The Four Year Gap Explained

The Four Year Gap Explained

When I bought this piece of land in the woods a little over a year ago, it was love at first sight. I put the offer down the same day, then drove out a couple times a week to sit on the deck and write, testing the energy of the woods and the house to ensure it would be a productive place to work and breathe.

It was. It’s been the most productive energy I’ve ever had. While I’m sure there are lots of factors that contribute to the productivity, one of the most important is that I feel safe for the first time in perhaps a couple of decades. Safe enough to slow down, feel, think, and process what happened and how I got here.

Safe. Finally, I could hear myself think again.

Unfortunately, too few people know what it feels like to be safe. Fewer still don’t even realize they feel unsafe, and power through the day in survival mode, eeking uncertainty onto the people they interact with, and leaving pockets of nervous energy in their wake.

Anyway, the blog left off four years ago with a brief and sexy romance, breakup, then the beginnings of my lab job showing early signs of bad news. I wrapped up what I was trying to say on TBQ (theblissquest) and with help from Toasted Toast, we folded up the blog and tucked it away.

Almost immediately, my life took a tilt, a strange hiccupping jolt—and all my plans jumped track.

  1. I fell really hard for a beautiful, hot relationship that played out mostly mentally with the amazing possibilities that a three-way romance could be (twin brothers). If the prospect of twin brothers sounds sexy and complicated, it was. I’ve since named them the Catfish. I realize now, I carried the bulk of that relationship and its erotic potential on the grist of my hunger and imagination. So, I only have myself to blame for how sideways it went. (but holy moly, it was so hot at the time) More on that later. It was the foundation for The Life Erotic line of short stories. (I later went celibate. Nothing like a string of failures in love to make you feel like a chump. It takes some solo time to wash that tarry ick off the palate. I went on a sexual cleanse.)
  2. Then lab job went kablooey in the most epic way.
  3. My funding attempts for the fair-trade publishing house kept being met with derision and attack.
  4. Within a month I was saying my goodbyes to the Catfish, handing in my resignation at the lab, and putting my fair-trade publishing model on ice.

I drove out to my favorite spot in Forest Park, just off the St. John’s bridge, and sat down to figure out where I’d gone so wrong. Literally, not one single thing I’d worked at in the previous several years had borne fruit. My writing was stalled mid-series for The Pillars of Dawn, and my line for The Life Erotic was too painful to write after much of the adventures were related to the Catfish. That whole failure left me turned off, and disinterested in erotic potential.

I was disenchanted by the poor ethical values of corporate structures and for-profit institutions, and my spirit was tired, worn…I felt dehydrated, unsafe, and beaten down. And worse…I’d lost my compass.

Strange how a sense of safety it very much related to inner compass. Somewhere in all that, I’d also lost my voice. I couldn’t hear myself think anymore.

An opening for a corporate job on the Oregon Coast popped up, so I took it. Was I running away? You bet. Running as fast as I could pack.

I left my stilettos, and size four dinner gowns and dresses, my drawers of makeups, and pedicure schedules behind. I loaded a uhaul and didn’t look back.

Thusly follows two years of recovery while working my last corporate position. Life tends to recycle the dreck until you do something differently. For me it’s a reminder that modern corporate leadership structures are core-faulty, unethically maintained, and lack humanity most of the time. There are exceptions to the rule, I’m sure, I just haven’t seen one with my own eyes.

I began having chest pains last spring (congenital birth defect in my heart), and went to a cardiologist for a battery of tests and baseline checks. The verdict was; lower stress levels ASAP.

Long story short, less than a year after I bought the house and took on a mortgage, I resigned from the job causing me the most unwarranted strain, the job that really wanted to be a corporate new beginning, but was really a mismanaged frat party, masquerading as a business. I was too invested, and the mess was patently unfixable from the very top.

I had to make a choice. The choice I should have made years ago. The choice I was always too afraid to embrace.

Leave the corporate world and focus on writing, publishing, and what I love while I still had a natural, non-mechanical heartbeat, OR, let the disfunction of the workplace take me down with it. It was a choice between my physical heart and safety, and my emotional heart, survival.

The day I resigned, I took my hair down as I walked away, letting the coastal wind bathe me as I drove home. Home to safety. Home to a new beginning.

