Watch RWISA Write Showcase-Laura Finkelstein, 8/03 #RRBC

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Good day, everyone!  Allow me to introduce fellow author Laurie Finkelstein for a featured blog post.  Laurie is a fellow member of Rave Reviews Book club and a member of RWISA (Rave Writers International Society of Authors). I know of her from RRBC and I can proudly say I have read her book, Next Therapist Please, a heartfelt, honest portrayal of events in her life and how she found help dealing with them.  The following is titled, “Bulletproof Vest.”  I think you will enjoy her prose.

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Bulletproof Vest

By Laurie Finkelstein

The bulk, padding, and steel plates weigh me down. The protection of a bulletproof vest is necessary. No matter the weather, I wear the cloak. The weight is a burden, but I trek on because wrapped is the only way to navigate my journey. The jacket protects my heart from being blown to crimson shards of death.

A direct hit is avoided for days and nights, lulling me into calm and complacency. “All will work out fine,” I tell myself. The truth tells a story I want to change. All my will and might does not make an impact to stop the bombardment.

Experience and time separates me from tragedy. At any moment, the bullets strike. Inside or out. My house cannot provide security, nor can a million people surrounding me. With nowhere to hide, I am a target. Shelter and safety are nonexistent.

Discharges are held back while luck and grace harbor me. The slugs will come, however, in a piercing barrage without warning, and will pummel me.

Knocked to the ground, I am immobilized and rendered helpless. My breathing is halted. My movements are stopped, and I understand what assaulted me.

The shockwave subsides, and in small increments, I am able to take in air. Incapacitated, I continue to lie until I am rescued by the rational thinking buried under an avalanche of pain, doubt, and fear. My thoughts check my vitals to make sure I am in the here and now. “Stay in the moment,” I tell myself. “I can manage this. I will persevere.”

“Rise,” I command. The mass of the garb constricts my movement, but I stand, analyze what must be done, and begin to act. The warrior in me comes out. Battles will be fought. My impervious attire gets me through another crisis, and its weight comforts me. Without the guise, I am unable to prevail against the onslaughts, which pop out of the dark corners of another day.

Yes, my vest is cumbersome, but without my swathe I will not withstand the painful projectiles. Clips are filled, ready to punch and knock me down, disabling me should I forget for a moment to cloak myself within my protective armor.

My bullets are not made of lead, surrounded by a dense metal. The projectiles do not come from terrorists intent on decimating me. The ammo does not come from a police state or a dictator’s command. A barrel is not involved.

My bullets are made of depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Composed of irrational thoughts, insipid ideations, and ignorant rationalizations, they are crushing invisible forces. The capacity to shatter my resolve and render me dysfunctional invades me.

My unsociable enemy is treatable, but never disappears. My therapists validate my experiences of being trapped, resentful, guilty, shameful, ill-equipped, grief-stricken, lost, uncertain, and disabled. My growth in therapy helps me accept the challenge with compassion and empathy in my heart.

Throughout my lifetime three stages will haunt me.

Stage one is the onslaught of rounds. The crisis mode. The shock and pain.

Stage two is being slammed down, breath taken away. Sabotaged. Terms and feelings of the emergency are acknowledged.

Stage three is advocacy for myself. Stand. Breathe. Make decisions. Tools in hand to counteract the depression and anxiety and OCD. Utilize appropriate response and care.

Encouraged by others, I enroll in Toastmasters. Time for me to improve my public speaking and thinking on my feet. Professional and compelling ways of expressing my views is a talent I want to possess. Persuasive interactions are in reach. My computer with Google as my guide, I find the Toastmasters website. The rules and guidelines answer many of my questions. Ready to take on the challenge, I enter my credit card information and become a member. A direct thrust knocks me down.

At first, I don’t understand what attacks me. My heartbeat begins speeding up. My gasps for air speed up. My head spins with dizziness. The mighty effects of terror hammer me to the ground. Despair sinks me deeper into the attack.

Stage one. The thought of standing before people enunciating in a clear voice avoiding “ums” and “ahs” strikes with negative force. In a semi-frozen state of fear and regret, I struggle to make sense of my attacker. Groups of Toastmasters are warm, safe environments to learn public speaking and leadership skills. “Warm and safe,” I remind myself. Still my heart beats faster and my breath diminishes by the second. A ghost of recognition appears before me. Panic is familiar.

Stage two. My history tells me to take an extra Klonopin. Scared to death is not an option. Upon reaching my medicine cabinet with weak, wobble-producing legs, I discover my pill case empty. In my next move, I check the bottle. Empty. My heart beats faster and my limbs go numb. Sweat trickles down my forehead. My last attempt before I collapse in a heap of despair, I call my pharmacist. My trembling voice separated from my body explains my attack and lack of pills. “How fast can you fill the prescription?” my quivering voice speaks out. “Is ten minutes okay?” the pharmacy technician asks.

