Podcast: My Dedication to All Living Beings

blog february 15th 2019

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

Hello everyone! Please listen to this week’s podcast. This week I discuss my newspaper article featuring my new book Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of  Yesteryear, the progress of my father’s dementia, the feral colonies, inviting future guests on my podcast, and more! Thanks to all who continue to listen each week!

Click here to listen to my podcast: PSG Lopes/The Moonlit Goddess Podcast

blog part two feb. 15th

My town’s newspaper featured a two-page article on my new book Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear. They got a few facts wrong which I explain in this week’s podcast. The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear is my 3rd anthology, not my seventh, I am 8 years younger than the article suggests, and I explain more in-depth about each type of writing I have available in my Amazon Author Page.

Click the picture below if you are interested in purchasing a copy of my new book! Thanks for your continued support! Please consider leaving a review for the book if you do purchase a copy! Thanks so much!

Click here to order my new book: Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear!

 

My Music Evolution

blog february 13th 2019

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

No matter what changes I go through in life, one thing that has always remained consistent is the fact that I am a huge music fan. Over the years, music has helped me in so many ways. Depending on what I am listening to, music can either calm my nerves, get me pumped up for an occasion, relax me, or get me fired up when I’m angry, or even help me come to terms with my emotions. Music is responsible for so much joy and can elicit the strongest memories. My mother, father, and siblings heavily influenced my tastes in music over the years.

My parents got me into earlier stuff from the 1960s and 1970s like Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Carly Simon, Carole King, James Taylor, John Denver, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Johnny Cash, ABBA, and so many other great musicians. I still listen to all of these incomparable artists today. I have always been huge on nostalgia and listening to any of these always brings back positive memories in my life.

When I was a child in the 1980s,  I listened to the typical pop music that was popular in that era. I listened to Billy Idol, Blondie, Tiffany, New Kids on the Block, and whatever else was new and considered “in” at the time. I am actually going to see Tiffany and New Kids on the Block in concert this coming July! How’s that for a blast from the past!

I remember also being introduced to rock music and metal from my older brother. I remember the first metal band that I was introduced to was Metallica. I remember singing along to their songs as young as seven or eight years old because my older brother would blast them in his room. I also remember being into bands like R.E.M., Bon Jovi, and Guns N Roses in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

When I was seven years old, I traveled to Portugal with my sister, younger brother, and mother. I remember spending three months there. I was exposed to new types of music that I had never heard of before. I listened to very eclectic and different sounding Portuguese pop music and that was the first time that I became really aware of Portuguese fado music, especially from singers like Amalia Rodrigues. My mom still listens to all types of fado music to this day and every time I hear it, I think of her.

I remember when I was about eleven or twelve I became simply enamored by Celine Dion, and the then-popular pop group Ace of Base. I remember during the winter Olympics around that time putting on crocheted booties over my sneakers and pretending to ice skate over the linoleum in the kitchen of my old apartment in New York State. I would play Celine Dion and Ace of Base as my performance music and I would disappear “into the ice” and imagine being a grand performer! I had quite an imagination back then!

As I got a little older, I remember grunge music being huge and I was then introduced to bands like Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Nirvana, and others from my sister. What is so fascinating is that I really liked Pearl Jam’s other efforts after their “Ten” album more while so many others complained that they sold out to become mainstream pop artists. I think that Pearl Jam, even to this day, is one of the finest rock ensembles ever to grace my ears. No one compares to Eddie Vedder’s unique voice and his lyric writing always spoke to me. I still consider Pearl Jam’s “Daughter,” “Better Man,” and Eddie Vedder’s solo effort, “Society” three of my all-time favorite songs.

When I moved to New Jersey, I feel that music was transitioning as well as myself. Grunge and rock began to blur, merging into alternative rock and other sub-genres. I remember during this time period, I was a huge fan of The Cranberries, Candlebox, Better than Ezra, Our Lady Peace, Black Lab, Semisonic, Silverchair, Weezer, Moist, and so many others no matter what pop/rock category a band belonged to. I remember also discovering punk rock and was very into Goldfinger, MXPX, Blink 182, Bad Religion, Misfits, and other similar bands.

Then when I reached college and post-college age, music evolved yet again and I found myself being heavily influenced by the nu-metal scene and other rock acts popular in this era. I listened to Korn, Limp Bizkit, Filter, Creed, Staind, Orgy, Evanescence, Finger Eleven, and so many others. I went to so many rock shows during this time that I lost count!

My younger brother got me into European symphonic metal in the early 2000s and I started listening to bands like H.I.M., Within Temptation, Delain,  and The Rasmus, that I still enjoy listening to even today.

I feel that this time was a particularly absurd time in my life. I had so many bizarre ideas and expectations of music. I actually believed that if I listened to anything but rock music that I was a “poser.” I was so afraid to be caught listening to artists I formerly enjoyed in my youth because I didn’t want to be attached to such a negative label. Also, I believed that people who were once hardcore listeners of pop music and all of a sudden started listening to hard rock music they were also posers. I also used to find it odd seeing old people at rock concerts and made it a personal vow to not be one of those people. Now, in 2019, nearing 40, I go to rock concerts all the time. My last concert was Halestorm/In This Moment/New Years Day back in November. I think it’s so funny what kinds of things you believe when you’re in your late teens/early 20s. Now in my late 30s, I’m not too caught up on labels. I’m not ashamed of my music tastes. I don’t feel like I have to compete with my tastes. I like what I like and I don’t really care what anyone else thinks about what I listen to.

