A Bloody Message

A Bloody Message

While I was getting leg surgery, the doctor, with his hands covered in my blood said, “There is nowhere to go because you’re already there.” I thought this was so profound that I laughed. Cut open and bleeding on the surgery table, I laughed. I would remember those words.

This doctor then told me about the yoga routine he does every morning led by Bryan Kest. I like yoga. When I got home and was properly healed, I looked up the yoga routine. As I did the downward-facing-dog and listened to Bryan Kest talk about his life philosophies, he said, “There is nowhere to go because you’re already there.”

It may not have been my doctor’s original thought, but it was still profound.

In my last blog, I wrote about the fear of submitting my writing. I could have been afraid of criticism, and I could have been afraid of rejection, but I wasn’t. I was mostly afraid of success. I was more afraid of being accepted than rejected. Rejection keeps me where I am, acceptance puts me in unfamiliar territory.

If they accept me, they will find me out. They’ll find out I’m a fraud. I have tricked everyone into thinking I’m better than I am.

Once there is success they will see through my facade and stamp my forehead with “con artist”. I would rather be rejected before anyone found me out. I would rather stay in the familiar territory of sameness. I would rather no one see my work, ever.

But then…..

But then…I’m not a writer at all, at least not in the sense I want to be. A real writer is read. A real writer feels like a writer. A real writer has success. So when can I say I am successful? When can I say I have arrived?

At this point, I could list all the things that would determine I have arrived, like making a living with my creative writing. Or selling a screenplay or two. But I won’t do that because there is nowhere to go, I’m already here. I am already the writer I want to be.

The only missing piece is feeling like a success instead of a failure. And since my feelings are the only things at play, I can change them. Right now. Right? I am already a writer. I have already arrived. And whatever else happens, happens. The recipe for being a successful writer is feeling like a successful writer.

There really is nowhere to go, I’m already here.

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Pansy

Pansy

As I hovered the mouse over the button, my hands seized up and I was overtaken with the “devil shakes”. Shaking and freezing, I held my breath and closed my eyes and almost vomited on myself as I clicked the mouse. It sailed away, into the wild blue sky.  No take backs. I didn’t calm down for a few hours after that. I needed an electric blanket and hot tea to cure the devil shakes. And next month I would do it all over again. Saints preserve me.

This happened a few years ago when I promised myself I would submit my writing once a month to somewhere, a contest, or a magazine, or some other third thing, and by gum I did it. Yes, I did. For two whole months, I did it. So, twice. I submitted two things.

This was not the first time I submitted my writing somewhere, but part of a writer’s job description is submitting, and apparently, I had a hard time with that. Before my once-a-month goal, I had years between each submission.

Judging from my reaction, submitting was terrifying to me. But what was I afraid of? I can only speculate. I could say I was afraid of rejection, but that wasn’t it because the goal was only to hit the submit button. I didn’t really have any expectations beyond that.

I did eventually get two rejection letters from my little goal, one from each submission, and I was quite proud of them. I had never gotten a rejection letter before. They made me feel like I accomplished something. I even thought it might be cool to collect rejections, but I was so freaked out by the submission process that I soon “forgot” about my goal.

This might make me sound like a super pansy writer, and I am, but I have also worked as a journalist and a copywriter several times over. I also published a book (Roxanne in La La Land by L.A. DeVaul for the interested ones) and I currently work for a publishing company. But that is all a different kind of writing. It is writing out of necessity. When I write from my soul it changes things. I become terrified.

It is one thing to write something when someone is waiting for it, and it is another thing entirely to write something meaningful in my free time, then give it to someone who never asked for it and wouldn’t know if I died tomorrow.

At the publishing company, I read through submissions (an ironic job). And I am often struck by the bravery of the people who send in their work. Some people refer to all the other places they submit and how the rejection is getting to them, but I admire their rejections. They are submitters. I am a pansy.

While pansies are beautiful flowers, I would like to be the kind of pansy that grows through sidewalk cracks. Instead, I cave looking at the submit button. I want to be more like those submitters who have collected enough rejections to create a life-sized paper mache home. I am easing my way into the writing world with blogging. I am about to hit the publish button (not as scary as the submit button).

 

A Little Breath

A Little Breath

I sit here listening to meditation music and editing. The house is quiet. The baby is sleeping. The lamp in the corner looks like an angel who has just picked flowers. My life suddenly feels peaceful after so many days of constant whineyness and crying (some of it from me), that I had to write and share it with you. The moon is rising over the mountains and life feels good for the first time in a while. The challenge is staying awake long enough to enjoy it.

