Bipolar Disorder is extraordinarily dangerous. And even more misunderstood. It’s not just ups and downs in moods casually compared to weather changes.
Even on the magic mix of stabilizing medications, I still have swings and perceive things differently.
Thankfully, the meds allow me to question my own mind and be patient before having knee-jerk reactions. I can respond, not react. But I do automatically go to dark places and worst case scenario.
It is a daily struggle…often a battle…with my own mind. Just to function requires making a conscious choice about everything. Energy, diet, who I am around, shutting off news channels, removing negative feeds from my social media, daily exercise whether I feel like it or not, the colors of my home (calming shades)… And much more. Even with all these things, there can be issues. I work for myself. I don’t think I could work for anyone else and conform to those hours. Some days I can’t work at all. The side effects from the medications suck. They’re horrible. And, they’ve created a form of ADHD that is incredibly difficult to manage and I cannot take anything for it because it will throw me manic. Spoon Theory is a real thing. Google it.
Most people don’t understand this, but bipolar disorder also comes with a host of other physical issues, usually cardiovascular-related. The chemicals that are out of whack in us often cause lung and heart issues or autoimmune diseases such as lupus. Even if we don’t kill ourselves, we tend to die much younger due to side effects of bipolar disorder such as bronchitis, pneumonia, heart problems, etc.
About half of us have had suicide attempts, successful or not. I’m pretty sure 100% of us have considered it. Because no matter where you go or what you do, you are still bipolar. It affects every single aspect of your life…everything you do. Every relationship, your work/career, even sleeping, as rapid, pinging thoughts can be difficult to shut off.
There is no cure and the medications can be brutally expensive. The therapy is costly, and no one seems interested in fixing these defects in our health system, so this could be one reason why so many go off their meds. Being stabilized and healthy is very expensive. America seems more interested in profiting than helping when it comes to mental illness.
It is also dangerous for the people around us because we can be tough to live with. I think one of the absolute worst things about bipolar disorder is how people say they are okay with it until they see it. And then they aren’t. They don’t get educated about it and they don’t really understand that it’s the disease, not the person.
It can make us feel incredibly isolated, misunderstood, frustrated, and rejected.
I don’t really think anyone with bipolar disorder wants to die. We just don’t want to live like this any longer. We don’t want to inflict pain on others or deal with the mindfuckery. Sometimes the best way to save yourself and save the people around you seems to be to end it. “Normal” people mostly cannot understand this.
It’s a really weird thing when you can’t trust your own mind. When you can’t tell what’s real and what’s not…when you are trying to perceive what someone means or your feelings – and you’re well aware that you’re bipolar and that you could be taking everything the wrong way. It’s confusing. It can make you distrust…not just yourself, but others.
However, I can say from personal experience that the medications changed my life for the better – probably saved me – and oddly enough, every time I think about dying it makes me appreciate living. So here I am.
One of the beautiful things about having bipolar disorder is seeing life in vibrant colors most can’t visualize. We are also an intelligent, artsy group of people. The same chemicals that mess us up are the very same chemicals that make us incredibly creative and quick-thinking.
Here’s another odd fact: people with mental disorders are far more likely to be in full time, loving relationships than those without mental disorders. The truth is, no matter what they SAY, people like crazy. 😉
If you or someone you love has bipolar disorder, I think the trick is to harness those creative talents, find a way to be as self-employed as possible, chose healthy lifestyle options, stay away from negative stuff (it can really have a bad impact on people like us), and life can be very good.
And here’s the weirdest thing of all…I often ask myself this question: If I could take it away and be normal, would I? The answer is always a resounding “no.” As difficult and punishing as this disorder is, it has also allowed me to live a very unique, ballsy, brave life that most need copious amounts of alcohol to even attempt. I’ve followed my dreams instead of settling for a paycheck. I see the world in high def. I’m not afraid to live outside the social norms and color outside the lines.
For that, I’m eternally grateful to this uniquely heavy genetic disease that I wouldn’t wish on anyone and wouldn’t take a chance on passing on by having children.
And only someone who is bipolar can understand that statement.
April K. Hunter is an author and freelance content creator. She has her B.F.A. in Creative Writing for Entertainment and her work appears in a variety of publications, including RxMuscle, Page & Spine, Medium, and European Journal FONT. Her first book, UNDISCLOSED DARKNESS can be found on Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.
A model and pro wrestler, she’s currently a part-time superhero at geek conventions, Mother of Chickens and owned by one spoiled rotten corgi. When not crafting stories, she is learning something new each day or scouring the internet for funny memes while drinking too much coffee.
