Monday, December 14, 2015

My A to my Z

Let's call her A and she was simply irresistible. I loved writing poetry about her, for her...sometimes as she wished. Late at night, after one too many hour spent talking she'd have an idea and I complied with something. Anything, that was our charm. We enjoyed each other for who we were.

And as we got to know each other more, unfolding and unraveling each other's secrets, she met Z. Without a pause, she introduced him as a concept to me and soon enough I introduced myself to him. It turned out to be fascinating, the relationship between the three of us.

We'll never be able to admit love for each other, that isn't the kind of people we were. But obsessed? Yes. Uncontrollably into each other? Yeah. Absolutely.

It was just fun, really. But, fun can grow into beautiful everlasting or combust. The more days we spent sharing twosome secrets over the third, the more we grew as friends. The more we explored hidden and guarded fantasies, the more important they became in my writing.

She came first as my muse; and he trailed at the end as my editor. Half scrawled erotic stories on my erotica blog Salon de Madame Odalys became soft pillowcases for ecstasy.

It's been almost seven years since we began our friendship. At this point in time A is banned from visiting with Z (cannot indulge in the obsession per A's new lover's rules). Z chides me too much for not writing. A checks up on me, though sometimes she badmouths Z for not being more talkative with me. We're friends, that may never change.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

From My Mistakes

I haven't explained myself, but I've dissected what happened to deter me away from my church. I don't think I found any real answers, only abstract answers which I've dabbled a bit in a blog post here or there. And that's okay.

All in all I blame myself for not believing in myself and for making myself feel like a total fool for even trying to fit into a church. The shadow of self doubt follows me constantly through every decision in my life. It makes it hard to always be aware of who I am, and the gifts and blessings bestowed upon me. And that's not okay.

Yet I'm trying to learn from my mistakes. If anything, looking back at the experience NOW has made me realize that I had a lot of questions about myself. In the past two years, I've roamed around identities and circle of friends. I took out magic crayons and drew lines between myself and the way I wanted people to treat me. Drew lines between happy and unhappy professions. Circled and underlined things I'd love to do again.

And I tested the boundaries between my loneliness and what it meant to be a nonchurch going person of faith. And that sucked. But going back sucked too, because I hadn't dealt with anything--hey full circle. From my mistakes, I've learned to be thankful. I've learned that I will be unhappy if I don't stay true to myself. And I learned that sometimes life can seem cloudy, but with the passage of time, all can be answered. Even if, abstractly. And that's okay.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I Believed It

I have a problem with authoritative figures. Especially if they are older and I'm convinced they are wrong. Moreso if they are women. Women can be the most cutthroat in a corporate setting, or as in my family, or as I learned in a church environment.

I've replayed the sequence and it all leads to a similar instance regarding my grandmother. Before her, life revolved around the patriarch figure, her father. No one can really confirm her tales, but according to grandmother he was a Mexican soldier. He had a temper and left a permanent scar on my grandmother's head from beating her into obedience too much one day. Whoever the man she first married was, he didn't matter after he left her with my mom and and uncles.

My grandmother is a force of nature. She instilled in me a sense of fear and doubt that I believed to be true. As an indirect result, my self disappointment in never pleasing her led to a bigger disappointment in not pleasing the perfectionist who grew in me.

I was, and will never be, enough. Everything I do is wrong. No matter what day it is, whatever the weather, I am wrong. I really believed it.

So when I met with so and so, one to one, and sat her through my ideas. I explained to her the reasoning behind my thoughts, the theories I learned with my degree and experience running organizations. And she said to me, "you don't want to be in charge of any of that."

I didn't, the perfectionist understood perfectly. So that meant I didn't want to be involved. I didn't want to share my opinions. I didn't want to share my views or needs as a member of the congregation. I didn't want to let my self heal in worship. I didn't, I didn't...feel that she wanted me there at all. An obstruction to her plans, I was a nuisance to her matriarchy.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Being More

"I am more than the anxiety." I repeated to myself as my ride to the church happened a tad too late and the clock swayed too close to 10:30am. "Please," I asked, "give me enough strength that I wake up early enough to catch the bus and bring myself to church."

"I am more than a crush." I repeated to myself as I walked up the steps leading to the narthex of the church. "I am more than a broken dream and unfulfilled promises." I swung the door open, an elder greeted me with a huge smile. "Please," I asked, "lead me not into temptation and save me from evil."

"I am more than the tiredness from working too long on weekends." I glided across the carpet all the way to the front; one, two, three. My predestined seat is in the third row, north side of the sanctuary. The announcements linger a note too long. The piano or the organ, or both, and the spirit begin to infuse the room. Not a minute too late or too soon. The right beginning to the day. All in God's time.

