I'm not gonna lie, the last six months of my life have sucked.
My dad had a massive heart attack and an emergency quadruple bypass. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through a couple of surgeries and radiation. I'm getting divorced. I owe more taxes than I used to make in a year. My dog Chief, my last pet, is on the verge of dying.
Yeah, I qualify for country song status for sure.
So, why haven't I taken to my bed with a gallon of ice cream and all twenty-seven seasons of Grey's Anatomy?
1. I have two kids - a six-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl. They need me to do my mom thing. They need me to feed them, and force them to bathe and brush their teeth. They require hugs and kisses, and dance parties, and for me to know what Minecraft and Dog with a Blog are. My kids keep me dependable.
2. My friends, both IRL and on the interwebs, and my family. They've watched my kids, taken me out to the movies, spent hours chatting about nothing on Facebook, helped me do yard work, and above all else, listened to me. My friends and family take my burdens away.
3. Exercise. Author Angela Carlie somehow managed to get me to sign up for a relay team even though I've never run a mile in my life. This summer, I'll run three, six mile legs in a race from Seattle to Whidbey Island. Another friend of mine talked me into joining her CrossFit gym last August just before my life imploded. I cannot tell you the value of lifting heavy things and doing burpees until your mind is blank. Exercise keeps me physically and mentally relaxed.
4. Work. Writing is therapy that I don't have to pay for. FOUND (Penny Black #1) distracted me with the intricacies of building a future world and creating a main character that is very different from myself. The two pen name short stories I wrote were pure fun - decadent writing just to write. CROSSING, the novel I'm working on now, has been an altogether deeper experience. It's semi-autobiographical and it is helping me repair my self-esteem. I've been able to cry and laugh and remember...and move on. Writing gives me whatever I need.
My wish is that your life is a little less hectic, but if it's right up there with my vida loca, I hope you have some good ways of dealing too. If not, I highly recommend weight lifting and writing romance. :)
Stacey Wallace Benefiel is the author of the Zellie Wells trilogy, FOUND, the Day of Sacrifice series, the Toilet Business - a collection of humorous essays, the upcoming CROSSING, and multiple short stories. She sometimes goes by S.W. Benefiel or Reina Stowe, but knows she's not foolin' anybody. Stacey lives in an orange house in Beaverton, OR with her kids and her dog and a lot of clean laundry that always needs to be folded and put away.