I like being me...whoever that is

Resources: Author Round Up – mishmash of genres & media

Disclaimer: Resource Posts provide information and links to the organization sharing information with guests here. I DO NOT promote, advertise, or receive any benefit/compensation for sharing the information and links.
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*The authors and many links below are from Amazon.com and a Kindle Unlimited subscription that feeds my reading/book addiction. You are welcome to visit and find other ways to source any of the authors’ creations if Amazon and Kindle Unlimited are not your preference*

LGBTQ Books

Of the many new authors I’ve explored, these two have the most compelling stories that send me looking to their websites and social media account for more information. While all the series are LGBTQ friendly, some have LGBTQ main characters in the different books.

  • BR Kingsolver (author website) writes fantasy with some science fiction, mystery, and romance elements in many of her series:
    • Rosie O’Grady’s Bar and Grill – I am currently reading the newest title in this series about a young woman who was sold as a child to a magical organization and trained as a spy. She thought she worked for people who worked to help others and save the world until her last assignment showed the truth. The first book starts with the woman’s life after she leaves the organization.
    • Chameleon Assassin – The bisexual main character was born with mutations that give her traits of a chameleon while also looking human in a world that values scientific enhancements and while shunning others. Her personal relationships and work relationships add unique challenges and perspective to the plot of each book in the series. Can be dark and triggering
    • Dark Streets – A combination of magic and science with the main characters traveling to different realms to fight against enemies trying to take over or destroy earth in some way. Female main character whose supporting cast has a variety of people and relationships. More humor and lightness in this series
    • Telepathic Clans Saga (finished) – I’ll be honest with you; I couldn’t read this series without feeling triggered. In fact, I skipped one of the books because it hit many sore points. But if you like reading about succubi, open sexual relationships, and magical warring clans in an alternate earth, maybe it’s for you.
    • Found in Kindle Unlimited on Amazon general search
  • Dana Marie Bell (author website) writes paranormal romance with fantasy elements and great world-building for each series. She has so many series that I am only including the two series with LGBTQ main characters in the books.
    • The Gray Court series is based on fae mythology. The main characters in the third book are a woman and two men who become bonded mates in a triad relationship as they struggle to keep their loved ones and their way of life safe from “normal humans” and unknown enemies.
    • The True Destiny series is based on Norse mythology and explores relationships among the pantheon of gods and goddesses living as mortals with limited power and some memory loss. No one knows exactly who are friends or enemies – not even within family units. The different main characters find one or two life partners as they unravel the mysteries of their past and avoid enemies trying to kill them. The books I read have m/m or m/m/f main character relationships. Newer entries might have f/f or f/f/m relationships too.
    • This series is not part of Kindle Unlimited, but you can find a book list with free samples here

Self-Help or Inspiration Books

I have two books for this section. One you might have seen before on another list. The other is one of my favorite inspirational authors.

  • The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams
    • If you look on my Pinterest page, you will find the Dalai Lama included in my board of favorite coping resource books. He has inspired me and provided hope almost since the beginning of this journey.
    • The book discusses what joy means to both spiritual leaders from a religious and secular perspective and invites the readers to learn with them as they explore what joy means and how to achieve it in the modern world
    • Books like this are sometimes difficult for me to read, so I listen to them and similar topics as audiobooks and podcasts and am currently listening to the unabridged version from the library.
  • Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David J. Epstein
    • For many years I struggled with being a work failure in my family because I lost interest in job opportunities and changed careers/classes/direction all the time. I wasn’t “good” at any specific skill set and kept changing majors and career directions throughout my 20s. I started and stopped many graduate school and certificate programs for many reasons and had trouble defining what I wanted to do in life.
    • My dreams were dismissed because being a freelance writer or author is unreliable and difficult to succeed in. And other interests like alternative medicine were hippy-dippy hobbies, not careers.
    • Plus, how could I run a business or work in a company when I dressed poorly, couldn’t do math well, and wasn’t logical or able to commit to a career path?
    • If you experience similar questions or struggles, maybe this book will help you the way it helped me: by exploring and sharing stories about different successful people who specialized from an early age and others who explored for many years before specializing in one or more areas and becoming successful

Hobbies and Other Interests

As you know, I’ve been on partial sabbatical to focus on life outside my computer. It’s my life/life balance or Self Care as I work hard to provide relevant, high quality content here. To keep the topics relevant, I have to take classes, apply the lessons in practical ways, and ensure time for everything else in life.

