This Is Personal

“When a person you think looks good the way they are expresses disgust with their appearance, don’t immediately tell them why they are wrong or roll your eyes in disgust at what you perceive as attention seeking behavior.”

I’m taking a break from talking about writing today. There’s something that’s been weighing on my mind, and if I help one person by speaking out about it, then I’ll consider it a job well done.

This is a topic I’ve often felt I couldn’t speak out about because I’ve been told constantly that I can’t. Comments like: “Oh, you’re being ridiculous.” or “Whatever. Look at this skinny bitch, can you believe she’s had eight kids?” have, in a very real way, prevented me from facing the fact that I hate my own body. I’m not allowed to because everyone says I can’t.

I know I have some form of body dysphoria and I don’t see what others see when I look in the mirror. Logically, I know my weight is within the normal range for my height, neither too little nor too much, right at the top of where it’s consider the “ideal” weight range. But, when I look in the mirror, I see big thighs, a huge ass, and a flabby belly, and don’t even get me started on my upper arms.

Granted, the flabby belly comes from having given birth to eight children, two of whom are a set of twins, and having permanent muscle separation that I neither have medical insurance nor money to get fixed. Unless I can get that fixed, my tummy will always be a bit flabby, and I’m getting better about accepting that.

I actually like to workout when I can find time. But that’s been very hard for me this past year for many reasons, and you can tell in my opinion. I’ve just gotten back into it, and I’m happier for it. Those endorphins do all the good things for me. But even when I was working out all the time, I felt like I looked big. Then two Christmases ago, people started talking about how skinny I was, but in a negative way. I felt like I couldn’t win.

To be clear, I don’t starve myself. I can’t. I love food. I sometimes can exercise enough self control to not eat junk and do portion control (that’s when I got “too skinny” according to others), but my lifestyle as a single mom doesn’t lend itself to being able to be super vigilant about my diet most days. I don’t have the money or time, and honestly, I’m a hungry person who can almost always eat. I don’t, but I could.

So, I workout as much as possible to make up for my shit diet days or I get what I consider chunky. Again, logically, if I just look at numbers, I know I’m being crazy, but what I see in the mirror and pictures is someone who looks out of shape.

Another thing to point out, I never think people the same size as me or bigger look heavy or unattractive, this is totally a judgement I turn on myself, not others. I’m screwed up like that.

I’ve been back to working out regularly for about six weeks now, and I do feel better. However, I’m not losing the weight like I have in the past. In fact, I’m pretty sure my butt has gotten bigger, though it is definitely less flab and more muscle. I was looking in the mirror, upset, close to tears, and started thinking that I’m probably too old now, and I just needed to give up on my body ever being good. And I then I had a moment of realization and started thinking…I have to stop doing this to myself. It’s not helping, and how can I expect to get physically healthy when I’m defeating myself mentally before I even start.

I’ve done all this work on myself mentally, learning to love who I am as person and be happy with that, and I completely overlooked the fact that I’m spewing negativity at my physical self which is just as unhealthy.

So I determined that I was going to learn to accept myself where I am physically just like I have mentally. I went and bought shorts in a bigger size so I could stop skulking around in leggings and sweats or sweating my ass off in jeans when it’s summer weather. I took all the shorts that I just knew I could get myself back into if I worked out enough and either threw them in the donation bin or gave them to my oldest daughter. I got rid of all my size small shirts because my boobs are never going to fit back in those and again, my oldest can wear them. And I ordered a high-waisted swimsuit for the summer to hide my belly.

Now, none of this is going to miraculously cure me of my dysphoria or my negativity. Those are things I’m still going to have to work on. I’m going to have to learn not to stand in front of the mirror and pinch the flab on my stomach or slap my thighs and ass to watch them jiggle while I feel disgusted. I have to stop myself from reinforcing the negative, but here’s something we all can do to help people:

When a person you think looks good the way they are expresses disgust with their appearance, don’t immediately tell them why they are wrong or roll your eyes in disgust at what you perceive as attention seeking behavior. Quite often, it’s real to them, and everyone telling them why they’re wrong leads to repressing those feelings and more build up of nasty feelings inside until they hate themselves.

My flabby body is real to me, I can see it, but I’m not going to let it control me anymore. The bigger size of clothing was a hard thing for me, but I can see that I actually look smaller in the bigger clothes when I look in the mirror. I have to learn to live with and love my body where it’s at, but I also need to have my feelings about it respected and not treated as if they’re nothing because I’m not perceived the same way by others.

Putting this post out there scares me, especially because when I’ve tried to talk about it before I’ve been told that, as someone who isn’t considered heavy, I have no right to feel the way I do. However, I know I can’t be alone in this, and I just want others like me to know that I’m here, I get it, and I know that the struggle is real for you, no matter what your physical appearance reflects to others.

Gabriel and Evander – Character Sketches

I recently commissioned Sarah Jo Chreene to create line drawings of Gabriel and Evander, and she went above and beyond. They’re gorgeous! I’ve typed up character sketches to go along with them and share with you all. You can find Sarah Jo Chreene’s page here.

Gabriel Sinclair

Description:

6 feet tall, long dark hair, swimmers build, changeable eyes (violet, blue, gray), graceful, pale skinned, 28-years-old, androgynous, high cheekbones, full lips, arched brows, stubborn jaw

Character traits:

self-sacrificing, snarky, damaged, dominant (but not a jerk about it), fights for the underdog, his mouth gets him in trouble, smart, powerful, trained fighterNotes: Only half-angelus/half-daemon to ever exist, considered an enemy of both as he’s an abomination, the Creator assigned him mentors, one Daemon and one Angelus

Background:

Abandoned in an alley as little more than a toddler, Gabriel was taken in by a Catholic orphanage. Until the age of seven when a priest tried to kill him due to his unnatural traits and a belief he was possessed and needed an exorcism, he lived with the nuns and the other children who came and went from the orphanage. During the exorcism, Gabriel’s powers acted to protect him and flashed him into an alley where a dark mage was waiting for him, having been searching for a power source for a long time.

