It’s a little late, but Happy Halloween! I thought I would share some of the drawings I have done this past month.
First, is this horse. I was specifically working on it as something special to share for Halloween. It is based on a photoshopped photo that I created for one of the calendars for the equestrian team I was involved with back when I was still riding horses.
The next three were created for contests. The idea of this first one was to create a geek themed jack o’ lantern. I chose to create a Doctor Who inspired one, except instead of just drawing the TARDIS as if it could become a jack o’ lantern, I decided to make it a Halloween box. The idea was that it would be a giant jack o’ lantern that is bigger on the inside. What is inside mine? Halloween of course!
This next one was meant to be a superhero or villain combined with a movie monster. I chose Beast Boy for my hero and a gremlin for my movie monster. This was the result I got.
This last one was a coloring page that was provided for everyone. The idea was to create a Halloween costume for Superman. My idea didn’t work as planned. It turned into an oddly entertaining super fail. I planned on keeping Superman’s basic costume as it was and just using Halloween colors instead of his usual ones. To enhance the look I wanted to add a jack o’ lantern mask and bat wings. You can sort of tell what I was trying to do with the mask, but my wings don’t look anything like bat wings. Still, it was fun to try!
As October comes to an end, so does Selective Mutism Awareness Month. I admittedly did not do nearly as much as I meant to. The plan was to make a post about SM once a week, however this didn’t happen. Ironically, I am a writer with SM, but writing about SM does not come naturally to me.
Although October will be over before I post this, I have decided to do one more Selective Mutism Awareness post. I’m going to grab 10 random photos about SM and share them here. I think for next year I will create the posts early and preschedule them so I’m not struggling to think of something in the moment.
Besides being an author and the owner of the publishing company, A&M Moonlight Creations, I am also an artist and photographer. Although this post is not about selective mutism, photography and drawing are two of the things I do to help manage my anxiety. I might talk more about this later as I am planning on making at least one more post about Selective Mutism before Selective Mutism awareness month ends, but the focus of today’s post is something different.
Today, I would like to announce that my Redbubble store is officially open for business! It can be found under the name of priesterjen. My original shop name animalsandmagic was too long, as was my full name, so I went with the version of my name I use on Instagram and Pinterest.
The full link is here for anyone that might be interested;
October is a special month for me, and no, it has nothing to do with Halloween! October is Selective Mutism awareness month. A little over three years ago, I didn’t even know it had an awareness month. I hadn’t even really been aware that there were other people with it! Logically, I should have known to be diagnosed with something, other people had to have it as well, but growing up I never knew anyone like myself so as far as I knew, I was the only one.
Selective Mutism is a highly misunderstood condition due to the lack of awareness about it, which is why every year I do what I can to help spread the word and the correct information about it. Especially in the United States, very few people know enough about it to help those that have it. There are many misconceptions about Selective Mutism, one of which is that it’s only a childhood disorder. There’s more awareness now that it can continue into adulthood, as it did for myself, and even occur later in life. Child psychologists are finally learning how to treat SM in children, however at least in the U.S., there are no adult psychologists that understand the condition.
One of the reasons why I do my best to participate in spreading awareness about my condition each year is due to my experiences with it. If there had been more awareness, some of my negative experiences with SM might not have happened. I also might not have Selective Mutism today if more had been known about it when I was a kid.
When I was growing up with Selective Mutism, it was believed that when someone with SM didn’t talk, it was a choice. Most people believed that I was always refusing to talk, when I couldn’t. A lot of this had to do with pressure. The problem is, pressure to talk makes it harder to do that. Trying to force someone with SM to speak whether it’s done through bribes or threats the result is usually negative as that only adds more pressure. I never did understand why teachers would think I would choose punishments or failure instead of answering them.
There were many times throughout my school years, when I would have done anything to be able to talk like everyone else. For instance, why would I have chosen to accept punishments for things I didn’t do if I could have said something? Like many kids who are different, I was bullied often. For some reason, a favorite bullying tactic was to get me in trouble for things I didn’t do. I clearly remember one time I had to stay indoors during recess writing over and over that I wouldn’t erase my name off my papers, when it had been the kid sitting in front of me that did it. I remember having to watch him do it, unable to say anything or do anything about it and just having to accept the punishment for it. Another time I got in trouble for writing my name on the wall of a bathroom stall. I never did understand how it was possible it could have been written in my handwriting when I hadn’t done it. I did know who did it, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it.
Group projects were always a challenge. Usually I didn’t bother trying to participate because I knew they wouldn’t even try to involve me anyway. The teachers never understood this and usually put me in groups with some of the same kids I was always being bullied by so of course I chose to stay at my desk instead of even physically joining the groups. One of the biggest problems with Selective Mutism is being unable to explain it to people because most teachers and therapists will not allow speaking through writing and not being able to speak out loud means having no way of communicating. I remember one particularly bad group project where I did my part of the project by ding the research and taking the notes I was required to, but they couldn’t read my writing so they decided to redo it all. It was a video project and they also didn’t allow me to be part of the video. Instead they told the teacher I didn’t do the work and had refused to be part of the video!