And I learned from the hymns I sang. And I wished my church family the peace and grace of Christ. And I read from the Bible. And I sat quiet enough to hear the sermon. And I felt my head lean back, staring at the lights hanging from the ceiling. And my gaze shifted to the choir, sitting in the front left side. And I looked at that woman, the one I've attached heartache to because she spoke quietly and strongly one day: We don't need your help.

And I am more than heartache because she's not my entire church family. And I just wanted to help. But I'm so afraid of her, of the hurt she represented to me and others. But I am more than collateral. God closed my eyes and my head fell forward.

"Didn't you forget me when you forgot you were my son [Sopphey Vance]?"

Yes? I was blinded by pain, my excuse of the century. I wanted to make it go away. Fully knowing, you could help me, I told you I didn't need your help. And I need your help. Please. I'm so tired.

And my heart opened, like an ulcer it bled unhappiness and hurt. And my eyes watered. And I felt so tired so I stayed sitting down. And I mumbled the response hymn. And I whispered the apostles creed, traditional version. And my mouth moved, to pray. And I prayed the prayers our pastor led.

"What, why am I crying?" My head fell forward and down more. "Why are there tears? Am I sad? Why is the pastor crying? Is he okay? Is someone someone dying? Is his family okay? No way, he can't be crying."

I opened my eyes. The pastor dried his eyes.

Maybe I should have stayed home and slept. Or have eaten more to have enough energy to last me through worship. But I am more than excuses to skip church. I'm more than my troubles and decisions. Yet, at the same time, I'm not anything if not clueless about faith and what it truly means to believe. And I definitely don't know enough of what it means to be a child of God. But I know that sound, that stillness in the room when He talks. And that voice is always there.

Monday, November 23, 2015

One Thing

Lately, I find myself over thinking about my great love of 2015. Somehow almost every new year brings a new love. And somehow these new loves don’t pan out so well, at least thus far.

Everything that was wonderful about our relationship was wonderful. If I was tired from a crappy day at work, we didn’t have to endlessly talk about our days. We could just snuggle or lay in bed with his arms wrapped around my shoulders. My thoughts falling in and out of sleep, but always comforted and in love.

But even then, and I will quote this forever, love does not conquer all. We’re all such imperfect persons so accustomed to details, or having our way, that we hold certain things to high importance. In past experiences, it could have been ‘not being called enough’... little things that amount to big hurts.

Something like that happened between us. Something small that happened every day. Every week. Until I just became so heartbroken for keeping my disappointment in that I did what I always do. I retreated, I hid, and I told him to go away.

In retrospect, all relationships are built on trust, friendship, love, and everything in between. I stayed away so well and hid away my sadness so well. Finally, I asked him out for coffee because I really missed my friend. It had been so long since I saw him, and I think it went okay. He’s doing wonderful things with his life, and I am so proud of him. And he’s moving on with his love life, and I am so proud of him for taking risks. I am so happy for him

Thursday, November 19, 2015

People Expect Equilibrium

I have a smile on my face when the day is good and the stars align. I also have a fluttering heart, roving around the city with cheer. But when the day is gloomy and it’s cloudy, I’m nothing. No smile. I possess a heartless heart roving around the town not thinking, not caring, not being. These two personalities are extreme, they’re mostly categorized as bipolar, or manic depression. But I have neither, for I never truly go into mania.

Regardless, the world does not revolve around me. It is completely unfair to ask people to care for the two extremes. I’ve tried it. Perhaps I wasn’t consistent enough, but it is very difficult to be one way or another. Especially when moods changed in a day, an hour. Two moods in an instant, that’s a lot.

It’s not fair. So I stay away when the mood changes. I hide under a rock (my blanket), but always behind close doors of my home where no one comes by. No one has been invited, and no one will be. It is my place of refuge from myself until I can see the sun again.

And then I’ll come out of my shell. Laughter will announce the presence of my smile. Only then, will I feel comfortable being myself. The one people expect.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Stubborn and a Bullfighter

But, no. I exclaimed slightly raising my voice. I was not going to receive anything to teach a class. It wasn’t going to happen. I’m quite selfish and do things for my own reasons, just like any other selfish person. But to really win my argument I finished with, “I’m stubborn and I’m a bullfighter.” Really, no, no. I had to have my way.

Ha! I’ve been stubborn and a bullfighter all my life except for when it really mattered. Times like when I didn’t fight my grandmother enough to allow me to be a part of a dance team. Or that one time when I stubbornly let myself go over to my father’s home and let my father’s romantic interest call my mother. Or that one time when I wanted to say no. Yet over committed myself to a million things and just about lost it completely. (This last one happened a lot.)