Home to reboot and start fresh as a writer, publisher, and full time creative.

I tucked in and made a cocoon; wrapping myself in good food, drink, and creativity. I had no plan. No measure in place to justify the decision other than that it needed to be done. I borrowed some money, and set out to break ground in the direction I should have taken five years prior. Better late than never, I suppose.

Here we are. A few hiccups, and theblissquest is live and back on course.

The BlissQuest was always the search for bliss. Not as a neatly wrapped package, but as a continuous process of evolving, learning, and growth. The BlissQuest was always about exploration, challenge, and discovery. It was about striving to be as near to the path of fulfillment as humanly possible. It was about going after desires, goals, and manifesting the experiences I wanted to have in my life before an exit stage left. The BlissQuest was my yellow brick road, and I wandered off it for four years.

And it feels wonderful to be back again. I left the blog because I felt like I was just blabbing my constant string of failures, near misses, close calls, and general buffoonery. But I realize after a reboot that I was never really defined by those mistakes. I made a lot of those failures because I was reaching so far beyond my comfort zones, stretching for goals and desires where there were no pathways built yet, and in those ultimate flops…bricks were laid, and new road was constructed each time.

My failures don’t define me, they define the moments I altered course. And each alteration brought me closer to a truer definition of bliss.

I guess you could say of my failures, I laid a trail from my own ruin on the way to building the dream.

In the last year I’ve been flying solo, I’ve published one novel, and written one and a half new manuscripts. I’ve been teaching classes, workshops, and coaching. I’ve been waiting tables twice a week to get human interaction outside of my forest isolation, and pick up grocery money. This also puts me in town twice a week to check email, and see friends.

I’m converting my land and house into an artist’s retreat, and a fully self-sustainable plat. This includes projects like installing fish farming tanks, bee hives, a garden, and much more. I expect when I’m done, nearly every inch will be covered in paint, polymer sculptures, and mosaics.

On the romantic level, because I know you’re wondering, I’ve been on a man diet for a few years now, and I’m only just now thinking about the possibility of getting back out there. In the last year of being deliriously happy chasing the dream, I’ve let myself go. I’m fat and happy in the best possible way. It’s been ages since I’ve been happy—so it’s worth noting.

Being happy is really the only safe place to be in order to consider romance, for me anyway. That being said, I’m not ready yet to peel off my protective chubby cocoon, and get back into my night dresses and heels. I’ve put a few feelers out there to see if anything seems remotely worth the trouble of coming out from the safety bubble, but so far, nothing tempting.

I expect when that moment happens, I’ll go through the routine and clean up a bit and slide back into a sleeker frame and some sexy clothes. In the meantime, I’m just happy being free and creative. I think I’ve worn makeup half a dozen times in the last year. It’s been rather liberating.

Most of my days are spent on house projects, and writing. I’m publishing photography, recipes, craft videos, and creative articles on my Patreon account here.

I’m working with a few artists and contributors on Wisegoddess.com, and old site I reconstructed because I already owned the domain name. Check out some amazing writers, and artists there. They’ve got great advice and lots to offer.

If you want to contribute to this blog and my publishing expenses, as well as get some goodies back from time to time, donate to my Patreon, or click the tip jar. It all goes to supporting the dream.

The dream…where theblissquest started over twelve years ago. In the spring of 2006 I drove off on a year long road trip in search of bliss, blogging all the misadventure in the process. I’d just accepted my first book contract, and I set out to find a way to be a self-sustainable artist.

Twelve years later, I’m standing here, fingers clutched around the fragile possibility of that dream being finally realized. It feels so close. It just took some hard calls, a lot of optimism and willingness to keep getting back up. But most importantly, it took support from my family, friends, and community.

Thank you, readers, for bearing with me in my absence. Thanks for hanging in there while I fell off the path, and stumbled around in the dark trying to find my compass. Thank you for picking back up with me as the road, rediscovered, finally bears the light of fruition on the horizon. I can see it now. I can feel it now.

And this is why the blog is being brought back to life…I finally feel the possibility of success and I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d love to share that with than the people who were with me from the beginning.

Please stow your bags under your seats, and put your tray tables in the upright position.

We are about to have liftoff.

-Athena

Author: Athena

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