Wednesday, January 28, 2015

You do NOT have to live like that...

Over the last three weeks, my friends and I have found resources for three women that I personally know who were in abusive relationships. Clearly, it's time to address the issue on my blog. I usually don't talk about it here. I had a Tumblr that I used for a while for therapeutic purposes. I quit messing with it because it was just a lot to keep up with...and I started getting better and finding myself again. While I will most likely write this in a way in which the female is the victim and the male is the perpetrator, I am fully aware that sometimes the male is a victim. I am also fully aware that this is an issue in same sex relationships. So, please overlook the archaic, gender specific language. If you are in a physically or emotionally / mentally abusive relationship, please get out. 

If he hits you, he does not love you. Do not justify his behavior. Do not fall for his "You make me do this. If only you wouldn't do...." Do not fall for his apologies. It is very, very rare that an instance of physical abuse is THE only instance. Most people who hit you once will hit you again. Past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior. So, unless they immediately go into intensive counseling because THEY realize they have an issue, don't even make staying an option. I can't tell you how many times the ex-husband dragged me out of bed by my hair. He also choked me. He also slammed me into a washer and threatened to shoot me. I was told it was my fault. I was made to feel like I deserved it and that I was crazy. 

Do not stay because you have children. I realize that you want to keep your family together, but is that the example that you want to set for your sons and daughters? Do you want your sons to think it's okay to treat a woman like that? Do you want your daughters to think that's when men will do because they love them? If you have the sensitive and brave child who tries to break it up, your staying puts that child in grave danger. Get out. Take your children with you. Take them out of school and leave. I have two older sons with the ex-husband. I stayed because they were little. Then, he left me. I was relieved, but then he started stalking me. He could have a girlfriend live with him, but I couldn't do anything - including work...without being harassed. We were, essentially, sharing custody and that was the plan for the divorce. While the boys were in school, I went and filed a protective order. I had to do it. I could tell you horror stories of what happened that led up to it. Cyber stalking, harassment, threats, him contacting my friends and family... The problem was that he had the kids when the paperwork was served. He used that as an excuse to not allow me to see my children. When he was served with the divorce papers with the custody arrangement, he took out the signed custody agreement and slipped in a different one. I was never served. My life was forever changed. However, my children are older and can tell the judge they want something different. I was very blessed with a good legal team that the YWCA helped me find. The judge was also fair and said she knew from the beginning something wasn't right. 

If you're in the legal field, you will draw a blank. It is really hard to see what you already know. That's because it applies to you and you will be blinded by your own emotions. It is imperative that you talk with someone and get an advocate. Do not take on the work yourself even if you are a highly experienced legal professional. Hi. I'm Robin. I'm a highly experienced legal professional. 

Name calling, constant criticism, and yelling are forms of abuse. It is a red flag when someone can find all of your faults, but can't admit, acknowledge, or find any of their own (nor do they care to address them). If you are always called names...and don't put up with name calling even in a fight - and you shouldn't call names either, that is abuse. If you are constantly told that you are worthless, stupid, ugly, etc...that is abuse. If you are always yelled at and cannot ever seem to do anything right to please your partner, that is abuse. I lived with all of those. Have you ever been told, "I hate you and I wish you were dead!" on your birthday? I have. Have you ever been told that you should just kill yourself? I have. Have you ever been told by the other person that they will find a way to ruin you and make you homeless? I have. That is abuse. 

Talk to someone at the YWCA. I can't say anything about the YMCA because I've never dealt with them. However, if you are a man and you are being abused then please contact them and ask for help. I know it's hard. I know you don't want people to know or even admit to it. You deserve better. Ladies, the YWCA can help you if you are in an abusive relationship. I know it's scary particularly if you live with the abuser. They can help you get a PO. They can help you get a place to stay with your children. They can help you with free counseling. They have an amazing amount of resources. I can tell you from experience...it's devastating and hard. I can also tell you from experience that you can get through it. 