Today, I feel that there’s been a real rock renaissance. I’ve been really into listening to bands like Asking Alexandria, Halestorm, Papa Roach, Godsmack, Fozzy, Beyond the Horizon,  In This Moment, Seether, Adelita’s Way, Irontom, and Yonaka, and any others out there that speak to me lyrically and musically.

I still highly enjoy Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand, Lady Gaga, The Greatest Showman Soundtrack, and whatever I feel drawn to. I am now happy with my music choices. I no longer feel shame over listening to what I like. I enjoy what I enjoy and I don’t listen to people who think they know anything and everything about a band. I don’t care about that kind of petty nonsense anymore. I love music. I love all kinds of music as long as it speaks to my heart and soul. Being a poet and a writer, I first fall in love with the lyrics of a song. I tend to stay far away from trite, meaningless lyrics. I feel like we need a connection when we listen to music. It has to be relatable, that’s why there are so many love songs out there. Who hasn’t been stung by love at least once in their lifetime? I think what’s so lovely about music is that it’s like its own language and everyone can relate to it in their own way and get something completely different from every song out there. Everyone has their own story attached to popular songs and I love hearing about them all!

What music influenced you as a kid? Do you have any guilty pleasures you are ashamed to admit to family and friends? What are your “go-to” tunes you put on when you need an emotional boost? What’s your anthem? I’d love to hear from you all! Thanks so much for reading my blog! I can’t wait to hear from you all!


Also, I have a new book out! Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear has just come out on Amazon. This anthology is available in paperback and Kindle editions. Thank you all for your continued support in my writing ventures. Here is more information for those of you who are interested:

Hello everyone! I am so excited to announce the release of my latest work! Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear is now available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle Editions! I am so very proud of this work! This was my focus throughout the whole month of January. As many of my readers already know, 2019 started off with heartbreak. I saw two forks in the road for myself in 2019. I could have either taken the self-destructive path and allowed what I went through to destroy me internally, or use my pain productively and focus on my writing. So, I chose to work on my writing and rebuild all of the momenta I had lost in 2018.

For Dark Musings Volume 1, I had focused on my transition from leaving education to becoming a writer and that volume focused greatly on loss, and rebuilding my life from the ground up. Dark Musings Volume 2 was an experimental anthology where I wrote my very first epic poem and decided to incorporate illustrations, photography, and short stories with this work. I simultaneously released Volume 2 with the 2nd edition of Volume 1 to incorporate photography in this edition as well.

For Dark Musings Volume 3, I decided to include 45 poems and one short story entitled, “The Clown-Covered Canvas.” The 45 poems in this volume vary in topics including heartbreak, nostalgia, how I am coping with my dad’s dementia, and feminism. I experimented with several types of poetry such as: haiku, sestina, sonnets, concrete poetry, ekphrastic poetry, elegies, villanelles, acrostics, epigrams, limericks, free verse, tanka, and more! I tried to really vary the styles of each poem. I am very proud of this work. Since the theme for Volume 3 is “The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear,” I decided to incorporate my photography of nature. I included pictures of flowers, landscapes, and photos depicting the handiwork of mother nature.

Here are pictures of the front cover and back cover of my book:

 

The back cover blurb reads:

Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear, focuses on heartbreak, loss, nostalgia, and coping with the illness of a loved one. The third anthology of the Dark Musings Poetry Anthology series contains forty-five poems and includes one bonus short story, “The Clown-Covered Canvas.”

For those of you interested, you may purchase my book using the orange links below:

Kindle Edition: $9

Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear Kindle

Paperback: $25

Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear Paperback

 

 

For those of you interested in my back catalog of other written works, please visit my Amazon Author Page for my writing: PSG Lopes/The Moonlit Goddess’ Amazon Author Page

CD DISC FACE IMAGE

Or Amazon Marketplace for my song single, “In Recovery”: PSG Lopes/The Moonlit Goddess Song Single “In Recovery”

I am trying to work on possibly doing a Virtual Launch Party for Dark Musings Volume 3. I will update you more about that as and when it happens. For now, I am currently in the process of working on my next project. I am wasting no time and diving right in. I currently have 2 more things I’m working on at the moment. I want to thank the followers of my blog and social media, my weekly listeners of my podcast, and my friends and family who have supported me throughout this odyssey of mine.