 

Change

Change

There was a time when I swam every day. Diving into the cool water, adjusting my goggles and stretching into the stroke. Glug glug glug, breath. Glug glug glug breathe. Back and forth. Counting the yards. Thinking of nothing. I swam for hours.

I didn’t know it then, but I was trying to swim away from my life. After I swam I would eat a 3 Musketeers and ride the bus until it brought me back to my starting point, then I would get off the bus and walk home.

At this time I was in a relationship with someone I fondly refer to as “the meanest guy in the world”. We worked together at a job I didn’t like and every day after work he would call and ask me to come over. I hadn’t yet learned how to say no. So in order to avoid him I would swim and ride the bus. On the occasion when he did catch me at home, I would go to his house and stay for hours, then walk home across town much too late in the evening for my early morning shift. (I also had a hard time saying, “I have to go.”)

Now that many years have passed, I understand that the relationship was hard to let go because he would be just nice enough to keep me coming back. When he thought he had me he would be the meanest guy in the world, and when he thought he was losing me he would be the nicest guy in the world. I also wanted to be with someone mean.

Being with someone mean gave me permission to be mean. We would have shouting matches where I would say all the mean things I had been saving up. All the tension I felt would be released. Shouting until my face throbbed had a cathartic effect on me, if only momentarily.

He was also kind. And when the meanest guy in the world is kind, you cling to it. I clung to it. And despite all the times I told him to leave me alone, and I never wanted to see him again, he always called a few days later, laughing and joking and pretending like nothing had happened. And when someone acts like they want you that much, it is hard to be mean.

So I swam and I rode the bus and I ate 3 Musketeers (a candy bar which I never liked much and still don’t, but that kind of sums up my life at that time); and eventually, after so many afternoons of me not being home when he called, the meanest guy in the world called me in the evenings. Then he resorted to stopping by for a friendly visit. His visits always left me feeling glad I didn’t see him more often. Eventually I moved and didn’t tell him. I haven’t seen him since. But he did come to me in a dream once.

In the dream he talked a lot about nothing. He told me he was gay now. And he complained about the abusive relationship he was in, and how they kept breaking up and getting back together, and how this time it was final, and how his boyfriend was such a jerk. And I knew he was the same as he ever was. I hadn’t missed a thing since we lost touch.

Years later, I suppose I can say all that swimming and bus riding really did take me away from the life I didn’t want. I swam away from the need for drama, or the idea that drama was interesting. I swam away from the belief that pain made me deep and romantic. I swam toward a life that is peaceful and beautiful, where I am free to be kind. A life I wouldn’t have been prepared for in the past.

P.S. I am now married to a very kind man. I told him if we had met years ago I would have been mean to him then because I felt the need for one party in every relationship to be cruel. If I had been with him in those days, I would have been the cruel one. He responded by saying, “I would have let you too.”

Magic and Miracles in 2016

Magic and Miracles in 2016

Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good night!

I love Thanksgiving, but this post isn’t about that. It is about my new best friend. So, I guess it is about Thanksgiving because I’m giving thanks for a wonderful year.

Last year was a little rough on me. I had a divorce, homelessness, an emergency room visit, a car break down, three surgeries, and that’s not even the end of it.Don’t get me wrong, last year was good too, I was a completely different person by the end. Different enough to recognize my beautiful new husband a few days after we met. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

At the beginning of 2016 I wrote a post called, The Greatest Love Story, about how my relationship with men and writing seemed to parallel each other. I thought if I figured one out, the other one would fall into place. Not that I was fighting really hard to figure them out. I felt a little lost with both of them. I don’t know how many times over the years I wanted to get rid of both of them, thinking: “Maybe I’m not really a writer. Maybe I’d be happier alone.”

And yet the love and the writing kept coming back to me. Being single felt like a cop-out. It is too easy to be strong, happy, and independent as an individual, but as a couple, next to a man…I hadn’t yet learned to be strong happy and independent when another person was involved, especially the all-powerful male.

I didn’t know how to be connected but independent; caring without losing myself, agreeable without sacrificing myself. I didn’t know how to be good to myself without stomping on him, or be good to him without losing myself. And besides all that, even if I did figure that out, how would I know if we were compatible? I tended to like everyone, but what would hold up in the long run. I had no idea, but after the roller coaster of last year, I had opened up to magic and miracles, so I was certain I would find everything I was looking for.

