Excitement and Anxiety

I’d originally written this blog post about a week out from the start of GRL and my trip to Chicago.  Well, I kept forgetting to post it, and when I finally did go to post it, I couldn’t find it anywhere.  *sighs*  That tells you exactly where my brain’s been all week.

So here we go.  Take two.

When I signed up for the GayRomLit Retreat last winter, I was really excited.  Some time off work, a trip to a city I hadn’t been to in a long time, a chance to meet friends I’ve only talked to online, and an opportunity to learn more about writing and the m/m romance world?  Awesome!

When I decided to take two weeks off work and turn it into an extended vacation that was even better.  I’d get to spend some time with friends outside of the writing world then meet my husband and parents downtown and enjoy the city. Yay, vacation! Even more awesome!

But now, it’s not awesome.  Now it’s just terrifying.  Now it’s like the first day of a new job and school anxiety combined with vacation logistics all rolled into one giant clusterfuck of panic.  I want to curl up in a little ball and cry and have someone pet my hair and tell me it’s going to be okay.  The stupid thing is, I know it will.  I’ve done way crazier shit than this.  At nineteen or so, I hopped on a Greyhound bus with my best friend and we took it from Lansing to Manhattan to meet a couple of guys, one of which I only sort of knew.  About a year later I flew to New York by myself (to see one of those guys who I wound up dating for nearly a year). I’ve gone to Paris twice.  I’ve lived through an apartment fire.

I can handle shit, I know that.  Once I get there I’ll be fine.  The anxiety will ebb away and I’m sure I’ll have a blast.

But right now it doesn’t feel that way.  Right now it’s the kind of anxiety that twists my stomach.  If someone offered me a full refund on the conference I would take it.  If I could back out without losing money and disappointing everyone, I’d jump on it.  If I could quit without feeling like I’d let myself down, I would.  Except, I don’t want to be a person who lets my fears get in the way of awesome things.  I want to be brave and do things that scare me.

So for now it’s just one foot in front of the other as I check things off on my To Do list and try to keep the panic to a dull roar.

I leave tomorrow for Chicago.  It’s about a four hour drive from here.  I’ll head straight for Roger’s Park where my friend lives.  I’ll probably hang out at a coffee shop for a bit while she finishes her work day.  I’ll have a little time to decompress and then we can spend some time together on Tuesday and go to dinner which I am really looking forward to.

GRL starts with a Writer’s Workshop on Wed. and the rest of the retreat is Thursday through Sunday.  Sunday I’ll meet my husband and parents downtown and we’ll stay until the following Friday.  We have plans to go to the museums and aquarium and check out the downtown.  Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

Now if only I could convince my anxious little brain of that.

p.s. Oh, and that cry I needed? I got that.  A friend sent me a really lovely, supportive message just as I was finishing this up and it made me cry.  Just a quick, hard cry but it helped a lot.

I can do this.

Watch What You Say

In college, I studied psychology.  I won’t get into my disappointment in the lack of clinical experience in the program or the fact that I learned more from the elective classes I took than the required ones for my degree.  What I will say is that hand’s down, the class that stuck with me the most was one of those electives.  It was a counseling and educational psychology course taught by a man who worked tirelessly as a disability advocate.  He worked with the state government, with the Special Olmpics, with more groups than I will ever hope to remember.  He had a wife and family, taught at the university, and he had cerebral palsy.

I was very deliberate in the way I worded the description about him.  It’s one of the lessons I learned in his class.  It might seem like a minor thing to be described as a blind person, or a gay person, or a white person.  None of those are bad things.  But it puts an emphasis on that descriptor.  It puts being blind or gay or white above being a person. Above what someone has accomplished in how ever many years he or she has been on earth.  Is it nit-picky and politically correct to worry about such nuances in the language we use?  Maybe.  But if you’re someone who spends your whole life being defined by those adjectives, maybe it makes a difference.

who are you question

Maybe we should acknowledge people for their accomplishments first.  Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.  Would you rather be viewed as a teacher who happens to be blind? Or “that blind guy who teaches”?  Would you rather be a writer who’s a lesbian or “a lesbian writer”.

In that class I met a woman.  An incredible, brilliant, hard-working woman who is a lawyer, has a fantastic husband, and a family.  She also was born without arms or legs.  Now, which do you think she’d rather be known for?  Her accomplishments? Her family? Or the fact that in utero her body developed differently.  There’s no denying that what she’s accomplished is extraordinary. And her disability makes it that much more impressive.  But it shouldn’t define her as a person.  Although it’s shaped her life considerably, it’s only one aspect of who she is.

To be frank, it gets clunky and awkward sometimes when I try to watch how I describe people. I get it wrong. I screw it up, I forget, I get lazy.  But I try to keep it in mind and do my best because it does matter.  At heart, we all want to be known for who we are as a person, for what we’ve accomplished.  Not for the aspects of ourselves that we were born into.

I’m a writer. I’m a woman. I’m bisexual. I’m a person.

Who are you?

And how do you want to be defined?

“Partners” Blog Tour – Rainbow Gold Reviews – Excerpt, Guest Post, Review, and Giveaway.

Today is the final day of the Partners blog tour.  Come check out Rainbow Gold Review for an exclusive excerpt ,  a guest post, a review of Partners, and a chance to enter the giveaway!

Partners (Equals, #2) - Brigham Vaughn

Blog Tour Stops:

9/19/2014 Prism Book Alliance  http://www.prismbookalliance.com

9/20/2014 GGR Review http://www.ggr-review.com/

9/21/2014 MM Good Book Reviews http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com/

9/23/2014 Smoocher’s Voice http://www.smoochersvoice.com/

9/25/2014 Diverse Reader http://diversereader.blogspot.com/

9/27/2014 Love Bytes Reviews http://lovebytesreviews.com

9/28/2014 The Novel Approach http://thenovelapproachreviews.com/

9/30/2014 Padme’s Library http://padmeslibrary.blogspot.com/

10/1/2014 JP Barnaby http://www.jpbarnaby.com/

10/3/2014 Rainbow Gold Reviews http://rainbowgoldreviews.wordpress.com/

Giveaway:

At each stop, one commenter will win their choice of a backlist title from me (excluding the Dr. Feelgood anthology). In addition, one commenter on the entire tour will win a $10 Gift Card from Amazon. See the stops on the blog tour for more details.

“Partners” Blog Tour – JP Barnaby – Guest Post and Giveaway.

Join me on JP Barnaby’s Blog for a guest post about homelessness in LGBT youth and a chance to enter the giveaway!

Partners (Equals, #2) - Brigham Vaughn

Blog Tour Stops:

9/19/2014 Prism Book Alliance  http://www.prismbookalliance.com

9/20/2014 GGR Review http://www.ggr-review.com/

9/21/2014 MM Good Book Reviews http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com/

9/23/2014 Smoocher’s Voice http://www.smoochersvoice.com/

9/25/2014 Diverse Reader http://diversereader.blogspot.com/

9/27/2014 Love Bytes Reviews http://lovebytesreviews.com

9/28/2014 The Novel Approach http://thenovelapproachreviews.com/

9/30/2014 Padme’s Library http://padmeslibrary.blogspot.com/

10/1/2014 JP Barnaby http://www.jpbarnaby.com/

10/3/2014 Rainbow Gold Reviews http://rainbowgoldreviews.wordpress.com/

Giveaway:

At each stop, one commenter will win their choice of a backlist title from me (excluding the Dr. Feelgood anthology). In addition, one commenter on the entire tour will win a $10 Gift Card from Amazon. See the stops on the blog tour for more details.