When routine keeps you sane

When routine keeps you sane

On keeping a schedule

“grey and black pen on calendar book” by Renáta-Adrienn on Unsplash

It’s coming up to the one year anniversary of the death of my sister. A week today will be eleven months, and I can hardly believe it. Sometimes it feels like it only happened yesterday. Sometimes, I wake up in the morning and for just a few seconds, I forget, and I can convince myself that she’s still here. But then, I wake up and the grief hits me once more.

The month after she died, I had no routine. I walked around in a state of shock and deep pain; numb; a shell, just focusing on putting one foot in front of the other, and doing the bare minimum that needed doing.

Things change after the funeral. People who check in with you, stop. The messages, and visitors stop. People move on with their lives, while you’re left in this sort of limbo, where you have to somehow, rebuild your life even though you have no idea of how you’re going to do that.

For me, this is where lists and routines come into play. I have a list of things that I must get done in a day (thank you OCD). When I’m not coping well, there are times when these things don’t get done. They certainly didn’t in that first month. It was taking me all of my energy just to get up and put one foot in front of the other.

Now, though, those lists; those schedules, are what keeps me sane. I get up and know that I have a certain amount of things that I must get done in a day, and I have to do them. Sometimes it’s a struggle. Sometimes, I literally have to force myself to do them, but once I’ve done them, I feel an odd sense of satisfaction.

I have achieved something in the day. Often, that something is so small, it would be irrelevant to anyone else, but to me, it’s life saving. To me, it says “You can do this. Just one thing at a time.” and at the moment, I really need those wins, however small and insignificant to anyone else, because when I get them, I can say that I did something with my day.

For me, these things generally involve creating, but they could be anything. If you’re struggling with the stormy cloud of depression; the crippling loss of grief, or the nerve-racking anxiety that paralyses, I say this:

Just take things one step at a time; one thing at a time. Just do that one thing, and slowly build on it, and I promise you, it will help. You just need to take that first step. I’m with you and I support you, because I know what it feels like.

And I know that even if you don’t believe it, you can do it!


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Time for adventure?

Time for adventure?

A fantasy snippet

“architectural photography of brown and gray castle” by Jonny Caspari on Unsplash

There was snow was falling outside the window of the castle tower. Lane sighed, as she walked back to her bed, and flopped down. It seemed ages since she had last been allowed outside. They kept saying that it was too dangerous for her, but she couldn’t help wishing that she could go out and feel the cool wind on her face, and watch as Dippy, the cat made footprints in the snow as she pounced on perceived mice and rats.

She was a quiet girl, and usually more than happy with her own company, but sometimes, she felt restless, and longed for a bit of an adventure. “After all” she argued with her overprotective uncle, “Lightning very rarely strikes the same place twice” He wouldn’t listen, and every time she asked him about it, she saw the dark shadow deepen across his forehead. She reached out absent mindedly and stroked Dippy as she padded along the floor beside the bed before leaping up and settling herself beside Lane, purring deeply.

Lane rolled onto her back and stared at the ceiling, where paintings were elaborately set into the wooden beams. Hunters on horses, with bows and quivers full of arrows stared proudly down at her. She shuddered, and closed her eyes, feeling a deep sense of loss for all the poor deer that had been hunted through the years.

She sighed, she didn’t like feeling like this. She sat up suddenly, scaring the cat, and causing her to leap from the bed, hissing and spitting like an angered wasp. “Sorry Dip” she said breathlessly, as she left the room, and made her way downstairs. “I have to do something or I shall go mad” she said to herself.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Sometimes it’s just not the write time..

Sometimes it’s just not the write time..

When a blog post is too hard to write

“purple flowers on paper” by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

I’ve been a bit tearful tonight. There’s a blog post I’ve had in my head for a month or so now, and I haven’t been able to write it. Partly Muriel’s fault, but not completely this time.