After Life is a comedy about depression and suicide that’s surprisingly relatable. Comedians have always tried to push the “how deep can I go into rabbit hole and still be funny” bar. Ricky Gervais, who wrote, directed and stars in the show, pulls it off brilliantly as he gives us the darkest of British black comedies about Plan B. One can almost envision Gervais sitting across from a Netflix executive with a toothy grin and a dare in his voice. “I’ll bet you six exclusive episodes that I can make suicide funny, mate.”
What’s Plan B, you ask? Well, let’s rewind.
Tony, a local journalist in a small town, is an angry, sad widower because the wonderful life he’d had with his wife of twenty-five years, Lisa, was completely shattered when she died from cancer.
Each episode starts off with Tony viewing one of Lisa’s video messages recorded from her hospital room advising him how to live after her death. “You’re useless,” she says. “Don’t forget to program the alarm so the dog won’t set it off and do the washing up.” Tony plods into the kitchen where he ignores a heaping stack of food-encrusted dishes to search a near-empty cupboard for something to feed the dog. A tin of beans suffices.
After Life is brutally candid, but not offensive. His unending portrayal of pain and misery might be depressing if his irritation were not so funny. Tony says and does all the things we want to but can’t. His excuse: “Well, there’s always Plan B. I do and say whatever the f*ck I want and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just kill myself.” And we believe it. He shops for one can of dog food at a time. There are multiple botched attempts. At no point do you ever feel he’s not morbidly serious about taking his own life. “Oh, no, what will he do now?” is the pervasive mood.
Tony leaves his house and refuses to take mail handed to him by the Pat the postman, insisting the worker walk the last few steps to his door and deliver it properly. When two kids with a weapon attempt a mugging, he doesn’t hesitate to punch one of them in the mouth, because who cares if they stab him? Yet, despite Tony being a jerk, he’s not unlikeable. He speaks harsh truths, which are in fact, truths. He loyally visits his father with advanced Alzheimer’s in the nursing home even though “Where’s Lisa?” is repeatedly (and painfully) enquired. No matter how down and out he is, Tony puts the needs of his dog above himself. He meets a prostitute on the streets (“Sex worker!”) who offers to do anything he wants for fifty quid. He agrees…and has her clean his house. Then, he offers her tea.
The local newspaper Tony works for covers a new feature story in each episode that borders on the ridiculous and lends endless humor to the series along with an appreciation for the banal in life. Tony’s coworkers debate deep subjects not usually touched on in comedies such as religion, life and love.
While visiting his wife’s plot, he befriends a cheerful widow (played by Penelope Wilton, best known as Isobel Crawley in Downton Abbey) who becomes a mentor, full of wise advice on how to keep going and not squander life away.
We see valid consequences for Tony’s harsh actions several times, including his brother-in-law threatening to never let him see his nephew again. After Life can also be lesson in loyalty and friendship when dealing with a depressed loved one, as Tony’s friends patiently tolerate his moods and lashing out, never turning their backs on him. However, after a particularly harrowing event, Tony realizes he’s gone too far and might lose them too, which is his turning point.
Among other topics, the short series explores heroin use and assisted suicide, but underneath the gloom and doom is a steady current of sweetness and charm. Our anti-hero learns how to cope and makes a comeback with more than a little help from his friends and Plan B never comes to fruition. Yes, Tony – hope really is everything.
Fans of other Gervais’ other works will enjoy seeing quite a few familiar faces. Ashley Jensen (Maggie on Extras) was a stellar addition to the show. Unlike films, which he’s come under fire for in recent years, Gervais is at his best at the helm of a TV series, which gives him the time to expand character development, and this is quite possibly his best show to date.
From desolate to revived, we’re given an authentic portrayal of the struggle to recover after devastating loss. After Life confidently walks the fine line of pushing new boundaries and dark comedy like no one has successfully done before.
Thank you, Ricky Gervais, for giving us something real we can relate to.
Watch After Life exclusively on Netflix.
**Right after I posted, Ricky Gervais responded. I won’t lie………SO COOL.
I write about things that inspire me, and anger/frustration is a primary source. I avoid the news for many reasons: To be happy, mostly. But the majority of it is there to fill 24 hours with train wrecks to keep us watching in order to keep advertising rates high. When rates dip, news channels go for the jugular. Fear is always a winning tactic.
As a journalist, you learn the tricks. The first thing we’re taught in school…
Crying moms = ratings.
