Kaye and the Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Week

This week has been really tough emotionally, and as a result, I’ve ended up eating almost nonstop. And since I’ve been basically broke, that means eating stuff like potatoes (less than $2.50 for a 5-lb bag), white bread (less than $1 for a big loaf), store-brand frosted flakes cereal (less than $2 for a big box), and so on. I’m up at least four pounds from last week’s weigh-in. At least, that’s what my home scale showed day before yesterday, which was the last time I even cared to step on it. What’s happened that my emotions have taken such a nosedive and led me back into destructive eating patterns?

For the first time since 2002, I’m spending the third weekend of September at home, alone.

Every year since 2002 on the third weekend of September, I’ve attended the American Christian Fiction Writers national conference. This year, I was asked to serve on the conference committee, which was the group that determined which workshops would be offered at this year’s conference—including the Early Bird all-day session with Don Maass.

I had an absolute ball at the conference last year; however, there are a lot of bitter memories connected with stuff that happened right after conference—such as learning that my crit partner I’d gone up to spend several days with before conference and was staying with the night after conference before returning home had decided while we were at conference (and sharing a room with our third crit partner) that she didn’t like me—thought I’d been misrepresenting who I am for the two years we’d worked together, or something, and made my last day in Minnesota as miserable as possible; most of which I didn’t even learn the truth behind until several weeks later when she and our other crit partner “dumped” me.

I know what you’re thinking: Bitter much?

Yes, actually, I am. I thought I’d put this behind me. Thought I’d forgiven them. But the melancholy over not being able to go to conference this year has dredged up all of those hurt feelings from last year, and the two combined have not led to a great frame of mind for me this week. So I’ve been wallowing in feelings of being left out (ah . . . those feelings go much further back into my childhood) and knowing that the person who hurt me so badly last year is there, having a wonderful time, while I’m not there simply because the money didn’t work out this year—the first year I had books out and could have participated in the mass book signing event. The year I had friends and acquaintances e-mail me to let me know they were bringing their copies of my books for me to sign only to have to tell them I wasn’t going to be there. The year I had a couple of people contact me to see if I wanted to share a room. The first year I was going to get to experience what it would be like to attend as a published author instead of a wannabe.

How is it fair she gets to be there and I don’t?

I keep telling myself that it’s better I’m not there because I have a book due on December 1 and another one on February 1. Or that I have a couple of freelance projects sitting here that I need to get turned in by the end of the month so I can pay rent and utilities next month without having to borrow money from my parents yet once again. Or that there are a lot of other people, published authors even, who aren’t at conference this year with whom I’ve been communicating while everyone else is there—whether in directed-topic discussions on the ACFW e-mail loop or just regular back-and-forth discussions in a published-author group I’m in. I would be missing out on those opportunities if I were in Denver. (Well, since I usually take my laptop, I probably wouldn’t be missing out on much.)

When I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to be able to afford to go, I’d just gotten home from my trip to Denver in July for ICRS. I figured since I’d just been there, seen a bunch of my writer friends, as well as met with my agent, not getting to go to ACFW wouldn’t be so hard on me. But reading everyone’s blogs and Tweets and FB updates about preparations and packing, their excitement waiting at the airport to catch their flights, whom they saw in the hotel lobby once they got there, and little tidbits and/or teasers from the first couple of days has not helped in my effort to remain positive and happy for everyone who could go. All I keep thinking about is, If I were there, I’d be doing X right now.

Have I mentioned it’s rained here every day for almost a week? And that it’s forecast to rain every day for at least the next ten days? Not helping with the outlook!

What could I have done to prepare myself for this week? Well, having something fun planned for each day would have been great—of course, that usually takes money, and since I’m flat broke, as I’ve already mentioned, I wouldn’t have been able to do that. But there are other things I could have done just to get out of the house: go to the library at Trevecca to work every day; go to Barnes & Noble—or Borders—and work in the cafe and have a skinny latte for the price of those carb-loaded food items mentioned above; go walk on the indoor track at the community center (for FREE) or go ahead and do the exercise programs I’ve been recording off of Fit-TV (for FREE—or at least as part of the cable package I’m already paying for); volunteer at Second Harvest food bank to get my mind off myself and my own selfish desires and onto people who’re a lot worse off than I am; WRITE (I’ve only managed a few hundred words in the past two days); invite a friend over for a movie day or something; ANYTHING to keep myself busy and have something to look forward to instead of just wallowing in self-pity for a week.

So how can I redeem the rest of the weekend? Well, I’m going to shower, get dressed—in something more than the knit-pants-and-T-shirt uniform I’ve been wearing all week—grab my spiral notebook, and drive down to the Borders in Brentwood and, after perusing the store, sit in the cafe and enjoy a latte and see if I can write at least five full pages (about 1,200 words). Then, I’ll come home and watch my LSU Tigers romp all over the boys from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Geaux Tigers. Tomorrow, I’ll do two things: first, I’ll make myself get up out of bed and go to church—at the Episcopalian church downtown where I’ve been meaning to go for quite some time; then, I’ll go to Weight Watchers, even though I know my weight will be up and it’ll feel like punishment on top of everything else I’ve been feeling this week. But if I don’t go and get that reality check, how will I ever break this destructive cycle?