Obviously, given my new stubborn track record, I declined a ride from a friend after dinner. Which led to the admission that the last time I declined a ride she FOLLOWED me in her car to make sure I arrived safely at home. Ah! Being followed that should have irritated me, and it did slightly, so stubbornly I continued to decline a ride. I left the restaurant. Sped walked to the bus stop and sat down to write a crochet pattern.

And a young man approached me asking me when the next bus would drive by. I gave him an answer and felt validated in my actions. For real, had I not left the restaurant at the time I did, I would have not helped an innocent bus rider. I busily finished my crochet pattern; my friend hurriedly asked for my whereabouts. And I responded, I’m at so and so place waiting for the bus.

And that’s when it happened. Little honks pierced through my intense concentration. The innocent bus rider asked me if I knew that car. Yes, I knew that car. I apologized and explained I was being stubborn. Honk! Honk! Honk! Embarrassed for I knew that honking wouldn’t cease and my friend wouldn’t leave. I got into the car.

Apparently, I say no to things I shouldn’t say no to. Things like the kindness of people who care about me. So I apologized. I thanked God for being so kind because sometimes I’m some kind of stupid. And the next opportunity I got to not be stubborn I took it. Okay, it was only because I was too tired to fight. But, next time!

Maybe I’ll learn my lesson next time. What about you? Have you ever gotten a second chance to say yes to kindness?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Giving and Giving

In the old world, things were cut and dry. Good and Evil divided life, moral and immoral described actions, and relationships were broken down by the phase give or take. In the new world, things are so much brighter. They’re not as dry, as they have flourished by some bout of confidence. In this new world, I'm focusing my relationships in a different matter. I'm prioritizing friends who follow the practice of "giving and giving."

These are people who give back to their community with their time. For example the wonderful people I've met at the Lamb's Loom. They give so much of their time in running the store, creating scarves, hats, shawls, and comfort dolls for people in need. And the Prayer Quilt Ministry, week after week, these ladies create lap size quilts for people going through difficult times. If that isn’t giving, well, it is so there’s no room for argument. I prioritize my time with those two groups of women.

And it feels so good to be around giving people. It doesn’t feel like I’m a clever person always getting what I want through manipulation and subtle guiding of people. I’m not that clever person, but my background in self-destruction makes me believe so. Being friends where I give and they give, and neither of us really takes because we’re both giving. That keeps the self destructive thoughts away.

And that’s nice. Do you see yourself in any giving and giving relationships?
*I’m taking an approach from Caitlyn Jenner in the sense that Caitlyn references her life after coming out as “Caitlyn” while everything done before coming out is “Bruce.” Yet, I’m not changing any names, I’m quite happy with Sopphey Vance, my before coming out time is “the old world,” versus the “new world.”

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

When He Doesn’t Respond

I’m blessed with having a lot of wonderful people in my life. Some are seasonal, only coming around once in awhile. Some are recurring moments, only coming into my life for a split second before vanishing into the world again. But some seem like they are forever. Or at least more than five years.

One of my friends, let’s name him Z in honor of his masked presence in my life, comes and goes every few days or weeks. But never any longer than a month. I think we’d both get too lonely without each others company. Z and I met through a mutual friend (we’ll talk more about A later). I think her and I were so fascinated and enamored with him for various reasons. But due to the nature of the online world, we are all still strangers to each other. Only knowing bits and pieces about each other’s names, lives, and maybe even profession.

We know enough to care about each other. Right now I’m really missing Z. We message each other, he watches TV at times or reads articles while I crochet. He reminds me that I don’t read enough of the up and coming writers. Which I don’t. He chides me for not going to the library more often enough. It’s only a five minute walk. He makes a list of books for me to explore. Some I read, some I ignore.

In all fairness, he’s a wonderful mentor. Always reminding me to write. Always reminding me of writing opportunities I need to latch on to. Always there until he’s having a bad day or he’s off to visit family. Or heaven forbid his family visits him; we don’t get much time to talk those days. He’s wonderful.

I tell A now and then that everyone needs a Z in their life. I need a Z in my life. But when the messages are quiet. And I’m busy, as I’m sure he is. I wonder. Is he okay? Will he miss me as much as I miss him. Maybe I should listen to him more often. He’s so patient. I’d punch me already if I were mentoring myself. Then I stop wondering and message the shit out of him. Maybe send a few exclamation points for good measure.

Do you have a Z in your life?

