Stay Strong

Words cannot express how long I have had to fight for every single smile in my life, and how difficult it has been to hold onto joy and light, thanks to crippling depression that has plagued me since childhood. Thank you to the never-ending continuation of burdens and grief. Really. Thanks. Thank you world, thank you life. I know I am dangerously close to sounding like a martyr, or maybe even a drama queen – ‘What the hell has she got to be depressed about?’ many might think – but unless you too have suffered with it, you cannot understand the agony it brings. Every day. Always. And I know there is so much I have to be thankful for, and indeed I spend every night reminding myself of this, but it is such a faint glimmer within the darkness. But a glimmer nonetheless.

And, to my dear mother, I want to apologise for all the added stress I brought you in my school days, in my teenage years, for I could not cope and I know it upset you to see me ruin myself, to fall into this unrecognisable being of burning anger. And I want to apologise for now, for still not being the daughter I wish I could be. You too have had many hardships, and right now we are both going through difficulty, and I wish I was a better, more stable person to help you somehow. Perhaps I am desperately selfish to spend my time crying and telling you how I cannot cope, burdening you, when you have had to be the strongest woman I know, raising three children alone – one of whom is disabled. You are so strong. How I look at you and think, ‘I wish I could be so wise and strong like you!’ Don’t be sad, Mum. Don’t cry. I will try to be a good daughter and friend to ease these times, though I do not know how. I wish I knew how. Maybe the knowledge of my love will do for now. And, perhaps, I should be saying all this to you in person, but we know how utterly hopeless I am at speaking my feelings aloud… Writing is my release and my solace. And so I write this, sharing with the world how wonderful I think you are. Someday, I will defeat depression once and for all, and be the girl I’m truly meant to be and the daughter I have always hoped to become.

I’ll hold your hand and we’ll scramble these rocks together, though I’m not sure how good I’ll be as support, for you have been the one to support me since forever. I’ll try, Mum. I’ll try…

Once upon a time I wrote a little rhyme… And I say this to you now, and to myself, and to anyone else out there who has silently been suffering with depression:

‘Silver moonlight in the night
shines down for all to see,
so where can the shadows hide
when even in darkness there is light?’

**

There is light, always. Stay strong ❤

Tis the Season to Be Jolly

I feel as though I have a lot to cram into this post, so it’s a bit lengthy. Just to warn you!

1) Firstly, I have been horribly miserable this year, and I have had many dark moments from which I thought I would never escape. Not too long ago I met up with two old friends and I told them that this has been the worst year for me since I was 14. I appreciate that won’t mean anything to anyone out there, but basically, when I was 14, I had a bad, bad time. Bad. So bad that I lost myself completely, and one could argue that I am still in the process of ‘finding myself’ again.

I am one of those people who cannot help but pour their heart and soul over what they write, like spilling a full inkwell of emotion all over the page. Earlier this year, I wrote a piece of creative writing and shared it on this blog; I urge you to read it, purely because it’s so… well, perhaps people may deem it unexpected from me, given everything else on my blog. Of course, you don’t have to read it at all, but if you would like to, it is here. That piece of writing is a perfect example of how my current emotions and state of mind lurch to the front of the stage for all the world to see. It is a very dark piece. I read it back every once in a while and cannot even comprehend how foul a mood I must have been in to write it. It is vile to me, yet in its own, twisted little way it is quite moving, for it is real.

