Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Wherein I talk openly about the creative mind...

Hi all -

In light of the news about Robin Williams on Monday, I wanted to write a post that has been years in the making really. And a rare one that I decided to post on both of my sites...

Robin Williams' death angered me in many ways, something that made me take pause. I wasn't angry because of the tragedy of it all, but because another creative genius felt there was no way out. And more, I was angry because while his death started a much needed conversation about mental health issues and the stigma attached to those battling with a mental illness, it did not start even a ripple of the conversation I wish it had. Robin Williams was not ONLY and individual who had battled both depression and addiction, he was a genius. His very being meant he was intense.

So much of the conversations in these last days has attributed the creative genius to the mental illness, as though they always go together. But they don't. The intensity DOES. And as a society, we don't accept that intensity without also thinking in the back of our heads that there MUST be a mental illness piece.

How do I know this? It's been my reality for ever.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a very intense, creative person. I am a divergent thinker, a gifted adult, and prone to strong emotions. When I create, be it books, music or choreography (yes, I composed concertos as a child and conducted string orchestras and music camp. I was also a theater-dance minor in school and dabbled in choreography), I see/hear the finished product in my head long before the first word/note/move existed. Like many famous artists, everything existed in my head in perfection. My job was simply to find a way to purge it from my thoughts and get it out for the world to see.

And therein was the problem.

Once the world could see it, it was scrutinized, criticized, commented on. Teachers when I was 8 told me I was crazy for believing I could get a random group of 7 and 8-year-olds together and do a Shakespeare play (think Little Rascals does Macbeth), but that didn't keep me from wanting to try. When I recreated a South Pacific coral reef to scale in 7th grade as part of a project that advocated for the preservation of our oceans, my teacher thought me extreme. When I came up with a theory about the relationship between political cartoons and their influence on political culture of the 1700 and 1800s in high school, my US History teacher told me I I could never prove my ideas and I should just write a term paper of something--anything--else.

Such was my life growing up.

By the end of High School I learned just how strange and divergent I was. More, I learned that none of that was a "good" thing. Nerds and Geeks weren't cool back then. Everything that was important to me, that made me "me", was weird to the rest of the world. And being weird was definitely NOT celebrated.

I thought in pictures, and usually had five or more thoughts going on at once. To me, in my head, multiple realities were the norm. I couldn't understand that other people didn't conceptualize multi-dimensional thinking as I did. I lived in a profoundly lonely world, one in which I wasn't accepted except by my mother (gifted in her own right) and an occasional friend.

So I cultivated new interests, ones that were more mundane. I got into fashion, modeling, and the like. I developed an eating disorder and my own intensities channeled themselves into much more destructive thinking. It would be easy to think of me as mentally ill. After all, I had developed a mental illness. But that wasn't me. Not fully. It was a means to an end, a way to belong. And it worked in the short term. I had friends, but very few knew "me". Heck, I barely knew me.

I was called overly dramatic, a drama queen, etc - all in response to my very extreme emotions. I don't blame people for saying it really; from their perspective it was true. I was extreme and intense. I still am. And yes, I still lose friends because of it.

In college, my world imploded as my eating disorder spun out of control and I had to admit the problem. I sought help and got better. A lot better.

On the surface.

It wasn't until many years later, after a load of therapy, maturity and a few personal crises that forced me to self-examine, that I learned the truth about who I was and why I acted the way I did. I learned what it meant to be gifted, to be intense.

See, I never thought of myself as smart, despite the "proof" in IQ tests, the GT label, etc. And no one ever explained to me that being smart, being gifted, MEANT asynchronous development. It meant I'd struggle with EQ, at least when I was younger. Most importantly, it meant that I was - I am - intense.

Why am I writing this crazy long post? It isn't to brag, garnish sympathy, or anything else. It's to talk, openly and honestly and what being gifted and creative has meant to me.

There is an intensity with which I approach life. This intensity DOES NOT mean I am crazy. It doesn't mean I need to be fixed. When I say I need a break, when I speak openly about my intensity, I'm not looking for someone out there to "fix" me like I am a problem. I just want someone to know I'm at my limit and I need a break.

When I struggle socially, or I come off aloof, please know it isn't intentional. My brain works fast - very fast. And sometimes, I get lost in it. That doesn't mean I am uncaring or uninterested. In fact, the opposite is likely more true. I desperately care and I am profoundly interested. I am just somewhat lousy at showing in.

And when I get down, REALLY DOWN, I am seldom depressed. I am just overwhelmed by life and its emotions.

This is NOT TO SAY that other creative, gifted people aren't depressed. Gifted people do get depressed.

I am lucky. I have done a TON of work in the field of giftedness, learning why I feel existential depression as often as I do, why I approach the world as I do, why I am so intense. I really think it is BECAUSE of this that I have significantly improved my EQ and learned what my personal "normal" is. I have also learned when I need to ask for help - when I am overwhelmed beyond all ability to cope. More importantly, I've learned how to receive help from others, even when they aren't really able to relate.

So, this is me. And it is many other gifted individuals. We are not broken in our intensities. But we do
need acceptance, even when we seem crazy. And if we do actually break, because it can certainly happen (especially when we receive the constant message that we are crazy because of our intensities, or when we fail to connect socially because there are so few who "get us"), we need acceptance even more.

