Fear and Writing
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One Bad Page

Inside My Brain…

I AM my own worst enemy when it comes to writing, staring at this screen as if I have nothing of value to say – my brain completely frozen. I’m 100% convinced I’ve never had an intelligent thought in my life. I’ll just type whatever I’m thinking for a while. At some point, it will turn into something on the actual topic I’m supposed to be writing about…

Writing wasn’t always this hard, and I wasn’t always this hard on myself. Weren’t my 30s supposed to be a time of self-ownership, and not giving any fucks what other people think about me??? Instead, all I do these days is worry about what people think about me. I think poorly about myself, and then it feels as if the rest of the world perceives me through the same lens I’m viewing myself. Honestly, it’s a sucky ass way to live.

I may not be cut out for writing a blog this long, especially one this long, and on homeschooling to boot. Homeschooling isn’t a topic I write about much these days – that could be part of the problem. I’m trying to fit myself into a space that I don’t belong (as usual!), and then I feel frustrated when it doesn’t go smoothly or feel right for me.

Here’s the thing. Maybe I don’t want to write about homeschooling ALL the time, but I sure as shit have what it takes to write a 1200 word article on a topic related to it, and I’m FUCKING getting this done. End of story.

Guess what? I did get it done.

Using Stories to Inspire Service ProjectsBOOM —> Using Stories to Inspire Service Projects was published by Secular, Eclectic, Academic Homeschoolers the week after Thanksgiving, and it turned out to be a resourceful, little piece that I mostly enjoyed writing. That one bad page of negative self-talk turned into something of sustenance. I tell the kids I coach in writing this same thing all the time – you just have to start writing and see what it turns into. Why is it so hard to take my own advice?

If you ever daydream about doing service projects as a family and want ideas on how you can use literature to create more meaning in those that you endeavor to do, then you might just want to check it out.

An excerpt:

“Nurturing empathy in children can be a lofty goal that requires more intention than we sometimes realize is necessary.

Life is beautiful and full of joy, but at the same time, the world can be a dark and heavy space, and the instinct for self-preservation and the development of fears can be more pervasive than we realize. There is a great importance in guiding children in their ability to look at the world from the perspective of others, to understand that the way we treat people and the choices we make, what our government does, how businesses behave, how we treat the earth and so much more ALL HAVE AN IMPACT.Homeless Care Packages

Sociologists refer to this as the development of sociological imagination, which is the awareness of the relationship that exists between personal actions and our greater society.

What better way to bridge the gap between the realities of our children’s lives to the experiences of others than through storytelling?”

 

Fear is a Liar
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A #daringgreatly Style Thing

I’m disappointed. There. I said it. Doing epic shit is great and all, even if I do fail, but there will still be some lingering negative feelings to be felt from that. That’s normal though, right? The end-game-goal here is to not allow those feelings to stop me from moving forward, trying again, trying something new, creating goals, and growing myself – even if it’s just micro-bits at a time.

I did a #daringgreatly style thing last month.

I applied for an internship with the Dressember Foundation to work on their Editorial Team. Landing the spot would have meant throwing myself into a committed writing project for 6 months, and contributing in a bigger way to a cause that would have fueled an important space inside me. I’ve participated in Dressember fundraising for the past two years because human trafficking is a issue that I feel seriously called to fight against, and I would have loved the opportunity  to aid in increasing the overall reach that the Dressember campaign gets this year.

But, alas. I didn’t get the internship. Sad face. However, I did spark enough interest that I got a… callback? Probably, definitely not the right term to use. Their Communications Manager asked me to submit another writing sample, a round two of submissions, and for this piece I chose to write about the  pipeline that exists between our foster care system and human trafficking. I’ll share it with y’all eventually, when I feel up to taking another look at it.

It creates a deep sense of yuckiness to have something you’ve worked on be rejected, and that in turn makes you question your value. BUT —-> Could I be a better writer? ABSOLUTELY. And that is okay. Don’t be so hard on yourself, Crystal. Just keep working at it and try again.