2) Secondly, I am the author of a deep fantasy novel called Ilimoskus: Times of Old, which is the first part of what will one day be a trilogy. In fact, while I’m on the subject, if anyone out there is wondering, this is how you pronounce ‘Ilimoskus’:

ih (like the i in ill) – lee – moss – kus (the u being pronounced as the schwa, or “uh”)

So, with that in mind:

ih-lee-moss-kus

Continuing on… The Ilimoskus are the stars of the show, for they are the fantasy race the entire trilogy is about. It is their story. If anyone has read the book, you will appreciate just how much depth I went into when creating them (just like any other fantasy author, I guess): the Ilimoskus have their own society, traditions, beliefs, sayings, items, songs/poems, language, history, and creatures. And when I say language, I mean you could actually have a conversation in their language. And when I say history, I mean a history that goes back so far it isn’t relevant to the storyline in any way. And when I say creatures, I mean I created creatures that belong to their world alone. I’ve done more than that, too, but I can’t tell you or else it will be a massive spoiler for books two and three. We can’t have that 😉

But who are the Ilimoskus? Or, what are they? Keeping it brief, they are beings of the elements: fire (Flamikus), earth (Humiit-kus), air (Aeriikus), and water (Agwikus). They are, essentially, nature itself. And what is their story like? Well, an Amazon reviewer called it ‘Avatar meets Lord of the Rings’, so make of that what you will (Avatar as in the film, just to clarify.) If you would like to know more, I suggest you visit the Ilimoskus page.

***

Well, putting 1 and together gives me the reason for writing this post. Ilimoskus has been my life for years now, but this past year (the year my book was published) I have been very low. Throughout the latter half of 2013, I have wanted to shred the book I published – inner turmoil like I wanted to murder my own child (makes me think back to this post) – which is no doubt a product of my serious misery for everything this year. However, early this December, something marvellous happened. A sense of hope! I thought about Ilimoskus fondly for the first time in I don’t know how long. It was as though God suddenly tapped me on the shoulder saying, “Hey, why are you so sad? Look at what we have created together!” He called me to look back at the words within the story, for that is where He lies: in the words. So I did.

The Ilimoskus, on the whole,  are a peaceful, kind, harmonious race of beings – sometimes, if I view them from a distant, I believe they seem almost perfect. But nothing is perfect, and that includes the Ilimoskus. However, despite the inevitable flaws in their society and individual personalities,  they are wise. Far wiser than humans. And with this wisdom they speak some wonderful words. God is in those words – or rather, that is my firm belief – and through the wisdom and guidance of these [His] words, my hope has been restored and my heart holds love for my story again. I have missed that love so much.

‘They would miss each other’s company like the sky would miss the sun’s brightening light.’ – Times of Old, chapter 33

That pretty much sums up how I’ve felt without that love for Ilimoskus. And I am sure Ilimoskus has missed me, too, for how else is it supposed to be told?

I wish to share some of these words with you, for they help me greatly, and I can only hope that they may help someone else out there, too. Although most of what I am going to share with you are the words of specific characters, the first two are generic Ilimoskus sayings.

***

Icktis que yer kard fait ya phyde urma

Or, in English: The light from your heart will always guide you. I’ve already explained this one on my blog before, so if you’d like to know, see here. This saying is hugely important throughout the entire trilogy; one could argue that it is a sub-theme entwined into most aspects of the story, resonating exceptionally well with the characters – especially so when it comes to the duo that is Rhu and Nax.

Kiz orra’ie iaoangxeiro amo hac fa ai pandughtei iaoangxeiru

Yeah, I know, that sentence looks quite scary. Quite a mouthful, too. It translates into English as: With every uphill climb there is a downhill roll. We all face hardships in life, but once we’ve overcome them, how easy things seem! We may sluggishly haul ourselves up a hill, but once we’ve reached the top the only way to continue onwards is by taking the easy route down, right? This saying isn’t actually in the book, but it is an Ilimoskus saying nonetheless.

“It is by change that we know nature is thriving; when the leaves fall from the trees and the flowers die, it is by this change we know that good is ahead, that nature’s cycle will come around once more, and that this time of bleakness must exist so the colours can return again.” – Kaidoyrr Allo, Times of Old

For those who do not know, Kaidoyrr Allo is the King of Fire (‘Kaidoyrr Allo’ being his official title, not his actual name). To me, those words say this: ‘Okay, so we’re going through a hard time, but when we reach the end of it the world will burst with life and love and hope! Good follows bad, just as the merry spring follows the bleakest of winters. It will get better.’

