Upon Wit’s End: How the Near-Fatal Sting of Rejection Invokes Passion

blog july 19th 2019 A

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019. 

When I was twenty-eight years old, I was smack dab in the middle of working on my master’s degree. A few years prior, I had just gotten fired for the first time in my life and I was so lost, so depressed, and I was essentially an empty shell of a woman. I lived in my bathrobe as I wrote paper after paper trying to finish up my degree. I overate and ate the worst possible foods ever, I watched a lot of t.v., I played online Scrabble endlessly for hours when I wasn’t working on school work, and I isolated myself from the outside world. The only thing that was going right for me was my educational path which I clung to for dear life.

One afternoon, my sister came home from work and forwarded me this writing contest. She told me to give it a shot and that the prize money was worth at least entering. So I did. I wrote this short story called, “A Breath of Freedom,” which I happened to include in my Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 2, nearly ten years later. Anyhow, one day I received a letter saying that I had won third place in the competition and was awarded $500. At the time, I had never cried so hard with gratitude. I had desperately needed that cash. I was able to use that money to buy my family Christmas presents that year. It was a true Christmas miracle. I even took my mother and sister down to Princeton to receive my award. I was even in the newspaper for the first time in my life. That period in my life was truly momentous and I will always be grateful to my sister for passing along that opportunity. I also remember showing my father that piece of writing. This was way before his diagnosis with dementia. He was a writer and artist as well and I remember him telling me that my story was corny after he read it. Instead of congratulating his daughter and encouraging her to move forward with writing, I was met with resentment and jealousy. I shook it off and didn’t let that sully this incredible event that happened in my life. This came at a time I needed to regain confidence, regain faith, regain the belief that somehow, someway, everything was going to work out alright for me. I needed this push in the right direction. I went on to finish my masters and work on my doctorate subsequently after and spent several years after that substitute teaching and long-term subbing.

In 2016, I was once again at a difficult crossroads in my life. I was laid off from a really wonderful teaching gig I had acquired. Being done with schooling, and wanting to finally start my life, I, yet again, was ousted from this security net I was provided with and found myself once more lost, uncertain of the future, scared, and most of all poor. I had to do something, and fast. I had been wanting to be a writer for as long as I could remember. When I went to Virginia the first year for my residency hours while working on my doctorate, I came across several amazing individuals. This one person, I will never forget, said something so profound on the last day of our residency that it stayed with me to this day. He said to our professor, “You’ve awoken a passion within me that I never knew I had.” That is what writing provided for me. Writing gave me a voice, which I never had before. Writing gave me a passion, which I was never allowed to have before. Writing became my salvation, my redemption, my hope, my peace, my sanctuary, my escape from all that ailed me. Writing became my therapist, my best friend, my confidante. Writing became my past time, my joy, my anguish, my pain. I spent hours, upon hours writing down everything that had ever hurt me in my entire life–every painful memory that still entraps me to this day. Writing gave me a release, gave me a reason, an excuse to finally let things go. Writing gave me permission to finally be the human being I had always wanted to be. Writing gave me purpose–a reason to get up in the morning. Writing became the one and only thing that no one could take away from me.

Since I’ve started writing in 2016, I’ve released so many pieces through Amazon. For funding, I’ve submitted side pieces to hundreds of organizations, magazines, contests, freelance opportunities, etc. But I had not been able to have a lightning strike for me twice since that day in 2009 when I won my first contest. Ten years later, technology is booming at its highest peak. Social media is swelling with promising new writers who practically step over each other, so desperate to be heard. My work has persistently gone unnoticed for years. I receive rejection more than I hear praise. If it wasn’t for my voice over artist/editor/mentor/newfound friend I’d quit completely. She has become such an advocate for my writing and encourages me to keep going every day.

 

blog picture july 19th, 2019

Writing provides me with so many ups and downs emotionally. There are some days where I feel so triumphant for how successful I was with my writing progress. I can belt out six thousand words in a day no problem and re-read everything and I feel such pride for how much I have grown as a writer over the years. Then there are the setbacks when I receive yet another discouraging rejection letter. I feel trapped sometimes. I feel like time is running out for me. Heavily in debt and fearful for my future, I often wonder how I became this foolish. I often blame myself and punish myself for not being “normal” like everyone else. I hate that I’m different. I hate that I stand out. I hate that my path has always been more difficult than other people. I just want to be like everyone else. But I know I never will be.

