My best friend died

No tracking tip this week.

And no, my husband was not my best friend.

This was so very hard on me. It is interesting to note that when a family member dies, no matter how distant, everyone is so attentive and “I’m sorry” and “How are you doing?” and many cards and well wishes sent your way. But when a best friend dies, you get “I’m sorry. Seen any good movies lately?” My best friend was my number one supporter for everything. She held my hand when upset, yelled at me when I needed it, encouraged me to have and follow my dreams, helped me without expecting anything in return and brought so much into my life. Just as much if not more than any family member ever did. Her loss was devastating to me and the worst part was, nobody else cared about this.

Did you know there are all sorts of grief counseling for losing a family member and NONE for losing a friend? At least there weren’t when I was grieving. I searched long and hard but got the general feeling of people saying “It’s just a friend, get over it.” So I hid how devastated and sad I was. I tried reaching out but people would nod, say they will call and I would never hear from them again. I started pretending I was okay, doing fine because no one wanted to hear how lonely, sad and lost I felt. It didn’t help that her family pretty much cut off any communication to the outside world, wanting time to grieve but there wasn’t even a funeral and to this day I don’t even know where she is buried.

I still managed all my responsibilities but gained 20 pounds, became exhausted and I realized I needed to do something about the crushing sadness I was hiding from everyone. I got brave enough to tell my husband I was going to see a counselor. He was SURPRISED! “What do you need a counselor for?” Seriously? My best friend just died, I sleep 10 to 12 hours a day, and have gained weight even though I am not eating.

The counselor helped but after 8 sessions, decided I was fine. She said call if I needed but three weeks later I found she was leaving the state, turning over her practice to others. Crazy as it sounds, I felt abandoned. Here I had found someone to let out all my feelings to and she left! And around this time, my best friend’s husband started seeing someone who I knew was the absolute wrong person for him. 3 months after she died, he was dating. The only good news is that it didn’t last. Did I mention the one he started dating is my sister-in-law? I had to pretend to be okay with this as well.

All this anger, depression, grief, unhappiness in marriage, trying to work and raise two kids when hubby gone 2-3 weeks every month, finally took a toll on my health. As I kept feeling more tired and the weight kept piling on even though I was trying to exercise and diet (the typical answer to everything these days), I decided to see a doctor.

I didn’t know it at the time but I was suffering from Adrenal Fatigue. It took two years (not kidding) to figure it out and I did it mostly on my own. I came very close to hospitalization and looking back on it, I can see how it snuck up so gradually until I was firmly in its grasp.

My struggles to find out what was wrong with me was a long drawn out process and that story road is one (or even two) blogs worth. So next time. The good news is I think I only have two or three more negative, dark blogs and then my life starts to look up. And no one gets the credit for pulling myself up except myself!

Until then, try to de-stress and find ways to be happy and take time for yourself or you will be heading down this dark path as I did.

Blog hug. ((( )))

Down into the dark

Tracking tip of the week: 

Follow your nose. Enough said.


Ok, where were we? To sum up from the last blog telling how I started down the dark path. No, not the dark side but the road to unhappiness. So subtle I didn’t even notice. Ok, summing up. Husband decides I am useless unless making money, best friend losing fight with cancer, dealing with usual stresses of motherhood and extensive family.

Guess I didn’t mention an alcholic brother, a grandfather recently passed, mother stressed to the limit helping them, and just everyday life. We’ll just accept those as added stress and move on.

How did I deal with this latest hubbie issue? Well, here was my first mistake. I started looking for work. I should have said how stressed, insulted and unhappy he was making me but I didn’t want to make waves. Didn’t want to fight in front of the kids. Didn’t want him to get angry at me and leave me. Didn’t want him to think I was lazy or couldn’t get a job. SHOULD have asked him what changed his mind (we’d always planned for me to raise kids and go back to work when they were in college). SHOULD have continued with trying to publish (argued to myself that I could continue after kids were older).

I tried very hard trying to find a job that would still allow me to be home with the kids, take them to sports and activities, keep up with the housework, etc. Needless to say these are few and far between. I tried home sales, more piano lessons, and other small-paying jobs but nothing was enough. I applied for part-time as a pharmacy tech but they wouldn’t hire me because I hadn’t worked for several years. I found a balance with the home sales and lessons. I applied to be a substitute teacher, figuring that would be the best way to work during the day and still be able to take kids to stuff.