“It is a hard thing to do, to combat the darkness in our minds, but once we do, the world couldn’t be a brighter place.” – Kaarfhey, Times of Old

In the story, this is actually spoken by the character [Kaarfhey] in a memory. Kaarfhey spoke those words to his son, Colontri, who, at the time of the memory, was struggling with emotional darkness. After this memory, Colontri rephrases his father’s words for his own son, Nax, who is also facing emotional darkness:

“If we succeed in the challenging feat of swallowing our fears and embracing the life before us, the darkness in our minds will be overcome by the brightness our achievements bring.” – Colontri, Times of Old

And that is why I love this family – the Arrubii family. Kaarfhey to Colontri to Nax, passing down words of wisdom, words of strength, from father to son. Passing down their deep-rooted courage. Courage that runs in their blood.

“The storms of life can batter and bruise our outsides but never can they harm what lies within.” – Gnotsu, Times of Old

The character Gnotsu holds a deep, mysterious wisdom beyond reckoning. For that reason, I will let you deduce what you will from those words.

And finally, I am going to finish with this:

“Instead of becoming glum by the sun setting at the end of the day, why not rejoice in the light it will bring tomorrow?” – Nax’pala, Times of Old

There is always hope. There is always a reason to smile, even if it is just the fact you have woken to a new day. Those words remind me of some lyrics in an Owl City song, actually:

‘Waking up sad isn’t so bad if you look outside, ’cause all the signs say it’s a new day and you are so alive.’ – Hey Anna

God does not readily allow you to wallow in pity and sorrow; He blinds you with the sunlight and kicks you up the backside until you stand on your feet. Yeah, okay, I’ve been miserable all year, but that’s only because I’ve been walking around with my eyes closed and, somehow, dodged His kicks. But He never gives up on me. He never gives up on anyone. It really is quite amazing how guilty I feel when I’m miserable. Just throwing it out there: I’m truly trying. Regarding everything.

***

There are, of course, many more words of wisdom from Times of Old that I have not shared, for if I had this post would be stupidly long. And I couldn’t have that. Besides, those particular words are the ones which hold relevance to my current situation. Thanks for reading them, everyone!

I’m going to be away for a bit… so this will be my last post for a little while, I imagine. Life is getting in the way again, and I also have a lot to do. Whereas most people wind down at this time of year and take it easy, I’ll be barging into the new year with all guns blazing. I sense stress, somehow. Anyway, I’ll still be lurking around WordPress, reading and commenting and what have you, but not posting. So, I’m ending my last post of the year on a very hopeful note! Fingers crossed it lasts. However, this means I’m not going to be around for Christmas and New Year, so allow me to share with you a Christmassy photo:

kodixmaspres

This is my dog. He is Christmas baby, ’cause his birthday is Boxing Day! (26th December). He is totally obsessed with all things Christmas-related, and that really isn’t an exaggeration. Take this photo, for example: I TRY to wrap presents, but because he is so obsessed with wrapping paper, this is the outcome. And he’s not exactly small, so he gets in the way quite badly and makes it a virtually impossible task. I have to shut him out whenever I wrap now, and then I feel bad. On Christmas day when I have a little pile of presents, if I am not careful, I will turn around to find that all my presents are in fact gone and the dog has started to rip them open. You genuinely have to guard them. I should get a shepherd’s crook so I can poke him away. I have to get him his own presents (I’m not even kidding, it’s like having a child) and distract him with those. As annoying as it can be, it is quite funny – but then I would say that, since he’s my dog 😛

Whatever you’re doing this Christmas and New Year, may it be jolly! ‘Tis the season to be, after all 😉 I hope you have a very merry Christmas (: To everyone who follows my blog, likes my posts, comments, supports me, encourages me, and is a wonderful friend: I have a handwritten message for you – ’cause, you know, handwritten things are always more heartfelt (let’s just hope you can read my handwriting!)

mes

© Jennifer K. Marsh 2013