It’s been one heck a year for me. I have had to re-teach myself how to be strong and independent and break myself away from that mentality of being someone’s fiance. I hated that at first. I resented it even. I felt like Bella Swan from Twilight during the time she was away from Edward. You live your life and the time passes by around you but you’re not living. You’re barely breathing. You’re barely eating. You have no memory of the months that zoomed past you. You’re just surviving. Surviving was the very least my body was capable of in those lonely winter months. But then the sun comes out one day and its bright triumphant beams hit you smack dab in the eyes in the early morning and you wake up finally transformed and metamorphosed and you think, “Finally.” You finally breathe, eat, smell that fresh air, and feel the magnitude of what you’ve been through. You recall the harsh lessons learned. You become more protected, more guarded, more aware of your surroundings. You trust less, but you’re still you to the outside world, just this more polished version. I am not my mistakes. I am not my past. I am not my failures. I’m more than that. Way more. And with every rejection I receive, I’m only that much more determined to keep trying. To keep improving. To keep writing like I’ve never written before. If you don’t believe in me, who cares, I’ll keep writing until I find someone who will believe in me. I don’t write for you. I write for me. I write to keep going in this crazy world. I write for meaning, for inspiration, for perspective, for peace, for sanity. I write to make others see that triumph really does spawn from tragedy if you just keep going and let that sun reach your face. I will not give up. I will not allow you or anyone else to dampen my spirit any longer. Reject my words but somehow, somewhere, someway, someone will embrace me and I cannot wait for that day and tell you all about it.

PSG Lopes/The Moonlit Goddess’ Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/psglopes

Updates on My Latest Writing Project!

blog post may 29th

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019.

So a lot has been going on in my life and I know that I have not been blogging lately. I have been trying to stay focused on writing my latest project, my second novella, John of Art. At the beginning of May, I had a lot of difficulties regarding issues with my health (the hearing aid debacle), finding a new doctor, and starting my novella and losing fifty-five pages of progress. That was all very devastating to me. But as usual, being used to adversity and being used to being treated horribly by those of little significance to me, I decided to keep going full steam ahead. What started off as a negative at the beginning of the month, has turned into prosperity towards the end of this month.

I am a full believer that life provides a yin and yang experience. For every negative, there’s a positive just around the corner. So instead of dwelling on everything that is going wrong, I am choosing to focus on everything that is going right.

As of today, I can proudly say, after thirty-eight years of struggle, I, PSG Lopes, also known as The Moonlit Goddess, FINALLY has procured my hearing aids! For every villain in the world, there are still heroes out there. A wonderful woman fought very hard for me to get my hearing aids. I am forever in her debt. What she did for me went above and beyond anyone has ever gone for me. She is a virtual stranger but she was so determined after hearing my struggles and what I went through. She worked hard to make sure that I have my hearing aids. I feel blessed. I feel an unfamiliar feeling. I am so used to being hurt, disappointed, abused, mistreated, that when people are actually good to me I am not sure how to feel. It’s quite unique, this feeling.

To have someone who barely knew me work so hard to help me, it is just such a gift. I am so beyond grateful that good people still exist on this planet. A million thanks to those who still possess kindness, compassion, empathy, love, patience, understanding, and mercy. She told me something interesting that I hadn’t thought of. She told me that those girls who gave me grief at my old doctor’s office were so concerned by me because of my beauty and because I am not miserable. They are all young, on the cusp of adulthood, late teens, working straight out of high school. The one who gave me trouble was an obese teenager who was already married and got knocked up during high school. She said she was probably threatened by me. The woman who helped me said that I have this light about me.

I feel that people have always been threatened by me inexplicably. My response to this is simple. I am confident because I know what it’s like to be with nothing. I smile because I have known my share of sorrow. I am fierce because I know what it means to feel weak and powerless. I recognize and understand that these girls have nothing but their small world in that office. They’ve never experienced anything greater than themselves and lack the emotional intelligence to properly understand and comprehend what someone like myself has gone through. My life experiences are a burden to me but they are mine and not easily understood by those without insight. Maybe one day they’ll get it. Maybe one day they’ll know. But not today. And that really isn’t my problem. My problem is making sure that I’m healthy and well taken care of and I should never feel guilty for wanting to better myself. So instead of harboring anger, I want to extend a thank you because without that incident I wouldn’t have pushed harder for myself to be the best possible version of myself that I can create for myself.

As for the fifty-five pages that I lost of my manuscript, I not only got those fifty-five pages back, but I am now one hundred and two pages richer in my manuscript. I am right on schedule for a July/August release of my latest novella, John of Art. I am in the market for an editor and someone to help me cut a song single for my book as well. The lyrics and melody are all set. I just need to record it professionally and get it ready for a co-release with my book in a few weeks. So if anyone knows of anyone who can help, I’d be greatly appreciative. Thanks for all your support and your constant revisiting of my blog.

Thank you all for your continued interest in my crazy world! Love to all and hope you are all happy and healthy!