Friday, October 30, 2015

Life Decisions, 2015

There are a lot of topics and events I want to blog about. Some are current, while others are recurring. The one that really left me thinking is a short exchange at The Lamb's Loom (I find such spiritual refuge at the place, I must tell you more about it—soon).

The exchange, in no realistic order began with my loud exclamation:

"Go to Sopphey dot com!"

"Sopphey dot com, is that for real?"

"Yes, yes. But remember to spell it S O PP H E don't want to get any surprises. OK now click on 'crochet,' See!"

If you click on 'crochet,' you'll see mentions of the yarn ministries I contribute to. Which is super exciting because I spend A LOT of resources on yarn. And in no realistic fashion, this exchange continued by another with a slight tilt of the head and a lowered, but not quite, confession:

"Sopphey, I love your blog."

A quizzical expression translated to, 'you've seen my blog?'

"You shared it on Facebook."

And, of course, I don't know many people that read my blog once I share it. Of course there are metrics and analytics. Of course.

A tinge of pink painted itself on my fuzzy cheeks translated to, 'thank you. You've seen my blog!'

Thank you, YOU RIGHT NOW, for reading! This whole exchange stayed with me as I skimmed through 700 or so posts on my previous blog, Sopphey Says. I went way back in the archives to June 2010 when I asked myself: am I a writer or a publisher?

Header for Sopphey Says
As a publisher, I founded and ran my own literary magazine for four years. I have edited, designed, and published 11 magazines and sat on the editorial staff for many others. I helped two friends start their literary dreams. Oh, and a network of writing related magazines and websites. I've done alright as a publisher.

As a writer, I was a founding member of an online writing community. I've had my poetry and fiction published in various websites, zines, magazines, and anthologies. I wrote poetry chapbooks. I've done well.

But am I a writer or a publisher? The answer is writer. Writing is my heart and soul. And how does one come to a decision like this? You must really examine both options. Maybe give them a trial run. Ultimately, you take a step back from both.

The choice that keeps calling your name right before your mind wanders into sleep. And not just calls you one day, and forgets about you for a month. But consistently whispers, screams, weeps, and quietly waits for you—that's the choice you make.

Decisions are difficult for some people, but what about you? How do you make decisions?

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Quiet Moments

Ever lay awake at night, sobbing in a panic, wondering why you can't feed all the hungry people who can't feed themselves? And wondering how you could tell the difference? Just in case, you don't feed those who can take care of their own.

Or if it's really necessary to carry band aids to protest.

These examples are my own, but you know those moments, the quiet ones, where you get all the answers to all the questions.

I've grown to dislike quiet moments. They are always taxing and overwhelming. If the sobbing isn't physically exhausting, the poor sleep is debilitating. These moments are so transparent, like a close encounter with God and the universe. Perhaps tipping the scales and slightly touching heaven.

But maybe, these moments have really moved me into a better path. A place where I can sleep easily knowing answers and having assurance that answers do exist.

The answer is feed everyone whether they can provide for themselves or not. Carry first aid. Emergencies are real.

Do you ever have quiet moments? What are your experience with them?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Perhaps a Disadvantage

I'm working on grad school applications again. It's a bit fun. I don't exactly remember my undergraduate application process much. I remember having a time frame of six months to get all applications filled, financial aid forms filled, and essays. I remember lots of applications for scholarships and writing multiple drafts of essays.

It's not the first time I've worked on grad school applications, though. The latest round had an application full of essays. Many essays, and I remember being stumped by all the different ideas I wanted to present. I wanted full exposure, an essay with smooth styling that would declare every point beautifully and concisely. Well, let's just admit that I didn't finish my essays and the university changed their policies and processes and they're not accepting any more students into their program. That was nice.

This whole time though, I've waited. Rewrote thousands of narratives in my head that could satisfy more applications. I wholeheartedly believe in the power of editing and rewriting. But perhaps, all this refocusing on my writing (any piece of writing) goes to far. Perhaps, I should be adventurous and just pick the first 15 poems in my repertoire and call it day. Hit submit, and go. If only I listened to my great ideas.

I'm going to take an even bolder step. I'm going to pick 7 lucky poems from my files and organize them into a small theme. I've edited chapbooks and magazines before, this is just the same except more personal.  This more personal theme will be the new essays I rehearsed. They will be accompanied by new poems, sort of like high lights and low lights in an image. And then, perhaps my overthinking, over editing, and over rewriting won't be such a huge disadvantage after all.

What do you think? How do you choose which poems to submit to be published? Do you create themes? Or how else would you select the poems to represent you?

