What’s Inside

Today, it has been exactly one year since beloved actor, comedian, and Genie Robin Williams took his own life.  I’m still not entirely over it.  I realized that I haven’t watched one of my favorite Disney movies, Aladdin, in over a year because I’ve been afraid it would make me sad.

In the past year, my friends and I have opened up a lot to each other about our struggles with anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc…  Our discussions have lead me to look back on the lowest point in my battle with mental illness and to realize and be thankful for how far I’ve come.  But the thing is even though I’m being treated and doing 100% better than I was back in the darker days, it still hasn’t entirely gone away.  Most days I’m fine.  But I definitely still have moments of anxiety, of doubt, of fear.

I read an interesting quote the other day.

“You cannot always control what goes on outside.  But you can always control what goes on inside.”

This might be true for the lucky ones out there, but it isn’t true for those battling mental illness.  It definitely isn’t true for me.  There was a time in my life when I could control it.  I could control everything.  That’s the way I like it.  I’ll be the first to admit I have major control issues (not when it comes to other people, but when it comes to my own life?  Oh boy…).  But try as you might, you can’t control the little voices in the back of your head telling you you’re not good enough, you’re not smart enough, something terrible is going to happen, no one wants you around, you’re just getting in the way, you’re annoying everyone you love, on and on and on…

It’s horrible.  It’s impossible to feel good when you have this constant nagging.  The worst part is you know that it’s irrational.  It makes no sense that you should feel that way.  But that doesn’t make it go away.  If anything, it makes you feel worse.

I know it sounds like i’m not better.  I promise you, I am.  We all have days.  I’ve had a few over the summer.  I’ve become more susceptible to social anxiety, which is more annoying than anything, but it’s something I’m trying to work through and understand.  But I’m much better than I was back in 2012, when I was at my absolute lowest.  I didn’t even realize how bad it had gotten until recently, when I went back and read a few journal entries that i’d written before I went to get help.

10/3/12

The low self esteem is back, and this time, it’s not going away.

I’m trying.  I’m really trying to make it go away.  I’m trying to be positive.  I’m trying to engage in things I love.  I’m trying to tell myself that one day, I’ll be exactly what I want to be.  A writer.  A traveller.  Independent.  Confident.  A girl worthy of love.  

But I don’t feel any of that.  I feel immature and scared and crippled.  I feel even worse because I’m reminded constantly that I have no reason to feel all these things, that I’m a grown up, twenty four years old.  I see people all around me confident and happy and able to be happy for other people.  When I realize that I’m not like that, it makes me feel even worse.  

I want to be happy with who I am.  I want to feel proud of myself.  I want to be happy to be me.  I want to be the person I dream of being.  But I’m a time-waster.  I’m selfish.  I wallow in self pity when I have no reason to, and being reminded that I have no reason to makes me feel so much worse.  I try to deny all these things, because I know it will upset people around me if I act on them.  I don’t want to hurt anyone.    

I’m scared because I’ve never thought I would be one for depression.  I wish I could just run away, take some time for myself, stand on my own two legs.  Take some time from everyone I’ve ever known, everything I’ve ever been and I’m expected to be. I don’t feel free.  I constantly have this voice in my head.  “Loser! Worthless! Never amount to anything! No one should love you!”

I wish I had someone I could talk to, who understands what I’m feeling.  I need to grow up.  I need to let go of everything holding me back.  I need to go out and have fun.  I think that’s what really hit me in the face.  That I actually have to be forced to go out and have fun.  Something’s not right. When I struggle to get out of bed every morning, when the thought of living my day to day routine brings tears to my eyes, it’s time to do something about it.  

I want to finish my novel.  I want to feel worthy of love.  I want to feel like the happy, carefree girl I once was.  I want to enjoy life.  I want to be optimistic.  I want to like people again.  I want to feel that life is always worth living.  I want to be genuinely happy for my friends and not always thinking about all the bad stuff that could happen.  I want to stop looking at the world subjectively.  I want to stop thinking I know best.  I want to learn to love myself again.