So I decided to share some blogs, books, and other resources you might find interesting if you write, blog, are interested in self care, own a business, are starting a business or a blog or a website, or like to explore because you’re a curious person too.

Aromatherapy, Herbs, and Self Care

  • Aromahead Institute blog learn about essential oils and get interesting DIY recipes
  • AromaCulture magazine’s podcast – interviews with practicing aromatherapists, herbalists, and other practitioners about current research and events related to herbs and essential oils
  • CommonWealth Center for Holistic Herbalism Blog and Podcast – Herbs as food and medicine are a lifelong interest. The blog and podcast discuss herbs, sharesDIY recipes, and offer educational resources to learn more about plants

Content Creation for blogs, websites, etc.

  • Adobe Spark blog has tutorials and free templates people can download and share to create content (my go to for creating images)
  • PicJumbo.com – get free stock photos plus information about related topics
  • LinkedIn Learning – this is normally a paid subscription, but I get it free through my other job. If you’re wondering where I learn the tech skills that make this site unique, a lot of it is from the LinkedIn Learning classes. They are partnered with Lynda.com, so if you are a Lynda.com member there may be a way to get access to LinkedIn Learning through that account

Thanks for reading.

Resources: Maryville University Supports Veterans Earning College, Graduate, and Post-Graduate Degrees

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

Disclaimer: Resource Posts provide information and links to the organization sharing information with guests here. I DO NOT promote, advertise, or receive any benefit/compensation for sharing the information and links.

Short Sabbatical Break; Extra Post this month

My partial sabbatical is going well so far. I’ve been concentrating on family stuff and the paid job. Aromatherapy certification requirements are on hold. Herb classes online work as a TV alternative and fun hobby to relax and learn something interesting after work. So does creating aromatherapy blends.

I continue to brainstorm new ideas for Untangled Connections and figure out where it’s headed in 2020. My plan was to write a post on Halloween since it is an Anniversary I never shared much about here in the past.

But then I got an email from an outreach coordinator at Maryville University’s Online college program about 1.5 weeks ago asking me:

  1. Am I still updating Untangled Connections?
  2. Would I add their article about Veterans, PTSD, and higher education to my Resources page if I was still updating the site?
  3. This article can help Veterans and people working with Veterans succeed in college and other higher education pursuits.
  4. Our University also offers other resources and support for veterans and active duty soldiers who want to enroll in college or graduate school

At first, I didn’t know what to say. This would be a big opportunity for me, but also triggering, in many ways. Talking with my counselor helped, and so I decided to share this resource with you. All of the links go back to Maryville University

In Support of Maryville University’s Active Work with Veterans and Active Duty Soldiers

I work with Maryville University, a nationally recognized private institution offering comprehensive and innovative education.

Our health guides aim to spread awareness on various mental conditions and break the stigma surrounding them. Seeing your page, I thought our guide would be a great addition to it. You can review it below:

https://online.maryville.edu/online-bachelors-degrees/psychology/understanding-a-veteran-with-ptsd/

This resource provides valuable information that your audience may find helpful.

Maryville University Outreach Coordinator

When this email appeared, my first thoughts were:

  • I’m not qualified to write about this
  • Wow, this is a first – a higher education institute requesting to be added here – exciting and scary
  • But I really want to share this resource here and help guests who are part of the military or military families.
  • How can I do justice to this topic and this resource?

Then I reached out to the coordinator (forgot to ask permission to include this person’s name here) and explained the reason for a delayed response (sabbatical) and my process for adding a resource. If this process was acceptable, I’d do the research and publish the post on the next Sunday (today).

Also, was there anything else the coordinator wanted to share with my guests? Answer below

Maryville’s Understanding a Veteran with PTSD guide aims to spread awareness on our heroes’ off-field worst nemesis: PTSD. The guide contains information on how we can understand their situation more and how to help them get through the situation as well.