To get through this time, I still wrote but focused my efforts on my best friend. I knew she was going through a rough time so once a week I sent her a funny story I wrote to try to give her a little laughter. Our weekly calls went to every other week, then once a month, then only a few emails. I kept sending the stories, hoping to hear but she did not want to talk to anyone but her husband and children. Very hard on me but I tried to distract myself with the pitiful attempts to make money and be a full-time mom.

I started gaining weight even though I was not eating very much. I lost my workout time because I worked during the day and then as soon as kids were home, bam, out the door driving them to many different things. I often got home just in time to cook dinner, finish laundry and get the kids to bed. My only consolation was I had some time at the end of the day to write for about half an hour.

After a year of this, I was coping, getting by, making a bit of money and keeping things off my mind. This was when it all got worse.

My husband who swore he would help out at home, driving kids to their activities etc, suddenly got promoted and was traveling every other week or more.

My best friend died.

More next week on the continuing downward trend.

Long road

Tracking tip of the week: Follow a flock of seagulls (not the band although those who do follow might be close to death) or better yet look for fighting seagulls. Whatever they are fighting over is most likely dead. Or at least we hope so. Oh and the correct term is a “wreck” of seagulls. Figures.

Well, since I last posted I have been waaaay down again and now mostly back up. It is strange that when you have been unhappy then happy, the plummet back down is even worse and lower! But I swung back up fairly quickly and I think I am ready to start blogging about how life tends to kick you and keep on kicking when you are down.

How did I up up in such a dark place? I will try to talk about events as they happened.

Years ago, (yes years), I was happy. I didn’t even know it until recently someone asked me  when was the last time I was happy. Took me an hour to figure it out but it was over 5 years ago. Five YEARS of unhappiness. Yes it started slow but the slide continued down and down until… well getting ahead.

Things were a little stressed, but no more so than anyone’s life married with two small children. My best friend was fighting breast cancer. She had beat it before and was still doing well and going strong. I was going to writing conferences, writing nearly every day and felt very close to getting published. Agents and editors were asking for manuscripts and I was getting positive feedback.

Then the hammer fell.

I was out to dinner with my kids, something we did whenever their father was out of town on business. He was always tired of eating out so when he was home I made home-cooked meals. Well me and the kids loved to go out so I figured this was a win-win.

He called on the cell while we were out, I told him where we were and he said “What are you doing spending my money?” I was floored. I was a stay-at-home mom, yes, but I also taught some private music lessons and made money in other small jobs. When he got home, I threw money at him, saying I earned this teaching so here was money for the dinner.

“That’s not what I meant.” “What did you mean?” He shrugs. We fought for a while but it came down to this last sentence I said. “So basically if I am not making money, I am not doing anything worthwhile?” He said, “Well…” and spread his hands out. So I had to give up conferences, etc. (I NEVER stopped writing but it did slow quite a bit) and try to find some sort of job where I could be a full-time mom too. I love being a mom and homemaker, was in the middle of redecorating our house, and writing was my passion but I had to give it all up to keep peace in the family.

Being the peacekeeper that I am, I kept making excuses for him. Maybe he is losing his job. Maybe he doesn’t make as much as I thought. Maybe he doesn’t realize how hard I work.

Then I found out that NONE of this was true. He had just got a promotion, along with a raise and was looking at another soon. We weren’t in debt at all, socking away lots for college and retirement and basically didn’t need more money. Despite me explaining what I do all day (mom stuff, cooking, cleaning, etc) I am convinced he thought I sat around eating bon bons. I tried talking to my best friend who has always understood me without me having to explain hardly anything. She replied that she thought I would never be happy unless I had a job making my own money.

Again, floored. She had never been so off the mark. I was happy being a full-time mother and striving to be a published writer. But I realized she sounded tired and a bit short with me and I understood. She had been hiding the fact that she was losing the fight with cancer. I decided to stop bringing her my petty problems.

So, found out hubbie had no respect for me if I didn’t make money and lost my major shoulder to lean on. Thus began the downward spiral. More on my next blog on how I coped.

What I learned at Phx Comicon 2

Tracking tip #4 – Ravens, crows and blackbirds in abundance will indicate some stage of decay. They do not congregate unless to gang up on the hurt or wounded. “Flock of birds”, “murder” of crows, “unkindness” of ravens; you get the picture.

What I learned at Phoenix Comicon, year 3.

1 – Strollers can be used as battering rams to clear spaces in crowds. My kids got off easy when they were babies.

