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!

Podcast: The Imperfect Science of Forgiveness

blog pic january 18th 2019

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

In this week’s Podcast, I talk about the imperfect science of forgiveness, my anxiety and depression, a PSA for fellow self-published writers, my freelancing, donors, passion projects, writing contests, and MORE!

Listen to my Podcast here: PSG Lopes/The Moonlit Goddess Podcast

Thanks for your continued support! Have a great weekend everyone!

I Fear Success More Than I Fear Failure

blog pic january 17th 2019.png

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

Before I get into today’s rant, I’d like to take a moment to show off my amazing new business cards featuring my new logo and updated contact information. I also received postcards and stickers as well with the new logo to hand out to my readers when my new work comes out soon! A very special thanks to my sister for always taking care of her sissy! Thanks for always believing in me and pushing me to keep going especially on the days when I feel I have nothing left to give.

Now onto today’s topic. Success. When I first decided to leave teaching altogether in 2016 and start The Moonlit Goddess, I did some research and decided to focus on writing erotica full-time. There were so many things I was unhappy about while writing erotica but had read several articles of people becoming rich quick with writing erotica for Amazon through their self-publishing platform. Not really concerned about quality, I was writing four erotica short stories a month every month for four months. I charged a mere 99 cents a story and kept my identity under wraps and wasn’t really sure how to go about marketing my work. I knew that I still wanted to write poetry, and I dabbled in photography and digital art as well, so I knew that was something I was interested in also pursuing.

Several things went wrong during my earlier pursuits in writing.  I hated writing pieces in shame. I hated the way that people were speaking to me and treated me when I wrote erotica. I just ultimately felt sick to my stomach about it and realized that this was not my true path as a writer. I felt that my writing deserved an appropriate platform to address all of my hopes and fears. I wanted to triumph in my successes and lament in my failures with all of you without hiding behind this persona having to hide in darkness in the shame of my writing. I also had no one to properly edit my erotica because it’s not really something many wanted to look at let alone edit so I’d publish the work with a lot of typographical errors. A real amateur mistake. This whole fiasco lasted four months. I was simultaneously releasing poetry samples and my erotica from September 2016 to December 2016.

My new year’s resolution in January 2017 was to completely revamp my writing line in order to create pieces for everyone to enjoy. I was able to step out of the shadows and fully identify myself and my brand and, in my opinion, created something that I am truly proud of and can continue working on and improve upon as time passed. In 2017, I self-published two poetry anthologies, one novella, and a children’s book, along with my song single. 2017 was a great year for me and I had hoped that 2018 would bring similar prosperity. That would not be the case.

Even though 2017 was a successful year in terms of my writing, I was going through a lot of major changes personally. I had new people in my life whom I was using as a safety net while I was dealing with a lot of horrible trauma at home. This trauma involved my dad who is currently suffering from advanced dementia. I found a romantic escape and used that as a crutch as well as food. I gained a lot of weight in 2018 and was not concerned with anything other than moving overseas and beginning a new life. Throughout all of this, I hadn’t realized how I was cheating myself and not producing any writing at all. 2018 was a horrible dry spell for creativity and I’m so ashamed of myself for completely letting my dream slide through my very capable fingertips. During that whole romantic bubble, never did I once believe that while I was at home depressed, anxious, and dealing with the daily care of my father, I was simply letting precious time pass me by.

My world came crashing down in the new year of 2019. I woke up from the bewitching spell I was under and now a fire has been properly lit under my ass and I am no-nonsense back into writing 100%. I’ve been writing frantically every day since the new year and I’ve no intention of stopping. I recognize that I was regressing a lot and waxing nostalgic over the past instead of focusing on my bright writing future. I always ever knew failure and was terrified of what would happen if I actually felt a bit of success. That’s why I hid behind the erotica, that’s why I always self-sabotaged dieting and exercise, and I always forged unhealthy relationships that I recognize now are no good for me. I am always hiding. I am always playing it safe. I don’t allow myself the possibility of actually feeling what it’s like to maybe be a success for once instead of always succumbing to that self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. Failure is expected of me. I have never known true success. My family had never witnessed success for myself. They always expected me to fail. They know the flaky, unreliable, flighty version of me. They know that the second things are going well for me, I give up and run the other way. And that’s exactly what I did in 2018. I cheated myself repeatedly and set myself up for failure. I don’t know why I did it. I don’t know what I was thinking. I do recognize it now and am going to spend 2019 rectifying my past mistakes.

Maybe this path was meant to happen so that it would shake me up a bit and realize what a mistake I made and fight harder for the things that I want in life. I do want to succeed as a writer. I do want to get out of this financial rut that I’m perpetually in and I want to know what it’s like to treat my family for a meal without sweating about where I’m going to find the funds to replace the money I spent. I want to know what financial freedom is like and I want to be able to take care of myself first and foremost and have the capabilities of taking care of my family like they took care of me all of these years. I feel that we’ve all been touched greatly by misfortune over the years. It is well past time that my family and I felt what it was like to feel the sunshine of success touch our faces as we march towards a greater existence.

