how to do female characters correctly. She's not perfect. She has insecurities, a past that still affects her to this day, she's faking it til she makes it, and she's not any extreme of one thing or another. She capable of being the strong businesswoman without sacrificing who she is for it. She sticks to her guns, even if it hurts.

She's complex and real and I love her.

I am so looking forward to reading the next book, featuring Liz Thompson (Ian's little sister and Mercy's best friend). LEASING LOVE is supposed to be out later this year, and as soon as it's up on Amazon, I will be pre-ordering it.

View all my reviews

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Book Review: Ancient Magic

Ancient Magic Ancient Magic by Linsey Hall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received Book from Netgalley

I was initially drawn to this title because of the cover, and I found the summary to be intriguing -- someone with a dragon's soul? That sounds cool.

The story starts off ten years ago, when three young women wake up without their memories. They know only that they are hunted because of what they are. FireSouls are considered dangerous in this world, hunted and despised for their ability (and proclivity) for stealing the magic from other people after killing them.

Reading this book, I did find that there was a level of awkwardness in how the author distributed information. It often felt like an info dump, rather than a natural exchange of information. I did enjoy the camaraderie of the little family the three young women had built, but I don't think the depth of their feelings for each other quite came across as much as the author was trying for. It may be because we don't see the ten years they've spent together, but I still felt as though the bond was sort of contrived?

I did enjoy the story as the book progressed -- and I'm curious to know exactly who is hunting the FireSouls and who Cass & her friends are -- but I felt like the first half of the book was missing something.

I loved the concept of the Origin, a title granted to the one Shifter who can become any creatures (real or mythical) and I found Aidan to be equal parts annoying and endearing. I think the main reason I found him to be annoying is because he so easily falls into the "rich Alpha male with a difficult childhood" trope and I was hoping that he wasn't going to.

Overall, I enjoyed the read, but I do hope that the writing gets tighter and the characters' bonds become more evident in future books.

View all my reviews

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Whining Of A Big Baby

To be honest, March was not a great month for me, productivity wise. Over the course of the month, I managed to write 1k and walk 4 miles.

Very impressive, right?
yes this was me all month

Then to top it all off, I got sick this past weekend and spent 3 days drowning in mucus and gatorade, desperately popping allergy pills in an effort to breathe while I slept. I'm still stuffy and poppin' allergy meds.

i am a big baby when i'm sick
But on the bright side of things, I've been reading a lot more this past month. I sat down and read A Court Of Thorns & Roses and fell in love with SJ Maas' writing all over again. Then I read A Court Of Fives, which, unfortunately, I didn't love as much as I had hoped I would. As a palate cleanser, I picked up Tawna Fenske's Frisky Business, which did not disappoint (as if she ever could) and followed that up with Victoria Dahl's Talk Me Down which was delightful. (I always accidentally read Dahl's books out of order and I'm pleased to report that the reading experience does not suffer for it)

I may go ahead and write up a few reviews for a few of them, just for shits and giggles.

In the meantime, I have a sex scene I'm inserting into the middle of my WiP (oh the jokes i could make...) and I have a few other things to take care of.

Til next time, folks! Hopefully my next update will have better news!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Pros & Cons of Focus

I am not a writer who constantly has six different ideas going on all at once. Despite my procrastination tendencies, I tend to focus on a single idea at a time.

Now, this isn't to say I don't have a lot of ideas-- I've got plenty -- but I don't try to make notes on them or write snippets on them, let alone try to write them at the same time as any other project. Currently, I'm working on Dead Metal Magic, my parallel dimension story with a PTSD suffering former soldier and her badass assassin lady lover. I've been pretty solidly focused on this project since the tail end of October.

I've got one Kitsune story (working title is Biting Butts) that I've had brewing in my brain for about two years now, but it's never been the right time to work on that. Jenn Basel and I had come up with an idea about two lesbian witches being matched up by their familiars (which I still want to do some day because hilarious shenanigans).

My point is, even though I have a lot of ideas for future projects, I always focus on a single book at a time. And this has its pros and cons.

One benefit of this is that I don't get confused on what goes where with which project, and I get to spend a lot of time with the characters and the world. Beyond that, I also get where I'm going a wee bit faster than I might otherwise.

One consequence of this is that I get burned out faster, as well. When I hit the last stretch of You Can't Fix Dead, my last project, I was so burned out. I just wanted to finish the damn thing. I barely bothered with basic description, just trying to get the plot over and done with so I could take a break. Don't get me wrong, I loved the story. I still do. I have so much love for the characters I created and the emotions that I poured into that book.

I recently went back and read a good portion of it, and I have to say that the book contains some of my most emotional and poignant writing. But it also contains some of my laziest writing as well.

I'm trying to learn how to recognize my burn out signs. Am I avoiding the book? Am I actually burned out or am I just stuck? Did I write myself into a corner? Have I gotten bored with a specific storyline, and if so will my readers get bored with it?

But to be perfectly honest, I also struggle with depression. So I have to determine what is legitimate burn out and what is depression creeping in to screw with my progress?

It's been about two weeks since the last time I made real progress on DMM, and today I'm headed up to the coffee shop with April Holec so I can try to get some work done. I'm hoping that my lack of productivity lately has just been depression, and not burnout.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Book Review: A Darker Shade Of Magic

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit. 
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

After weeks of hearing about the genius that is A Darker Shade Of Magic, I finally picked the book up at my local library. I sincerely hoped that it would live up to the hype.

Guys. Guys, this book more than lived up to the hype.

From page 1, I was hooked. This isn't the usual style of book that I tend to fall for, but Schwab's writing is so crisp and clear, poetic and dramatic, I couldn't help but trip into love.

Victoria Schwab has created an amazing three dimensional universe with this book. The characters are bright and complex; I am particularly fond of Lila, the crossdressing thief seeking adventure, no matter what it might cost her. Kell, the Not-Prince who wants to feel alive and like he has some kind of control in his life.

I want more of Prince Rhy, the charming young man (I'm unsure if this was confirmed for sure, but I'm fairly certain that Rhy is 100% hella bisexual and it's beautiful) who just wants to be a good, strong King and wants his brother to be safe and happy.

But as much as I loved the characters, and the plot was inspired (like, no, really, it was inspired as hell), I have to say that the world building itself stole the show.

With overlapping parallel dimensions that communicate and war with each other, different languages, the sheer detail of the Londons blew my mind. This book is talent and skill at its purest.

So if you're a fan of political intrigue, sadistic kings, sentient magical systems, crossdressing thieves, and the kind of brotherly love that makes your heart hurt, I highly recommend this book. I sincerely look forward to picking up the sequel soon, A Gathering Of Shadows. 

OVERALL RATING: 5 of 5 Stars