In some respects, there is the paralysing fear of not finding the right words; of not being able to put into words effectively, what I’m trying to say. I know it sounds stupid, and I don’t even know why it’s so important to me, but this specific post talks about something I’ve lived with for the best part of the last thirteen years, and I want to be able to write it in a way that encapsulates the entire experience, and I don’t know if I can actually do that yet. It’s also something that’s incredibly painful to talk about, and if I’m honest; truly honest, I don’t think I can face looking at it in that much detail.

I almost didn’t write anything here tonight. My mindset was along the lines of “If I’m not good enough to write that, then am I really good enough to write anything”, but I can’t let that voice win. I can’t stop writing, because if I do, then that high pitched, cackling voice wins, and I can’t let that happen. I won’t be silenced any more, even if there are times when I have to admit that it isn’t the write time for certain things. I hate having to admit that, but I know that I don’t want to write anything substandard, and in order to make sure that this doesn’t happen, I have to be sensible; I have to sometimes admit defeat to the smaller battles, in order that I can win the bigger ones.

So that’s what I will do. The post in question, will remain in drafts, until I feel ready to be able to write it and do it justice, and in the meantime, I will write other things, because I refuse to be silenced.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

F*** You Muriel!!

F*** You Muriel!!

On silencing your inner critic

“A black-and-white shot of a woman putting a finger over her lips in a gesture of silence” by Kristina Flouron Unsplash

As a writer, I often have many voices roaming around inside my head (and no, I don’t mean it in the crazy way). My characters, who suddenly decide that midnight is the perfect time to tell me this incredibly personal and important truth that I now have to fit into their story; random thoughts, and ideas for new stories, and then, there’s Muriel.

Muriel is the name I gave to my inner critic. I picture her a little like the granny in George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl. Toothless, crooked and bent, with grey, thinning hair that looks a little as if a bird has laid a nest in it. She walks around on a walking stick, so bent over that she has a permanent hump, and a neck that looks like it has a permanent crick in it.

If that image wasn’t bad enough, there’s her voice. Angry, antagonistic and grating. She’s never kind. In fact, the kindest thing she ever does is go to sleep occasionally. Very occasionally.

Most of the time, however, she likes to talk incessantly, berating me and telling me how useless I am and how I should really just give up on writing because I’ll never be any good anyway.

There are odd days when she’s quieter, but most of the time, she likes to taunt me and tease me; and if I don’t listen, she’ll start to shout, sometimes so loud that it makes my head hurt.

The thing is, that I know what she wants is for me to be silent. She wants me to not write. She wants me to keep all of those words wrapped up inside me; locked inside my head.

But this is my act of defiance. I will not let her silence me. I will not stop writing just because she wants me to. She doesn’t get to call the shots any more. It is at this point that I’ve decided to pack Muriel’s bags and move her into her new home.

I was going to shove her off a cliff, but Shaunta Grimes suggested that I might want to keep her around for ‘revision time’, so I have placed her in a nice, ornate, iron (just to make sure her black magick can’t penetrate the bars), bird cage. Every now and then, I like to give it a little swing and watch her stumble (No, it’s not cruel. Not after the way she’s treated me lately). Sometimes, I put a blanket over her, hoping that the dark will lull her to sleep and stop her squawking.

Either way, I have found a place for Muriel for now, and this is my way of saying “F*** You Muriel! I will write, because it is what I was born to do. I will write because it is as vital to me as breath, and I will write because it is my purpose, and you will not stop me. You will not silence me, no matter how hard you try.”

I will end with this quote by the philosopher Descartes, which perfectly sums up why Muriel must be stopped at all costs:

“I write, therefore I am.”


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Anti Social Media

Anti-Social Media

When friends become little more than a thumbs up.

Photo by Andrea Tummons on Unsplash

We live in an increasingly digital world, where even our friendships are becoming digitised. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat… these platforms all belong to a digital subgroup, known as “social media”.

Now, I’m not knocking social media. I met my best friend on Facebook, and, given my anxiety and depression, if I’m honest, without social media, I probably wouldn’t speak to anyone for days at a time.