That was written across the chalkboard on day one. Our job is to produce as much of that as possible.
I wrote this out of frustration (hence the caps and prolific use of the word “fuck”) after seeing so many repeatedly getting it wrong on Twitter and Facebook. I’m continually shocked by our refusal to get educated on a subject before we spout off. But it’s an epidemic now since we’re spouting off to others who are equally as ignorant…and the pot of shit just keeps swirling around with the communal wooden spoon of ridiculousness until it boils over and spills onto everyone’s cooktop.
This was written for Facebook to wake up friends and I’m sharing it here.
Here is why the wall and the shutdown is complete bullshit, no matter who you voted for:
If you build a wall, they will dig a tunnel. Actually, most illegals fly in on guest visas and just stay. We’re missing the real issue, the bigger picture here. WE DON’T NEED A WALL. WE NEED TO FIX IMMIGRATION.
I’ve been through it. It’s a horrible, time consuming, EXPENSIVE process for 1 person. A family of 4? Ha. Hahahaha. It took over 2 years and almost $2000. If you count a required trip to Vancouver for an interview with the Canadian government to start the process, then it cost over $4000. And we got in before America jacked the fees. Now many spend $10,000. The US lost our case files. LOST them. Twice. I learned this is common and they’ve attached GPS trackers to papers in recent years. You can’t leave America while everything is processing — for years — not even if your mom dies. It nullifies everything. You must be sponsored. While I don’t condone illegal immigration, I certainly understand it now.
Most people have no idea how broken our system is. If we fix it, we can make it affordable, vetted, tax paying and legal. We can allow those in at an affordable fee who will offer the country something: a skill, talent, art, business. Our wall will be Green Cards. THE GOVERNMENT — We The People — the ones who work FOR US, the public servants we pay — have a duty to fix a broken system for the better of us all. Instead, they squabble like 14-year-old children, throw out fake “stats”, focus on what the other party is doing wrong and divide our stupid country full of lemmings (yes, that’s what you are if you believe what comes out of a screen instead of doing real, credible research from a .edu or .org) rather than working together to use our valuable resources WE PAY INTO to fix the issue together. As the elected body they’re supposed to be – you know, as the elected body they’re supposed to be.
Ironically, this was the estimation when it was bothered to be done: Immigration reform would cost $18 billion dollars. It would GENERATE $48 billion dollars in new revenue for the United States, mostly through increased social security taxes, since most immigrants would be younger, thus paying into our system and not collecting.
In other words, legal immigrants would a) generate far more than they would take and b) not work cut-rate jobs under the table, thus allowing for a higher minimum wage and more (probably shitty) jobs for Americans (who might not want them, but love to fight about having the option.) By contrast, the wall is more accurately estimated to cost over $21 billion. It’s not rocket science.
THIS is why Americans should get their heads out of their asses and be upset over the wall and the shutdown. But most are too ignorant and uneducated to know what’s really going on. If one is ignorant these days, it’s a choice.Everyone knows the media is slanted one way or another depending on the channel. Therefore, everyone also knows the media isn’t correct and they need proper facts and information elsewhere.”Fake News” is a household term.
You should be fucking pissed. Frustrated. Angry. Not at people who are the opposite party, but at the fuckwits in office who aren’t doing their jobs they’re being paid for by the money taken from YOUR PAYCHECK. We are literally paying them to do nothing but divide the country and live on the government provided social programs they condemn.
We live in a cloud of ignorance, blindly accepting what’s spoon-fed to us from whatever screen we watch. We are either “cold-hearted cunts and lack empathy”…or we take to social media with too much outrage and “bleeding hearts” over something we know absolutely NOTHING about and have never personally experienced.
It’s never that cut and dried. NEVER.Life is shades of grey. Step back. See the bigger picture. Stop letting a screen brainwash you to the point where you alienate the ones around you. While not everyone can experience immigration (thank God), learn about it before you become a keyboard warrior based on a headline/screen blurb and nothing else.
A true opinion can only come from experience and education. It cannot be fed to you. That is called parroting.
We don’t need more hostility. We don’t need a wall. We don’t need Americans, who mostly live paycheck to paycheck, going without paychecks. We need people to get educated, stand up, and to demand that their government fix the REAL issue, immigration. As long as we’re divided and infighting, they can do whatever they want and spend as much as they please.
Rome was unbelievably ahead of its time. Infighting and divide are what destroyed it. We’re on the same path.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana
For the record, I’m of no political affiliation.
Thanks for reading.