Stage three. My inner voice tells me to be brave. Think of a serene place. My happy place. Take deep soothing breaths. My toolbox is ransacked for more options until I come to grips with the present. The dispensary is too far to hike, so I must drive to pick up my pills. Cranked engine. Foot on pedal. Brake released. My self-talk takes me on a wild ride to the drug store. My trembling legs walk me to the back of the aisles. The friendly face of the tech reassures me. The credit card transaction is signed with a jellylike hand, completing the purchase.

Back in my car, I down the remedy with tepid water from an old bottle sitting in my trash. My panting is steadier, my heart pounding a little less. Within thirty minutes, I am relaxed, able to pursue my day. Ready to reassess my decision to become a Toastmaster. The choice is sound and important.

My bulletproof vest is worn as a badge of honor and survival. Without my garb, I would be a prisoner in my house, hiding in bed. Sick to my stomach. Useless.

The stigma of mental illness must be broken. My vest is worn with pride. I am a survivor. I am the voice of one in every five Americans experiencing the assailant. I am not alone.

*

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH RWISA WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

 

Laurie Finkelstein RWISA Author Page

 

#WeekendCoffeeShare The Switch-over

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coffee-66507_640 I think this photo has a Kerouac feel to it.  (Found on Pixabay)

Welcome, members of the blogosphere, to my #WeekendCoffeeShare!  If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that:

I am starting to feel the shift, that shift from my school year frame of mind to my summer frame of mind.  This used to mean something different, but now what it means is that I’ll be living in the blogosphere a bit more, writing more, and talking about my self-published books a bit more.  I have two months to eat, sleep, and breathe this stuff, and let me tell you, I love living in this world of words!

And why not?  Reality is stressful enough.  I’ve had a few family crises.  One involved a loved one getting a broken arm and shoulder in a freak slip-up, the other involving a loved one needing a medication adjustment, and all of the lead up to that decision which implies many sleepless, worrisome nights wondering why this person isn’t sleeping, and days of debating how I could make them eat.  I’ve been lax about reading the book, I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help, since I’ve been reading and writing so much of my own, but I glean little helpful bits here and there.  Such as:  “…no amount of arguing has previously changed your lvoed one’s opinion about being mentally ill….The first step, therefore, is to stop arguing and start listening.”  So, when said loved one made a seriously off the wall statement, I said, “Would you like me to take you somewhere to get help.”  To which I recieved an affirmative nod.  Sometimes you have to fish for an answer, but it’s worth it.  Sometimes you have to listen to the silence as well.  I think things are looking up now.  It’s all been hectic, though.  I don’t write about this in detail because I am just not ready, and it’s not fully my story to tell.

Which leads to my love for escaping reality.  I won’t lie; reality seeps into my imaginative machinations, and I let it.  Perhaps this gives my writing meaning.   I haven’t been doing enough flash fiction challenges, so I look forward to more of that this summer.  They are great for gathering followers and following new bloggers.  I’ve been editing my novel, Detours in Time,  for publication this summer, shopping for fitting online graphics (Kat Mellon is wonderful, by the way.  Find her online), and looking for images and ideas to fuel my online Facebook launch of my novel.  It takes place on 6/16, the release date.  I encourage you to follow my author Facebook and join the event! See https://www.facebook.com/pamelacanepablog/ and join it just for fun.  I am trying to make it interesting, and my book trailer should be ready by then.  It’s been fun searching for just the right visuals.

On the subject of escape, I’ve been reading and reviewing a lot of books, the most recent are Letters to Eloise and Fail to the Chief.  The first: contemporary fiction of a mother-to-be and her drama with the father of her child, told in letters, love letters, letters to her unborn child, etc.  It values the written word and takes place in a time before texting and social media ruled our lives.  Very heart-warming.  Fail to the Chief was political satire and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It pokes fun at political candidates, and since I think none of them can be trusted, I loved this book.  On the subject of reviews, I’ve been trying to send out my new manuscript Advanced Review Copies to a few blogger/reviewers and only had a few respond saying they’ll review it.  Many of these sites are “Not currently accepting submissions” and overall, backlogged.  Well, I can certainly say I tried!

That sums it up, mostly.  School’s out.  I just need to clean my classroom next week.  Then, I’m free for the summer!  We had a great faculty get-together with lunch and I got to play laster tag for the first time.  I’m looking forward to reading, writing, reviewing, seeking reviews, searching for ways to promote and represent my upcoming novel.   Maybe I’ll get one or two little summer getaways. It’s EXCITING!  Life is good.  Not easy, but good.

*Weekend Coffeeshare is hosted by Emily at nerdinthebrain.com, so hop on over there and see some of her shares, won’t you?  See her post for this week at http://www.nerdinthebrain.com/weekendcoffeeshare-the-one-where-things-are-coming-along/ You may even decide to create your own.  I’ve rambled about myself enough today.  I’m off to see what others are up to!