I know 2019 will be my year. And as of January 17th, 2019, I am fulfilling my end of the bargain.

Animal Crossing, Golden Girls, and Almond M&Ms: The Cure For All That Ails Me

blog pic 2 january 16th 2019

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

Most of my readers are familiar with my acute addiction to Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the Nintendo 3DS. I was definitely late to the party. I started playing in July 2018 and my addiction is as strong as it was when I first began playing. I am simply enamored by this game. I love everything about it. The game caters to my introversion and allows me complete and total control of my own life within this video game. My real life is chaotic and I have little control over the events in which occur around me daily; however, this game awards me some calm and peace and something that is all mine that I don’t have to share with the outside world.

Many of you were here for my rant in October when my beloved neighbor, Benjamin, moved away with just a letter and a picture frame to remember him by. I had made a mistake the day prior and had to alter the timeline by one day and you always get punished in some way for doing so. When I set the time back, I looked around my town and I finally noticed what went wrong. My Benny. Gone. Without a trace. I’m a thirty-eight-year-old woman and I sobbed like a little baby. I even blubbered over my sad, sad tale to my sister over the devastating event. I was afraid I’d never ever get to see my good ol’ pal Benjamin again. Today something miraculous happened! Benjamin appeared in the main street of the game to do some shopping! The screen cap above was our exchange. I was beyond excited and my heart leaped for joy. I couldn’t believe I got a chance to see my beloved neighbor again and finally get the closure I wanted back in October. I was trying to engage in conversation with him but he said nothing more than a hello and that he was shopping in my town for the day. There was no way to convince him to come back even though I had a vacancy in my town. Another neighbor I was ambivalent about moved out yesterday. It appeared to be kismet! But Benjamin just wouldn’t hear of it. He was just visiting. I’m okay with that. I got what I needed by the exchange. The surprise was wonderful and truly welcome.

I know that sounds totally nutty to the outside observer but to a woman who has suffered depression and anxiety her whole life, this game means everything to me! It gave me something my heart had been missing my whole life. I’m only sad that I was late to the party and wasn’t able to interact with others when the game was truly popular. I am aware there is a new one coming out soon for the Nintendo Switch but I will never be able to afford to buy the Switch and the game. I’m happy with what I have. It fulfills me. It keeps me company in the lonely hours unfilled by my writing tasks. I couldn’t ask for more really. Thanks, Nintendo for releasing such an amazing series of games.

blog pic 1 january 16th 2019

Another joy I have is watching old sitcoms. When my fiance and I broke up at the beginning of the new year, the only thing really keeping me going aside from Animal Crossing was Golden Girls and Almond M&Ms. There’s just something immensely comforting watching old sitcoms. I especially love Golden Girls because it’s about four best friends. I never really had real friends growing up. Most of the people I encountered were either flaky or had their own circle of friends and I just could never shoehorn into their already established world. I never really knew what it was like to have an honest to god best friend. My sister, of course, is my best friend. I’m talking more about people outside of my familial circle. I had thought my ex was my best friend as well. But there’s just something about watching these four ladies interacting that provides me with the missing piece to a long-lost puzzle in my heart.

I always felt that everyone had characteristics of all four of those ladies within all of us. Everyone has a bit of the naive innocence of Rose, the guarded, sarcastic nature of Dorothy who aches to be accepted and loved, the fearlessness of the Spitfire that is Sophia, and the sexy, confident, narcissistic Blanche. We have all embodied each of their personalities at one point in our lives. That’s what makes their dynamic so likable and relatable, in my opinion. We see ourselves in these ladies. I Love Lucy and Golden Girls are my go-to shows when I’m extremely depressed and they never disappoint when I need to salve all of my wounds. And you can’t binge watch a show without some snacks and that’s where my Almond M&Ms come in! I never leave home without them. I never leave home, period LOL!

Guilty pleasures are what make life grand! And these are some of mine! Thanks for reading, folks!

 

Yes, I swear

blog january 15th 2019

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

I’m perfectly imperfect. I make mistakes. I know that I do things differently from others that many do not agree with. I’m crude, I’m tactless, I say things first then rationalize and apologize later. I enjoy fart jokes. I laugh at inappropriate humor at the dinner table. I march to the beat of my own drum that only myself and the woodland fairies can hear.

I am a firm believer that how you were raised and how you were treated at a very young age will determine how you become as an adult. I was raised with crude humor, a lot of swear words, and a less than prim and proper upbringing. Does that make me a horrible person? In short, the answer is no!

I was; however, raised in a Roman Catholic household. I spent the first nine years of my education in a Catholic private school. When I began high school, that was the first time I entered the public school system. My values altered and changed and as I grew up and became an adult I veered away from religion and decided to follow my own path towards spirituality. Do I chastise others who are religious regardless of which religious denomination they choose? Absolutely not. Everyone needs to believe in something. This world is already a disheartening place, of course, we, as humans, need to believe in something. I will never fault another human being for their beliefs.

