This post is going to be unlike any that I’ve ever written. I’m getting real, because maybe if I scare myself a little bit more, something will finally happen.

2019 is going to be a year of big changes for me. I learned this year that I’m capable of so much more than I originally thought, and it’s time to put what I learned in 2018 into practice. No more dabbling. No more little side hobby. But with that comes a different kind of change.

Some of you may have noticed my social media presence has been getting weaker the last few years. Part of this is because I’ve been busy and I sometimes forget to post, but it mostly has to do with my lack of self-confidence stemming from my weight.

I have struggled with my weight since I was very young. I developed very early. My gym teacher wrote a note home to my parents telling them I had to start wearing a bra at 8 years old because I was a distraction in class. I tried to hide my developing body under baggy clothes, which only made the kids call me fat even more. Soon, I not only started to believe it, I started to live it.

Couple that with my endometriosis diagnosis a few years ago, the depression I fight every day becasue I can’t have children and my house needs far too many repairs than I can afford in order to qualify for adoption, things began to spiral out of control. I indulged in a piece or two of candy every night which turned into three or four or five. I bought sugary lattes at my favorite coffee shop and then sat behind a desk all day long. And by the time I made it home at the end of the day, I was still, sore, miserable, and the last thing I wanted was to move my aching body – especially at a gym where dozens of other people could see me and judge me like all the kids back in school used to do.

I’ve developed gasterointestinal problems which no one has been able to explain, and I’ve tried every kind of diet and exercise program you could possibly think of. None of them worked. And with each failed attempt, I gained more and more weight.

This year, I was diagnosed with slightly high cholesterol. I was so upset I cried. I knew it was because I had been eating too much fast food. It was convenient, and I just wanted to get back to my writing. But, if I was honest with myself, that food left me foggy-brained, and I didn’t accomplish half of what I knew I could on a slow day, let along reach my full potential. Over the course of a few more months, I gained another pant size, and even had to change my sizes on my Gwynnie Bee profile. I went to bed every night in pain, I woke up in pain, and felt miserable about myself as the day went on.

I finally decided to hire a personal trainer, a one on one coach, which was different than any of the other trainings I had tried before. This time, I was going to have someone there every step of the way. Someone to give me pep talks when I felt like giving up because the scale just wasn’t moving. Someone who had been in my shoes, in the spiraling depression of self-loathing and had survived.

See, I realized this year that I have dozens of ideas for books, and if I wasn’t so foggy-brained, if I wasn’t so depressed about myself all the time, maybe I could write them. I don’t have the driving force of “I’m doing this for my kids” like a lot of people do. But, I’m doing this for my book babies. I’m doing this for my fans. I have so many ideas that I want to share, that I want to write and explore and push myself beyond my current limits, that if I continued down the path I was going I would have died young. I would have died before Molly Mipps and the Magical Menagerie ever made her debut, before I outline Terran Alpha or that Dracula retelling I’ve been kicking around. The world may never know about the government’s experiments with biological warfare and spiders in the military horror I’ve been thinking about, or how a simple mistake in Hell led to the biggest supernatural conspiracy of our time. Yes, all of those things are ideas I came up with only this year, and they’re all things I’ve been feeling too shitty about to write.

I’m scared. Like, really scared. Everything I’ve ever tried in the past didn’t work, and I grew up being taught that if you can’t figure out how to do something the first time, then don’t bother doing it at all. Failure was just not an option, because it was a waste of everyone’s time to keep trying and failing over and over again. But here I am, facing down my bulging stomach and a new year with fear and tears and hopefully determination. This year is going to be different than any you’ve experienced with me yet. Because maybe if I document things more, then maybe I’ll succeed. Maybe my journey will inspire others to get out of the office chair and take a lap around the living room once in a while.

I’m not going to die young because depression has gotten the better of me. And I’m not going to let my ideas die with me, never to see themselves come to be in black and white, in ink strokes upon the mashed up corpses of a dead tree.

So this is it. This is the end of this…whatever this is. My hand is poised above the Publish button, hesitating, wanting to turn back. But I can’t I won’t. And I need you to hold me to it.

Here we go.