Elizabeth Barone

New Adult Romance & Suspense

I’ve been super busy lately, and I’m starting to feel the crunch. The familiar it’s-the-middle-of-the-night-so-my-brain-is-all-OMG came crashing into me last night.

It goes something like this: you’re exhausted after a long day of work and housekeeping and all that, your eyes are heavy, you’re just about to drift off, and BAM! Just before you nod away into precious slumber, your brain decides it’s time to kick things into high gear. Suddenly you are aware of every single little thing that you didn’t accomplish today. Without warning, you’re even planning for tomorrow. If you’re especially lucky, you’re also panicking because you forgot one or two very important things that you need to take care of right now, dammit. Because your brain is a bossy son of a mother.

Why is it that we do this? Why do we feel like what we’ve already accomplished is not enough? There’s a saying that many of us utter, that we need more hours in a day. Where do we draw the line?

Today I’m exhausted and not feeling very motivated to tackle my To Do list. Last night, I managed to fight the urge to jump out of bed and fix the boo-boos, but I tossed and turned for quite a while, fighting that little voice in my head that insisted these were urgent matters. As Britt Reints says, I had to stop should-ing on myself.

This anxious energy that engulfs me when I go into full schedule mode is combatted only by a few things. This is my body and mind telling me that my plate is full, so I have to listen and take action.

  • I have to consciously say no to anything else that comes my way.
  • I have to make sure I write my To Do list before bed every night, so those urgent things don’t keep me awake.
  • I have to make a master list of everything and prioritize.

And still, because I’m human, I inevitably forget something or make a mistake. Like the fact that I scheduled a release party on Facebook smack in the middle of a holiday weekend. Whoops.

When enough doesn’t feel like enough, it’s time to step back and draw a line. Be assertive and say no, give yourself permission to relax. You’re only one person.

As am I.

On Your First Day of College

via Unsplash

via Unsplash

Nine years ago, I grabbed my backpack heavy with books and drove to my first college class. Though I was excited about starting something new, I thought I was wasting my time. I wanted to spend my days with my new boyfriend who, though he made me crazy, I’d become quite addicted to. I also had no idea how to function in a world that, quite honestly, I never thought I’d live to see.

Depression is a bitch like that.

Even more so, I didn’t exactly want to be there. I had no idea what I was going to do when I “grew up”; I chose to go to school for web design because someone promised me a job if I got that piece of paper.

So on that sunny August morning, I had no idea what to expect.

I didn’t expect to make friends with a group of goofy guys who I’d spend the next two years with. I didn’t expect to actually like graphic and web design, and the rest of my program. And I certainly didn’t expect to take a creative writing class that made me fall in love with composing prose all over again.

But that’s life. It’s full of events that jump out of nowhere and send you careening down an unexpected path.

So, on your first day of college, dear reader, I want you to remember three things.

  1. Whatever you’re expecting, let it go. Be open to surprises and adventures. You never know who you will meet or what you will fall in love with.
  2. You don’t have to be fearless, but you should keep going anyway. Tell that fear to go to hell and push through.
  3. Even though you might be tempted, really, seriously do not leave writing that paper ’til the last minute. You will be up all night kicking yourself.

Looking back, those two years were some of the best of my life. Sure, that boyfriend really tested my patience. But he later became my husband. And that creative writing class I mentioned? Even though I spent several years after college building websites, a series of events forced me to pursue my passion. My college years were formative for my adulthood, preparing me for the future I never dreamed I could have.

It’s a future that I’m living now, that I cherish with every breath.

So, on your first day of college, know that the next few years are only temporary, but the rest of your life is just ahead of you. And it’s going to rock.

The Four Words I Love the Most

via Unsplash

via Unsplash

“Your prescription is ready.” Her voice sounded like she was speaking through a tin can, but her words were clear. The refill I’d been waiting for—that I thought I wasn’t getting because my doctor’s office didn’t get back to me for days—was granted.

No words have ever been so sweet.

After waking up in the middle of the night yet again in agony, the constant pain in my hip was taking its toll. Normal, healthy people can’t possibly understand what it’s like to be in pain all the time. The people around me don’t quite know what to do with me. don’t even know what to do with me, so I can’t blame them. Chronic pain isn’t something that gets better. We can hope to feel a little better, given some time and maybe nicer weather. But it’s always there, in the back of your mind: This will come back.

And it has.

After my longest flareup—November 2014 to June 2015—I had a few weeks of general comfort. Sure, my hip still hurt, but my hands and ankles and knees and shoulder blades felt like normal joints. In the last couple of weeks, the pain has crept back in.

I try to fake my way through my days, because I’ve noticed that it makes everyone around me more comfortable. It’s easier for the people in my life when I’m not sobbing in the middle of the night or canceling plans at the last minute. But there’s only so much grinning and bearing you can do, until it all becomes intolerable.

Winter is coming, and with it, that unbearable level of pain. I know not because I am in a negative mood, but because I’ve been living like this for over eight years. I’d just hoped that I’d have a bit longer of a reprieve. But summer doesn’t last forever.

In the throes of this chronic pain, there are four words that I most need to hear, aside from “Your prescription is ready.” They are: “I’m here for you.”

No words have ever been so sweet.

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