Thank you for never giving up on me! Thanks to anyone who supports my work. I hope that you enjoy the work that you will kindly leave feedback on Amazon. It really greatly helps with spreading the word out on what I do!

img_20190207_163948_807595530017.jpg

On a side note, for those of you who missed it yesterday! Yesterday’s podcast was the first interview I conducted with the ever-talented comedienne and writer Amanda Lynn Baez! We had so much fun talking about our career paths, women working in competitive creative fields, feminism and so much more! I was so happy to do this interview for several reasons. Firstly, Amanda is a former student and I love highlighting success stories of those who have graduated. I absolutely love Amanda’s positivity and fearless nature. She will let nothing get in the way of her success. She was an inspiration to me and motivated me as well. Last night, I was interviewed for my local paper and I was nervous about it in the morning but after conducting that interview with Amanda earlier in the day, and just hearing her story of empowerment and courage, that really helped provide me with my own confidence to proceed with my own interview later that evening. I am a firm believer in the saying, “everything happens for a reason!” So, thank you, Amanda! I wish you much success and luck in life!

If you haven’t yet, give the podcast a listen. Just click the orange link below! Thank you so much!

PSG Lopes/The Moonlit Goddess Podcast Interview with Amanda Lynn Baez

If any women are interested in being interviewed for my podcast please email me at themoonlitgoddess@gmail.com  

We can set up a time to do our podcast. I am highlighting women of all ages who are entering, have entered, or are well-established in entrepreneurial or creative fields and who would like to highlight their success stories to my listeners. These are volunteer spots as I cannot currently afford to pay my guests, but volunteers do get copies of my books and other fun treats for their time!

Thanks again, everyone! Onward and Upward!

Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear Released Today on Amazon for Kindle and Paperback!

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

Hello everyone! I am so excited to announce the release of my latest work! Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear is now available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle Editions! I am so very proud of this work! This was my focus throughout the whole month of January. As many of my readers already know, 2019 started off with heartbreak. I saw two forks in the road for myself in 2019. I could have either taken the self-destructive path and allowed what I went through to destroy me internally, or use my pain productively and focus on my writing. So, I chose to work on my writing and rebuild all of the momenta I had lost in 2018.

For Dark Musings Volume 1, I had focused on my transition from leaving education to becoming a writer and that volume focused greatly on loss, and rebuilding my life from the ground up. Dark Musings Volume 2 was an experimental anthology where I wrote my very first epic poem and decided to incorporate illustrations, photography, and short stories with this work. I simultaneously released Volume 2 with the 2nd edition of Volume 1 to incorporate photography in this edition as well.

For Dark Musings Volume 3, I decided to include 45 poems and one short story entitled, “The Clown-Covered Canvas.” The 45 poems in this volume vary in topics including heartbreak, nostalgia, how I am coping with my dad’s dementia, and feminism. I experimented with several types of poetry such as: haiku, sestina, sonnets, concrete poetry, ekphrastic poetry, elegies, villanelles, acrostics, epigrams, limericks, free verse, tanka, and more! I tried to really vary the styles of each poem. I am very proud of this work. Since the theme for Volume 3 is “The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear,” I decided to incorporate my photography of nature. I included pictures of flowers, landscapes, and photos depicting the handiwork of mother nature.

Here are pictures of the front cover and back cover of my book:

 

The back cover blurb reads:

Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3, The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear, focuses on heartbreak, loss, nostalgia, and coping with the illness of a loved one. The third anthology of the Dark Musings Poetry Anthology series contains forty-five poems and includes one bonus short story, “The Clown-Covered Canvas.”

For those of you interested, you may purchase my book using the orange links below:

Kindle Edition: $9

Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear Kindle

Paperback: $25

Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear Paperback

 

 

For those of you interested in my back catalog of other written works, please visit my Amazon Author Page for my writing: PSG Lopes/The Moonlit Goddess’ Amazon Author Page

CD DISC FACE IMAGE

Or Amazon Marketplace for my song single, “In Recovery”: PSG Lopes/The Moonlit Goddess Song Single “In Recovery”

I am trying to work on possibly doing a Virtual Launch Party for Dark Musings Volume 3. I will update you more about that as and when it happens. For now, I am currently in the process of working on my next project. I am wasting no time and diving right in. I currently have 2 more things I’m working on at the moment. I want to thank the followers of my blog and social media, my weekly listeners of my podcast, and my friends and family who have supported me throughout this odyssey of mine.

Thank you for never giving up on me! Thanks to anyone who supports my work. I hope that you enjoy the work that you will kindly leave feedback on Amazon. It really greatly helps with spreading the word out on what I do!

img_20190207_163948_807595530017.jpg

On a side note, for those of you who missed it yesterday! Yesterday’s podcast was the first interview I conducted with the ever-talented comedienne and writer Amanda Lynn Baez! We had so much fun talking about our career paths, women working in competitive creative fields, feminism and so much more! I was so happy to do this interview for several reasons. Firstly, Amanda is a former student and I love highlighting success stories of those who have graduated. I absolutely love Amanda’s positivity and fearless nature. She will let nothing get in the way of her success. She was an inspiration to me and motivated me as well. Last night, I was interviewed for my local paper and I was nervous about it in the morning but after conducting that interview with Amanda earlier in the day, and just hearing her story of empowerment and courage, that really helped provide me with my own confidence to proceed with my own interview later that evening. I am a firm believer in the saying, “everything happens for a reason!” So, thank you, Amanda! I wish you much success and luck in life!

If you haven’t yet, give the podcast a listen. Just click the orange link below! Thank you so much!