VISIT THE MOONLIT GODDESS PATREON PAGE

These Past 3 Weeks

blog pic march 8 2019

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

2019 has proven to be one of the most harrowing years of my entire life. I have endured quite a bit over the years but I always seem to be outdone by even greater and more severe challenges. Just when I fear that I can no longer handle what is being handed to me, I finally, FINALLY, see the light at the end of that very, very long tunnel.

I thought new years was bad, but these past three weeks were simply the worst experience I have endured to date. First, I get the flu and bronchitis, then my father, mother, and brother all get it as well. My father, having advanced dementia, was strongly advised to get the flu and pneumonia vaccine this season. We took him to our local pharmacy and he received both vaccines in November. These vaccines gave us this false sense of security because regardless of these vaccines, my father received both the flu and pneumonia and had to be hospitalized. Granted, we were told that there was no guarantee even with the vaccine but it was definitely absolutely ridiculous how he got both back to back and it was such a severe case he was in the hospital for almost a week. He even had to spend his 76th birthday in the hospital!

My family was absolutely inconsolable. Watching my father struggle with fever, cough, sneezing, being in and out of consciousness, was so heartbreaking to witness. Once he arrived at the hospital, they gave me him fluids and Tamiflu. After his week at the hospital was done, we noticed some drastic changes to his behavior.

Dementia is one of the most unpredictably cruel diseases I have ever had the misfortune of observing for the past six to seven years. My father was always a man on the go. He was always working. He was a full-time math teacher during the day, he taught night school and worked at a community college on the weekends. The man always had plans, always was out the door and we barely saw him. During the summer months, he would socialize with his creative art groups in the city where he worked and kept himself occupied. This was the father I knew as an adult. As a kid, we didn’t see him much either; however, because we were young, he would make it a point to do some trips with my siblings and I whether it was to the movies, apple picking, the beach, the park, etc. These events didn’t happen often, but he tried when he had the time.

When my father retired, he became a completely different person. His behavior was erratic, he became clumsy, he became aggressive, violent, and made many foolish decisions. As an adult, I didn’t really know my father well aside from the hi’s and byes and light dinner conversations. I didn’t really hang out with him much. I considered myself pretty much estranged from him. So when these things were going on in my dad’s life, I just assumed it was because he couldn’t adjust well to retirement. I figured he was so busy his entire life and the shock of retirement was just too much for him. But the chaos became greater, the insanity of the events involving my father became so grand scale that as a family we knew it was time to intervene. We did everything we could from allowing his driver’s license to lapse and having his car towed, to other measures to guarantee his safety.

During the beginning phases of his dementia, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer as well. My father was very fortunate to still be healthy enough mentally to be properly treated and has since been in remission. We took him to the neurologist and he’s had MRIs and they had told us he suffered from a series of mini-strokes. There was no way of knowing when they occurred or how often they occurred. As a result of these mini-strokes, his brain shrunk significantly causing the dementia. They said he had a mixture of vascular- type dementia and Alzheimer’s-type dementia. I remember one of the last things the neurologist told my brother at the end of the office visit after diagnosis was that we were in for years of heartache. He certainly was not kidding.

Over the years since dad’s diagnosis, we have had to become smarter and sneakier and wiser and always tried to keep one step ahead of my father. He would sneak out of the house and walk the streets of our town and be gone for hours and we would have to call for help. He would touch all the kitchen items and make himself “food” made out of napkins and milk. He would try to feed our cats saucers of dish soap. He would pace and wander all night in his bedroom not remembering he had to sleep. We went from doctor to doctor until we finally found one with the compassion and empathy to guide us and my father through each stage. She has been an absolute blessing and up until now, she has prepared us for what was next to come.

When dad came home from the hospital, my siblings and I were shell-shocked watching dad’s newest transition of this distressing illness. Dad lost his speech, he looked at us like we were public enemy number 1, and he refused to eat or drink anything. We all came to terms with the fact that this may very well be the end. He may need hospice care and it may be time for us to finally accept that it is time to let go. After the hospital visit, the hospital staff set up several health care professionals to visit the home and evaluate my father and to help with his care. We received two very caring women who have also helped us further understand our father’s condition and to kind of relinquish some control over what was going on.

As human beings, we are raised to believe you have to eat and drink to survive. The one nurse practitioner that visited us taught us that in my father’s condition that need to eat and that need for a three-meal structure no longer exists. He will eat when he’s hungry, he will drink when he’s thirsty and we can’t make him do anything he doesn’t want to do. Even though to the naked eye it appears our dad is long gone, there is still the shell of the man he used to be in there somewhere and that man craves attention and dignity. He won’t be told when to eat, he won’t be forced to live up to our standards. He will do what he wants to do when he is ready. After hearing that, I was finally able to ease the tension that had been burdening my shoulders these past few weeks. I’ve let go of that desperate need to want to save my father’s life and to keep him living for a thousand more years.