April K. Hunteris a television writer, short story author, copywriter, blogger, and primarily writes thrillers and memoirs. She attends Full Sail University for her degree in Creative Writing for Entertainment. Her work appears in a variety of publications, including RxMuscle, Page & Spine, Medium, and European Journal FONT. Her first book, UNDISCLOSED DARKNESS can be found on Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.
A model, cosplayer and professional wrestler, she’s currently a part-time superhero at geek conventions, Mother of Chickens and owned by one spoiled rotten corgi. When not crafting stories, she is learning something new each day or scouring the internet for funny memes while drinking too much coffee.
Recently, I wrote a letter to my younger self in one of my blogs. Now, here’s one for you.
I’ve lived many lifetimes and screwed up a lot. Oh…a whole lot. This is just a tiny bit of what I’ve learned. Hopefully, some of this resonates with you – or perhaps can even help in some way.
1. With so much to do, read, watch, learn and create, it is literally impossible to get bored. Only boring people get bored.
2. If someone is stupid & ignorant, it’s because they choose to be.
3. Time is worth more than money.
4. Being a good person won’t protect you from bad people.
5. Talk is so cheap, it’s free. Only effort & results matter. Effort is HOT.
6. Jalapeno salt improves almost everything.
7. Mediocre people tend to get deeply offended at advice from more successful people.
8. Barring race and some politics, the reason people who react (flip out) on social media (instead of responding) is because some of what’s said is truthful.
9. There are a lot of undiagnosed mental disorders and mental illness out there. (Game recognizes game.) I give a ton of credit to the people who get treated. Those who are working on themselves and fighting the good fight should be highly commended. I’m not just saying that because I’m one of them. It’s a struggle and it affects everyone around you. Refusing to accept there’s something wrong or to be treated is selfish. If there’s a common pattern in all your relationship/work issues, it’s probably not them. It’s you.
11. People over politics. If someone cares about us, who gives a fuck how they vote? Seriously. Having a variety of friends with different opinions makes life richer.
12. If politics are your whole life…you have no life. Unless you’re an elected official. Then, carry on, mate. Make the world a better place.
13. “Running for a cure” won’t do shit. Run/walk to stay HEALTHY. Illnesses make America way too much profit to cure them.
14. Here’s one no one talks about – you know how they tell you to put money away for retirement? Guess what? You need another savings account to save in order to not LOOK and FEEL like you’re headed towards retirement. With us a.) living longer and b.) on photos and videos all the time, looks and having energy does matter. Fighting it is gonna cost you. A fucking lot, too. From botox, filler, peels, medication, T therapy (for men & menopause), laser for face (and weird hair…this is aimed at the guys), more (gray) hair coloring, fighting hair loss, growth hormone, eyelid drooping surgery (I know several who have had to have them pulled back due to losing some vision in one or both eyes), CBD oil for all the aches and pains, random injuries that need rehab and cost us work, vision or dental issues…all of it. Unless you plan to just surrender…look like shit, feel like shit…or you have stellar genetics and incredible luck…it will cost you. Save NOW. Insurance doesn’t cover most of that. I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff, too.
15. Life isn’t fair. Deal with it. It’s up to us to make it a better place for everyone.
16. Helping people/a cause/animals and not talking about it makes you even more of a hero, albeit a karmic hero. 🙂
17. Young women; develop a healthy attitude about your body while simultaneously developing your wit, manners, and brain. You cannot get by on your looks alone (nor should you), especially with more and more females running the world. Additionally, if you have any doubts, I can assure you that you probably look much better than you think. You’re young. Enjoy it. Because you’re gonna get tired and fat one day. So fat.
18. Time destroys everything. Nothing stays the same. Know this, accept it. Savor the moments. Learn to adapt and change with the times. The waves will come. As some smart person stated long before I wrote this: You can either drown when the waves come crashing in – or you can learn to surf.
19. True intimacy comes from vulnerability; Letting your guard down, dropping your defenses and sharing what makes you, YOU. Whether it’s a deeper friendship or real romantic love, you can’t get there without it. Sex isn’t intimacy. Animals fuck. There’s no real challenge to it. Knowing someone isn’t having rolled around with them.
20. People can be fucked up. There’s nothing you can do about it, some just are. While you can’t control certain situations, you CAN control how you choose to react/respond.
