Category Archives: Questions for Readers

Grief, Healing, a New Book, and Other Updates

These past few weeks have been difficult. A friend died, and it’s unclear whether it was suicide or accidental. What is clear is that she is gone. As an atheist, I don’t have the comfort of believing that she’s still around in the afterlife. With a single bullet, her energy and the light and love she carried within her dissipated, and that is a true tragedy.

The same day as that lovely human took her life, I found out another friend has inoperable cancer and an unknown amount of time left. This activist and inspirational human told me what matters is the fight to make the world a better, more equal place, but all I could feel was grief. For the past few weeks, I’ve been cycling through depression, anger, denial, and numbness, but I’ve finally begun to find the peace he told me about the cancer with.

The turning point was not what I expected. Grieving, broken, sliding from numbness to depression to crushing anger moment to moment, I drove my way home from a discussion at the local humanist center far from at peace. When I walked through the door, though, my roommate introduced me to “When Marnie Was There.” His favorite Studio Ghibli film, it was a moving, ultimately healing testament to overcoming tragedy, and when it ended, I felt lifted up with hope, the first hope I’d felt since the day of bad news.

Day to day, I’m finding my healing.

There’s been good news, too, though.

On July 20th, I put out a new book. Raw and honest, “Seven Ways to Break a Heart” deals with themes of heartbreak, addictive love, and tragedy in a deeply moving, transformative manner.

There will also be a book release party for this book on August 16th. Taking place at Maya Pizzeria in Mesa, Arizona from 7pm to midnight, there will be fantastic musicians, wonderful friends, my books, and some of the best pizza on Earth.

Later in August, I will, for the first time in years, be going back to college. I’d dropped out with only 4 classes left before my associate’s degree when I needed to appeal my financial aid suspension (I’d dropped too many classes due to a series of traumatic events that had severely exacerbated my PTSD) and been too overwhelmed and stressed by the appeals process to complete the steps to have financial aid returned. I finally took the necessary steps to appeal, and will be registering for my classes shortly.

Also, in February of next year in Bisbee, Arizona, I will be doing a workshop on “Navigating Gender Identity” as part of a series of workshops to help provide more information and support for the trans and non-binary community in Cochise County. I feel incredibly lucky to be part of this transformative movement toward a brighter future, and especially in as lovely of a place as Bisbee.

I’ve recently begun working again on my dystopian YA science fiction novel entitled “Crimson Class Rebel,” and I am 138 pages in. I recorded the first chapter as a little sneak peak for you guys, and I’ll be releasing that chapter soon.

The last bit of news is personal, but something I’m incredibly proud of. I’ve been struggling with weight gain for years, reaching 300 lbs at my highest, and feeling hopeless about my ability to lose any of it, but in the past couple months, I’ve managed to lose 28 lbs. While I’ve still got a way to go to reach my personal weight goals, I am proud of myself for overcoming my despair and stress to take steps that improved my health. Though I do believe that no one should be shamed or judged based on their weight, I personally was unhappy with mine, and am proud of what I have achieved on my own weight loss.

What have you achieved recently that has made you proud, and do you have any advice or things that have helped you to overcome your own moments of grief?

TED Talks!

I have a bit of an obsession with TED Talks. I rarely watch television shows or movies, but I watch TED Talks almost every day. In their own words, TED is:

a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

Here are five of my favorites.

Do you watch TED Talks? What ones do you like most? Do you have any recommendations for me? Comment or email me at [my email]. I’m always looking for new talks on any topic to watch.