Monday, September 28, 2015


It was a school day. Like many days before it I wrote a nasty letter to myself listing all the reasons I was subservient to my peers and detailed an extreme dislike for myself and everything in the world. I was thirteen.

And I was in my science teacher's classroom. Or many other classrooms throughout the day with the television replaying the same clips. And one of my teachers commented and that it was a memory our generation would never forget. I laughed, quietly of course. Adding reasons to detonate myself into my notebook.

But, that teacher was not wrong. A line of a poem never settled into the dust. And now, fourteen years later, I can put away all the angry notes toward myself and listen to what I was really trying to write. I can hopefully let go of the line that followed me for so long.

September 11, 2001.

Start of the day.
New page to write
angry letters to myself.
The bruises camouflage
With my skin and the lies
Are keeping me sane.
It's all over the news.
Airplanes crashing
into the World Trade Center.
Airplane crashing into the Pentagon.
Buildings collapsing.
Yesterday it rained.
And today bodies rained down the skies.
What it must feel to finally die.
What it must feel to breathe
And die within as your loved ones
Fall from the sky.
What it must feel to hurt.
To finally see the pain.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Word is Transgender

I did some shopping. I cut my hair. After all this. I didn't realize that even though I don't see myself as a woman, I still look like a woman to everyone else. But I’m not really a woman, biologically yes. On the inside, it’s frightening. I’m afraid of the word transgender because I don’t see myself as living as a man. See, it is really difficult to be a different in this society. Gender roles are so fundamental to the way society works that we’re kind of forced to be either or. And, frankly, life is so much easier being a woman right now. Or perhaps it’s because I’ve lived as a woman for so long that I feel that there are perks.

There are privileges that make life easier. For instance, a woman can be bought dinner and drinks, but a man isn’t afforded that level of generosity. A woman can go to any side of the store, be it the men’s clothes or lingerie (see, how I don’t even have to specify women’s lingerie?) and not be judged. Women get first right to custody, unless they do something so unbecoming of a woman.

Hey, it’s terrible that I see myself living as a woman because my life would be easier! Or am I just making reasons to justify that I’m okay with my biological body? I don’t see myself as a woman, and if no one but myself can see that...well is that going to be an issue down the road? I feel that it could or could not be, but that ultimately I don’t have to choose right now. I don’t have to choose to be addressed as a man or woman right now, because that’s just who I am.

If another person were to be in my situation, then he or she would most likely place pronoun identification sooner rather than later. And that’s great for them. Right now, I’m a man who is totally okay with *HER* biological body. And can’t really decide on the proper pronoun to save *HIS* life. But deep down, I know the right answer. It's just a matter of getting used to it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Little Things

I told an old friend, the inspiration of For the Seasons, that I would start transitioning into the appearance of a man soon. Starting with a haircut, new clothes, and some form of chest binding. The next day I confided in a friend that I would go as far as my paycheck would take me and showed her the haircut I wanted.

Really, I'm not really sure if I should call what I'm doing as transitioning. In a way, I'm just trying to make my appearance match how I feel deep down. I want to finally show the world who I think I am. It's a destination after a lifetime of soul searching!

Other little changes I'm making include eating fewer carbs and working out so that my body can be more masculine. I tried growing a 'beard' but that's so unbecoming. How does it not bother guys to have a beard?!? I'm looking up a ton of Pete Burns pictures to create a style. He's such an inspiration both as a person (come on, he married a man before it was legal) and as an artist.

I'm thinking the whole look thing, or as I'm thinking to call it, look a great first step. Not the first step. Because life isn't math, things happen in overlapping sequences. But a great step to finalizing an identity that gender queer and transgender people hope to achieve.

Saturday, August 15, 2015


I find myself to be most insensitive. It's practically tunnel vision. I avoid things that either make me uncomfortable or completely bore me. Not because these things are uncomfortable OR boring, but because I refuse to see merit in them. That's complete tunnel vision, right?

But, aren't we entitled to only care for our own wants and desires? Wouldn't that just be peachy, and lonely? That's where I am now. Entitled, peachy, and lonely. Look I'm sorry I'm having so much fun being closed minded and by myself. But I can't help it that I'd rather be alone and bored than with company and... Well bored.

Please don't worry about me. You're better off without having a friend like me. I've sucked people into my insecurities. I've left issues sour my demeanor. I've stayed quiet, hidden my feelings, and you've lived your life. It's been fun, I've heard. I hope you know,  though I'm not having the time of my life, I'm still me.

And I think you're an amazing person.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dear God:

I can't let the people I care about into my circle of trust. Why are people embarrassed to see others dance in public? Or being loud, outspoken, and themselves?