21. Apologizing (heartfelt) and/or saying thank you can fix a world of hurt and some major issues. Never be too proud or too ignorant to do either. And know this…do you want to be right or be happy? Sometimes you have to suck it up and say thank you or I’m sorry when it’s not really your place to do so. However, there are two types of people in the world: Peacemakers and Peacekeepers. Peacekeepers go with the flow and avoid confrontation, which causes more issues in the long run. They allow a splinter to turn into septicemia. Peacemakers do what it takes to settle problems. They have boundaries, give, call bullshit, compromise, set people straight, and fight for what’s right. Be a Peacemaker.
22. “Your ego is not your amigo.” When you start to react instead of respond, step back and think for a minute first: “Is this my ego? Is this going to hurt someone for no reason? Is this necessary? In the big picture, will this help or hurt things?” Sit for 24 hours before you send that angry email or text. Wait. Trust Auntie April on this. I’ve had to repair a lot of flaming bridges in my lifetime over stupid stuff like…an email.
23. Your gut feeling is always right. ALWAYS.
24. Overthinking leads to anxiety and misery. Keep it simple. This takes willful practice.
25. We are all equal in that we each get 24 hours a day. How we choose to spend that time is what sets us ahead, apart or behind.
26. Happiness is not a right. It’s a point of view. It’s the way we chose to see things. Example: an NFL game. After the game, half the stadium leaves happy, half leaves upset. The game was just a game. Such is life. “There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” – Henri Matisse
27 Books are sexy – and they don’t get destroyed when you drop them or some brat cannonballs at the pool.
28. Honesty is brave and requires huge cojones. While others may not like what you have to say, you’ll usually earn respect for saying it (if you say it the right way.) Use a velvet gloved fist. Say it without doing more damage.
29. Don’t send that email until you’ve looked it over twice and made sure it’s ready to send. Ditto for texts. 90% of court cases are won solely on emails and texts.
30. Speaking of email, texts and emails are easily misconstrued due to lack of tone. Key & Peele moments happen. If you are confused, simply call the person. Yes. Dial your phone. It can save relationships and friendships. Phone calls are like vintage Snapchat!
31. It doesn’t cost anything to be nice.
32. Put your fucking phone down. Wait – finish reading this, of course, but for real…put it down, walk away and leave it alone. Get an alarm clock and keep your phone in another room at night. Addiction of any kind is unattractive and you’re missing out on real life. Being owned by an electronic device is so lame. It’s a dog’s leash, a baby’s pacifier. #LOOKUP *There’s no long-term testing for smartphone damage. We are the guinea pigs. Doctors once prescribed cigarettes for digestion, claiming they were healthy.
33. The only two things guaranteed in life are death and taxes. Your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles…they’re only here for a certain amount of time. Be good to them. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. I say this as an orphan who wishes I could have my parents and grandparents back for just one more dinner together. I pissed that time away all too often instead of being completely present, sitting with my Gram in the evening, calling my dad or spending time with my Poppy when he was confined to bed. When I was 16, my social life mattered more than my grandparents. This is something I deeply regret, because my Poppy died likely thinking I was a self-absorbed asshole, and my Gram (who was my everything) lost her husband without me there to lean on. What was I doing? Trying to find the next party, chatting with my boyfriend and keeping up with the school gossip. Such important stuff that matters not one single bit now. If I could go back in time, I would fix that.
Call your mom, dad or grandparents. For me.
34. It’s never okay to crap on someone’s beliefs or lack of. What works for one person might not for another. If we were all the same, conversations would get stale in record time.
35. Having an open mind doesn’t mean you’re simply willing to hear another person’s point of view. It means you’re open to changing your mind based on the facts/story/evidence given. But being willing to listen to all points of view is a great start.
36. The word “thank you” changes your negative energy into positive. If you’re fed up or stressed, just say “thank you” over and over again until you get rid of that yuck.
37. People who aren’t outgoing or don’t socialize aren’t usually being antisocial. They just don’t have the energy or tolerance to deal with drama, fake people, traffic, and/or crowds. They’re introverts.