Okay, so again, this is from three years ago.  I’m a very different person now.  I’m happy now.  I am all the things I wanted to be and more.  I barely recognize the girl who wrote all of that.  But I’m sharing it because I think it needs to be shared.  If I can help one person who is feeling the same way but is afraid to get help, then it’s worth it.

Like I said, I still have my days.  I’ve recently opened myself up to something that I think (or I hope at least) will be a very good thing.  I’m very, very happy.  I’m also terrified.  I’m scared to death that I’ll do something wrong.  That I won’t amount.  That I’m not worthy of this good thing.  One of the my biggest obstacles in my fight against mental illness has been learning to trust.  To put my faith and hope and love in other people.  I can be guarded.  I put up defenses because I’m scared to death of being vulnerable.  But I think I’m getting there.

Living with mental illness, be it anxiety, depression, OCD, what have you, is difficult.  I don’t think anyone who’s been there will tell you otherwise.  It’s draining to constantly be in battle with your own mind.  But you can overcome it.  It’s possible.  Believe me, it’s possible.  And it’s worth it.  Life is good.  Life is so good that sometimes, it makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time.  That sounds hokey, I know.  But it’s the truth.  Promise me you’ll never forget it.

Rest in Peace, Robin.  Your legacy lives on.  We love you.

Distracted

I’m not going to lie.  I’ve been a bit distracted lately.  I’m still hard at work on books and everything, but life around me is also moving very quickly.  My sister is headed back to college in a few days and I’m going to miss her like crazy.  I’m helping a friend out with her new book cover design.  I’m trying to finish up revisions on After Death so that it will be ready for publication by October 6.  It’s also just dreadfully, disgustingly hot here in Texas… So hot that it’s hard to enjoy… Well… Anything.

To me, August has always been a bit of a slump month.  Summer is winding down.  Friends and sisters are going back to school.  The promise of September and fall and pumpkins is there… But it still seems so far away.  I guess in my case, that’s a good thing, since I still have SO MUCH to get done before September.  But in a lot of ways, August is such a drag.  I’m finding it hard to get motivated.

No, that’s not true.  I’m motivated.  I love writing and I keep writing every single day.  I just don’t really have a lot to talk about other than, “Yeah. I worked on my book today.”  Once September gets here, I’m sure I’ll be longing for the dull days of August where I could sit and do nothing.  But I like having things to do.  I like being with my friends.  I like being able to go outside and not feel like I’m melting.  I haven’t been hiking in so long because it’s so hot.

That all being said, I think I’m going to go write.  Much love, everyone!

Thursday Update

Hello, friends.

I haven’t been posting very much this week, mostly because I’ve been feeling a bit gross and under the weather and I haven’t really had much to report.  To be honest, I still don’t.  I’ve basically spent the last two days in my pajamas trying not to feel sick.

I did dig out my really old PC, the one that cratered when I tried to upload Photoshop to it like, a million years ago.  Clearly, that was asking too much of the poor machine because it short-circuited and croaked faster than my brain when confronted with Calculus.  My goal was to wipe it clean and just reboot it, and I thought I’d almost succeeded, but it’s still acting up this morning and I’m afraid it just might be a lost cause.

I have a MacBook which I love (and which I’m using right now), but formatting is so much easier on a PC.  At the moment, I’m helping my friend Paula format her new novella, The Conservative Congregant.  I was hoping that I might be able to use the new/old PC, but I think my old one is going to have to suffice.  It probably will.  It just has SO much stuff on it already!

Other stuff on my mind recently:

It’s officially August!  That means that as much as I love summer, I start fantasizing about fall on a daily basis.

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It also means, however, that today, we are exactly TWO MONTHS away from the release of the third Cemetery Tours book, After Death, and I am still working on revisions!  I know I’ll get it out in time… But I’m really cutting it close!  My procrastinator ways are really testing me on this one.  But it will get done.  There is no doubt in my mind.

I’m also in the process of gearing up for two months of book events!  I have quite a few lined up for both September and October and I can’t wait for everything to really get started!  Autumn is the time for ghost stories after all.

CT BTW AD

Anyway, I’m beginning to feel icky and gross again.  Might go lay down.  If you’d like to make me feel better, go read my books.  Your reading power will heal me.

