On the 9th of April, 2019, I reached 20% of my Camp Nano 2019 goal.
It felt good, amazing. Fantastic. I had been, up to that point, wanting to use the words I had been writing for fan-fiction desperately, but I didn’t, I refused. Somehow, I believed I had it in me, and also I knew even if I lost, I wanted every word to be included in Paige’s story (I apologise now for the spam of her name).
But, that day wasn’t special because of that.
On the 9th of April, I felt happy—better. It hasn't been easy, and even realising that I was suddenly happy was super hard. A realisation that I hadn't been okay before now; an understanding that I had needed a bit of help getting towards being better. Nothing could wipe the smile from my face, not my dog who smeared mud over my work trousers; not a difficult set of work tasks that threatened to send me over the edge.
For the first time, in forever likely, I felt content. A friend—a wonderful, brilliant friend—told me that the day I'd feel better would be like the sun coming out after a storm. I laughed, at the time. Because it sounded ridiculous. But, she was right. It did feel like that.
I wanted the feeling to have come from writing so much. For having so much of my own truth written down, my emotions poured onto the page, Paige's story being told and something all mine being created. But it wasn't, and that was okay—it's all okay, because, I felt good.
The four months that preceded this one, the various medication swaps and many, many symptoms, were tougher than I had been through—and I have been through two knee operations so far. The tears that fell on my mum's shoulder, the heart-breaking realisation that me putting off looking after myself, cost me a holiday. On the 22nd of December 2018, my life fell apart at the seams, and four months later, I felt like it was finally being rebuilt.
I spoke to my friends, poured my heart out and shared happy tears as I told them I felt good, I felt love, and I thanked them. I told my husband how good I felt, and he responded with, ‘I’ve missed you’. It was beautiful, so much so, I couldn't put it into words.
While I am so happy I’ve reached a massive portion of my goal, ten thousand words is a lot even in nine days, I’m more impressed with coming out the other side. Because in January, when I was shaking in tears on the sofa, scared out of mind about the fact I couldn’t sleep and how sick I felt from the tablets, I wouldn’t have believed I got here. I thought for sure it would take longer that it wouldn’t be until the summer when I’d step out of my house and feel like smiling at the weather. But it was now.
Writing has helped. It has helped me every single year, and it’s why Camp Nano and NaNoWriMo are so important to me. I take each one seriously, trying my best—even the years I’ve not met my target—to write what I set out to do. This year, I’ve challenged myself just to write my originals for those months, because I end up using whatever I work on in bed to help me reach my goal. Doing that, though, won’t help me tell Paige’s story. It won’t stop her from banging on my skull in the morning to get me up and writing.
Someone asked me the other day why I wrote, why I loved it so much, and the simple answer is, because I do. It’s something inside of me settles when my fingers are around the pen or pressed to the keyboard. Even my mind, as busy as it is—thanks so much, anxiety—seems to still and become silent. Creating fiction, whether it be fandom or original, is the best medicine for me. It alleviates a lot of my emotions and balances me back out.
For a long time, it was all I was using to cope.
Now though, I realise I needed that extra help, but thankfully I have found some medication that doesn’t suck my creativity (like some did). I feel like me again, a happier—albeit sleepy version—me that I had seemed to lose in the years of doing things for other people.
I stopped looking after myself, which is why I created this blog. Even if my original fiction never amounts to something, 2019 is the year of me. And to have a year dedicated to just me meant I needed to hold myself accountable.
Camp Nano helps me to do that with my writing, and this blog helps me keep my health in check. Two pieces of a much wider puzzle, but without them, I wouldn’t be able to see the bigger picture.
So thank you to Camp Nano for giving me something to work towards, and thanks to myself for putting myself first. We’ve got the rest of the year ahead of us, let’s see what other amazingness we can achieve this year.
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