38. Choose your friends like you do your lovers. Stay away from the needy, the vampires, and the desperate.
39. Floss. Listerine for 2 minutes twice a day. Take care of your teeth.
40. Live below your means. Debt will make you miserable. If you’re in debt, make it a priority to pay it down. Work to live, don’t live to work. #moderndayslavery #fuckthatshit
41. Pro wrestling is more real than you could ever imagine. Yes, many of the endings are scripted for storyline continuation purposes, but the training, the injuries, the chops, the accidents, the mental bullshit, and the politics are PAINFUL, take a toll on you in every way and are valuable learning experiences that can leave you broke and broken if you’re not vigilant and careful. Every hard chop to the chest shocks the heart. Every time you’re slammed to the mat, it’s the equivalent of a fender bender. Throw your body into a turnbuckle slightly off, and you’ll have bruises and whiplash. There are the misses and accidents, working sick and jet lag. The flights alone can beat you up, as the majority of wrestlers fly coach until they acquire a name or miles. Name any other sport that goes year round without an off-season. Name anything else that’s drug tested like a sport, called entertainment, yet doesn’t get acknowledged by or receive any benefits from the Screen Actors Guild, such as like union & minimum pay requirements. Wrestlers are drug tested on Olympic standards. We can’t even take cold or allergy medication. I’m pretty certain NFL players can. Name any other sport where they have to pay their own travel – and get themselves there after a long day, working and fighting their way out of a crowded arena. No team bus in wrestling. There’s no team anything in wrestling. The cherry on the sundae: Wrestlers are terribly exposed through the internet. Anyone can find, harass, and stalk them since everyone knows their schedules. If they’re good at playing the bad guy, the chances of that happening increase exponentially. Some wrestlers have been stabbed by “fans.” Others have been in a bar having a few drinks and accosted by idiots challenging them. Even their children have been contacted, called names, harassed and abused. To defend oneself is tricky these days with an ethics code and expectations. We can grow to distrust and hate the very people who support us, as a few can ruin it for all.
Unlike other sports, if you’re injured and take time off, you can endanger your position. The show must go on. If you’re a champion or in a major storyline and something is torn/broken, you’re in that ring the next night and it’s written into the storyline. There’s always someone right behind you waiting for the opportunity to shine. “If you can walk, you can wrestle!” – Killer Kowalski. That’s why we work hurt and end up damaged long term. It’s why so many become addicted to pain pills. It’s also why there are so many early deaths in wrestling. It’s not the illegal drugs killing us, it’s the legal ones. You can only handle so many pain pills, sleep meds, and running yourself into the ground on a 4-5 day a week in a different city each night travel schedule before something shuts down. Steroids and growth hormone were created to enhance, speed up recovery, strengthen, mimic youth and turn humans into superhumans. That’s not the stuff that’s going to kill you…which why all the Mr. and Ms. Olympias are still alive and kicking. WWE has been working diligently to fix this, and they’re making great strides, but we still have a ways to go on this journey.
42. Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places.
43. No matter how big & badass you are, when a toddler hands you a toy phone, you answer it.
Yeah, I try not to say that too loudly around schools. If you’re out and about – or, “oot and aboot”, heard often in Florida around this time of year – Tampa Bay area over the next several weeks, guess what? I have FREE SNIFFS.
And I’m talking soy candles and artisan soap. Really good stuff, too. Organic soy wax. High-quality oils and wicks. My soaps may not be made from “women’s fat asses”, but it’s all shea butter, olive oil, glycerin, and goat’s milk. Close enough.
I love creating unique scents and infusing my nerdy obsession with pop culture into my candles and soaps.
*Despite the first and second rule, if you’re too young to have seen the film Fight Club, watch Fight Club. Not only is it more relevant today than it was twenty years ago, but it’s barely aged, you’ll probably freaking love it – and, ladies…it’s Brad Pitt in his prime. 😉 The film is a witty, funny, gritty, honest mindfuck of a story that moves fast enough for those of you with the attention span of a gnat. Okay, done. Now, WE DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB.*
Come see me…because paying shipping SUCKS.
There’s just no way around it with jar candles and dense soaps. I could mark everything up and say “free shipping included” but does that work? Aren’t you guys smart enough to know I just shoved it into the price?
Here’s my gig list – nearly all of them are having live bands, microbrews, wine, arts, and local handmade crafts, so these are really fun events/fundraisers. I believe they’re all FREE, too. FREEEEEEEEEEEE.
When we were kids, we got what we needed, not what we wanted. We lived on one military paycheck. Clothes were passed down, pants were hemmed, lunches were packed, food was from the garden and we weren’t allowed to eat McDonald’s or Burger King. (Our junk food was pizza.) Going out to eat was an event, we cut our own lawn, we didn’t have air conditioning, and the family shared a single bathroom. Mom used layaway for Christmas gifts. I still shower at night from years of working around the hot water heater schedule. We had well water, recycled, planted, reused, fixed things, cooked, sewed, patched, chopped and got creative. It’s funny how that’s all “in style” at the moment. Even layaway made a comeback. Growing up, it was embarrassing to be the only kid with a brown bag or white hem marks from multiple let-outs. I’m grateful now, but it definitely sucked at the time. I never developed a taste for fast food or soda pop, but I adore peppery arugula and cool, crisp cucumbers with oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
I realized while writing this that we are all nickel and dimed to death. We pay for little things here and there; Netflix, a subscription, games, Pandora, cable/hulu, etc. Most have their own cars (and insurance.) Phones. <—-Just that adds up to hundreds each month…and you don’t even have a roof over your head or food on the table yet. THIS is why we don’t have much money left over. Everything adds up. All that little stuff amounts to something. Payments, credit cards…at 15-18% interest, we’re throwing money away by keeping a balance, too. But that’s a whole ‘nother blog. And I would never give up my Pandora. It’s $3.99/month well spent.