Starting Monday, I’m putting myself back on a schedule. I’ll be getting up, getting ready, and having breakfast at a reasonable hour (instead of sleeping until 10 every day) and then by ten o’clock each day, I’ll drive over to Trevecca with my laptop (but no internet card!) to get those freelance projects—and maybe some writing—done. Since all the TV shows start their new seasons this week, I’ll set goals for myself to get a certain amount of work done—and words written—before I allow myself to watch any of the new shows. And I’ll do at least one thirty-minute exercise video each evening. And by so doing, I should be able to shake myself out of this funk and get back to a healthy, positive frame of mind.

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About Kaye Dacus

Kaye Dacus Academic Editor (at NCU). Published Author (11 novels, dozens of articles, essays, poems). Prolific Procrastinator. www.kayedacus.com
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7 Responses to Kaye and the Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Week

  1. Kaye Dacus says:

    Went to Borders, walked around, saw one copy of SIG and one copy of MFR on the shelves (faced them out), but their cafe had been taken over by some group. So I drove down to the B&N in Cool Springs. Walked around, saw one copy of SIG on the shelf, looked at some other books I might be interested in reading eventually, then headed over to the cafe. There were a couple of tables at which no one was sitting, but there were books/cups on them (probably left behind by lazy folks who automatically assume that the world will clean up after them—because I never saw anyone go sit at those tables/pick up that stuff as if it were theirs). I got my lite caramel frappuccino and took it to one of the tables outside. I sat and wrote for about thirty minutes . . . until it started to rain. So I came home. Read e-mails. Read blogs that have nothing to do with ACFW/the conference. Got up and took my temperature—because I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling chilled in a house in which the thermostat is set on 74 degrees. And—I was up at least one degree above “normal”—which is actually almost two degrees for me. No wonder I’ve felt so exhausted today!

    So I’m going to take my notebook, wrap up in a sweater, and go sit on the front porch to write and listen to/watch the rain.

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    • Rose Biles says:

      Sorry you had such a terrible week. So I’m wondering, your book I read indicated that you live in Nashville, Tennessee (a state I dream of living in), but your blog discussed LSU Tigers. Do you live in Louisiana? I live in north Louisiana in a rural town near Shreveport. If you ever visit the northern part of the state and need accomodations, a tour guide, etc., let me know.

      Hope you have a better week. The weather forcast is good here.

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  2. Meredith LeBlanc says:

    Dearest Kay, I know your plight from experience. I waited too late and suffer from diabetes as well as hypothyroidism. I have been told by my endocrinoligist that once you have 1 autoimmune disease, you are prone to have others, thus the thyroid problem. I have lost over 50 lbs. the last 6 years. I also have a weakness for sugar and fat, always better wrapped in cholcolate and flour. I am still working an eating plan and my goal in another 15 lbs. My problem right now is making myself go to the Y and do the physical part of weight loss. Let’s pray for each other as we commit to reach our goal for a healthy life style. In His Grip, Meredith

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  3. Esther Gross says:

    Oh, Kaye, I hurt for you so much. I can identify with how this week as gone, though I had no idea it was going that way. May God grant you that extra measure of His grace and peace that only HE can grant. Let me know if there’s anything I can do.

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  4. Karen Eve says:

    Kaye – I understand well and hope you’re over the crud by now. But, it sounds like you’re preparing to get back on track very quickly with a routine and the things you need in place to ‘fake it ’till you make it’. Like Esther, I’m praying for complete grace and peace and for His arms to carry you through. There will be time when you’re on the other side of this ‘rut’ to figure it all out, what you need to process; what, if anything, you would differently next time worlds collide, etc. But for now, just concentrate on getting well, getting your projects done, etc. That is way more than enough for today.
    Blessings,

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  5. PatriciaW says:

    Kaye, aw, honey. I felt the pain behind every word. Now that my jaw is closed again, I will simply say, in the illustrious words of Israel Houghton, “Moving Forward“.

    Praying for you. You can move forward. Start planning with me for next year in Indy. Get back on track with your eating, one meal, one morsel at a time. You’ve done so well. You’ve lost way more than the 4 lbs you gained over the weekend, so give yourself a pat on the back and get going.

    Praying for those crit partners. Words escape me.

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  6. vade55 says:

    I sympathize with your feelings of being left out of this year’s conference, but think about how much you have to look forward to at next year’s conference with 2 more books coming out soon. And you obviously have lots of friends who enjoy your company, so the problem must be with your former crit partners, not you. Perhaps they are jealous of your success.

    As for the eating problem, I also eat for comfort, so I can relate to that. My problem isn’t that I overeat, I just eat the wrong things. As a result, I have hepatitis of the liver–with inflammation and scarring that makes me constantly nauseous and tired. My doctor says I have to cut out refined sugars, and cut back on all simple carbohydrates–like white bread, pasta, potatoes, chips–and sugary fruits and juices, even though they aren’t refined sugars. Even though the whole wheat foods are more expensive, they are worth the sacrifice to save your health.

    I’ll add you to my prayers. Best wishes.

    Carol Benedict

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