The following six years of his life were spent as a prisoner (more details in the books), and he was abused regularly. At the age of thirteen, he was rescued by the archangel Michael and was promptly introduced to the Daemon Barabbas, both of whom became honorary uncles and mentors for the young halfling. They trained him to survive at all costs, and he spent the next fifteen years dodging agents of both the Light and the Darkness and fighting them off when necessary for survival. 

At the age of twenty-eight, he was once again forced to change his life when Michael showed up with a team of Bellators, agents of the Light, and a mission for him. There is, of course, a prophecy. 

Father: Daemon Prince, once second to only Lucifer himself, seriously evil

Mother: details currently unknown, Angelus, one of the only females

Other information:

When his story begins, he is fully suppressing his dark side using pain as a coping mechanism. He must feed on blood as well as regular food to maintain full strength, though he does this as little as possible causing his true power levels to be masked. He has only killed in defense of himself or others and remembers every kill.

Evander Ryan

Description:

6’5″, brown hair, green eyes, tanned skin, muscular build, classically handsome

Character Traits:

Arrogant, Leader, Strong, Organized (until Gabriel throws him off), Strategist, Narrow-minded, Believes his own hype, ignorant when it comes to interpersonal relationships, an idiot when it comes to Gabriel

Background:

Evander is the last of the Creator’s handcrafted Bellators brought into being centuries after the others who the Creator had long since granted the ability to find mates and procreate, sustaining future generations on their own. Something of a favorite of the Creator, he was very sheltered and kept ignorant of a lot of the world in effort to create a “perfect” Bellator. (More about Evander’s background in book 2!)

Other Information:

most powerful Sustainer in history, leader of the most powerful Bellator group, Gabriel’s sodalis vitae (life/soul mate)

I hope you enjoyed this little peek into Gabriel and Evander!

Monday Updates

Hello everyone! I have a couple of announcements.

  • Surviving the Shadows is once again with my editor. I added 13.5K to the manuscript, and it’s currently sitting at just 6 words under 100K. Through edits it’ll either gain those words or lose more, we’ll see. lol
  • I have started a Patreon. I really want to be able to focus on writing alone, and it’s really hard to do so when I’m editing too. I did shut down my editing business for all but a few clients, but it meant a huge hit financially. So I will be creating exclusive content for Patreon subscribers only. I have tiers as low as $1 a month. The link is here. This will allow me to write and hopefully make up some of the financial differences. All my books will still be published on Amazon and in KU. My Patreon content will be bonus content or side stories I don’t plan to publish. Though in the higher tiers you will get early access to parts of my books, and even input. I will begin adding exclusive content this week.
  • I’m going to be better about sending out my newsletter once a month. I was just going to do it when I published a new book, but that means only sending it about every three months, and I’d like to stay in contact more than that. That goes for this blog too. I won’t be posting exclusive content here, but I will post everything I’ve chosen to be public information. So lore and things like that which will be important for all readers to know will continue to be posted both here and publicly on my Patreon.
  • I am going to start a group on Facebook, and I will post a poll on my author page about names. This whole process is to be and get better about interacting with my readers and getting the word out about my books so I can grow my readership. I appreciate each and every one of you for being with me through the roller coaster that establishing myself as a serious author has been and will probably continue to be for quite a while.

When Life Interferes

Me Monday

I’ve been having a rough time lately. When your only job isn’t writing, it’s easy for the other things to take over your writing time and derail your story. I edit books for other people too. And most of the time, I enjoy it, but just like with writing, I get in slumps where every word edited feels like a victory, especially if I get a particularly difficult case.

Right now, I’m in an editing and writing slump. I’m mentally exhausted between the pressure on myself to make a fantastic book 2 that lives up to book 1 of The Bearer of Truth series and my oldest child, who is in advanced math, has a teacher who does not teach them, so I’m spending an hour to an hour-and-a-half of my writing time every night teaching algebra. I’m just tired.

On top of it all, I’m going through the process of getting my youngest son diagnosed and assessed for his delays. I’ve had meetings with developmental pediatricians, assessment appointments, this week it’s the geneticist, or maybe that’s next week? I don’t know; it’s all in my calendar. My life is just a little off the rails.

That being said, I had lunch with a friend yesterday while our daughters were dancing, and we were talking about the story. She’s a fan of the books, and we were just chatting about the characters, what’s going to happen in book 2 (generally, I didn’t want to give anything away), and who her favorite characters are. (She loves Evander, funnily enough. Most people are not his biggest fan these days. She said she likes that he’s just so clueless.) It’s re-energized me as far as the story goes, so let’s hope that translates to words.

So I’m writing this with a huge cup of coffee in my hand, two books in my editing queue, and mine to hopefully finish by the end of the week and send to an alpha reader. I am close. I don’t think this one is going to be quite as long as book 1, but I tend to add words during my self-edits and alpha/beta read process. The first time I reached the end of book 1 it was 85K; it published at 95K. I already know some things I need to add in that I missed. I’m at 67K now, and I have the beats I need to hit written down, now I just have to get there.

Today, I write.

Teasers for A Blaze in the Dark

My newest release is live! I think these came out so nicely! Angsty G designed them. Leslie Copeland added the words.

Thanks for listening to me ramble!

~ Miranda