Much love, all!

It Has Been Too Long…

So excited for Paula’s new book!

paulawalkerbaker

… since I’ve let you guys know what has been going on in my world. So, let me catch up.

I’ve been feverishly working on The Conservative Congregant and now have a release date of August 30 !  I am so excited that my novella will be out soon (on my son’s birthday, mind you!). My hope is the content will touch people in a way they will not hesitate to come out of their comfort zone to help someone else. Only when we come out of that zone and trust God will take care of us, can we truly be blessed beyond measure. The blessings are huge! Even if one does not believe in God , or does not usually like “God ” books, I think this will be a different kind of read for folks.

I hope soon to reveal the cover and I’m super excited (I know!…

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Review for Cemetery Tours by Jacqueline E. Smith!

Wonderful review! Thank you so much, Cassandra!

The Bookish Crypt

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Where do I start!?
I wish I had a kickass quote to start this off but I was too busy devouring every word to look for one! A guy that sees ghosts? Knowing only that and I was already in love with this story. I am so glad Jacqueline only made me fall even more in love!
Kate had one of the most intriguing and unique backstories I have read and definitely added a lot to the story. The attraction to Michael was a little too instantaneous but I got over it really quick since the story started picking up and my mind was too focused on the ghosts instead of the romance.
I have some serious character envy going on right now!! I wish the things (excluding the bad) that happened to her would happen to me! Ghost hunting and exploring abandoned buildings are my favorite things in the…

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A Paper Review

After reading the internationally acclaimed bestseller, The Fault in Our Stars, I decided I was going to read every single book John Green had ever written.  I read Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines.  Both were pretty okay, though I noticed several similarities between all three books.  But I’d heard that, besides TFIOSPaper Towns was one of the best, so I saved it for last.

I didn’t like it.  In fact, I kind of hated it.

I don’t publicize this fact very often because SO many people love Paper Towns and SO many people love John Green.  I’m one of them!  John Green is great!  He’s smart, he’s hilarious, he wrote one of my very favorite books.

But God, do I hate Paper Towns.

I don’t really want to go off on a long, preachy rant about everything that I hated, so I’ll try to summarize my feelings as best as I can.

  • Don’t care about what happens to the characters.
  • Margo Roth Spieglemeyer or whatever her last name is a selfish, superior, manipulative bi-yatch and I’m really glad she disappeared halfway through the book.
  • That being said, I think Q is a pathetic excuse for a character and I have no idea why he’s so obsessed with her.
  • Radar is great, but their other friend, Ben, is the most annoying character in the history of fiction.  He’s gross, he’s sexist, he objectifies women in the sleaziest way… This character literally sends shudders of disgust down my spine.  Every time he utters the words “honey-bunny” I want to kick something.
  • This book is literally about Q pining for Margo.
  • So bored.
  • Ridiculously close to not finishing this book.
  • Oh road trip.  This is almost interesting.
  • Margo should have turned out to be a serial killer.  That would have been a great ending.

So yeah, those are my thoughts on the book.  Needless to say, I was less than enthusiastic when I found out they were making it into a movie.  I really didn’t think I would see it, at least not in the theater.  I may have watched it once it hit On-Demand.  But my sister and her best friend really wanted to see it and since they’re both leaving to go back to school soon, I decided to go with them.

I went into the movie thinking I would hate it.  I admit it.  I went in with a lousy attitude because of how much I hated the book.  The movie, it turns out, is actually entertaining.  I was pleasantly surprised.  True, everything I hated about the book, I still hated about the movie, but at least the movie made me laugh.

