Sunday, February 19, 2012

Misery Loves Company

Who hasn’t heard ‘misery loves company’?  I think I've heard that my entire life. I’m sure I’ve even said it when I was in one of those ‘moods’. No worries, this post is not one of those I’m mad or sad and want to vent about it kind of things – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. 
I think it is safe to say that a lot of us pay little attention to our mood – or how our mood affects others around us, yet it’s something we ‘feel’ everyday.  On top of not paying much attention to our mood – we rarely focus on how our thoughts are negative or positive – and our thoughts create our mood – so to alter one, we must alter the other (easier said than done, especially if you’re a writer!)
While writing Willow Haywood’s story, in the Insight series, I’ve come to understand emotions on a much deeper level. This character feels everyone’s emotions. It’s a six sense that I personally would never want to tap into – I mean think about it how many people around you battle some kind of fear or anxiety from moment to moment , and how many people around you clearly live in a state of bliss. I’m sure the negative emotions would out weight the bliss, even inside of you. Living in bliss is hard when you have millions of thoughts a day that can transport you to a dark thought or a dread.  It’s almost as if we have this idea embedded in us that if we think about what we don’t want to happen that it won’t, or we feel that if we think about everything that could go wrong that we will find away to avoid it. And when we are happy – we are always waiting – waiting for that one thing that will take it away from us.
Don’t get me wrong, I'm most defiantly not a negative person or see the dark side of everything – in fact I would like to say that I live closer to that ‘bliss’ emotion, but at the same time I have fears, little ones, and big ones just like everyone else. And I don’t think that our humanity has turned into some anxiety prone civilization, but I do think that at times we blindly ignore our emotions…and later wonder why we feel…well, bad for no reason.
Let me explain where this thought process of mine came from. Like I said before, I tend to live closer to that ‘bliss’ state. I wasn’t always this happy. The joy I live in came when I began to write, when I made it a point to escape into a story every day and let all the big and little things in the world around me grow silent. Before writing I stayed in reality, worried about my family, career and sometimes absurd things that would never happen.  Those worries, at times, would cause anxiety. I remember being in a completely calm environment and for no reason I would feel fear, and my thoughts would spiral until the point that my heart would race, or I would feel hot – even sick. Like I said I got over that when I found my bliss – writing.
So imagine my surprise when a few months ago, while writing a brand new series, my anxiety came back. It didn’t make any sense to me. I was writing – a lot. In fact I was clearing close to 4,000 words a day on top of working a full time ‘day’ job and raising a family. At first I thought it was because I was at that ‘insane’ point -  the point where the characters in my head are so loud that I just have to get them out – on paper, so I can have a free thought again. I thought perhaps that on some subconscious level the anxiety was coming from the fact that I didn’t have the time I wanted to have to write.  When the first draft of the novel I was working on was complete the anxiety stopped. That must mean I was right about the fact that I was just stressed about not having enough time to write – right? Wrong – I was so wrong, and didn’t figure out why until just a few days ago.
I was reading through that novel, doing a few re-writes, and a lot of editing , and guess what -  the anxiety was back. I couldn’t sit still, my hands were constantly fidgeting, my knees would bounce – my thoughts were erratic. You would have thought I was on some kind of major caffeine high(oh how I love Red Bull). I still didn’t understand why. I love this story why was it making me fanatical. What was it about Charlie Myers that was making me crazy?

Then one day I was explaining the difference between this main character, Charlie Myers, and Willow Haywood to a friend, and it all made sense. I wasn’t insane or falling back into anxiety prone thoughts – my characters were!
Willow had the six sense of emotion long before she danced in my thoughts – she had a balance with this sense and often explained the emotions others and herself were feeling in her own subtle way. Charlie Myers doesn’t have this sense. She’s seventeen, she hears sinister whispers constantly, and shadows come to life before her and mock the images of man. On top of all of that she has lost most of her memory. Charlie battled anxiety. She was always prepared for something dark and unexplainable to happen to her. If she wasn’t worried about the sinister darkness around her she was fighting a heartbeat that would pound in her chest, shortness of breath – the inability to compose simple sentences when she was in the presence of Draven Michaels. When he looked at her with his emerald green eyes laced in black he would leave her speechless, his hypnotic voice would all but paralyze her, and when she saw him play his guitar rational thought was nowhere to be found.
It all made sense when I realized how different these characters were. Even though my ‘personal’ thoughts were full of bliss – I was channeling Charlie, feeling her emotions as if they were my own, which is positive if you really think about it ( at least from a writers point of view!)
I always learn from my characters, but I never imagined that I would learn a lesson this deep, one that I can always use in my real life. Our thoughts are powerful. They can control our emotions, and our emotions control our perspective, and our perspective alters the way we live our lives. We chose to see bliss and we chose to see darkness.
So, whether you are a writer or just an avid reader I challenge all of you to ask yourself next time you feel bad, stressed, or just unhealthy to consider the thoughts that are racing through your mind….we all have the power to change our direction – one thought at a time!
Misery may love company, but so does bliss….find your bliss today!

1 comment:

  1. What a thought! On one hand, that means you're *really* in your character's head...but purposely putting yourself through that - ay. No wonder people think writers are a bit crazy.