AprilsScentSations, The Beginning
I was about ten years old and we were in Peddler’s Village, which is an artsy area of Pennsylvania near Philadelphia. My mother loved to shop. And by shop, I mean dragging us along for hours while she meandered around and bought nothing. I saw a brightly colored candle kit guaranteeing ease at mastering wax creations. I knew better than to ask, but I did. To my shock and amazement, Mom (an artist herself, who gave it up for the joys of marriage) grabbed the kit and plunked it down at the register. Little did she know that was likely the precursor to AprilsScentSations.
Nothing was off limits; we made candles with ice, used empty cardboard milk cartons, made dripped candles, and it was awesome.
I found myself quite lost after my Gram and Mom died. For over a year and a half, I wanded around on autopilot in a low-grade depression, despite meds. “What did you do for fun when you were a kid, before the paycheck?” Bike riding, reading, swimming, candle making and playing with makeup.
So, I started doing those things again.
Florida is weird during the holidays.
Well, I could have stopped at “weird.” Doing craft markets with Christmas songs playing in the background while a trickle of sweat drips down my chest and I’m swatting at mosquitoes doesn’t feel…merry. It never does here. I bury my nose in the candles and then…for a brief moment, it does.
Candles which ARE NOT SOY can cost you a shload in home repairs
It’s crazy how much scent adds to the atmosphere. And how it can slowly ruin your home. A customer told me he was having his air ducts cleaned out and the cleaner came down and said, “You burn a lot of candles.”
He said, “Yeah, we do.”
The cleaner: “There’s so much soot and paraffin wax crap caked up there, it’s ruining your ducts. From now on, nothing but soy candles, they burn clean.”
I haven’t done a lot of blogs because writing is challenging. Sitting for more than a few minutes is difficult. I was in a car accident last year which herniated every disc in my neck except one, and it partially dislocated my hip. The neck injury has deeply affected my arms and hands, especially my right one. I’ve been in intense therapy, yoga, and had four epidurals to try and get back to normal. So far, not much luck but some of the pain has decreased.
I decided to plunge back into AprilsScentSations for the holiday season to offset the loss of bookings, and because it allows me to stand at the stove instead of sitting at a desk. I also find it therapeutic to get away from screens and work with my hands. It’s fun to mix all these scents together. I always wanted to make unique candles that you can’t buy anywhere else. So far, I think I’ve mostly achieved this…and I’ve even noticed a few copycats.
To those who send Amazon gift cards, THANK YOU. I’m on there like mad lately reordering supplies. It’s incredibly appreciated AND helpful!
Heads Up Etsy will have a site-wide sale on Black Friday and my store is included.
I hope to see some of you at the shows!
Ps. This was written VERY quickly and I didn’t really edit it. I need to get it out and get back to shrink wrapping and labeling. I’m fully aware my writing sucks massive weenis on this one. But my point: Come see me. Oh, and there’s a sale on Etsy next week. 🙂
It’s my birthday on Monday. I’m grateful to those who are part of my life and you who make it better. You know who you are. 🙂As I’ve gotten older (and I am older than I look, I think), I’ve realized that relationships matter more than money. That’s probably the primary lesson I’ve learned and I used to choose work over everything else. Here are some more valuable lessons I wish I’d known if you want to benefit from my plethora of mistakes:
(Then again, I don’t know if I would’ve listened had someone told me. I dunno. Hindsight…)
1. Listen to all sides. There are always more sides than yours.
2. Take care of your body. It’s the only one you’ll get.
3. People over politics. Always. Never lose someone over how they vote. It’s fucking stupid. Dump them over being a negative asshole, a liar, or a shitty person. But not for how they vote.
4. Speaking of, sometimes people act strangely because they’re dealing with something or have a mental disorder – diagnosed or not. Patience and finding out where they’re coming from and HOW to talk with them can help.