I don’t believe in getting into a sanctimonious debate about people who go to church vs. people who do not. I don’t believe in forcing one’s beliefs on another but I wholeheartedly respect other’s beliefs and would never minimize their feelings.

One common theme that I find on social media is how people perceive posts and videos with swear words. After all these years, human beings still have contentions with swearing. I’m also not going to argue with someone about their preference over swearing. I have learned to know my audience and if you are not the swearing type, then I know you may not enjoy my writing (aside from my children’s books) and that’s perfectly alright with me. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but those who know me know that I do tuck an f-bomb neatly into the conversation now and then. Even in my Podcasts, you will hear me swearing on occasion. Does that mean I’m ignorant and uneducated? Nope. I am very well-educated, more so oftentimes than those who oppose the swearing. Does that mean I lack a proper vocabulary? Nope, again.

Swearing has been around since time immemorial. I accept that others do not like it and they may have been raised a certain way to perceive people who do swear as unsavory and troublemakers. I don’t see it that way. I was raised as a free-spirit. I was raised to be a free-thinker. I don’t take what others tell me straightaway at face value and will never parrot what others have told me about a given topic. I learn about it myself, then I make my own opinion on it. I don’t hide behind the opinions of others. So many times, I’d read comments saying, “well, that’s not how my parents raised me!” or my personal favorite, “I go to church every Sunday, so you’ll never hear me swear!” Those are both judgmental statements.

I don’t judge others for who they are. Once again, I’m not perfect, I do slip up, I do tend to put my foot in my mouth more often than not but I feel it’s important to recognize when you see you’ve made a mistake, apologize for it and move on. But I won’t apologize for swearing. It comes as natural to me as breathing. You’ll see it in my blogs, my Podcasts, and my writing (other than my children’s books obviously! I said I liked to swear, didn’t say I lacked common sense! LOL!) Once again, it’s called learning your audience. I recognize that there’s a time and a place for that kind of talk. I recognize that when I’m talking to an elder, that I change the way I am speaking to suit their comfort. I recognize generational speech and respect other’s wishes wholly.

In an unrelated example, I remember one of the last times I was in a teaching position, I was administering mid-term exams to my students. I remember it was during the transition time where students were still heading into their classes. This one girl walked by and she dressed like an old-school punk rocker chick with her hair as high as the ceiling in a full-blown mohawk. Stunned, I remember the first thing that came out of my mouth was, “Wow, that’s some hair! I’d love hair like that!” Now to an outsider, that may have appeared to be a sarcastic and bullying comment, but to someone who was in the conversation and knew me, knew that wasn’t my intention. I knew the student in question and would never purposely insult or offend someone for their choice in look. I myself have an alternative way of looking and dressing and it’s certainly not my place to judge others on appearance.

Anyhow, I remember one of the guidance counselors came in and overheard what I said and said, “Excuse me, can I help you with something?” I repeated what I said because I honestly didn’t feel like I had said anything wrong. I stated, “I was just saying, ‘Wow, that’s some hair!'” The woman then proceeded to chastise me stating that the girl was really nice and didn’t deserve to be talked about that way. Complete eye roll. I just held my head down and did not engage. I allowed her to believe she was right and let her walk away. There was no way I was going to argue with her. At the time, I was still hoping to find a job at that place. If it were the “me” that I am today I would’ve ripped her a new asshole because I didn’t say anything wrong other than a statement of shock at the girl’s hair.

It is so sad that we live in a world where everything is misconstrued. Everyone’s offended by everything and it’s no wonder people would prefer to stay indoors instead of interacting with the outside world. I’m not saying to openly offend each and every person you come across. That’s absolutely not what I’m saying. I’m saying that people’s opinions will vary and of course, mistakes will be made. The woman in question was a guidance counselor and she could have turned a nasty encounter into a classy teachable moment where she could have professionally took me aside like a fellow adult and told me how she perceived my comment. I could have instructed her what my original intention was and then that person should have informed me of the culture of that particular school and that my exuberance was unwelcome there. I would’ve accepted that and altered how I spoke for the sake of peace. But quashing a perceived bully with more bullying is wrong as well.

The point in all of this is recognizing that people come from all walks of life. Accepting that people may have opinions which differ from yours. It’s how you handle those differences with grace and sophistication instead of a sloppy-tittied harpy lacking in finesse and regality (There’s that swearing again!). I may not be a churchgoer or identify as a Roman Catholic any longer, but I’m a big advocate of the Golden Rule. Love one another and treat them as you’d like to be treated. Don’t love one person and then chastise another for the sake of one person’s comfort. Love is understanding one another and teaching them the right way to be and not wounding one while saving another. Crucifying someone for their perceived differences and then rectifying the situation with equally harmful strategies, to me, is hypocritical and damaging all on its own.

The moral of today’s story is “Swear if you dare but beware to not share about one’s hair!”