Maryville University Outreach Coordinator

In Support of Veterans and Active Duty Soldiers

As you know, I am not a veteran and have never been part of the US Military or a government employee. I do not claim to know anything about being a soldier or what it’s like to serve the US or any country in this capacity.

My time as a soldier was for the paramilitary branch of a human trafficking organization disguised as a cult. The leaders were predominantly pedophiles who trained kids they got tired of as child soldiers instead of killing or throwing them away. It wasn’t voluntary, but it taught me how to survive.

Since then, I’ve had the privilege to know and learn from many veterans and soldiers. One of my favorite uncles was a Navy veteran who shared his love of cooking with me growing up. Many of my mentors at the paid job are veterans too. Finally, some of my TCM or acupuncture providers at the teaching clinic have been veterans.

Choices, Experiences, Trauma

One topic that often comes up in our conversations is perspective about trauma and PTSD. They can acknowledge my experiences as traumatic easily, but have difficulty applying the word “traumatic” to some of their military experiences.

One person told me it’s because soldiers choose the military life and what it entails to follow orders from command. Sometimes those orders include actions they would not otherwise commit outside of military life. Therefore, they were not really traumatized or victims of trauma.

In some ways, I can agree with that. But not in other ways. Because not all trauma survivors are victims or victimized. Many are. But not everyone.

Plus, he and other soldiers or veterans may have chosen their career paths – chosen to follow orders – but they did not choose to be traumatized by the experiences of being a soldier. They chose to follow orders, not to commit acts that would scar them in so many ways.

I believe this because I experienced it. What many people don’t realize (and I hardly ever share anywhere or with anyone) is that I chose to go back to the scary other life in college. I chose to be part of that world for many years because it felt safer and more secure than exploring the unknown other world.

It wasn’t until I got the permanent, paying job and learned how to function in the “legitimate” “normal” world with friends and peers that I decided to leave the other world behind.

So yes, like the soldiers and veterans, I chose to go back to that familiar world and be an active part of traumatic experiences that only reinforced childhood lessons for many years even though I had many opportunities to leave.

Was I a victim because I chose to go back to that world? I don’t know.

Does serving in the military make soldiers and veterans victims of trauma? I don’t know.

It’s a matter of perspective to be honest. Not just how the world views us, but also how we view ourselves

Helping Ourselves by Helping Each Other

If you or anyone you know may find this information beneficial, please share it how ever you choose.

Thanks for reading

Life Quirks: Technology Troglodyte

*This is for the guests who comment on my Home and About This Site Pages. *

The Trigger:

Technology scares all of the alters in our system.  For us, technology is a means to an end that allows us to avoid depending on paper for organization.

Some technology is also a trigger.  But other technology is useful enough that it’s become an integral part of my life (skip to the end for more on this).

Comment Question Addressed – you can stop here if you want…

Point is: this website, blog, etc. came about because I had to face my fear of technology for work and decided to apply the lessons here to create this website and blog too. Technology and electronics are a big weakness in my knowledge, experience, and lifestyle choices.

I learn what is needed to do my job and make life easier. The rest passes me by faster than cars pass each other on the highway’s fast lane.

Why? Learning is fun and appeases my curiosity. Technology, not so much. So I balance my need to understand technology with the fun of learning to improve this site.

Read More »

Life Changing Moments: Changing self perception

I struggle with being body positive and having a positive self-image.

  • Part of that is because of past experiences.
  • Part of it is because my body shape, size, and appearance do not fit any “ideal” standards, so shopping and feeling good about how I look isn’t always easy.
  • The rest has to do with looking like either parent or following “appearance expectations” – my rebellion against this

This struggle shattered my self-confidence, built up on existing shame, and gave me many reasons to “hide” from the world.

No matter what I did or how I tried, something about me always attracted attention.  Something always gave others an excuse or rationale to be mean/rude, etc.  And I believed them when they told me it was my fault for making them act that way.

I still believed that, deep down in a secret part of me, until last week.

WHAT HAPPENED?