2- Don’t sit in the back for many reasons. I haven’t yet wanted to leave a panel, I can’t always see and hear, and most of all, it is very distracting to watch a woman play with her hair the entire panel. Not just twist a lock but every five minutes brush out with fingers (the whole head) create a part down the back and bring hair forward over both shoulders. Yes every five minutes, I timed it.

3 – Cell phones don’t always work in the basement. Not even texting.

4 – It is very easy to get lost in the exhibitors hall (gets bigger every year.) Or at least lose that booth where you saw the thing you had to have, left to find an ATM and now you can’t find it again.

Ok seriously now (though all the above stuff DID happen).

My third year I already knew the panels were awesome so in my brief time spent outside of panels, I started noticing more of the people. First, there are two kinds of people to go to Comicon. The first are people who go strictly to shop or just look around and then go home to tell everyone “Oh I’m such a geek, I went to Comicon” when in reality if it hasn’t been a major motion picture, they would have no idea what it was. (BTW we call those Fake Geeks, see below on how to spot them!) Most people would be taken in by this, but not the ones who go for more than the superficial layer. Those also shop, yes, but they are primarily there to pay homage to these fabulous worlds where imagination and wonder has no limits. These are the true geeks who respect and honor the fact that somehow this stuff is a part of their life, whether it is to create and wear costumes, become a fan-fiction writer, discuss the finer points of a TV or Movie series, or realize that their lives were influenced/helped by these wonderful creations.

But the most important of all, I realized that these people who were on the panels, the actors, authors, artists and fans, these people were HAPPY with their lives. They truly loved what they were doing and I envied them. I resolved to pick back up where I was derailed and become an author. Not for the fame, not to be on panels, not to be admired by fans. I wanted to be as happy as they were, doing something I loved. And if I touch another in the process, so much the better!

How to spot a fake Geek:

1 – Dad with young daughter: “Don’t run off! Remember this is Comicon, full of weirdos.”                Hey if you thought that, why did you come? Also, we may be weird but most are a hell of a lot nicer than most folks. We wouldn’t call you weird because you are wearing a striped shirt with plaid shorts. Ok maybe we would.

2 – People trying to find the exhibitor halls: “What are all these rooms for?” One looks in, “Oh just a bunch of people sitting there.” Good, don’t come in. Don’t want you chatting during the awesome panel.

3 – “What’s with all the gray people with orange horns?” And all the variations on this question.

4 – Wearing a batman or superman t-shirt. Ok it’s a start but when it looks like the shirt has been sitting in a closet since 1980, not so much.

If you have any, please feel free to let me know. I am sure to think of more.

What I learned at Phoenix Comicon

First of all:  Tracking tip #3 – Vultures are the ultimate birds to follow. Whether circling or on the ground, the dead thing is most certainly dead. By the way, a group of vultures on the ground is a “Venue” and a group circling is a “Kettle.” Doesn’t really make sense as when they are landed they are feasting and kettle seems a more appropriate term. Just sayin’.

What I learned at Phoenix Comicon

I have only been going to Comicon for three years but have learned so much, different every year. I have discovered things about myself, other people and life in general, not to mention all kinds of interesting stuff like upcoming books, behind the scenes, actors’ lives, etc. Let’s take it year by year, shall we?

My first year at Comicon was a true eye opener for me. This wonderful event was about so much more than comic books. It had actors, authors, artists and just about anything involved in sci fi, fantasy, and more. The exhibitor hall didn’t just have geeky stuff for sale but also a place where you can get a picture with your favorite celebrity, autographs or just chat with your favorite author or illustrator. The panels involved discussions, questions posed to these celebrities or just plain fun all around.

But the best part is the people. Nearly everyone is of like mind. Painfully shy people show up in costume and are not insulted but admired. If you trip and fall, people don’t look away and laugh. Instead five or more superheroes will come, help you up and ask if you’re ok. (And they aren’t all in costume…) Complete strangers discuss similar interests. When you find yourself bumping someone while reaching for the same item on sale, instead of frowning or fighting for the object, eyes lock and both smile and nod knowingly. Conversation usually follows: “Love that shirt”, “Nice horns”. It feels like you’ve made a forever friend even though you will probably never see them again. Odd to think that amongst good and evil characters, orcs and wizards, I should feel more comfortable than any other place I have ever been. I couldn’t believe I had never come. But I wouldn’t admit my geekiness to anyone else until my second year.