PSG Lopes/The Moonlit Goddess Podcast Interview with Amanda Lynn Baez

If any women are interested in being interviewed for my podcast please email me at themoonlitgoddess@gmail.com  

We can set up a time to do our podcast. I am highlighting women of all ages who are entering, have entered, or are well-established in entrepreneurial or creative fields and who would like to highlight their success stories to my listeners. These are volunteer spots as I cannot currently afford to pay my guests, but volunteers do get copies of my books and other fun treats for their time!

Thanks again, everyone! Onward and Upward!

The Old Depression Debate

blog pic february 5th 2019

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

Before I begin tonight’s topic, I just want to say that the past two weeks have been incredibly hectic for me. I’ve been trying my darnedest to get my new work ready for publishing and I am very, very close to the finish line! I am tweaking and doing finishing touches before I am finally able to reveal what I’ve been working on for the whole month of January! I am so, so proud of my work and can’t wait for the big unveiling coming soon. That and more surprises are coming up by the end of the week, I promise!

Anyhow, for tonight’s discussion… depression and anxiety and how the “neurotypical” perceive issues concerning mental health.

I had an interesting debate this afternoon regarding depression and anxiety.

I was taken aback by one person’s perspective and decided to question the individual. A lot of thoughts flashed through my head, but my thoughts honestly weren’t combative. My questions and thoughts were coming from myself being a lifelong sufferer of depression and anxiety and trying to establish a teachable moment for an outsider who may “sympathize,” but not necessarily “empathize.”

Depression and anxiety are complex. A person may exhibit chemical or situational depression. There may be tons of factors as to why an individual becomes afflicted with such a debilitation. My depression and anxiety, coupled with me being overweight, carry an enormous stigma for myself. I hate leaving the house. I feel judged at every corner whether it’s my own perception or reality. I have had depression and anxiety and been overweight my whole life. I know of no other way of being. I have known fleeting happiness sprinkled sporadically throughout my life. I can still smile and laugh at jokes and have a good sense of humor. Those things don’t mask the fact that to my very core, I’m deeply hurting inside. So, for me, hearing this person’s thoughts and how a seemingly kindhearted act, which I found to be insensitive, would somehow both eradicate and invalidate this struggling individual’s feelings—it felt a little tone deaf to me.

I was reminded of the poor individuals in Flint, Michigan dealing with their water being unfit for bathing, cooking, and drinking. I remember reading about celebrities delivering bottled water to the residents of that area. There was a disconnect between the people and the outside world and their struggles were not being properly understood. I feel the same was true in this particular situation regarding mental health.

I honestly wasn’t meaning for it to sound judgmental or negative, but right away the person I was speaking to was so very offended and said that I had to “shit on everything” and that I was always negative about everything. Being negative and judgmental and being concerned and fearing that the individual’s seemingly well-meaning thoughts would do more harm than good are two totally separate issues. I was made out to be the bad guy because I was trying to get that person to reach a little deeper within themselves. The person even deflected and backpedaled stating that they too once suffered from depression. To me, if you can say you suffered from depression in the past tense, then it wasn’t truly depression.

To me, the way that I see it, depression is a lifelong struggle. It stays with you. Whether you seek counseling, are medicated, or choose to cope with your depression on your own terms, depression and anxiety are never going to disappear completely. One therapist I visited in my early 20s told me that I was never going to be the same me I was in my youth. She told me I was always going have depression and anxiety and told me that what I would learn in therapy were strategies to cope, learning to recognize triggers, and finding ways to combat the depression whether through medicine, diet, exercise, yoga, meditation, or other strategies. There’s no getting rid of it. That’s my own experience with it at least. This is my own experience throughout the years. I do not doubt that every experience is vastly different. Again, I am not here to judge. I respect everyone’s journey.

Also, you don’t know what a person is truly going through when they say that they are depression and anxiety sufferers. If the person revealed they had suicidal ideations the best way to handle that is to gear them towards professional help and help them develop ways of handling their depression whether it’s chemical or situational.

Do you think something as simple as throwing a party or saying a kind word would have helped Kristoff St. John’s son, and possibly himself, or Kurt Cobain, or Chris Cornell, or Chester Bennington, or Anthony Bourdain, or Kate Spade, or anyone else who has taken their own lives? No, the problem is so much deeper than you can imagine. The problem is real. The problem can’t be shaken off by one or two hours of laughter.

You’re missing the point.

Depression is not, “I’m having a bad day.

Depression is not, “I’m sad.”

Depression is not, “I hate the rain, it makes me depressed.”

I will tell you, from my own experience, what depression means to me:

Depression is not remembering what cash feels like in your hands because you’ve been poor for so long.

Depression is not being able to wash your hair for ten days straight because you just don’t have the strength.

Depression is talking to people who never listen to you and choose to talk over you because they find you inferior to them and you let them believe it because you have no more self-confidence to prove them otherwise.

Depression is not wanting to get out of bed in the morning because you can’t think of a single reason why you should.

Depression is leaving the house in old house clothes, not brushing your hair, or taking care of your hygiene because you just don’t have the energy to do anything about it.

I’ll tell what anxiety is not.

Anxiety is not, “I’m going to fail that test tomorrow if I don’t study.”

