Friday, January 27, 2012

a case study: dream dementia

dream demetia.

this is a condition that inflicts many. i'm not an expert on a lot of things but i know dream demetia. it has several stages. each stage can be recurring and a person can switch between stages without warning. sometimes there are triggers that spark a stage or symptom. however, in my expert opinion, symptoms most commonly appear without warning.

this case study will review the stages along with factual information of symptoms and/or triggers.

stages are not listed in any particular order. they may occur randomly and at any time.


this first stage most commonly occurs in a person's late teens and early twenties. however, in cases (or case) that i have studied there is a 100% chance of recurrence. this is the point in dream dementia, or dd, when the subject has an AHA moment (all rights to "aha moment" used without permission from Oprah Winfrey). in this moment the subject will realize that he or she does, in fact, have a dream and they must accomplish it immediately.

symptoms inclue:
-arms flailed
-uncontrolled urination
-heightened sense of self worth
-heightened sense of invincibility
-extreme self confidence

this stage can appear in smaller versions throughout all other stages. however, the severity will be greatly weakened by the negativity of other stages. negativity will most certainly diminish the symptoms of this stage.

in my study of dj  (names chaged due to HIPAA and to protect the suffering) there have been at least two defined cases of "have dream-must accomplish." the first occurrence was in the subject's early 20's. she was in a bookstore and saw a video of a woman performing in front of a large audience. the subject reports that she experienced tears, speechlessness, and giggles. dj reports in that moment she told a witness, "that's what i'm supposed to do." she realized that she had a dream to sing in front of a large crowd and she was determined to make that dream come true. this is a classic example of the "have dream-must accomplish" stage of dd. often at this point confidence is very high and even the most logical arguments are excused due to the adrenaline of the dream realization. dj has agreed to guest blog about her second experience at a later date.


this stage is quite possibly the most disheartening for the sufferer. often the daily routine of life, self-doubt, and criticism of others can bring a person from "have dream-must accomplish" to the "had dream-misplaced it" stage quickly and without warning. perhaps even more often, a person may realize that many years have passed since they experienced the moment that caused arms to flail or loss of urine control. this realization will resolve into a period of hopelessness, self-pity and/or self loathing.

some common phrases associated with this stage are:
-i'm too old for [said dream] now.
-i've wasted so much time doing [insert other life task].
-i couldn't do [said dream] anyway! i'm very busy with [other life task]!

in my study of dj, this stage's symptoms where at the worst following a failed marriage in which the subject felt very lost and her identity was uncertain. her loss of identity, misplacement of personality and the lack of support from her partner were great factors and were in close correlation to her misplaced dream. the subject reports that this stage lasted for many years. even during rare times when the dream would slightly resurface, self doubt would again achieve greater precedence and in the end snuff out any slight spark of hope. in dj's case the unending support of friends was pivotal in the reappearance of hope over and over again. the subject does report the small hope of her dream on the horizon during this time but negativity killed all hope, as suspected.


this stage is quite the conundrum. studies have shown that, in a healthy person, the majority of time is spent in this stage. this stage of dd is both cognitively and emotionally confusing. there is: excitement and dread, peace and confusion, freedom and bondage, realization and questions, strength and weakness, hope and fear.

some questions associated with this stage are:
-now what?
-where do i go from here?
-will this ever matter?
-am i good enough?
-will i ever be good enough?
-what if i am a complete failure?
-what if i am a huge success?
-am i doing all that i can?
-can i do more?

many subjects will become so comfortable in this stage that he or she will be content to live there for a very long time. it proves an easy task to live within one's comfort zone. becoming content and comfortable often results in a recurrence of had dream-misplaced it phase. studies have shown that accountability proves a good remedy. as long a person has someone pushing him or her toward the dreams the probability of falling into a more negative place decreases.

dj reports that she currently resides in this phase. she admits to all symptoms. she is thankful for a group of friends who keep her accountable and encourage her to work on her dream consistently. she reports that in the past few months she has taken great strides in accomplishing her dream (as evidenced to the right of this post). she also reports that she is both comfortable and discontent at present. this mixture of emotions results in a willingness to continue growth in her current tasks at hand AND continue to pursue every dream. she even reports that the pursuit of one dream has lead to the realization of another. this is common in this stage of dd. once a subject has taken a small step toward dream fulfillment, he or she will realize there is no limit. you can dream as big as you can imagine. a person will realize that his or her creator really is able to do way, way more than she can ever ask or even think.


currently no data. more information to come. 

in conclusion, if you or someone you know suffers from dream dementia, this is common. you are not alone. strive to live in the stage where dreams are accepted and pursued. when you find yourself in a place of negativity remember to seek out friends who will help guide you back in the right direction. the expectation is that your creator wants to do more than you can even imagine too!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

the dance.