Get ready for the comments. The comments will come. You might even get them from people you would NEVER expect like your children and some of the people you thought were your friends. If you get a weird, hateful text or email or some other form of electronic communication from your child, take it with a grain of salt. They could be really angry. However, there's a chance it might not be them. Comments may include:
  • That can't be true. He's looks like such a nice guy.
  • That can't be true. He is great at his job.
  • I can't believe you'd say those horrible things.
  • Why do you want to ruin another person's life?
  • A real mom / wife would just put up with it.
That's not an all-inclusive list. Here's the deal about most abusers....they often don't look like someone you would think is an abuser. We are conditioned our entire life to think about abusers as big, evil people. That's just not true. If they acted out in certain ways...in broad daylight - they would get into legal trouble. So, they fly low and do things when the public can't see it. Those statements are simply re-victimization. 

Find a support group. I don't care if it is a group in a church. I don't care if it is a group at the Y. I don't care if you find an online group. You need a support group. No, they don't just sit around bitching and rehashing. Maybe some do, but I was really selective about the one I was in. It was full of women that you NEVER would have thought could be a victim or a survivor of domestic abuse. Those support groups can act as a life line. If you need a place to stay, they can help you. They have resources for food and other needs as well. Surround yourself with the right people. 

Document, document, document. Fortunately, I have a background as a paralegal. I knew the importance of keeping good records. I did the best I could...but when your abuser is a computer expert, it's easy to have your evidence destroyed. Send back ups ONLY to trusted friends and family. Print emails including IP addresses. Take screen shots of your text messages. Get police reports. I know it's hard. Keep documenting. Date, time, event. A PO is just a piece of paper, but it is a paper trail. 

Get the right apps. There are apps available for smart devices. Some look like other apps so that your abuser won't know. Others, like Silent Alarm, are great because you can alert your chosen friends to call the police for you. It sends them a message and your location. You set up your chosen contacts. 

There are other things I can tell you from personal experience...so many things. Find the number to your local YWCA. The number for the Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-7997233. Please get out and stay out. You deserve better than to be hit or to be made to feel like you are worthless. You are not worthless. You deserve love and respect. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Writing Gigs

This last month has been insane in terms of managing my time. Remember that if you want to get jobs for yourself, you should check out Crash Course Freelance Writing. It's only $1 for a digital copy. It's available on Gumroad and on Kindle.

Business and Legal Writing


  1. Write telephone sales script 
  2. Write a CV
  3. Text script for YouTube video marketing
  4. Write a PR
  5. Promotional Writer - Liberty University
  6. Content Editor - Wolters Kluwer
  7. Legal Copywriting
  8. Business plan writer

Content Writing


  1. Website text for renewable energy website
  2. SEO Content Writer - WebiMax
  3. Web Content Writer
  4. Articles about SUVs and cross over vehicles
  5. List style articles
  6. Survival article
  7. Website content writer

Copywriting


  1. Creative Copywriter - BuzzFeed


Fashion and Beauty Writing


  1. Experienced beauty blogger needed


Medical Writing



  1. Physiotherapy manual therapy writer
  2. Documentation Writer - UnitedHealth


Professional Blogging


  1. Blog post for business website
  2. Expert blogger for ongoing projects
  3. Blogger - Performancing
  4. Curvy and plus size bloggers for Splendour Magazine
  5. Psychology blogger
  6. Health blogger
  7. Multiple blog posts


Travel Writing


  1. Travel writer


Misc. Writing Related Gigs


  1. Online content writer and community manager
  2. Podcast show note creator
  3. Ebook writer
  4. Evernote ebook
  5. Short supernatural horrors ghostwriter

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Motivational: Having Dreams and Mundane Motivators


Well, today is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Of course, there are purists out there (and they have every right to it as long as they are indeed pure to the idea of equality of races). I believe that Dr. King would also be in the corner of those seeking more out of their individual lives. He would be incredibly appreciative and supportive of people of any race who look to get more out of life and to better care for their family in a way that best works.