I only ever had one good group project and that was with a group that understood I work best by doing rather than talking. I was doing really well in math that year and when my group would get stuck on a problem, they knew they could just ask to see my work because I had usually solved the problem by the time they got to it, and my answers were usually right so for once in my life, I was actually able to really contribute something to a group even if my method of doing so wasn’t usually accepted by people. Usually, the group dynamics are simple. If you don’t talk, you don’t have anything to contribute. I never would have dreamed that I could be a valuable member in a group.
I’m going to stop for now, however I hope to continue writing about Selective Mutism and sharing my experiences throughout the month, both the positive and negative, to bring a better understanding to this extreme anxiety disorder.
For now, I’m going to end this by sharing a Selective Mutism awareness page on Facebook. This page was specifically created by a member of a group I’m in to publicly spread awareness of SM.
The day no one thought would arrive is finally here! I am actually in the process of updating my websites. The one I’m starting with is my personal page. So far, I have updated the homepage to include myself as an artist and photographer. If you happen to visit my website, www.jenniferpriester.com, ignore the homepage background as I will be changing that. A few minor text changes are also in the works, but the majority of it will remain the same as what’s seen in the photos below.
The pages for the artwork and photography are still in progress so what’s on the homepage is all that’s there at this time, however I’m working on figuring out the best layout design for those pages based on the options I have to work with.
Also included on the homepage are actual working links to all my other sites and social media pages! I finally figured out why none of my links were working, so that alone was major progress with my site and I will now be able to fix that problem on the A&M Moonlight Creations site and the Mortal Realm Witch Series site as this was an issue across all my websites.
Besides, art and photography, I am also working on putting up the links to my stores. The link to my Redbubble store is up now and I’m creating a page on my site for some sample products available from my Redbubble store. The link to the A&M Moonlight Creations store is coming soon.
Also coming soon, is a mental health awareness section featuring selective mutism and social phobia. I haven’t figured out how to add both the photos and text in a way to make it personal and engaging without overwhelming the page with text yet, so at this time all I have is the idea of what I want to do.
I apologize to anyone who started reading this, hoping my announcement was going to be about a new book. I do have many works in progress and will continue to publish books in the future, however at this time, my focus is on making sure all my websites and social media pages are up to date before moving on to new projects.
Due to the current virus going around, I have seen many posts on various social media sites about parents with children stuck at home. Due to this, I have also seen many of these parents looking for some new children’s books. While I can’t help with younger kids, I can help anyone with children in the 8-12 age range or anyone who still enjoys reading middle grade fiction. So, from tomorrow, Friday 3/20 through Tuesday 3/24, the first book in my series will be free!
A day in the life with Selective Mutism is tiring, frightening and challenging. If I think back to my high school days, I remember the feeling of absolute fear rushing through my body when I tried to go about my day to day life. I remember on a typical school day packing my school bag with my lunch in the morning, this is a simple task yet it didn’t feel simple to me at all. “Oh no, I can hear my juice bottle sloshing around in my bag as I walk and move, I’ll have to leave it behind and go thirsty”. “My Mum has made me tuna sandwiches for lunch today, but I don’t think I can take them, when I open my bag people might be able to smell them, which will draw extra attention”. Apart from these barriers, eating at school was basically impossible anyway; I, like…
The first thing I thought when I started reading was that the five seemed like a fun group. I love how throughout, unlike a lot of other books like this, there are light hearted moments with the characters that are fun to be part of. These characters are easy to like and are quick to feel like friends more than just characters I’m reading about. It’s rare for me to actually feel involved with the characters and the world. This book accomplishes that. It’s a highly engaging and fast paced read. Unlike many longer books, I didn’t want to take a break while reading. I still needed to, but I really didn’t want to stop reading for anything. I was surprised for the kind of book it is, that I found it to be believable and have a realistic feel to it. The world and characters are easy to imagine and at a different time, I think the village would be an awesome place to live. It sounds like it would be paradise during better times.
Check out Aegis Rising on Amazon if you haven’t yet gotten a chance to read the first book in the Aegis League Series.
Until 11:55pm on April 2nd, I have been running a giveaway on Amazon for the chance to win 1 of 10 print copies of The Magical Adventures of DWW2. For anyone who hasn’t entered yet, there is still a little time left to do so.
For those of you familiar with the cover of the print edition of Learning About Magic, you will notice some changes have been made. To all those readers out there who have read and loved my book, the cover is all that’s changed. Inside, it’s still the same!