i've been reading a friend's pre-published manuscript. at the heart of the story it is a timeless love story with some amazing twists and turns. as i was reading i was so inspired by the story that i literally had to stop in the middle and play guitar. as i played the melody in my head the lyrics that continued to take over were not my own. they lyrics belong to a guy named tony arata.

as you guys have already read, my dear friend passed away. during that time i sang this song over and over as i grieved. i even quoted it at the end of my memorial blog. the thing i learned later...mark's brother, danny, sang this song at the memorial. such a powerful and beautiful song.

i am so thankful for music that speaks to your soul. i am also thankful for beautiful stories that do the same. so thanks to tony arata for the beautiful lyrics and thank you to rae ann parker for the beautiful story and loving friendship.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


you know there are those people in your life that just simply leave an impression. they shape who you are in some way.

mark haddock was one of those people for me.

my two oldest sisters married brothers and they had younger brothers. i can't remember a time that danny and mark weren't part of my life. when i was a child they would visit in the summer for multiple weeks. mark and i spent a lot of time together those summers. mark was 3 years older than me and we were close, he was literally the brother i never had. one summer we were really into playing card games. you see, one thing mark and i had in common we were both cursed with poor eye sight. we had glasses and we hated them. so there we are playing cards all summer and mark would get so frustrated that i was beating him. he just couldn't figure it out. we were both pretty competitive with each other so i was LOVING it. what mark hadn't realized...i could see his cards reflected in his glasses. yes, i know. i was a cheat. but you have to admit, if you could beat your older "brother" by any means possible wouldn't you? i never told mark.

by the time we were in high school mark moved to ky from ga. our friendship only grew stronger and i would be lying if i didn't wonder at times if i would be the 3rd schooler to marry one of the brothers! that was a short lived question because it became more and more clear that we were meant to be friends and nothing more. mark was like my brother and i was blessed to have him.

a few lessons learned from my dear friend:

- people know you're smoking in the back yard EVEN IF you hide the cigarette butts in the gutter.
- when someone says to you, "it's illegal to pee in the ocean." don't respond with, "oh, ok..i won't do it again." that's exactly what your punk older brother wanted to hear!
- driving record speeds from Atlanta to Lexington only gets you a ticket, not a NASCAR invite.
- it's ok to kiss a great friend....just in case.
- don't pick up a random hand gun at the house of someone you don't know. yes, there's a hole to prove this one.
- laughing until you roll in the floor is the best medicine.
- don't let him and james barker borrow your car. ever.
- once a georgia bulldog...always a georgia bulldog. even if you do live in the more superior sec state. (i can hear his laugh and his very southern bull$%*# right now)
- loving a person is not always easy but it is always right.
- there really is no value that can be placed on true friendship and acceptance.
- you don't have to agree with someone's actions to love them.
- a smile can change someone's day.

mark and i grew up and inevitably lost the closeness of our relationship. college took me miles away and we began to grow in different directions. i will never forget the day i came home for mark's engagement party. it was truly bittersweet for me because i had never seen mark so happy and he truly found where he belonged, a struggle that always plagued him. but there was still a small girl inside of me that wanted my great friend to be all mine. did i want mark to marry me? no. did i miss the summers playing cards, tennis, or basketball when it was just us? absolutely. i was so proud of my friend and brother.

as time went on disease became a part of mark's life. his disease was painful and at times debilitating. i continued to see him on holidays and we would talk about old times and old friends. but i am sad to say that it has been 2 years since i last saw mark. there's no good reason and no bad reason, just life. but i have loved mark my whole life. he was my brother.

this week my dear brother went on. his pain is over. his suffering is done. my one and only regret is that i didn't have a chance to say good bye. so i am telling you. if you love someone, tell them. take your opportunities to hug them. talk about the good times. laugh until you roll in the floor.

and mark...i love you friend. you made my life a fuller place to live. i will never forget our time and i can not wait to see you again. i will love you forever. we could've missed the pain but we would've missed the dance.

p.s. buddy, that shirt really sucks. ;-) good bye, friend.

Monday, January 2, 2012

where are the hover boards?

so i've kind of been putting off this "looking back at 2011" post. before i get started let me just say, it is now 2012 so WHERE ARE THESE?