Anxiety is not, “It took me two hours to go to bed because I was nervous about that job interview that I had this morning.”

I will tell you what anxiety is to me:

Anxiety is not wanting your picture taken because you feel that the whole world will judge you because you’re so ugly and the thought of having someone take your picture makes your throat close up from fear of judgment.

Anxiety is staying up all night from remembering something stupid I said in front of co-workers ten years ago that no one remembers except me.

Anxiety is being afraid to speak up about your traumas and your past because people only ever tell you stuff like, “Why don’t you go to the doctor and get some medicine,” instead of offering empathy, compassion, understanding, and just being present and listening.

Anxiety is working hard to appear “normal” and human like the rest of the world so you don’t get labeled anti-social or an outcast on days you just feel like being by yourself.

I am not exaggerating when I say that depression and anxiety are crippling and debilitating. I’ve tried the whole therapy/medicine routine. I never found anyone who could truly empathize or understand. I don’t want to mask my pain with pills, I want to heal from it. I want to address my pain, I want someone to drag it out of me, I want someone brave enough to want to stick it out with me no matter how ugly or scary it may appear on the other side of that dark. I want someone to carry that burden with me and hold my hand on the dark days, and then laugh and triumph over the good days.

My pain is validated. My pain is real. My pain can’t be erased by one-hour of someone’s attention. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not miserable all of the time. I do have amazing days. I have days I wish I could bottle up like perfume and revisit them on the really dark days. My life is one big uphill climb. I just want someone to understand that, that’s all. I’m not arguing. I’m not suggesting I’m right and you’re wrong. I’m saying dig a little deeper and don’t be afraid to get your hands a little dirty because depression and anxiety are ugly beasts that need to be slain, sometimes daily. It’s exhausting, my body gets tired, I’m getting older and weakened. But I’m not giving up. And I ain’t dead yet. Which means I’m doing something right.

So, in closing, the debate turned ugly, but it didn’t have to. Sometimes you just need to listen and hear an individual’s pain. There is no worse feeling than not being heard or understood. An old friend once told me that pain is like shouting in the dark with the volume turned down. It is invisible to most, but it doesn’t have to be like that. Sometimes you can hear someone’s pain almost like a whisper if you stop trying to speak over someone’s softened, innocent voice. Louder does not mean right. Experience someone’s struggle firsthand. We don’t measure mental anguish on a scale. This isn’t a competition on whose pain is worse. All of our struggles matter. All of us deserve to be heard and understood. I’m a lover of love. I may be a shy introvert, but I feel that I exhibit much compassion and empathy towards other living beings. It took me many years of struggling to earn this level of self-awareness and introspection coupled with an outward-looking perspective of everything around me. It’s not hard to hear someone’s pain, sometimes you just have to stop talking, and just listen. Sometimes a person’s silence speaks volumes to those who were once too proud to listen.

Podcast: What Feminism Means To Me

blog february 1st 2019

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

Hello all! Please check out this week’s Podcast: What Feminism Means To Me. This week I discuss what feminism means to me, how I feel that the term has such a bad reputation but it means so much more than others believe it to be, and how I feel that it is not a “Me Vs. Them” term. I also talk about the progress of my projects and other news and surprises. Thanks to all who continue to tune in! It means the world to me! Have a great weekend everyone!

Click here to listen to this week’s Podcast: PSG Lopes/ The Moonlit Goddess Podcast

blog february 1st 2019 1A

Here is a picture of my almond cookies that I baked fresh this morning! Mmm mmm good!

The Literal Versus Creative Mind

blog photo january 29th 2019

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

I had noticed a startling trend throughout my years as an educator. I noticed that kids just were not as imaginative and creative as they were when I was their age. I realized that the reason for this was due to the abundant access to technology. When I was a child, we didn’t have the internet, smartphones, Netflix or Hulu, or any of the fancy sophisticated video games that are out today. The kids of this generation are so overstimulated and are basically handed all the ideas without them having to work for any of it themselves.

I remember one assignment I presented to my fifth-grade students. They were to create their own short story. They had the ability to create their own characters, setting, time period, etc. We carefully went through what each component meant and once I was satisfied that they understood the assignment, I sent them off to work independently. The work I received in return was disheartening, to say the very least. What I got back were twenty-two regurgitated stories ranging from the origins of Mario and Luigi, Pokémon, or Disney princesses. I would remind my students that those stories were already claimed, and I wanted to read stories that came from their own minds. After revisiting the assignment once more, I then received much better stories. Some stories I genuinely felt had the potential to be expanded into novels someday and had encouraged the students to keep pursuing their writing. I had always wondered if their future teachers pushed them the same way that I had or if they reverted back to their literal way of thinking, completely forgetting they have the potential to be wondrous, creative minds!

When it rained or snowed in the 80s or early 90s, my siblings and I stayed indoors, and we used our imagination to create make-believe worlds and fight fictitious creatures and live to tell our harrowing tales! We made tents made out of blankets and used flashlights to scare one another, we would use our older brother’s or father’s camcorder and create screenplays and put on our own shows. We would use my younger brother’s playpen and pretend we were pro-wrestlers and kick the ever-loving snot out of each other. We would do arts and craft projects. I remember my mother buying me this magazine for kids that had tons of art project ideas and she would buy me all of the stuff I would need, and we would make the projects together. I know that when I had free time as a child, I would love to write in my diary or journal. I was always productive in some way that was not directly attached to technology.