Once I let go, I realized that my father began eating and drinking again. I nearly collapsed with relief. Along with eating and drinking, my dad began saying a word here and there. If you say, “Hi, how are you?” he will say “Good.” He will also nod his head yes or no when you ask him questions like, “Are you hungry?” or “Are you cold?” This was also a great relief.

I have literally been by his side since he’s gotten back from the hospital and I have been putting myself last, as usual. I haven’t been blogging, I’ve been lax with my podcasting, and I have neglected my latest writing project. I know that is completely and totally unhealthy of me to do. I just have been so traumatized over this event. I just wanted to be there for my father because I realize how short life is and I don’t know how many more moments I will have with my father.

I think life works in mysterious ways though. I think that even though this was such a tragedy, I feel that this has brought us all closer together as a family. I feel like I finally have a relationship with my father. I will never have the kind of relationship I always lacked and always wanted growing up, but I am satisfied with the relationship I have with him now. My father has become a sweet, kind, and vulnerable man. My family and I are constantly advocating for better care for him from the healthcare system. We have reached somewhat of a current homeostasis at the moment. His care is under control. We have people who come periodically to monitor his well-being and as a family we all take care of him and provide him with the best round the clock care we can possibly provide him with given our lack of knowledge of healthcare. We do the very best that we are capable of doing. Given our lack of finances, he is being cared for at home. We’ve adjusted and he is finally at a comfortable level post-hospital. At this point, this is the best we can expect given his condition. We are grateful to have him eating and drinking and engaging with us here and there. At this stage in my life, after everything I’ve endured, and my family has endured, there really isn’t much more we can ask for.

On this day, International Women’s Day, I’m going to allow myself to step away for a while and join the living and get the things I need to get done that I’ve neglected nearly a month ago. I’m happy to be back in my office writing and producing. It’s where I feel the most alive and happiest. Thank you all for continuing to visit to read my blogs. Thanks for the well-wishers. I had the loveliest comment on one of my blogs last night that helped motivate me to get back on track. Thanks to that individual. I am happy that my words bring comfort to some. I wish you all a very lovely day and a restful and relaxing weekend!

Happy 1 Year Anniversary The Moonlit Goddess! What’s Next on the Writing Agenda!

 

Happy 1 year anniversary to The Moonlit Goddess Writing Line! When I decided to quit teaching after 15 years, I was so nervous and scared and lost. I’d done it all. I worked on my bachelors, my masters and my phd in business administration. I traveled the east coast and west coast throughout my schooling. I had met so many inspiring people. Although I had grown and expanded everything around me in my home town seemed to stay the same. My world grew bigger and a lot of people had a difficult time understanding me. If you learned what I learned, saw with these eyes what I have seen. If you heard stories from people all over our great country. If you listened thoughtfully to their struggles and how they persevered in the end. It inspired me to move on from somewhere I could not grow and built something from the ground up. Now my writing line is thriving and I met a wonderful person along my journey. I am scrounging and saving every penny to help build a better existence for myself and I will continue to produce meaningful work along the way. Thanks for being here and sharing in this wonderful, wild, and exhilarating journey with me. The 3 P’s that keep me going: Patience, Persistence, and Perseverance! 

Now, what’s next on my writing agenda! I signed myself up for the NaNoWriMo Challenge for the month of November. I’ve decided to be a little ambitious and a little crazy. I am not sure that I can do, but I am going to try. For the month of October, I’m going to try to write John of Art. For November, I’m going to try to write Shadows on Elm. I will update everyone on my progress. So far, I have written two chapters of John of Art, so I am on the right path! Wish me luck!

In the meantime, I just published my first children’s book: The Moonlit Goddess Presents: The Will O’ The Wisp Tales: Little Stan’s Lucky Day! This is available through Amazon Kindle and paperback formats on Amazon on the links below! Please remember to leave me feedback! Thanks so much!

Little Stan’s Lucky Day $2.99 Amazon Kindle Edition

Little Stan’s Lucky Day $15.00 Amazon Paperback

My children’s book was chosen to be featured and read aloud during Ireland’s Children’s Book Festival throughout the month of October! I am very proud of this distinguished honor. Special thanks to my literary agent and my love bug, Robert Peacock for making this happen!

Also, Little Stan’s Lucky Day has been entered in the Pen to Publish 2017 Contest through Amazon that would award me a publishing contract and a mentor-ship with prestigious members of the writing profession. So wish me luck! Thanks for everything. Thanks to my family and friends for your nurturing and support of my passionate venture! I can’t wait to update you all on news of future events!