The thing is, lately, looking at my social media feeds, and all of the hashtags and trending topics, it struck me. In this ever growing digital world, sites like Facebook are replacing real life interactions.

The truth is, there are people on my friends list that I see on a weekly basis, and though they may ‘like’ my posts, they don’t actually talk to me when they see me in person.

Basically, they only know what I show to the world (or my chosen friends list) on my feeds. It is so easy to click ‘like’ on a post, and to believe that this is the same thing as actually interacting with people. I know because I’ve done it myself.

It’s the simplest thing in the world, and it seems to be replacing talking to people in real life. So I guess what I’m trying to say, is that with an ever growing circle of people that we are connected with, sometimes we need to remember the real life people on the other side of the screen.

Sometimes, we need to look beyond the persona on the screen, to the person behind it, and maybe pick up the phone and check in on them, or arrange to meet for a catch up. You never know what someone is going through, and they could be fighting unimaginable battles, all hidden beneath a bright smile.

So, please, don’t become a part of the (anti)social media revolution. Pick up the phone; make the effort to meet up with your friends face to face. Be the person who looks beyond words on a page, because online, it’s easy for us to be anyone we want to be, and sometimes all we need is for someone to look a little deeper.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

A Way Out

A Way Out

A #SundaySnippet

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I look at the pile of tablets on the table. It’s so much smaller now. Mind you, the bottle is also half empty. Or should that be half full? I can’t decide. I didn’t plan this. I don’t know that I even knew it was on the cards this morning.

I usually just get on with things, keep quiet, and try to be strong. I guess it all got too much, cause the next thing I know, I’m sat here, chasing pills with vodka. I don’t even like vodka. I suppose I just couldn’t face another day like today.

I feel a bit woozy now, but nowhere near woozy enough. I know that because I can still hear his voice in my head. He left five hours ago. I should be asleep, but I can’t. He might come back. How am I supposed to relax when I’m not safe.

I don’t remember when I last had a full, decent night’s sleep. I don’t know that I deserve it anyway. He told me that I didn’t, but I don’t know if I should believe him or not.

The pile’s getting smaller now…. The bottle’s emptier.. Nearly done.. Just a few more to go. Then he won’t come anymore, and I won’t have to deal with any of it..

Mum thinks I’m being a drama queen. She keeps telling me to be nicer to ‘Uncle Dave’, but she’s blind to it. She doesn’t see it how I do. She just doesn’t know…


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Milestones

Milestones

100th Post

Photo by April Pethybridge on Unsplash

This is my 100th blog post. I know it’s not exactly a huge milestone, but for me it is. I’ve wanted to start a blog for so long, and until May of this year, I haven’t been able to for various reasons.

But in May, I was introduced to Medium as a platform. This proved to be the game changer. It gave me the freedom to express myself out of the confines of a specific, topical blog.

So, today, in this 100th post, I guess I just want to thank all of you that have taken the time to read, to clap, and to respond to my posts. It really does mean a lot to have you along for the ride.

Here’s to the next 100 posts! 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Clouds

Clouds

A Poem

Photo by Schalk Neethling on Unsplash

Silver willow wisps
Float across the sky

White mares tails

Gigantic haunting ghosts
Circle the lands

Mother nature’s hands
Far reaching visions

The dressage of the sky,
God’s masquerade

Nature’s highest power
Atmospherics,
Cold and clear.

Water vapour,
Rain or snow
Hail or sleet.

Thunder and lightning
Its origination.

Life in the sky,
Clouds, and rainbows.
Sun and moon.

Mother nature’s creation.
The mystical castles in the sky.

A whole other world.
Life in excess.

Wondrous
Beautiful
Clouds


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

The Ties That Bind

The Ties That Bind

Story Snippet

Photo by Holly Stratton on Unsplash

Lily was sat in her room, the room that she had shared for so many years, and it seemed so much bigger now. So much emptier. She shook her head, feeling tears coming to her eyes when she thought about it. About her. She hadn’t spoken about her since she’d died. Her parents kept begging her to see someone, and to speak to them, but she refused. She just wouldn’t agree to it.

She couldn’t accept help, because she didn’t feel like she deserved it, so instead, she put up a wall between her and the outside world. Between her and everyone else. She didn’t want to talk to anyone about her. She couldn’t. It was getting dark in the room now, and she knew that she should get up and turn on a light, but she found the darkness strangely comforting. In the darkness, she couldn’t see the emptiness of the room, and the loss of Leah didn’t seem quite so tangible.

She closed her eyes, but as the image of Leah formed in her head, she opened them again, the pain that flooded her head, threatening to overwhelm her. She longed for the numbness that had immediately followed Leah’s death to return. She knew it seemed wrong, but she couldn’t cope with these new feelings that seemed to be rearing their ugly heads.

Every other thought always came back to Leah, and before she knew it, she was all she could think of. She sighed harshly, as anger flooded her senses. She didn’t want to think about Leah. She didn’t want to imagine her, or see her, or feel the pain of losing her. Pain. That was where it had all started.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Voice

Voice

Story Snippet

Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

Callie sighed silently, placed her pen down on the bed beside the journal, which was laying open on a half filled page, and looked up. Silence covered her like a shroud, and the air was thick with thoughts that were unspoken.

She closed the journal and hid it safely inside her pillowcase. Mr Matthews had given her the journal, in the hopes that it would help her to start speaking again. He’d said that he wouldn’t read it or ask for it back, “It’s yours, now, Callie. I don’t know why you won’t talk, or what it is that’s happened to you, but there’s this sadness inside you, that needs to come out somehow… and if you can’t speak about it, then maybe you can get it out some other way” Callie had smiled a small smile and accepted the journal in her usual silence.

He meant well, she knew that, but he just didn’t understand that she couldn’t talk about it. She had been so scared when it had happened, and had been unable to speak about it, and before she’d even realised it, she had become unable to even speak about simple things.

It was driving her mother to distraction, as she continually tried to get her to speak, using a variety of different methods. Her most recent one consisted of hurling a stream of questions at her, in the hope of provoking her into answering one of them, but she had, so far, been completely unsuccessful, causing her to suddenly burst into bouts of hysterical tears, which only served to make Callie feel worse.

She laid down on her bed and looked up at the ceiling. She had been spending an increasing amount of time laying on her bed, gazing at the ceiling. Sometimes, she pretended that she was staring at the open sky, inventing shapes out of different cloud formations. In reality, she was merely making shapes out of the shadows in her Dad’s uneven artexing, but she didn’t care. She liked to imagine, and for even a short while, it was able to transport her away from her own thoughts and torments.

It had all started about a year ago, during her first term in year nine. Up until then, she had been just like any other teenager. Her mother had complained on numerous occasions that she was a chatterbox, and had even asked her if she ever shut up. Those times were long gone, though, and as she stared at the ceiling, she found that she could barely remember back to that time.

The day that had changed her life seemed permanently imprinted on her brain, blocking out, and almost obliterating the time beforehand. She sighed again, and then jumped as she heard the front door open and close. That was her mother, who began her usual routine, which Callie had grown to know all too well by now. “Hello, I’m home” she called out, and she clearly still expected a response, despite the fact that Callie hadn’t responded to this for just under a year now.

She would then do a tour of the house, looking for Callie wasn’t sure what, before walking up the stairs, checking in each room, until coming to a stop outside Callie’s room. Here, she would knock, and then wait for her to answer, then, when no answer came, she would push the door open and peer around before saying, “Oh, so you are there then”

Callie didn’t respond. She didn’t even move. She didn’t mean to be rude, but she knew that she couldn’t give her mother what she wanted, and really couldn’t deal with seeing the look of frustrated disappointment on her face.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.