Don’t get me wrong, there were days where I’d watch television. That was my vice as a child. I’d watch the heck out of soap operas or other trashy television with my parents and siblings, but in that era, we could take it or leave it. We weren’t addicted and we were able to expand our minds and create original ways of entertaining ourselves.

Here in 2019, I do not see any of these things that made my childhood so magical. Kids of this generation prefer instant gratification, have created a culture of cruelty and thrive on hurting each other, and everything is tied to electronics and the next greatest technological advancement. Parents are always trying to keep on top of their child’s demands and when new video games, cell phones, or other gimmicky devices go on sale, they have to be the first to get them or else they will suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out).

I’ve got a five-year-old cell phone and a just as old Nintendo 3DS and I’m pretty grateful for that. I can’t imagine feeling that pressure to constantly buy the next best thing. It’s tiring and damn expensive too. I guess since I’ve lived pretty humbly for the past four years financially, I have changed my mindset greatly. I recognize what matters more in life and objects and materials just don’t do it for me anymore. I’d rather have my health, the love of my family, good food, and a lot of laughs. Call me old-fashioned.

I remember one of my favorite episodes of the Twilight Zone, “The Shelter,” that perfectly describes how I feel people in 2019 treat each other when they are shown their true colors. “Damages? I wonder. I wonder if anyone of us has any idea what those damages really are. Maybe one of them is finding out what we’re really like when we’re normal; the kind of people we are just underneath the skin. I mean all of us: a bunch of naked, wild animals, who would put such a price on staying alive that they’d claw their neighbors to death just for the privilege. We were spared a bomb tonight, but I wonder if we weren’t destroyed even without it.” I think one major flaw of the current culture is our lack of empathy for one another as well.

Creativity and passion work best when people exhibit compassion, empathy, loyalty, and trust of one another. We need to feel that spark of creativity and instead of wounding each other or living for material goods, tap into that creative spirit and do so because you’re passionate about it not because you’re copying others or trying to compete. Do something creative that you identify best with, not what you feel matches the climate of the current FOMO culture. Quash the ego. Alleviate the troubles of a literal mind and allow yourself to find a passionate outlet within creativity.

I find it difficult being me most days. I feel like I live a very anachronistic life. I have always felt that I belonged in an earlier era in time like the 1940s or 1950s. I look around and see what kids are turning into and all of the politics going on around the world and my head spins. I just don’t recognize this place anymore and it deeply saddens me. Everything is happening much too quickly and often times I just wish for things to slow down. I’m reminded of a quote from one of my absolute favorite plays, Our Town, by Thornton Wilder. One of the characters, Emily, stated “I can’t. I can’t go on. It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. So, all that was going on and we never noticed. Take me back—up the hill—to my grave. But first: Wait! One more look. Goodbye, Goodbye, world. Goodbye, Grover’s Corners…Mama and Papa. Goodbye to clocks ticking…and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths…and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?—every, every minute?” I still cry when I read this play. This play has, for me, always captured how everyone still takes life for granted. Everything does move much too fast and it needs to slow down. We need to press pause and take a good look at ourselves and find meaning in our lives once more.

I think that Enigma song, “Return to Innocence” says it best: “If you want, then start to laugh. If you must, then start to cry. Be yourself, don’t hide. Just believe in destiny. Don’t care what people say. Just follow your own way. Don’t give up and use the chance to return to innocence.” With that “return to innocence” mentality, imagine what potential we can tap into for our own creative minds!

Why I Don’t Regret Being Childless

blog january 28th 2019
ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2019.

Many individuals nearing forty have already accomplished many milestones like other people within their age demographic. These individuals have had jobs for close to twenty years, they’re married, they’re living in their own homes, they have children, and are set in their lives. Many have even paid off their student loans. Their lives are picturesque, and they are living their own versions of happily ever after.

In 2019, this ideal has become a rarity, not the norm. I spent my twenties in an explosive tumultuous pattern of bouncing from one unfulfilling position to the next in the education field. I either quit my job, got fired, or flat out left. I didn’t know what I wanted in life, but I did know that education was just not the field that I belonged in when it came to a career path. I enjoyed my years working with children, but it just was never something I felt passionate enough about to try hard enough to stay and succeed at it. I accept blame in my role in getting fired and quitting and leaving. I understand I’m flawed and not every individual is made for a traditional career.

It was because of my decision to leave education that prompted me to seek out my masters and doctorate in business administration. There were many bumps and turns with this decision as well and this path was no easier for me to find gainful employment.

My twenties were exploratory and soul-searching years for me. My thirties consisted of me attempting to build a foundation for a lasting career. I have made a tremendous amount of mistakes. I have made many friends and many enemies along the way, but I don’t regret one moment of every adventure and mishap that I engaged in over the years.

