A Triumphant(?) Return

Hello, friends, followers, and new folx! It’s been 895 years since my last blog post (okay, it’s been almost 3 years since my last blog post), and for that, I apologize. I have so many reasons as to why I haven’t written anything in this space, but I’m not here to make excuses. Instead, let me give a brief summary of where I’ve been these past 3 years, and where I think (hope?) I’m heading.

In August 2018, I decided to start working for a prestigious makeup company as an artist/skincare consultant. While I loved the work (and still do – pandemic aside, I still create fun makeup looks for myself and clients who can safely have their makeup done for events!), a series of very traumatic events made me give up makeup artistry with the company. But I still am a professional makeup artist, and I work for myself – which, to me, is far more satisfying! My company is called Lux By Lex – I’m on the Internet here and there. You can easily find me.

After the drama that went down in late 2018, I took time off from all work – makeup, writing, and even singing – to spend time with family. Then, I ended up having major surgery in 2019. Luckily, I was just fine, and by June 2019, was fortunate enough to return to Seton Hill’s In Your Write Mind conference with my best friend, Cara. We had an amazing time selling our books, partying with our closest friends, and just talking with our writing tribe. Those four days really renewed my passion to write, and when I met with two amazing agents, both were interested in a new novel I was pitching. While one decided to pass (it happens!), I’m still speaking to the other about future representation. No news yet, but that’s okay. My passion for writing sparked again, and I decided that it was finally time to stop selling Shattered and Villain. It’s not that I had a problem with those memoirs, but they were being adapted in different forms for interested agents. Therefore, my amazing publisher pulled them from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other locations, and I focused on my new novel as well as reworking Shattered. My true-life story about amnesia, DID, and a very bizarre life may resurface; if so, I’ll absolutely let everyone know!

In June of 2019, my husband and I also decided that we were finally going to build our dream home in St. Michaels, MD. It had been something we’d talked about for a very long time, and had saved up for since 2011. We were ready, and met with an amazing builder. And the remainder of 2019 was just as amazing: we had plans to move in May 2020. I was lucky enough to go up to NYC to see Moulin Rouge! The Musical twice (once with Cara, the second time with my husband). I sang with others again. I finished two novels – one about a coffee shop in a small town (that had been “finished” in 2016, but I changed a lot of it, and it’s now finished to my satisfaction), and another about Lucifer’s experience within Dante’s 9th circle of hell. I finished 2019 with a few makeup gigs lined up, going to see Frozen II six times, and the excitement that 2020 would be the best year ever.

And holy HELL was I wrong about that.

In good news, we did move – not in May 2020 as planned, but in July 2020. We are now in our house on the shore, and I can look out my window at the water lapping up against the boats (we don’t own any boats at the moment, but all the boats parked nearby are, by proxy, mine. I hope their owners don’t mind, haha). I have the most peaceful place to write, and for that, I am thankful.

But my health tanked. Due to the traumatic event in 2018, I needed another surgery – right at the start of the pandemic. My abdomen was wrecked, and a pretty intense surgery took place a few months into 2020. Then, about a month later, I was diagnosed with COVID19 – most likely from being in the hospital or from my follow-up appointments. Fortunately, I did not go to the hospital, but my case was severe enough that I lost my sense of smell and taste. My lungs still have not regained proper functioning. For all of the people who kept saying COVID was a joke, my stomach just ached. I felt as though I was dying, and half the world was denying that I was desperately ill.

Regardless, I finally “recovered,” we moved and settled into our new home – and just as I was prepared to really get back into my writing (since all makeup gigs, as well as musical gigs, were cancelled due to the pandemic), I found out that I had to home school my son. He’s nine, and he could have gone to public school, but there were some safety issues that the schools here weren’t addressing, and I felt that it was safer for me to keep him home (he and I both share autoimmune issues that make surviving a pandemic slightly more challenging). Therefore, most of my time to write novels was put into writing lesson plans, and while I would do anything for my amazing, brilliant child – I’m just not cut out to teach kids. HUGE props to those who do. You all are heroes. I couldn’t do this as a chosen career.

When 2021 arrived, I was filled with hope about vaccines and some return to living. I heard that people would be having weddings again, which would put me back into work as both a makeup artist and a musician. And since we live in a very touristy town, we are a wedding destination, so work can be plentiful.

And then I started passing out constantly. Or falling asleep while driving. Something was wrong, and I was rushed to the hospital when my blood pressure tanked to 66/30.

Obviously, I survived (I am not a ghost! I feel slightly disappointed that I’m still a human!), but my Multiple Sclerosis had progressed severely. It is likely that in ten to fifteen years, I may not be able to walk, swallow, or use my hands. And while I start infusion therapy in two weeks for this progressive form of MS, it’s still scary to think that I may not be able to write, sing, or do makeup. All the things I love hinge upon how well treatment works for me. And my kid is only nine. I have to fight this and stick around for him. I’ve fought for thirty-nine years of my life now (I’ll be forty this year, ugh…), and I’m not about to give up just yet!

But a lot of 2021 has been wrapped up in medical nonsense, and I’ve been VERY tired. In excellent news, I have now had both of my Pfizer vaccines for COVID, and while the second dose knocked me on my ass (I am about four days past receiving that second dose and am still feeling unwell) – trust me, it was worth it. I’m not about to run around without a mask on, but I feel SO much better that I am vaccinated. To make a Hamilton reference (because why not?) – I am NOT throwing away my shot.

So, if I’m sick (I was also diagnosed with Narcolepsy with Cataplexy – hence the falling asleep rapidly, and going into REM sleep so quickly looked like I was having seizures), and the pandemic is still very much A Thing, what comes next? What’s the plan? I think it’s something like this:

-Hope it’s safe for my kid to get the vaccine so he can go to public school in August.

-Receive my chemo infusions for my SPMS and hopefully live a longer, more productive life.

-Take back some of the time I’ve lost to sing, do makeup artistry, and write.

-Update this writing website, because WOW is some of my info out of date!

-Revise The Solitude of Light, my novel about Lucifer’s icy imprisonment in Dante’s 9th circle of hell, and shop it around.

-Finish my newest thriller, Asylum Harbor, have my editor take a look at it, and probably shop that around as well.

-Finalize my legal name change (it’s a long story involving DID, stalkers, my makeup company, and my past, but my pen name of A.E. Hayes will still stand. My legal name will become Lex, and I’m very happy about this decision)!

-Survive 2021 and enjoy my new home, my new hometown, and hopefully welcome vaccinated guests to the new place (we moved during a pandemic, so no one has really seen the house. I’d love to change that a bit)!

So, for now, my focus is on getting well and returning to work (in seven weeks, once I finish home school with my son). I’m just looking forward to blogging again, writing again, and enjoying this one really short, absolutely bizarre life that I’m somehow still living!

I’m also on Instagram now, so if you want to find me and see the new house/the family/what I’ve been doing (I haven’t posted in nine weeks, but that’s about to change – I’m trying to catch up!):

Regular, just-me Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ae_hayes/

Professional makeup Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lux_by_lex/

My Twitter: https://twitter.com/AE_Hayes

My Professional makeup Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lex_Hayes_Lux

(I will be updating these sites VERY soon, I swear!)

Hope everyone has been as healthy as possible. Stay tuned for updates, and thanks for being patient with me while I took some much-needed time away!

My new home view. I am NOT complaining!

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