 2011, i really don't know what to say about you. i'm not sure i've ever had a year with so many mixed emotions. so...let's skip all the bad stuff like a broken engagement, sister's tumor, dad's stroke, mom's near death/pacemaker experience, and so on and so forth. all that i will say about the negative is...i've learned a lot about myself this year and how i deal with the darkness. i've learned that externally i do okay. i have family and friends that are amazing and supportive. but there is this small fraction of me that looks back after the fact and can see what my coping mechanisms look like. mostly they look like sugar and shopping. yep, i like to eat chocolate and buy stuff i don't need. then in hind sight i get really frustrated at myself because that's not a part of me that i like. but no worries, now that i've made that confession to the ENTIRE INTRAWEB i'm more likely to work on that. i don't usually make a formal list of resolutions, it's more like a list in my head but let me just say that on the top for 2012: find healthier ways to deal.

enough already with all that!! let's talk about all the amazing things that happened this year instead!

if you are one of the 3 people out there that read this blog regularly :-) then you know i've talked about family illness before. but what i haven't said is that my family is amazing. my sisters are amazing. i love each of them for all the same reasons and for very different reasons at the same time. and my parents, what can i say? they've had a rough couple years BUT they're still here, they still love and support me, and they are still the best. we have been so blessed and i don't want to ever fail to say how thankful i am that our Creator is still creating every day in ways that we don't always understand. sometimes as the creation i don't think we are supposed to know the mind of the Creator. we are his to mold...our job is to simply remain as putty in his hands (ooohhh, i feel a song coming out of that).

if i had to give 2011 a nickname it would be something like "The Year of Expanding Friendships" or "The Year Of The Writing Rock Stars" or "What the What??? I Know So Many Past & Future NYT Bestselling Authors" 

all joking aside, this year i have met some really amazing people. there is a community of writers that have welcomed me in as one of their own. they see me as a creative mind. they don't care that i'm writing songs while they are writing children's or young adult novels. i thrive on creative energy so knowing these amazing people has only made me a better songwriter. in fact, a chance meeting with them sparked something in me BUT we'll talk more about that in the next section.

but my new friendships didn't end with writers! i've have met some truly talented people in so many different fields. i met some pretty amazing songwriters, musicians, producers, baristas, etc...

and then there are the old friendships. those tested by time. those people that know the best and worst of me and love me anyway. my "framily" (as coined by one of my middle school students) is the best. i am continuously amazed by their love and support. each year we do homemade christmas gifts for each other and i PROMISE you there is no way you could buy something as quality, unique, and special.

in all aspects of my life i am surrounded by so much talent that i truly and honestly am amazed. sometimes i just sit back and wonder where they all came from and how i got so lucky that i get to call them friends!


on superbowl sunday Court invited me to hear a talk presented to SCBWI Mid-south about birth order and how it effects character development. that day i met Ruta and started talking about the music industry and songwriting. one of the first things i noticed about Ruta was that she can literally make you think anything is possible. she did it that day and she has every moment i've spent with her since. so i left that day thinking, "hmmm...maybe there is a place for me in the music industry." it wasn't until later when i learned more about her career that i realized, "HOLY CRAP! Ruta is a ROCK STAR!" i am so, so very glad that i didn't know that first day because i'm sure i would have fan-girl geeked out and may have said something like "um...blah." anyway, i digress...

the combo of Ruta's encouragement, the creative energy that stirs in a room of writers, and the DECADE (literally) of Court telling me i had it in brought something out in me that lay dormant for many many years. in the next couple days i had a song, and then another, and then another. then i joined Nashville Songwriters Association International. i began a journey that ended in a small studio and ultimately the release of Contradictions on Dec. 13, 2011. who knows where i'm going next? no really, if you have ideas for next steps that would be amazing!!haha!

i also took a nashville number system/songwriting class at Vanderbilt this fall. my instructor was Odie Blackmon who has multiple #1's and a grammy nom. the class was so much fun and i met some really cool people. i learned a LOT that i didn't know about how things work in nashville but mostly it was just one more confidence booster. most weeks i played one of my original songs in class...let me tell you, that's not intimidating AT ALL! sitting in front of a long time nashville songwriter (not to mention the other writers and musicians in the room) and playing YOUR song. can you say vulnerable?!?! but Odie is an amazing, sweet person and was always so appreciative and complimentary. i'll forever be grateful to my classmates and Odie for making me feel like a REAL singer/'s a good feeling.

what's in store for the next year? i'm not real sure but here are a few things i DO know
 - i will be a better, healthier me. '11 was the first time in my life i've held a consistent workout schedule but in the fall/winter life happened and my routine lost it's priority status. this will change.
- i will play more live shows. i have an album and now i must step out of the comfort of the studio and into some live music venues. i have a radio show scheduled soon and i'll send out details as soon as i have them. more to come...this is only the beginning!
- i will drink more water.
- i will WARRIOR DASH!! yes, and i will receive a VIKING HELMET!
- i will be me, always me. i will not compromise who i am.
- i will write more. more songs, more blogs, more lyric journaling, more writing.

so those are just a few simple things but like i said, i don't usually make a resolution list so this was pretty good for me! so good bye 2011, you were amazing AND sucky but thanks for the lessons learned and the friends made. on to 2012...may it be the best yet!