God. Is it okay if I stopped looking over Genesis? If I stopped studying the story of Sarah and Abraham, formerly known as Sarai and Abram. Is my name 'Sarai', okay to discard? And will it be okay to make a new agreement with my new name Sopphey Vance as we witnessed on September of 2013? The day of my baptism, when it meant something to see almost strangers stand with my as I entered your realm.

Can I still be Christian if I'm a little transgender or gender queer? What if I transitioned into more of a male appearance? What if I chose to ask science to help me become more of a woman? Can I still seek justice, love and kindness, and walk humbly with you? Can I still attend the women's Bible study? Can I still help out in the church kitchen. Do I all of a sudden not belong in a public women's or men's restroom?

Can you still love me? Care for me, guide me? Will grace still protect me if I'm different!


Thursday, August 6, 2015

I want to go home.

My pew is the third pew on the right side of the sanctuary. Everyone has their own pew. And mine is that one. I sit to the left side of the podium because I can get a really good recording of the sermon.

It's also almost perpendicular to the cross that hangs from the ceiling. And one time, a very dear person took me from my back pew and sat me on the third row. She said it was a favorable spot with a ton of blessings. And I just felt so thankful and so happy that I could sit in that row. And I could pass on all those blessings to all of my church family. And that somehow I never sat alone because the holy spirit sat next to me giving me a big tight hug as I cried my heart out during service.

Then I stopped going home. And when I returned I stopped crying because there was no holy spirit sitting next to me giving me a hug. There were fewer dear people sitting in their pews. And there was a brand new pastor standing behind the podium saying, "Miss Sopphey Vance, welcome back to your home."

But I was very lonely. And that made me angry. And then I became sad. No matter how much I love the place. No matter how much I love the people...I'm not the person that first sat in the back row. I'm not sure how I became that person for that time being. But, for sure the person I know I am is totally different. And different always clashes in a church that does things in a dignified and orderly fashion. But I want to go back, and maybe that will be a home for the person I am.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Girl or boy?

I feel like I'm playing dress up when I dress like a woman. It feels like I'm a blank canvas and I'm not any gender. But, I am two. My body is biologically female with select male features because of endocrine issues. Biologically I am a woman. Gender wise, I'm null. Is that a sign of gender identity disorder? That all my life I've never felt like a girl. Is the mystical third gender the name to the feeling I've felt my whole life?

Where do these questions come from...why do I feel this now? I had plans, dreams, aspirations. This whirlwind of exploring my identity has gone farther than choosing if I want to be a poet, publisher, or a professor...the things that defined who I am! I'm not presently a poet, publisher, designer or whatever other career I chose to explore..and now I don't know if all my life I've felt like a neutral gender playing dress up!

Isn't just being okay with being a girl good enough for me? It should be. I wanted it to be. But as I've gone around the odd jobs, freelance gigs, and several magazines later...I've come to realize I never knew the basics about myself.

My state of mind is playing tricks on me. It should be easy. I should be able to look into the mirror and recognize the person, the gender, I want to be. I can easily feel comfortable when the mirror reflects who I know I am. Or who I want to be.

Or should I let it be? Keep this feeling hidden longer. Ignoring the crucial information to joining my identity visually and mentally. How does knowing yourself really affect the entirety of your life? I don't know. I don't know how to find out. I just know, that it's a question I need to solve.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Being tired of being tired because I make mistakes.

We all make mistakes. We all get hurt. But, if there's something I should have learned in therapy is that life is not defined by our mistakes, but by how we deal with my mistakes.

Well I can't always deal. Never passed that test, and the rest is just a mess of repetitive poetry and life consuming vices. The proof is in my blood. My father once told me he drank because he didn't want to feel, that it made him deal. I'm not quite the same, but I use things to detract from the real issue: me.

Or my feelings. Or my dreams. Or everything that has to do with me. Hey, but that is tiring. And that's why I'm illustrating this post in words. Because, all of the mistakes I've made...all of the things I said yes to when I should have said no..that was all part of it.

Part of becoming who I am, owning up to the person that I've always was but never allowed myself to be. And so, who am I?

The long story is that I'm just a 27 year old who forgot all about her dreams of taking her poetry to the next level and becoming a writing person. I work at a daycare because I'm never going to be able to have kids, and they fill a void I never knew I had. And I was totally sober when I asked 2 people for their digits and got nothing in return. God, rejection must deserve a drink...