Years passed by, I am actively getting older and I feel that my childbearing years have effectively escaped me. Before I go on, this isn’t a rant on why having kids suck or why women who choose to have children are weak or pathetic. I am a true feminist and believe that women are entitled to make any decision they choose that makes them truly happy. If you want children, wonderful, if you don’t want children, that’s also wonderful, as long as either option is 100% your choice.

I toyed with the idea of having a child with past relationships, but I was just never financially secure enough to ever justify bringing life onto this good Earth.

Even though I am still figuring my life out with my writing, I feel like I’ve finally found my bearings in life and am on the right path for myself. Coming up with this decision took me several long years of trial and error and heartache but I have taken effective steps to course-correct my writing line and have taken the appropriate measures to forge full-steam ahead with my life goals.

Because this decision has taken me so long to get to, I realize that I had to make a difficult choice. Do I stop the momentum I’ve worked so hard to achieve, or do I pursue the expected path of finding a relationship and having a child? In my past relationship, I felt my identity slowly slip through my fingertips. I was settling into this housewife persona and it wasn’t a comfortable fit for me. I’m too headstrong, feisty, and fiery. I’ve been described as being sassy, aggressive, volatile, but with a gentle heart of gold. I recognize that I am a special individual and I feel that I deserved more than to settle down and have my dreams quashed and forgotten. That whole phoenix arisen cliché was not wasted on me. I firmly feel myself strengthening and rising above every single day.

Aside from spending nearly two decades working with children in the education field, I feel that I have had my own experience with raising a family in a way. I spent my whole life taking care of others. I essentially took on the persona of the matriarch of the household whenever my mother traveled to care for my grandparents when they were both still alive. I was always doing housework, driving my siblings around, cooking, and other duties typical of a traditional mother figure. I also actively take care of my cats both indoor and outdoor and I consider them all my fur babies. I have been involved in the caregiving of my father who has been suffering from dementia for the past four years.

I realized with all of this, I am fulfilled. I have my family, I have my fur babies, and I have my father to take care of along with my fledgling writing career. I have all the components to make me a successful individual without the traditional archetype of wife and mother. I do see family and friends and watch their struggle with their children and I often feel grateful that I dodged a tremendous bullet. I was never one to succumb to societal pressures and conform and have children. I have always functioned on my own timeline and do not feel that if I am not a mother than I am unsuccessful in life.

I came to the realization that after nearly forty years of taking care of others, it was finally time to begin taking care of myself and worry about my own needs and whether or not my dreams and goals are being realized. I feel the importance of no longer living in the shadows of other people’s expectations of who I should or shouldn’t be. We all have one life to live and it truly is up to us to find a path that we can be satisfied with and to thrive in regardless of any pressures around us from those who may or may not understand our point of view.

Podcast: The Self-Disciplined Writer

blog january 25th 2019

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

Hello everyone! This week’s podcast is up!

For this week’s podcast, I discuss the 50 Shades of Gray author releasing a new series and what this means in a post “Me Too” movement culture, I discuss finding motivation during depressive and anxious times, how I maintain my self-discipline as a writer, and my quest for a new proofreading editor for my upcoming work! Thanks for listening!

Click on the orange link below to listen:

PSG Lopes/ The Moonlit Goddess’ Podcast

 

My Comparison of Netflix’s “You” to Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”

january 24th blog photo

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

When I was in college, Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where are you going, where have you been?” haunted me but not in the way you’d imagine. As an undergraduate freshman, I was not a very strong student. I always struggled in all of my classes and even though I enjoyed the art of writing, I was never good with analytical depictions of stories. I was a casual reader, never really delving much into meaning or imagery of a writer’s work. I was reading for entertainment at the time and found analyzing text to be one of the most dreadful experiences of college that I can remember to date.

I realize now as an adult nearing forty, that it was not necessarily that I lacked the skillset to be analytical. What I realized was that I lacked life experience. How can one step in the shoes of an author if that individual has not suffered or experienced anything close to what the author is writing about? I feel that in order for someone to forge an attachment to an author, there has to be a kinship, a shared connection. That’s why we have favorite authors. Sometimes you click with a writer’s work and sometimes you do not. I realize that now and I have since revisited Joyce Carol Oates’ work and have a completely different perspective. Not only can I directly relate to this piece, I saw such similarities to the new Netflix series, “You.”

How? Allow me to explain.

Upon watching “You,” I found the lead character, Joe, to be one of the most fascinating creatures I have ever witnessed since Showtimes’ Dexter. Joe’s complexity and the way he grapples with his consciousness and how he justifies each act of violence is captivating and immensely intriguing. Joe was the true anti-hero. Falsely claiming his acts were those of love and to protect someone from themselves, watching what Penn Badgley’s wonderfully acted character did next was simply enthralling and beyond suspenseful.

When we watch or read something for entertainment, we, the viewer, are trained to view certain individuals as villainous or unsavory. What made “You” so conflicting was that you weren’t exactly sure who to defend or empathize with in this story. Do I empathize with Joe? With Beck? Paco? Ron? Peach? Benji? Mr. Mooney? Dr. Nicky?

I feel that as human beings we will all get to experience what it is like to be slighted in some way. Whether we get fired from our jobs, endure a horrific heartbreak, or experience some other tragic hardship in our lives, internally we cope with these tragedies in our own way. We find healthy coping mechanisms to help us overcome these low points and we eventually move on rising above whatever adversities we are handling at any given point in our lives.