My second year at the same Con, I learned that the panels were much more interesting than all the shopping and crowds. I mean the merchandise was fabulous as ever, but I would come out of each panel with a smile plastered on my face well into the next panel. I also learned food was way overpriced but since I would have paid three times as much to just go to the Con, I was fine with that. (Don’t tell the admin this or they will raise prices!)

I chose my schedule with much more care and got to talk to some amazing people including one of my favorite authors. Took pictures with a couple of celebrities, gathered as many autographs as I could, and decided then and there that I would come every year as long as it existed (and could afford it, hear me Phx Comicon? Don’t raise prices!!!) I also learned that I did not need to hide my geekiness any more. If anyone tried to poke fun at Comicon, I explained all that I experienced and usually changed that person’s opinion. Or at least shut them up so they wouldn’t have to hear me rattle on about it for hours.

Didn’t care, I was officially hooked. FOREVER!

I think I will put my third and most recent year in the next blog since it will probably be huge and most enlightening (for me anyway.)

Tracking tip #2

#2 – Predator birds such as hawks, falcons, owls and such will lead you to live things that will shortly be dead. Do not follow too closely as you don’t want a bird with sharp claws and beak to think you are taking their dinner. Ow.

Why was I in such a dark place and how did I get out of it? Loooong story but I will give the bare bones and go into details of each in future blogs. Would be here for days if I said everything. It was mostly a case of a thousand straws on the camel’s back and I finally got brave enough to wrestle those straws into a bundle and kindle a fire with them. This fire is my life and I am determined to be myself and not try to make others happy by being someone else.

What were those straws, you may ask?

Here are just the highlights, the large straws, not even counting the little daily stresses. Number one, my health has been bad for some time, mostly due to stress (adrenal fatigue is REAL, people!)  #2 and most recent – father died suddenly. Before that (#3) my grandmother’s growing abuse of my mother caused my mother to have nervous breakdown and had to care for them both. Before THAT, best friend passing away after a LONG fight with breast cancer. #5 (I am thinking the beginning of the major stresses) the first indication that my marriage was not all I thought it to be.

As you can see, a lot of shit. Not sure which is the best way to tell the stories. Probably how it all happened although I am not really sure how things fell out the way they did. So I was in a funk, not depressed in the clinical term but very unhappy and not even realizing it until suddenly I was happy again. And it was like a light. And not one thing but a series of wonderful experiences happening over four days.

Next blog will be an upbeat one but keep checking back for the details of the darkness. I hope someone will read them and learn how to dig themselves out of the hole before it buries them like it did to me.

Tracking tip of the week

#1 – Look for circling birds, the larger the better. Center on the circle but wait until they start to land or the thing might not be dead. FYI, the more birds, the bigger the thing. Rabbits, ok. Bengal Tiger, not so much. Different advice with different birds coming with next tips.

The first question is always “Why would you want to track dead things?” My answer is “If you didn’t want to, why click on this site?” Either way, weekly tips will be posted as a heading to my blog. And it is my blog. Don’t care if anyone follows, enjoys or reads. This is for me to get back into daily writing and become more tech savvy in the process. If anything I write resonates with just one person, I am content.

Why am I starting blogging? Especially when I swore I never would tweet or blog or get involved in any social media. My daughter was a big influence, telling me that I was cool funny and everyone else needed to be able to read the cool things I talked about so they would all know what a great person I am. Actually she said something like “You’re funny mom. You should blog.” How I choose to interpret that is my business.

Tracking dead things came up in one of those random train of thoughts while chatting with said daughter. My consumption of 2 Long Island Ice Teas (hereafter known as LIIT) probably added to the silliness and we started thinking up ideas on how to find dead animals. I said “I track dead things” sounded like a .com. She said I should totally blog and I said I would get on that immediately! So four months later, here it is!

Ok, I don’t usually procrastinate that long (total lie, am #1 procrastinator of the Southwest) but I have been in a dark place for a long time. Some of it was from my own making, some from external sources. I finally am coming out of it and determined to enjoy all of life that I can. So future blogs might be about those dark places, some might be all fun and games. We will have to see but so looking forward to the journey!

All things weird and wonderful!

Here goes. I am Kristi Bledsoe, author of The QPID Archives series and I don’t really know what I am doing with a blog but here goes.

I will be heading each new blog with advice on how to track dead things. Perhaps more often as the muse (or zombies) hit me.

I love all things weird and wonderful and don’t really care if I ever get followers but we are going ahead full steam. Check back soon for the first advice on tracking!