What to do now? No more stressing about failed risks to start.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Being Rejected (or being at home)

Scenery at the beginning of my list.
Before church today I made a list of things I really disliked about myself. They are, in no particular order of importance:
  • fear of failure
  • not being able to live with myself
  • not being able to value things
  • feeling like I'm not good enough
  • feeling like I'm too good
And the kicker, which I drew into its own little box: Not feeling worthy enough to do God's work. I find it taxing that I have these feelings as I'm practically going to be 30 soon. I chide myself in being so young emotionally, stuff like that. But even if having residue feelings like these is a growing up process...they always come to the surface when I walk into my church. Because I royally screwed up.

I'm not really open enough to go into great depths about it. And sometimes it feels like I magnify the error to an extreme. Regardless, it was a decision that has put my life into perspective. It's like that infamous crossroad. It's the catalyst that has left me so confused about my position there. Personally, and sometimes professionally, I feel rejected. All of the things I dislike about myself rampage through me when I walk into those doors. And it feels like I'm the poisoned leaf.

But, it's not like that at all. One of my younger sisters sat me down and had the "people love you at your church talk," with me. Hey, I like them too. It's why I'm drawn to the place. I like the people!

I'm very fortunate to have met some wonderful people. Very fortunate to hear the wisdom from our pastor at both bible study AND worship. So have I been sent? Like today's reading in Mark 6: I too sent to that particular church with those particular people.

Whatever it is that I think did, or whoever I think I offended...that's all "an earthly thing." That's just an addition to my list of qualities I dislike about myself. The important part, the part I haven't been able to see is that I am on a journey. I'm home at my church. I have a family in my church. I must not be completely rejected, because I'm still able to find my way there.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Author Platform Checklist

Ever since...well it's been awhile since I've really been in the groove of my author's platform. And that's a problem. The Wordsmith Studio Homecoming blog hop theme for this week asks us to write about a challenge, or a lot of things related to writing. I'm focusing on my author platform, or an 'author platform boot camp,' to help me get back into the groove of things.
1. Masquerade under the daylight, the moonlight: all over the World Wide Web...define who you are.

I'll make this painless. Fill in the blanks:

[   ] Name or pen name
[   ] LinkedIn profile
[   ] Facebook profile
[   ] Twitter profile
[   ] Google+ profile


[   ] Goodreads profile for authors
[   ] Pinterest profile
[   ] Instagram profile

2. Pack your bags! Hone your skills, Ready for action? It's time to create.

[   ] Create goals. Writing goals, editing goals, SEO goals, and publicity goals to name a few.
[   ] Make a blog or website.
[   ] Tailor blog posts and items to your target SEO goals.
[   ] Add a call to action to blog posts, blog, and social media content.
[   ] Make all your content shareable.
[   ] Add email feed to your blog and/or RSS feed.
[   ] Create an Editorial calendar for your blog and promotional content.
[   ] Join a social media manager or create a management plan to update and engage in social media.
[   ] Create a time management plan. Make time for writing, editing, and publicity.

3. Hop on the train, the journey awaits. Mingle with your audience and peers.

[   ] Run a search of your name to see if you're meeting your SEO and publicity goals.
[   ] Share your blog posts to your platform.
[   ] Read blog posts and write meaningful comments.
[   ] Tweet with tweeps about interesting ideas, keep blind advertising to a minimum.
[   ] Find helpful articles or blog posts and share them to your platform.
[   ] Follow and engage with new people.
[   ] Pitch a guest blog post in a subject you're passionate about.
[   ] Interview people you are interested in.
[   ] Join blog hops and challenges.

And so much more! Building an author platform isn't an exact science, but if you use this checklist you'll be off to a great start! Have you worked on your author platform lately?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

the beginning of hell (part one)

See, the actual beginning is so far away and complex that I could never put it into words. But this new beginning, the most recent episode began around January. No surprise, the 'new year, new me' attitude creeped over my being. Of course, nothing really positive came out of it. Just binging, half a large pizza type. Multiple times a week. Including, but not limited to a good dose of everything in sight.

That's how the obsession began spiraling out of control...350 calories in one slice of pizza times 5 slices times guilt times 8 miles walked times 15 years of dieting times a slow churn of multiple medications...all calculated into the current time, also known as hell.

What's the point, there is a point. I am open about what I eat, for the most part. I've posted workout logs, I've posted progress pics...all this isn't new. I'm building suspense on another blog post about food and fitness. Yes, it's the familiar path. I would never have written about this until I discovered a couple of quotes. The first quote being, "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." by Anais Nin. The second quote, a little more literary by Ernest Hemingway: "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." I just need to write this down. Perhaps gain perspective over the situation, or fall deeper into the hole.