So, what's your dream? If you're on this blog then my guess is that at least to some degree you want to be a freelance writer. However, this blog post isn't just written for those who want to make a living by peddling their words and thoughts. I'm talking to all the dreamers. I'm talking to those who want to go back to school. I'm talking to those who want to recover from past hurts. I'm talking to those who want to take on a new career (even if it isn't writing). Now, with your dream firmly in your head...let's discuss.

Turn the Dream into a Goal

My grandmother was an incredibly wise woman. My mother would tell you that I act just like my paternal grandmother. They didn't get along, but I consider it a compliment. My Grandma Rita was and still is my hero. She only had an eighth grade education. She survived the Great Depression. She was a single mom when her first husband left. She worked as a nurse's aid to support her children. I remember when I was little how she would do whatever it took to make sure my very odd childhood was as normal as it could be for its circumstances. That meant when I stayed with her I got chocolate milk and chocolate donuts for breakfast (both of which I hate - but dammit the woman tried so I ate them).

She bought me empty notebook after empty notebook. I drew. I wrote. I scribbled. I did it all while sitting at her feet as she crocheted or watched her soap operas. She would color with me. She would even grade my work (when I asked).

My grandma taught me one thing early in life. You turn your dreams into a goal by learning to be accountable. One way to do that is to assign your dream a date of completion. Now your dream is a goal.

Take Action Toward Your Goal

Look, if you're an adult with family responsibilities...I totally get how you feel overwhelmed and think you can't accomplish your dreams. I started college on a whim (yes, on a whim) when I was 28. Man, it doesn't seem that long ago. I stayed up many nights while working full time and caring for my family. It was hard, but I graduated in 3 years with a four year degree.

When I was building my writing business (which was another dream that turned into a goal because of a medical issue), I started it by doing things on the side while teaching college. When I started writing full time, I still hadn't built up my business to exactly where it needed to be to comfortably make the leap (but sometimes we do things because they must be done and we make the best of it).

Moral: there are things you can do right now to move toward your goal even if you are working and have other obligations. They don't have to be huge steps or actions...but to get to a goal - you do have to put one foot in front of the other.

Use the Mundane to Fuel You

I do most of the housework. Bull doesn't...but it's not because he's some jerk who thinks that because his wife works from home that she has time for the housework. If I need help or even if he thinks I need help, he helps. He knows that mundane activities serve a purpose for me. When I'm doing a load of laundry or a load of dishes he knows that I'm using that time to focus on my projects and set my priorities. I can't do that if I'm sitting in front of the computer. As much as I wanted to write this, I have my priorities nagging at the back of my mind telling me this is a waste because it's not part of the 20% of activities that make money. Yet - this is important.

I use my time to figure out three things that must get done every day. I choose three because it's a number that isn't overwhelming. I don't usually stop with three things, but if I have to then it gives me a sense of completion. Yes, it can be hard to choose those things. I finalize my list in the morning while doing my stuff.

Letting your mind wander and consider the steps it will take to finish your projects is key to success. It doesn't have to be dishes and laundry for you. Just find something you can do where you can think, but not wear yourself out doing it. Think in small steps. Ask yourself what is one small thing that you can do today that will bring you one more step closer to your goals.

Find something mundane to indulge in. I say that because for us creative types, it can be hard to focus on what's in front of us when we are on our laptops or computers. We might get overwhelmed when we think about everything that needs to be done and how we are actually doing something. Don't do that. Step away.

Now that this post is written, I'm going to go tackle my three daily priorities (or as we call them - my Irish bulls).

Friday, January 16, 2015

WAHM Lesson #2 - Interruptus Maximus

This disclaimer will be part of every WAHM Lesson. While these are true things that I've experienced as a work at home mom, many are written to make you laugh. They may or may not have happened in the order that they are listed. So, why is there a disclaimer? Because I know certain people that read this blog simply looking for dirt. Good luck with that. You won't find any. Go away and worry about your own life. For everyone that's here to read, learn, and laugh...welcome. Feel free to comment.

