Letting go of "should" in order to enjoy "is"

People tend to have high expectations for the Holidays, a lot of ideas of what it should be, from decorations to food to family coming together in certain and specific ways. When things don’t line up with the shoulds, things get uncomfortable. This collision of what we think it should be and what it is is where most of the conflict and tensions rise.

My family is no exception to this. There has been a lot of shifting of what the holidays look like in recent years that has required reajustments of expectations, but this year has involved an especially uncomfortable shifting. It started with Thanksgiving, and now we’re faced with it again for Christmas. It’s not even close to what it used to look like.

So various family members are pissed upset. Different family members have different expectations — each with their own set of should be‘s. I’m seeing a lot of upset feelings and a lot of unwillingness to compromise, and there’s not much I can do about it. I’m willing to give my support where I can, but for the most part how everyone chooses to handle it is beyong my control.

I’ve already had a freak out over Thanksgiving, which I processed and let go. I think that experience has let me be okay with allowing Christmas to be whatever it’s going to be. At this point, it doesn’t matter to me what it ultimately looks like — it doesn’t matter whose house it’s celebrated at, where Christmas dinners happen, when the presents are opens, and etc., etc., etc. — just so long as family comes together in love and laughter.

Because that’s the important thing. Family and love and laughter (and maybe a few carols and some spiked eggnog and some good food). All the rest is just details.

If one can just let go of the idea of the holidays they have in their heads, they can enjoy the holidays for what they are — a gathering of those we love.

Being a list of 10 things that happened this week

1. I finished, polished, and submitted my new short story, “The Shadow’s Flight,” to the anthology Rustblind and Silverbright. Clicking “send” has to be the scariest part of the writing process for me. It’s that moment when I keep wanting to do just ONE more proofread of both story and cover letter with the knowledge that once it’s been sent, it cannot be retrieved. Once it’s gone, I can sit back, comfortable in the knowledge that things are no longer within my control, and what will be will be. I’m quite happy with this story, and wether in this anthology or another market, I’m sure it will find a home.

2. I started work on another short story this week, which has been a little more challenging for me. I started out excited and enthralled with my idea, and was deperately throwing down snippets and phrases into a notebook, but now things have stalled a bit. I have the parameters all sketched out, filling in the colors and the details has turned out to be considerably more difficult. I need to give up finding the “perfect” words and just get any words into sentences and paragraphs in the hopes that my writing gang can read it and review it tonight.

3. The Untitled Werewolf Novel, which now has the tentative title of Beneath the Midday Moon, continues to evolve inside my head. I was originally going to write it in first person with a single perspective. Now, I’m planning to add another character POV, and am undecided on whether to go with first person still or with a limited third person omnicient POV. Decisions, decisions.

4. I posted a new poem on wattpad, called “Ode to an Antique Suitcase,” which you can read it here.

5. Yesterday, I pulled off my  sweater and totally freaked out, suddenly sure that I was naked underneath and had just exposed myself to the entire office — only to realize after a couple of deep calming breaths that it was fine, reall. That I was not naked, but just wearing a nude colored tank top undearneath the sweater. The panic, however, reminded me instantly of those terrible dreams I used to have in high school of being in class without my pants on.

6. Spent Thursday night hanging out with my brother and his friend in San Francisco, drinking beers and eating good food. We stopped by the restaurant he manages, called Split Bread, which is all organic food and has really good toffee cookies.

7. It is raining outside. A lot. It’s like the sky is dumping whole buckets of water on the earth, for which I am very grateful, because how else are my potted plants to get watered.

8. It didn’t help, though, that I left both rain jacket and umbrella in the car, and so had to run down the pathway, leap (unsucessfully) over a puddle and throw myself into the car — none of which stopped me from looking like a wet cat and having to sit there, shaking the water from my limbs.

9. I don’t really have anything else to say.

10. I just like round numbers.

[Cross-posted to my livejournal. Feel free to comment here or there.]

It's Friday. Huzzahs.

I’ve been somewhat sick half the week, but I’ve discovered that taking Nyquil before bed = awesomeness. What? Sleep through the night? Without my head congested and generally unbreatheable? Wake up feeling better not worse the next morning? Yeah! Why haven’t I done this before?

Because I’ve been a head full of mucus this week, I’ve use this as an excuse to be lazy. Thus no progress has been made on my anti-nano goals — I can’t, at the moment, even bring myself to open the untitled werewolf novel to even see where I’m at with it. However, I have been making some progress on a piece that will probably end up being just a little too long for flash fiction.

So that’s it in news about me.

Now I point you to this awesome post, “Black Women in Speculative Fiction: A Brief Investigation,” which increases my TBR list exponentially.

Also, here’s a meme I snatched from brigits_flame:

Book you are currently reading: The Hobbit by Tolkien, Nebula Awards Showcase 2012, and Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente
Last book you read: Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey: Vampire Slayer as Feminine Chosen One, by Valerie Estelle Frankel
Book you could read again and again and again: The Hobbit and Beloved by Toni Morrison and a handful of others.
Book you are glad you read once but will never ever read again: Most recently? Probably The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett. (But I never really know what books I’ll read again.)
Favorite book (if it differs from a book you could read again and again…): Too many, but a novel that is my current favorite is Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman
Writer whose stories you enjoy immensely: Neil Gaiman, for one, Holly Black, Nova Ren Suma, Libba Bray, for others.
Writer whose style blows you away: Mostly poets, such as Ai, or Walt Whitman, or David Perez, or Karen Finneyfrock. Also, Toni Morrison.

[Cross posted to my livejournal.]

So grateful it's over now…

and that I no longer need to hear the political ads on TV (and hopefully vitriol being spouted on Facebook will trickle off as well).

I’m grateful that Obama has been reelected. He hasn’t been a perfect president, but he’s done well in an incredibly tough situation, not to mention that he supports gay marriage and women’s rights, both things I care about.

Other things I’m happy about:

A lot of good things there, and I’m sure there are others that I’m not listing. Edited to add: You can read about a lot more of the awesomeness here.

It doesn’t mean we’re “fixed” as a country, and none of these things eliminate the continued presence of racism, sexism, ableism, or other problems in our country, but I like to see that steps are being taken and seeing signs that we might be starting to head in the right direction.

Go Vote!

Whatever your affiliation, whatever your point of view — go vote!

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That is all.