An unexpected award at work gave me the push I needed to stop procrastinating about getting professional photos for business/school, etc.  Here’s the short version:

The company I work for in my day job has over 1,000 employees worldwide and a commitment to encourage continuous learning.  They promote this internally by giving employees free accounts to LinkedIn Learning and internal classes.  At every half-year, the people in “people teams” use some metric or formula to find out who took the most classes, etc. and gives them a small award using an internal award system.

I get a lot of down time between projects and hate being bored, so the online classes through LinkedIn were ways to me to feel like I wasn’t getting paid for doing nothing.  The award was unexpected, yet much appreciated.  But it wasn’t until after I answered the survey questions, that someone from “people teams” reached out with a request.  The company liked my answers and wanted to use them as part of a promotional campaign.  Would I allow this and also send a photo to go with the answers?

At first, I freaked out and said “absolutely not” on the inside.  But then I paused.  This was an opportunity, a big one to help me reach the next step of “not hiding” and achieving outside goals.  If I said no, I’d be going backwards.  If I said yes, I’d have to face a whole lot of fears, including putting my face out on the Internet.

I said yes and asked for some time to get them a decent photo.  We agreed on a date, and I booked my first photo shoot in 14 years (since college graduation photos).

WHY IS THIS A LIFE CHANGING MOMENT?

My style group friends have been cheering me along on my journey to self-discovery and being my authentic self always, but especially in how I present myself to the outside world.  With their help, I chose an outfit and makeup that felt 100%, authentically me.  Surprisingly, I didn’t see

  • a little girl playing dress-up in the mirror
  • A woman dressing to look “like a lady” according to parental expectations
  • My mother, father, aunts, cousins, or grandparents looking back at me
  • A clown or over made-up woman trying to be something she’s not

I saw myself – all parts of myself expressed as a single, adult woman wearing a dress & blazer with fun accessories and subtle makeup – as I got ready for the photo session.

The photographer was amazing.  She helped me feel completely at ease and comfortable posing outside.  The whole experience felt like chatting with an old friend and taking photos for fun.  Never before had I felt so relaxed with a stranger taking photos of me.  Part of it was location – we took photos in a beautiful park – and part of it was the overall feeling of rightness that stayed with me throughout the day.

I got to see myself through the photographer’s eyes and camera lens that afternoon.  She accepted my quirks and even appreciated some of them.  Before her, I’d not met many people who also talked to ladybugs or openly expressed a reverence for nature.  We connected over a mutual love and respect for trees; some of my favorite “fun” shots are of me sitting on exposed roots or posing against trees.

Together, we narrowed down to 3 photos that fit the main purpose of this photo shoot: business headshots for work & professional networking profiles.

But I also chose one for school and “fun” profiles too.  My current day job is segregated from my other hobbies and work choices on purpose.  They do not play well together, and I am very private.  Not many businesses want someone with my kind of mental health issues working for them, no matter how good I am at my job.  So 3 photos:

  • One for internal work/business (like email, profiles, messaging, etc.) that showed me and my “professional” personality with hints of non-work life
  • One for business and networking or job hunting profiles that expressed my business professionalism, creativity, and unique personality
  • One for school and personal profiles (personal email, WordPress account, Facebook, etc.) that showed me in a happy, confident, relaxed, open way.

WHAT CHANGED?

My self-perception, self-image whatever you want to call it.

When I look in a mirror, I finally see me.  A beautiful (inside out kind), confident, secure-in-herself woman.  An authentic, person with many alternate personalities who thrives in her chosen life style with family of choice, a support network, and a fulfilling life in spite of many challenges.

MY HOPE

For all people, with and without mental health or trauma issues, to experience a positive change in self-perception too.  I share this story with the hope that someone can relate to the experience, realize he or she is not alone, and have the courage to make positive steps too.

Thanks for reading.

Recovery: 14 Lessons Learned

My recovery started in 2014, a couple months before college graduation.  Since then, I’ve been blessed with many mentors and guides along the journey. Here are 14 (of many) lessons Recovery has taught me: People everywhere sometimes say one thing, believe something else, and act on their beliefs more than their words. Self-awareness in our […]