With “You;” however, the anti-hero forces us to think further than this. While watching, we come to terms with our inner darkness—that little piece of us hidden away so far within our psyches, we refuse to allow ourselves to believe it exists. With all of the hardships revealing themselves throughout our lives, we realize that internally, our subconscious minds want resolution. Once resolutions are sought, we wipe our hands clean of that darkness and commence being that holier than thou person we were before the hardship. We continue acting like we are better than everyone else—denying there was any darkness within us at all. We push back that part of ourselves and return it to where it belongs. That dark part is pushed so deep inside—we completely tuck it away neatly in some dusty, cobwebbed compartment in our minds—once resurfaced, and we realize what was done, it becomes too horrific to admit that we’re capable of such evil—but we are capable of it. Every single one of us.

Evil spreads—it’s there latent, waiting for us to call its name and unleash its unholy fury but you must have the stomach for it if you are to survive this darkness. Death is merely symbolic to the vengeance our minds sometimes seek to help justify the pain, the grief, the loss, the injustices our hearts endure in our everyday life.

We are trained to acknowledge that Joe is the true villain of this story. But what about Candace, Beck, Paco, Ron, Peach, Benji, “The Captain,” Mr. Mooney, Blythe, Dr. Nicky, or the rest of the individuals in the story? All of these people are sinners. They are all flawed, and all served as triggers to Joe’s neurotic perception to “clean house” and make the world inhabitable once more.

I found Paco to be the disciple to Joe’s anti-hero persona, a true believer to Joe’s cause. Paco was a blind participant and felt justified to the extremeness of Joe’s actions believing that such actions would quell the chaos, but we realize it is merely the beginning, an opening for all of Pandora’s troubles. Joe’s presence was Christ-like in that he took on the job of judge, jury, and executioner. Candace served as his conscience—appearing as visions to remind him of what he had done in the past. Joe had a destructive pattern and no matter how he justified his actions, there was no way to quell the beast. There was always going to be some event that arose in his life to somehow justify his actions. He would always bear the burden and possess that insatiable need to serve as the sacrifice, the savior that he believed the women in his life needed to make them their best possible selves.

Alternatively, with Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where are you going, where have you been?” you have a young girl, Connie, struggling with who she is and harboring secret resentment over her older sister and overbearing mother. Connie’s mother is always comparing her to her perfect sister and Connie finds it so stifling and suffocating that she often wishes for her own demise or her mother’s just to end the conflict and inner turmoil. She appears to be looking for salvation of some sort as well. The figure in the car telling her, “Gonna get you, baby,” conveys the impression that he may be just the savior she is looking for. Arnold Friend arrives at her doorstep, when her family went without her to a barbecue on a Sunday afternoon, taunting her and repeatedly coaxing her to get in the car with him.

That bitter realization that Arnold Friend was going to get what he wanted and the last fleeting thought she had in her mind before succumbing to his demands to go with him was that she was never going to see her mother again or sleep in her bed ever again. Despite every desperate thought to get rid of this menace, she knew she had no other choice but to go with this mysterious depraved figure. The moment where she finally concedes, the all-too eerie last words Arnold Friend delivers before Connie pushes past that screen door regarding a little girl with blue eyes, even though she had brown eyes, is all the more chilling. It would have been different had this been a traditional victorious story where the hero and heroine walked away into the sunset, but Connie walking into this chilling figure’s arms is unsettling and distressing. The entire scene gave new meaning to the saying, “Be careful what you wish for…” Connie appeared to have made a pact with the devil when she had wished to separate herself from her mother and sister and came face to face with Satan himself when encountering Arnold Friend.

Connie’s case was that of buyer’s remorse and I felt that so much in Beck’s character in Netflix’s “You.” Beck had issues with her father, whereas Connie had issues with her mother and sister. Beck’s lack of fulfillment as a writer stemmed from her lack of acceptance of her father’s abandonment and him starting a new life without her. That abandonment leeched into her social life and she was unable to forge healthy, enduring relationships with them because she was constantly choosing men who were no good for her. Beck was chastised for dating the pauper bookstore clerk. Beck, being an aspiring writer, wanted to believe that she was accepting of all types and forced herself to believe she had a connection with Joe. Beck followed him blindly and allowed herself to be vulnerable and denied the advice of her equally troubled friend, Peach. Upon realization of who Joe really was, Beck knew it was much too late and there was no amount of quick thinking to absolve her of her foolishness in order to save her life.

The same happened with Connie. She wished for separation, for an identity not to be compared to of that of her sister June or her disapproving mother. The alternative; however, was so damning, so salacious, and perverse for someone so young and so unprepared. As soon as she became aware of it, Connie knew of no further solution but to follow Arnold Friend to what would ultimately become her demise.

I have a deep appreciation for these two very distinct pieces of work. “You” captivated my attention from the very beginning and I found an instant connection to Oates’ work.

Has anyone else watched “You” yet on Netflix? I’d love to hear about your own thoughts and theories on the show.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I look forward to hearing from you all!