So, during this last week I was reminded again that working from home isn't about the ability to work without interruptions. It ends up being an attempt to work around interruptions. Usually, we have a pretty good flow on the weeks that the tiny one is home with us. However, this week was totally unusual. We had more than our general share of things that happen when you work from home with children. It's been a week of anytime work has been commenced (or was perceived as being commenced), that shenanigans occurred.

Parents, it's a good thing to pay attention to your children. However, it is not a good thing that you make them the total center of attention 24/7. Otherwise, you will raise a high maintenance person who won't be able to function in society because they will learn life isn't all about them. Well, I really didn't mean for this to turn into a parenting lesson...but that's what it is. Yes, they really are only little once. However, they learn a lot of things when they are little (including manipulation). So, if you want your children to grow up to be more well adjusted then you must teach them self reliance and not try to keep them as a baby forever. That is for any child regardless of their developmental progress. You should encourage your children to the best they can in their abilities and always push for them to learn a little bit more (not in a mean way). Don't limit your children...or they will then start to limit themselves. You become their learning limitation...that voice in their head that tells them they aren't capable.

Anyway, so - the interruptus maximus spirit has invaded House of Punk this week. During the first part of the week it wasn't that big of a deal because it usually straightens itself out as the tiny one realizes he doesn't have to act out to get attention. In fact, he has his on toy laptop to work with me. I call him my personal assistant o'fun. On Wednesday, I learned that it is entirely possible for me to write more than 2k words in an hour. My previous record was around 1800 words. That night I wrote around 2600 words in an hour. I'm really thankful for clients who provide good research.

So, make sure you have a plan...realize that if you work from home and interruptus maximum moves in with you or visits on a weekly basis that you must have a plan to deal with it. This may include, but is not limited to, working when the kids are asleep. Yeah, I said it. You'll actually have to be sleep deprived if you aren't sleep deprived already. The thing to remember is how much you want or need to be able to make an income from home...and that it's more than work - this is a lifestyle.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Day 3 - Le-Vel Thrive Review

Yesterday was day three for us. I took only one of the two vitamins because I noticed that the package said to take one or two. Since I'm still waiting on my actual shipment to get here, I only took one. I felt pretty good. My mood was great. I was super focused. Bull and I have decided that it is worth the around $4 per day for me to feel this good. He's feeling pretty damn good, too. He doesn't like the shake mix. He doesn't like the Activate or the Boost that can be mixed into drinks. He does love the vitamins and the DFT patch. I like the patch as well. I've learned with the shake that I shouldn't try to use the whole packet. It's just too much for me. Today I used about a fourth of it. Bull couldn't find rice milk (apparently it is no longer kept in the dairy aisle like it was when I was a kid) so he came home with soy milk. Can't say I'm a fan of soy milk. I am drinking it. I added a bit of vanilla so that I can stand to drink it.

We decided that I should sign up as a distributor because then I get the vitamins, patches, and everything else for less. It's certainly not a cure, but I'll take how I feel over how I used to feel any day of the week. It's free to sign up.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Day 2 - Thrive Sample Review

So, I'm a day behind. Yesterday was day two...and absolutely crazy. Yesterday, in general, was a rough, rough day for me. I had a ton of work (which is a good problem to have). I don't think I would have felt overwhelmed at all if it wouldn't have been for the fact that for the third time this week, I woke up to the dog destroying things in the living room. This time: coloring books met their sad, sad end. I've never done well waking up to loud noises. It puts me on edge.

Anyway, I took my Thrive W around 8 am. Then, about 20 minutes later I applied the patch. I did not use the shake mix since I don't have any rice milk. Although it didn't improve my mood (and I wasn't expecting it to do that), my focus was better. Usually, when I wake up in freak-out mode, it is hard for me to focus. It's like the ADD goes into overdrive. It makes it really hard to even use hyperfocus as a gift instead of a pain in my ass.