There is power in acknowledging that there is always room for growth.

Resilience was my word of the month for June, and it’s really been working for me, so I think I’ll hang onto it for July.

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Dear Universe,

There is a nice cool breeze today; I am enjoying the view of the San Francisco Bay, and a yummy white chocolate mocha, as I sit here (in 2025). My family and I have spent the spring traveling the coast, trying to enjoy our last bit of time as a full-time family. Soon summer will be here; Haden, who is now eighteen, will be leaving with friends to do some traveling of his own in Europe, and once he comes home, he will likely be starting his college experience, and building towards the life he wants for himself.

I recall what it felt like, thirteen years ago, to just be embarking on my journey into higher education. I was scared and excited, all at the same time. I am forever grateful that I took the plunge, and decided to take on something that felt so much bigger than me at the time. It ultimately aided in realizing my interests, and I discovered myself on a new level, one where I felt capable of anything. Now as Haden’s adulthood grows near, I just hope that he takes away as much from his experiences.

Shortly into my schooling, I ran across a call for short-story submissions to be published in a book called, A Lesson in Doubt: the social and linguistic construction of OCD. It almost felt like fate stepping in, to give me a nudge in the right direction, so I decided to write a piece detailing my personal struggles with OCD, about how it had impacted my life and my family.

In those days, feeling fueled by my passion to address social issues, my path just seemed to naturally lead me to pursuing my activism through written forms. In my attempts to inflict positive changes, my love of writing continued to grow, which eventually lead me to minor in English, while majoring in Sociology. Throughout school I grew my personal blog, Explore, Dream. Discover. I would write frequently about anything and everything, trying to grow my abilities. My classes only fed my writing, making the topics I approached more variant. I started guest blogging on other blogs, and began working on my first book, Rape Culture in America: The Normalization of Sexual Violence, before I graduated.

I love the freedom that writing affords me in my everyday life. However, the most powerful thing about writing is the release for my mind, being able to reach out to people with my words, and have an effect on them.  Sometimes, I love the way it consumes me, when I have something I need to get out, and how hard it can be to get it done; that it isn’t easily given.

Michael and I are forty now, which thirteen years ago when I was starting school, would have sounded much too old to me. I surely don’t feel old though! I am still homeschooling, currently working on my second book when I can, and I am a contributing writer for The Huffington Post on social issues. Between Michael’s entrepreneurial exploits and my writing, it has left us with the freedom to travel all over the United States, from Washington D.C. to New Orleans to Denver, and many lesser known places in between. It has been an amazing adventure, homeschooling on the road, and taking advantage of opportunity. We did this full-time for five years, before deciding to build our forever home. Since then, we have continued to travel for upwards of six months out of the year, enjoying our ability to wander.

My children have both grown up to be such independent, smart young adults, and I feel so proud of who they have become. Addison is fifteen now, sometimes in the midst of teenage angst, and has been feeling a bit jealous of the adventure her brother is about to take. Most days though, she is incredibly lively, compassionate, and energetic. She has always had a soft spot for animals, and now she volunteers regularly with one of our local rescue groups. Haden is thoughtful and creative, with a flair for the dramatic and artistic. He has always been a boy with many interests, and I look forward to watching him follow those, just as he always has.

As we near our childfree years, we are at crossroads, trying to decide where to go from here. I think back to my years of school, about the lessons that I learned, but most importantly about what I learned about myself. I wouldn’t trade those ups and downs for anything, knowing that they will always see through, up until the very end.  My biggest life lesson has been to never fear the new; as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “ All of life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

(This is actually the essay I had to write for my final in my English class. The assignment was to put myself in the year 2025, describe what my life is like there, and how my college experience impacted my future. When I got done, it felt like I had sent a positive message out to the Universe about what I want for myself.)