It started in early February. After years of dieting I had finally found the diet to end all diets! I was happy, scared, totally infatuated with the idea. It was simple, all could be solved in two words: don't eat. You can't burn the calories from a Snicker's bar as easily as you ate it, so don't eat it. You cannot undo the hangover the next day as easily as you drank the margaritas. You can't replace the money as easily as if you were to go out with friends for dinner. In theory, it's bullet proof. Don't eat snacks, don't eat sodas. I should have stopped there, but my thirst for knowledge led me deeper.

Led me to, Thinspo by Amy Ellis. Thinspo, follows the descent of an anorexic teenager into inpatient treatment through a blog style narrative. Like a child, I read each new page with amazement as day after day the narrator was steadfast in her 'diet'. 200 calories per day, 100, 0...a all amazed me. The ending chapter reeled me in.

"Maybe if I hadn’t fought so hard I wouldn’t have to go. But I’m still fighting. They can’t stop me. They can’t fix me. I am stronger than that. I’m going to be so perfect. I’m going to be so perfect it’s going to kill them. I’ll be so perfect it’ll kill me. I’ll be a martyr. I’ll be a goddess. I’ll be a thin, perfect goddess.

There are some things that cannot be fixed.

I am one of them.

This is my choice.

I don’t have to get better. They can send me away. They can force me to eat. They can make me gain it all back. They can make me talk about my “feelings” and how I feel about food and what drives me to purge and binge and starve and rinse and repeat. They can watch me in the bathroom and supervise me when I eat.

But they can’t fix me.

Because I'm not broken (emphasis by me)."

If you can imagine a soft voice echoing in the darkness: I'm broken. Over and over until your eyes closed and the next day you found yourself desperate for more knowledge on this perfect diet...then maybe you can understand how deep this gets.

How much deeper are pro anorexia literature? Is it not the same as Vogue or haute couture, idolizing a particular behavior? It's all at the gate of a hell consumed by obsessive dieting, body manipulation, and extreme control issues. The beginning of the end perhaps? Of course, there is more.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Breathe. Don't Stop.

This is a blog hop! =wink=

Hello again. It's been awhile since I've blogged. Since I've written more than a couple of lines. But now that it's April that it's National Poetry's time to write!

So what’s new? No more Sopphey Says...maybe an odd playlist here and there. Poems! I love poetry. More yarn work, more commentary on the daily (rather dull?) occurings in my life. Oh, and blog hops.

It’s the 3rd anniversary of the Wordsmith Studio and we’re doing many fun things, like scavenger hunts and Twitter chats. The first blog hop prompt is an interview on the theme “Writers Homecoming,” so here goes!

Q. Are you a WSSer (a member of Wordsmith)? If so, sound off about how long you’ve been a member, your favorite way to participate, or anything you’ve missed if you’ve been away. We’re not your mother/father… there will be no guilt about how long since your last call.

A. Founding member! I’ve had so much fun since the beginning. I even got to host a #read1watch1 challenge. Hope to get involved more.

Q. What medium do you work in? For our writing folks, are you currently working on fiction, poetry or nonfiction, or a combination? Anyone YA or mystery or thriller or…?

A. Writing and yarn! Not at the same time though. Usually I stick to writing poetry with the occasional prose. Yarn, oh my gosh--I’m venturing into the land of blankets!

Q. What’s the name of your current project (ok multitaskers, give us your main one)?

A. Straight to the Heart. A new poetry book, this will be my fourth.

'Golden Taxi' excerpt from Straight to the Heart

Q. What is your favorite detail, sentence or other bit you’ve written lately?

A. I want to be as fluid as my words.

Q. Any obstacles or I-hate-this-chapter moments?

A. Hands down, Straight to the Heart, has been the toughest book to gather. The poems are all of equal nature, being topics that involve more soul-searching. More pain dwelling. It’s been really tough to be satisfied with the different themes that are coming together to make a cohesive book. But it’s coming together.

Q. What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned lately from your writing?

A. I just have to let it be. My writing is so sincere to what I believe and feel, I can’t deny that.

Q. In what ways do you hope to grow in the next 6 months/year?

A. I want to learn how to fly. Yeah, fly, fly, fly--like in the song “Sissy that Walk,” by Ru Paul. I’m older now, it’s time to embrace me.

Q. In what ways do writing friends and communities help you do that?

A. Writers are the most wonderful people. Some are so creative and do not hesitate to follow the rabbit hole into literary creations. They inspire me and keep me grounded

Q. What else should we have asked you, or what would you ask other writers?

A. Writers, do you think iambic pentameter is dead? Or do you use it? You can use it in prose, right?

Interviews always leave me so breathless! Start of a new blog, new book coming soon. Lots to do, but I can’t stop and you can’t either. What are you working on this week?