Wake me up when September ends…

No, this isn’t an homage to Green Day, although I do enjoy some of their music. No, this is just your beloved Twisted Libra lamenting the fact that I am still working on book three rather than having it finished and ready to publish. The stories are pretty much complete; the dialog is coming along towards a cohesive ending. It’s the task of placing the artwork and illustrations that is causing me to lapse into overwhelmed melancholy. I have a plethora of great pictures from which to choose, so narrowing down my choices will take some time. Then I have to edit. Then I have to decide on the best placement. Art was never truly my forte; writing has always been the area in which I shine. So, here I sit, coffee in hand and anxiety in heart. Such is my life.

On a more profound note, I went to my local Spirit Halloween store the other day. As I stood before one of the giant animatronics, reveling in the dark aesthetic of it all, it dawned on me that I felt truly connected to the spooky. That may not seem like a big deal if you’re new around here, but those who have followed me for a while will understand. See, last year I survived what can only be described as the most absolutely soul-crushing trauma of my adult life. In the wake of that trauma, I lost my connection with the spooky. All of it. I now understand why, but this is going to be a rather lengthy blog post, so either go refresh your coffee and dig in, or just give up now and find something short and simple on TikTok to occupy your mind.

Where do I begin? In a nutshell, illness nearly took my life and the life of the person whom I hold most dear in this world. I won’t go into any great detail here, but suffice it to say that losing him would shatter me. It would. That’s not hyperbole, it’s a fact. Being that his aftermath was far more grievous than my own, I found myself not only trying to recover, but also becoming a caregiver. Don’t misunderstand, I’d gladly do it all again if required. That’s not the point. My reason for telling you this is so you can understand the mental anguish I had to endure during this time. I was literally dragging myself back from the brink of death, while carrying love and life and all that entails upon my back. I realize now that my soul didn’t reject the spooky, my brain simply went into survival mode.

In order to get through that waking nightmare, my brain began to compartmentalize every aspect of my life. Only those parts deemed essential for survival were given attention. I simply didn’t possess the mental bandwidth to continue embracing the spooky. Like I said, survival mode. Not only did I seemingly abandon all things spooky, but I lost my feeling of connection to the spooky entirely. I packed away all my creepy décor and artwork, I stopped wearing dark colors, I drifted away from my writing…the list goes on. Last year, I walked through the entire Spirit Halloween store and felt nothing. Not even the slightest twinge of excitement or connection. At that point, I feared I may have lost that connection forever. I began to question if it was ever even real.

Thankfully, my yearning for darkness began to return, but it wasn’t instantaneous. At first, I became inspired to rewrite my old books as the Tales from the Twisted Libra Cemetery series. Perhaps that is why these books mean so much to me. Even if nobody actually reads them, the mere creation of them helped save me. Gradually, I began to express myself in various ways with the spooky. The connection was growing stronger once again! However, it wasn’t until last week, as I stood before a ten-foot-tall, lumbering, shroud-clad zombie that it hit me: I fucking LOVE this stuff. All of it. The spooky, the macabre…and I always have. I found myself awash in the flood of memory; I was the little Libra that would look forward to summer vacation simply for the chance to go to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum to hang out in the cemetery exhibit; the one who looked forward to Halloween more than Christmas; the one who, at only three years of age, watched Disney’s Halloween Treat and fell in love with the ghosts dancing in the ballroom of the mansion (little did I know they were part of the Haunted Mansion ride, which is now on my bucket list).

The realization brought tears to my eyes. I don’t just have a connection to the spooky, I am the spooky. I always was, I just had no choice but to push it aside and focus on surviving. My mind was in lockdown, essentially. I had managed to crawl through the desolate realm of trauma, and somehow I found myself standing on the other side of things. I kid you not, I actually wept quietly in the middle of the goddamn store. No one saw me, thankfully, but I don’t think I really would have cared if they did. I can’t fully describe to you how amazing it felt to have all this rush back to me in that moment. The memories, the realizations…it was like taking a massive gulp of air after being forced to hold your breath past the point of comfort.

I never lost my connection to the spooky. It was just buried (see what I did there?) until I was capable of embracing it again. And now, embrace it I shall. Trauma is no joke; if you have survived a severe trauma, I tip my top hat to you. Give yourself credit where it is due; you are still here to fight another day. True, I survived trauma in my youth, but this was an entirely new type of trauma for which I was immensely unprepared. I am not even sure there is any way to actually be prepared for sudden illness and the threat of loss. I do know that my books, my blog, my cemetery…all of these things represent my life and have saved me from disappearing altogether. If no one reads any of it, writing it is still my most precious catharsis. I can honestly say, perhaps for the very first time in my life, that I truly love who I am. I embrace it. I am happy to be the Twisted Libra!

If you managed to read this far, thank you. I don’t really have any grandiose way to wrap this up. I just felt like sharing the revelations I experienced as of late. I hope something from my story resonates with you in some way, lest you regret reading all my ramblings. Just know I am grateful for each of you. When I say I don’t care if anyone reads my work, it doesn’t reflect how I feel about you. It just means that I write because I love it. This is my passion. I don’t do it for the accolades. However, I truly appreciate every person that takes time to read my blog, like my posts, buy my books, etc. It honestly does warm my little black heart.

Before I go, there is one more thing I feel I should mention. I would be remiss if I didn’t give recognition to my beloved Libra Dog. She kept me going through the worst of my ordeal; to say she saved my life would be an understatement. You may scoff, but it’s true. Even medical professionals have told me that I most likely wouldn’t be here if she hadn’t given me a reason to get up and be functional. She kept me from giving in to the illness completely; her unconditional love got me through the long nights and the lonely days. She stayed by my side constantly, nuzzled me when I would fall apart, and made sure I didn’t quit when life kept testing me. I can never repay her for any of it. Her love saved me. She’s my little soulmate, and she deserves everything good in this world.

Happiness.

Okay, now that we’re all sitting here with damp eyes, let me again say thank you. Your support is humbling, and I love you all. I also love my Libra Dog and the Libra Hubs (they are actually a Sagittarius and a Cancer, respectively, but I claim them as honorary Libras). My heart may be dark and twisted, but it is also full. This post finds me grateful, humble, and happy. Now, I must return to writing book three. I really feel like this is some of my best work yet, and I can’t wait to share it with the world. Until next time…

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