I live near the coast of South Carolina where my neighbors are abundant sunshine and briny ocean breezes. Wardrobe must-haves are simple: flip-flops, shorts, some southern-labeled T-shirt, and copious amounts of sunblock.
After becoming a published author, I made a promise to my son and daughter: No writing during the summer. I may do busy work such as social media and book research, but no new word docs that begin with Chapter One. Summer is a time to focus on my family, yet I’ve been unable to focus this year on hardly anything.
This summer has been a haze of unbearable heat, uncomfortable changes on the horizon, and difficult book research. The heat will slap you in the face just for opening the door to check the mail!
We’ve spent a majority of the summer making preparations to move my son Nate to Charleston for college. A lot of shopping for supplies, updating tuition cost totals, and packing. That is happening in less than two weeks whether I like it or not.
And the book research… Oh boy. Diving into the topic of mental illness has been much more than I bargained for. And if that wasn’t hard enough, I’m going to go about it from the 1970’s and 80’s perspective! The research is intriguing but painful. From pastors to artists, Christian leaders to authors, I’ve read about how they have endured the severity of mental illness. I’ve also read articles on others who could not cope and ended their lives. I’ve also watched several documentaries on serial killers to see where mental illness can lead when going undiagnosed or undetected. This was just a small portion of the research because it gave me nightmares! Bottom line: the mind can become diseased to the point of no remission if left untreated.
A friend of mine, who I’ve spoken to a lot about this research, said to be cautious and do not spend too much time in it, knowing how research affects me. I’m not an authority on matters I write about in my fictional worlds, but I feel it’s my duty to understand my characters and the world they struggle through to a point.
So, the point of all my rambling is that I think the combination of the harsh heat, Nate moving away, and the book research is weighing heavily on me. Summertime blues has struck! I haven’t said anything to those around me because it seems silly in the whole scheme of things going on in the world we live in. But I’m learning that this is where our errors are starting. Not talking about things bothering us when they are only sprouting. Instead, we let things go until the sprouts turn into thick vines that choke out sound reasoning and are riddled with thorns of detrimental consequences. I wonder how many awful moments in our history could have been avoided if only the one person in the center of the horror would have had the courage and support system to speak up long before reaching the destructive point of no return.
Have you ever had someone try talking to you in confidence about an issue that seemed frivolous from your perspective? I know I have and I also admit (with my eyes cast toward the ground) that I was dismissive more than supportive. Even with my little bout of summer blues, I’ve not spoken to anyone about it because I feel selfish and silly for even feeling down.
We’re living in a time where everyone wants to look strong and independent, not needing others. Yet our unfolding history is contradicting this. I’m guilty. My mindset is always stuck on the “I’ll do it on my own” and the “I can only depend on myself” modes. It’s time to switch to another setting. The one that has us reaching out and asking someone to get still a minute and listen to us. The famous Grey’s Anatomy line, “You’re my person” really needs to be a thing for each one of us. We all need a person and we all need to be that person for someone else.
I have no authority in this subject, but I do see where leaning on other people and vice versa needs to be a movement to catch fire in this country. People need someone to listen. We each need sound advice. We may not all agree, but we can all offer a listening ear and an air of kindness.
Today is my mother’s birthday. Even though this marks the fifth one I’ve not gotten to celebrate with her, it hurts as bad as the first one after her death. I would appreciate your prayers today… See! How hard was that for me to admit. And how easily can you have a little empathy for me today?
Yes, I’m still blue, but I now have some comfort in being brave enough to share it with you. I hope you look for comfort in things weighing you down by sharing them with someone close to you today. And I’m always just an email or private message away. I’ll listen and pray for you too.
My summer reading list:
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.
This book broke my heart as any book that deals with this time in history does, but it’s a story that needed to be read.
Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs.
Such a fresh perspective. Admittedly, I found a little of myself in each woman. I highly recommend it.
Summer Giveaway and FREE book info: