Don’t be Held Hostage, Be Aware

Actually, the full line is, “Don’t be held hostage by your past.” At the moment, I’m struggling, but I also know I’ll prevail because I’m aware and have a plan. That knowledge is my advantage over what spring causes. Yes, spring is about renewal and sunshine happiness, but less so in my case.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Regardless, I have a plan, a plan crafted when times are good.

Wait, what?

That’s right. The depths of depression isn’t the time to try and remember what you should be doing.

The plan is to not be held hostage?

No, that’s the ultimate goal.

So, that’s it then? Flush the past? Forget about it? Walk away and never let it enter the mind again?

That’s pretending. Me, I’d rather have the strength to look it in the eye and tell it to get out. For me, that’s a necessity. I’m a writer. The past is my primary writing resource. Writing is my purpose for numerous reasons. I have to be willing to don combat gear and face the triggers.

Okay, but what about when triggers come unannounced?


There are a couple of times each year when unannounced triggers are more likely (that’s awareness on my part). Spring is one. My subconscious knows May is littered with dates linked to triggers and doesn’t hesitate to make the associations, even in my dreams.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Photo: CA Hawthorne

*The other period for me is more common: the holidays.

Each trigger in life, no matter when they surface, is a spark trying to initiate a chain reaction that causes a downward spiral.

In the spring, I can minimize the triggers, but not prevent them. I can, though, snuff them out when they spark. That requires awareness, which I think of as a larger form of mindfulness. It’s about preparation.

My preparation was born in the spring of 2020 when my triggers were joined by the pandemic, job loss, lockdown, isolation, and a counselor who completely and utterly failed me.

That led to my daily self-help plan that I’ve talked about before. It includes affirmations, meditation, mindfulness, outdoor exercise, positive self-talk, and yoga. In times of crisis, there are other options.

Triggers, though, can strike any time. That’s when awareness must alert me to take the proper steps. Otherwise, once depression is in place, I’ll welcome the downward spiral.

There are parts to my awareness…

  • Awareness of triggers (May and the holidays, especially)
  • Awareness of options (all my self-help choices … I keep lists!)
  • Awareness of danger (negative self-talk, rationalizing, avoiding positives)
  • Awareness of strengths (affirmations, journaling, poetry, acknowledging past success)
  • Awareness of purpose (my primary reason to fight and keep fighting)
  • I’m mentioning purpose yet again?

Absolutely. Without it, my writing, including this blog post, wouldn’t exist. In fact, it’s my editing the novelettes linked to Stealing Light that inspired this blog post. Those six novelettes (11-12K each) chronicle the key events leading to the inclusion of six classmates in an elite class at Thornwillow School for the Gifted.

Each of them had to overcome tremendous obstacles. They inspire me and, I hope, will one day inspire others. That’s purpose.

That’s being aware of my purpose and what I must do to get there.

Stealing Light, though, is technically Tharlise Martavien’s novel because she’s a woman with the heart to be awareness for others. A professor at the university when the novel opens, it’s her encounter with the class’s fifteen year-old seventh student that sets her course…

For the instant needed for Tharlise’s seeker sense to process character, she painted a warm smile over the expression wanting set free. Astounded? Dumbfounded? Stunned? They were all words that applied.

Verker wasn’t evil, of course. That was easy enough to determine via observation. Contact, though, told so much more. Biologically, he might be a Rendcide, but otherwise he had nothing in common with the family.

Across the spectrum that was the Colors of the Seeker, Kurss Rendcide had to be Orange dotted with Red. If he was pure Red, and therefore pure evil, the government would be forced to act.

Verker was at the opposite end of the spectrum. Not pure Blue, for few were, but a gentle mix of Blue and Green. The color movement, though, was anything but serene. The churning exposed his inner turmoil. His trembling, sweaty palm agreed.

More important was what she’d come to discover…

She’d stepped into a tinderbox forest, a conflagration sweeping through the trees. Verker’s gender spirit wasn’t just dysphoric, it was a hundred square leagues of out-of-control, blazing dysphoria.


About Christina Anne Hawthorne

Alive and well in the Rocky Mountains. I'm a fantasy writer who also dabbles in poetry, short stories, and map making. My Ontyre tales are an alternative fantasy experience, the stories rich in mystery, adventure, and romance. Alternative fantasy? Not quite steampunk. Not quite gothic. In truth, the real magic is in those who discover what's within.
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