So, true to my old review form, here are my thoughts on Paper Towns:

  • Not even five minutes into this movie and I’m already sick of hearing about Margo Roth Swampmonster.
  • If my kid found a dead body, I would send him/her to counseling.  Margo probably have used it.
  • Can’t tell if Cara Delevingne is a really awkward actress or if I just hate the character so much that every time she speaks, I cringe.  Possibly both.
  • Margo is making fun of Q because he has goals?  Because he has ambition?  That is so wrong on so many levels.  Goals and ambitions are GOOD things to have!  I’ve always had ambitions.  True, you should strive to be happy while you are achieving those goals, but come ON.  It’s good to have dreams, kids.  Don’t believe the Margo Roth Spillfiggle in your life.
  • Also breaking into people’s houses is not edgy or cool.  It’s against the law.  Don’t do it.
  • For a movie that’s not airing on Lifetime, Paper Towns sure has a lot of slow-motion sequences.
  • Nat Wolff, I don’t know what it is, but something about your face makes me want to punch you.  I’m sure you’re a nice person, and I’m sorry I feel that way, but I do.
  • Okay, so the movie version of Ben isn’t quite as disgusting or sexist or perverse as the book version.  Actually, the actor playing him is hilarious, even though he kind of looks like he’s twelve.  If he hadn’t been playing this character that I hate so much, I’d probably love him.
  • Radar is still amazing.  Great casting.  I laughed out loud at the black Santas.
  • Ditching school to visit decrepit old buildings.  Yeah, that’s a smart idea.  Although I don’t believe none of these kids have ever missed school a day in their lives.  Everyone catches the flu sometimes.
  • Again, people, do not look up to the Margo Roth Spawnmeisters in your life.  School is important.  School is cool.
  • Something about a party.  Ben needs to be neutered.
  • Q is letting his stupid infatuation with Margo turn him into a jerk who yells at his friends because they’re not as obsessed with her as he is.  Jerk.
  • Did anyone actually throw parties like this in high school?  Seriously, you see them in movies and TV shows all the time but I’ve never actually heard of one happening.  Maybe it’s because I was in band in high school.  I don’t know.
  • Oh my God, Ben, Q, and Radar drunkenly singing the Pokemon theme song at the top of their lungs just redeemed this whole movie.
  • Road trip time!  The only part of the book I actually liked.
  • Radar and Angela are so cute.  And way to tell him not to be afraid of you and to actually treat you like a person, girl! Preach!
  • Poor Radar.  This whole trip.  Poor Radar.  Laughing out loud.
  • ANSEL ELGORT.  AUGUSTUS WATERS.  THANK YOU MOVIE GODS FOR THE CAMEO I NEVER KNEW I NEEDED.
  • I think Q should be going for Lacey, not Margo. She’s actually a nice person. She cares. Fairly certain she’s asking Ben to Prom out of pity.
  • Radar and Angela are too cute.
  • Q, just listen to your friends.  Margo isn’t there.  She’s a bi-yatch.  Forget her.  She literally doesn’t care about any of you.  Don’t be a jerk to them just because the girl you like is a terrible person.
  • Also, why do these kids keep acting like the end of high school is the end of their whole lives?  They’re like, “Oh, this is it.  We’re going to go away and never see each other again.”  I don’t know about any of y’all, but I’m still really good friends with the people I was really good friends with in high school.  Yeah, we all went to college but there is such a thing as long-distance friendships.
  • Margo, I still hate you.  You’re not deep.  You’re just selfish.  Get lost and stay lost.
  • Again with the whole last week of high school nostalgia.  By my last week of high school, my friends and I were all like, “YEAH!  GRADUATION!  LET’S GO!”  I loved my high school and I still love and admire my teachers.  In fact, I’m still in touch with most of them.  I had the best high school experience a kid could ask for.  But I was SO ready to graduate.
  • Q, go become a doctor.  Get married.  Buy a house.  Have kids.  That doesn’t make you a paper person.  Those are all very good things.  Love is important.  Family is important.  Anyone who tells you otherwise… Well… Is probably Margo Roth Spaghettiman.

Title and Cover Reveal

Hi, friends!  You’ve all been asking, and I finally have an answer!

BACKSTAGE, the sequel to BOY BAND, will be released on December 8, 2015!!!

another possible design for backstage

This is two title/cover reveals in the past month, I know, but I’m so, so, so excited about both of these books!  I can’t wait to share them with you!

Please don’t forget to enter my #BecomeACharacter Raffle!  It’s so easy!  All you have to do is like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter!  Read more about it here: https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/becomeacharacter/

Love to all!