So, over all...I did notice a difference. I was able to focus. Eventually I got everything done that needed to be done. I felt much better in general after my husband got home from work. As far as how Bull felt on day one...he liked it. He sweats a lot at his job. He had put the patch on his back and it fell off. For his day two, he placed the patch on the back of his leg. It worked better. He definitely seemed less tired than he usually is after his 12+ hour day in a warehouse environment.

I think we are definitely fans. Today is actually day three. He forgot to take his. I took my vitamins for the day. I haven't put the patch on yet. I'm running late in my usual schedule, but I guess that's a benefit (and a curse) of being self employed.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Le-Vel Products - Day 1 Review


Recently, my friend Tracy sent my husband and me a three day sample pack of Le-Vel Thrive. Bull took his this morning before he went to work...and I won't know anything about what he thinks until he gets back home this evening. 

I've always been a bit of a skeptic and a realist. I do go into things with an open mind. I am not expecting some sort of miracle. If I could name any outcome that could possibly happen, it would simply be to not be totally exhausted all of the time. 

Living with Wolff Parkinson White (an electrical problem with the heart) and microvascular disease is a pain in my ass. I may be fine one minute and then totally exhausted. My blood pressure could be fine in the morning or it could be high or narrow...or high and narrow. My pulse could be 60 or 160 at any given moment...even with meds. It's not much fun. I've always had problems with fatigue and insomnia. I've always struggled to develop a strong immune system. 

As it stands, I take a beta blocker twice each day, a statin once per day (to help with chest pain), aspirin twice each day, a potassium supplement (because doctors can't figure out why my body wastes potassium), and nitro if needed. Then, I take vitamin C, grape seed extract, and a lot of B12. Sometimes it is still just about all I can do to stay awake. Yet, if I fall asleep...I can't stay asleep or I have poor sleep quality. 

So for the sake of the possibility of more energy, I said what the hell...let's try the samples. 

Around 9 am I took the pack on the far right. It has two vitamins in it. I sat back down immediately because I was also waiting for the beta blocker to do its damn job and stop my heart from racing. 

Around 9:15 am, I actually felt a little bit better. That was a nice change. I usually don't feel better until after about an hour of taking the beta blocker. So, I made the protein shake on the far left. I had my doubts about it. First of all, I hate protein shakes. They taste awful. They're heavy. I hate them. However, for the sake of the full experience...I made it. The problem is that I only have full fat milk on hand. The flavor of the shake is vanilla. It's not bad, but if you just mix it with milk it is really, really grainy. Of course, that could probably have been fixed had I used a blender or something. I couldn't finish the whole shake it was very filling. 

Around 9:50 am I was pretty sick to my stomach. I don't think it was the shake. I'm pretty sure it was the milk. I've never been able to drink milk without being sick. I haven't even tried to drink milk (until today) in probably 20 years. I guess tonight I'll go get some rice milk. I know I can drink it without being sick. I put on the energy patch. I put it near my rib cage...mostly because my arms are covered in really fine hair and I don't enjoy having it ripped out. 

I've been in and out of the bathroom most of the day...but again - I'm blaming the milk. I've also been really full all day; in fact, I'm uncomfortably full. If I do another shake tomorrow, I'm only going to do half of it. I don't like feeling so full that I feel sick. I seriously don't know how people can eat until they make themselves sick. 

I have noticed steady energy all day. I'm still tired, but I'm not totally wiped out. I've been able to do almost all of the laundry, the dishes, take out the trash, and work. So, aside from the stomach upset...I'm relatively happy with day one. I can't wait to see what Bull thought of his sample later this evening. 

I haven't tried the thin packets you see in the middle that are made to mix into water. I might try one of those tomorrow instead of a shake. Before any of you ask, yes...I did have the permission of my doctor to do this. It has very few stimulants compared to other vitamins and supplements that are marketed for energy.