And we need the world, our family, our friends, our therapists, etc to understand that our baseline - our "normal" - is DIFFERENT from everyone else. If you force us into your version of "normal", or medicate us to some random definition of  "normal", we still are not "normal" from our perspective, and we will reject your version of help.

Sometimes with deadly consequences.

Gifted creatives are blessed with passions that burn brighter than the sun. And sometimes we get burned in the wake of our own intensities.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Help Collide WIN!!!


 

Help make Collide the Best YA book of 2014 with the Best Cover!


Thank you all for making the release of Collide so fantastic. I appreciate the thoughtful reviews, emails of love and your readership. 

I am happy to announce that COLLIDE is up for the first annual Howey award in the categories of Best Cover and Best YA book of 2014. These awards are determined by popular vote, which is where you come in.

From now until Aug 15 you can vote on your choices in a variety of categories, including best YA book of 2014 and best cover. I'd of course appreciate any and all votes for Collide, but just voting for your favorites is epic too. 


So, follow the links below and show a little Indie Love!

BEST YA INDIE BOOK of 2014

BEST INDIE COVER

I can't win without your votes so please....vote for Collide!


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bye Bye Summer


I can't believe summer is over! That's right, tomorrow I am back at work. Friday, the Hubby goes back, next week the teen starts high school and in a couple of weeks the new-adult starts college. Holy smokes that was fast!

Summer was amazing this year, filled with lazy days of swimming, hiking, and summering. It was also crazy productive with two books completed and edited, two more outlined, a book release, SDCC and parties.

In short, I lived life to the fullest! And that's the take away, isn't it - we should all live life to the fullest, whether it is during the work year, during vacation, or all of the time in between.

So, that's my goal as I start a new year - to live each day fully and completely. To manage my stress BETTER, take better care of my health through my meditation, exercise and healthy living, and to LIVE DELIBERATELY.

What's your take away from summer?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Off to SDCC 2014


Headed out for SDCC 2014 later today. While I am excited to see Diana Gabaldon and Veronica Roth (not to mention Debra Driza and Lydia Kang, internet writing buds), I am really going for my daughter. This trip happens to be celebrating her 18th b-day! I know, pretty cool right. So she has made our schedule, planned which things are MOST important for her to see.

Now, let's hope we are able to see them. And no, I have NO problem being one of the millions who spends the night in line for Hall H or Ballroom 20 just for the chance that my kidlet can revel in her fandomness. #proudmomofagreatnerd

See you all on the flip slid. And yes, there will be pictures - of course!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Giveaway Winner(s) and The Upcoming Weeks

Happy Sunday all! I can't believe the end of summer is in sight. I am back at work in just over two
weeks, and my daughter is off to college (YIKES) in four. What the heck!

Today I thought I'd announce the giveaway winners and let you all know my focus for the upcoming weeks.

First, the winners:

Congrats to DORIS who won the ebook of Crux by Julie Reece. A big congrats to BETHANY, the grand prize winner of over 38 books and swag!!!! So fun and such a great way to celebrate the scavenger hunt. If you enjoyed it as much as I, be sure to leave a comment and let me know.

Now, the rest of the summer:

The next few weeks are filled with deadlines, Comic Con, birthdays and school stuff. Between it all, I thought I'd get caught up on my book reviews here and on my other blog, An Intense Life. There are so many books I've read lately, ranging from YA to adult to romance to erotica that I would love to share with all of you. Not to mention the countless non-fiction books about gifted children, anxiety disorders, and writing. Time to share my thoughts on it all.
Visit my blogs through out the next two weeks for reviews of it all. And who knows, I need a little bookshelf space so I may be giving a few away!

Finally, a few other announcements and a request for help:

I am planning to release TWO more books this year. Shocking, I know. Not at all certain I can pull it off, but I'm going to try. I'm also going to be speaking and attending as many events as my schedule (writing and personal, not to mention the day job) will allow. It all sounds crazy as I'm writing it, but yeah - that is the plan!
One of my scheduled events is IndieReCon Live. I'll be speaking about the psychology of writing/publishing. Or more accurately, how to find and stay in your happy place no matter where you are on your path. It's an exciting topic for me, and one I'd love your help with. If you are an Indie Author please take a moment and consider being interviewed about your publishing journey to date. If you'd be willing to help me out, complete this form so I can work something out with you. I can't wait to connect and hear your stories.

I finally finished my website. Well, almost finished it. Check it out here: http://christinefonseca.com. Thoughts? I am pleased with it. I still have another site to design and publish for An Intense Life. That one will be the home of my nonfiction projects and services, including coaching (something a lot of you have asked about) and speaking gigs. Not to mention revamping both blogs. Such an exciting time.

Finally, I mentioned that I am working on my speaking and event calendar for 2014-2015 (yes, my life operates on a school schedule!). If YOU would like to host me for an event, be it a workshop, a book chat, a school visit, or something else, just let me know. I'll be posting more information about events and such soon. Until then, just drop me a line via my website.

I guess that's it for now. Have a great week!