5. Skincare! Satin pillowcase, always moisturize and use sunscreen.
6. Showering before bed saves time in the morning.
7. Don’t work out or wrestle if you’re hurt or sick. There’s nothing to prove.
8. ZINC and Vit D! Not Vit C for colds. It’s ZINC, D and sovereign silver.
9. It’s all about pets & plants.
10. Not having kids works out fine. We’ll see about in the end. The jury’s out on that one.
11. You’ll never have a healthy relationship if you’re not a healthy, whole person. No one “completes you” and you will not complete anyone. Worst fucking line in cinematic history. Best line: “May The Force Be With You.”
12. There’s no crying in baseball. Or, wrestling.
13. Free speech includes the word “fuck”. Get over it. No one is slapping your baby.
14. You CAN choose your family. In modern times, traditional ideas of marriage and family are somewhat outdated. Partners are actually partners and friends can be family. The true meaning of “Blood is thicker than water”: those who spill blood & battle together are tighter than anyone, including family. It was meant for warriors and soldiers, but hell…life is a battle.
15. Dirty laundry belongs in the wash, not on Facebook. (Oh, and when you publicly post how much you love your significant other, we all know exactly how badly that relationship is going. We also know that if you post about nothing other than politics, you kinda have no life.)
16. Complaining is far easier than changing. Most people are fine with being average. The majority of us don’t LIVE, we exist.
17. Happiness is a choice, not a right. It’s how we choose to see things.
18. You are not too old, and it is not too late.
19. Don’t listen to what others say. Listen to your gut.
20. You get ONE SHOT at life. Do things, go places. Travel is the best education you can give yourself. Every little choice you make today will affect tomorrow…your future…from what you’re eating for lunch, to how you treat your mom, to choosing a job you don’t love because you have money fears…to karma if you steal music or model’s photos from her site. (Yeah…that might be why your car was broken into.)
22. WALK. Every day. Even if you don’t feel like it.
23. WWYD. What Would You Do? Treat people the way you want them to treat YOU. When in doubt, default to that.
24. Respect is earned, not given. And if someone wastes 10 minutes of your time, 7 minutes is YOUR fault. Stand up for your damn self.
25. Make decisions based on love, not fear. If you chose fear, you’ll pay for it with a shitty life.
26. Be honest. Even when it hurts. Even when it’s horrible. Say what you mean, mean what you say.
27. Manners and courtesy go a LONG WAY. (People are afraid of anger. Took me a while to learn the anger one. Still learning about it.)
28. Do not drive slow (or the speed limit) in the passing lane. Which is the left lane in the USA. Many of you do not know this is a law. MANY OF YOU. And for fucks sake, use your turn signal. (Also a law.) We don’t have ESP and you are not on the roads all by yourself. (This isn’t a lesson I learned on my own. It’s one my dad taught me.)
29. Tell people you love them (if you do.) They die suddenly, and you may never have the chance.
30. Forgive assholes. You don’t have to forget…just forgive. Most of the time, it’s for you, not for them.
31. There’s a massive difference between reacting and responding. ALSO: No one can make you FEEL anything. Your feelings are your own. If you DECIDE not to get upset, angry, care or bothered by it…you won’t. BOOM. Just like that.
Ps. Expectation is premeditated disappointment. Want something? ASK FOR IT.
32. Best advice I ever got: Never keep your meds on the counter. Put them into a box and keep them in the cabinet. Seeing your pills all the time is a mental cockblock. You are not A Sick Person, you are a PERSON who just happens to also be sick. Don’t let it affect your aspirations.
33. a. God helps those who help themselves. Thoughts and prayers are nice (if useless for the most part) but DOING something is BETTER. If you don’t believe in God, same thing applies. Verbs make life move forward.
b. “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” Yeah…I dunno about that one. Might be bullshit. But you can handle more than you think. Sometimes, you just have to tell everyone around you “no” until you get where you need to be.
34. No matter how stunning someone is on the outside, they can get ugly and unattractive REAL fast. It happens the other way around, too. Less physically attractive people can become very beautiful.
35. Sometimes the line between bravery and stupidity is gossamer thin.
36. Sex is natural. Nudity is natural. Having emotions is natural. Wanting to be loved is natural. These aren’t things to ever feel shame or embarrassment for.
37. I know I’ll continue to learn something new every day.
Got advice? Let’s hear it.
“There are flowers everywhere for those who want to see them.” – Henri Matisse
If you want to spoil me for my birthday, here is a link to my Amazon Wishlist. Xo! #SpoilYourGinger!