Well, my happy marriage miracle did happen. I met and married my husband in 16 days last February. While we were both scared and nervous at first, over the months we have found our way and are happier and more content with each passing day. We have both learned to care for ourselves without steamrolling the other, and care for each other without losing ourselves. It is a beautiful thing. So, there you have it; the man thing is finally figured out.

Now about the writing; as hard as I tried over the years, I couldn’t get it to come out properly, but it also wouldn’t leave me alone. As I navigated the beginnings of my marriage, I was still unable to navigate my writing.

Then a few days ago, another miracle occurred. Several days ago I watched a Woody Allen documentary. He sat down to his desk and talked about his typewriter. He said he had been using that typewriter since he was 19 years old and it would probably outlive him.

I thought about this typewriter, and while I am not one to rush out and try all the writer rituals (because I believe they should come naturally), I remembered typing a book when I was fourteen years old. Even though we had a computer, I went down to my dad’s office and wrote an entire book on that IBM. In comparison, I have written out many books by hand, but when it comes to transcribing them onto the computer, I don’t finish. With the typewriter, I finished.

I stewed over this for a day then ran out and got my own handy dandy typewriter.

My new best friend.

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I’m happy to be here, I swear

You probably know this isn’t a perky blog. Well, today I’m feeling even less perky than usual. So the question is: What do I wear and how do I blog when I’m feeling so under the snuff?

We’re about to find out.

Despite feeling groggy and bleh today, here I am dressed and facing the world, or at least the dentist, with my very unperky energy.

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That is my numb-after-dentist face.

Maybe this blog should be called: What to wear when you want to be naked.

Leggings again, and because they are the semi-see-through ones, I wore little shorts underneath. Giant mint sweater with cowl neck. The light gray shoes connect the top and bottom of my outfit. Pale and pale. And once again, top-knot and no makeup.

So there it is, comfortable, low-maintenance and pregnancy approved. Oh, that’s right. I’m pregnant. I guess I haven’t told you yet. It’s a boy. Pregnancy makes this whole fashion thing much harder.

Next week: what to wear when you keep getting bigger. Spoiler alert! The answer probably has to do with leggings (but maybe I’ll surprise you again).

P.S. One of these days you will see me wearing makeup and looking a little happier to be here, but only if it’s genuine. This blog is about honesty and if I honestly don’t feel like wearing makeup or smiling, dadgummit! I won’t wear makeup or smile. (But I would look seriously freaky if I smiled in this picture. Dentist Face!)

P.P.S. Anyway, I guess that’s all for today. But seriously, even though I’m unperky, I am really enjoying being here. Maybe this blog soothes me. Maybe I’m healing from my desire to hide and things are really changing for me. Wow…this is kind of exciting. Maybe you will witness my chrysalis emergence, along with my swelling stomach.

Stay tuned…

Feeling Sort of Beautiful Today

Well hello, fellow philosophers; so we meet again on this fine feathered day.

Since my last post I have had a bit of a journey. Perhaps I will tell you about it, or perhaps I will begin somewhere else. There is so much to say, how do I begin? I suppose first I will start with this:

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That’s me. Today. This blog is about fashion and healing (and other stuff too). When I started this blog, I thought I would be motivated to get myself all gussied up because I would be taking a picture of myself every day. Instead, I just quit blogging.

The problem is that some days I don’t want to get all gussied up. Some days makeup feels messy instead of beautiful. Some days comfort is more important than fashion. Some days wearing clothes feels like a chore. And that is just part of the package of life.

The question is: how do I embrace these days and still go into the world without feeling like a slob?

So let me dissect my outfit for you.

I am wearing a large, loose super-comfy shirt with navy leggings and gray ballet flats. I look like my outfit took some effort, while staying one step away from pajamas. I had on a navy cardigan earlier today, but now that I’m relaxing at home, I threw on my periwinkle hoodie. Both are really comfortable and go with the outfit, one just has a more casual vibe than the other.

As for the hair, the top knot is always a low-maintenance favorite. I like to keep mine a little wild while others might like a neater, smoother bun, either one is quick and easy.

With a pair of earrings and a bracelet or two, I would look a little dressier and still not have to wear makeup. And yeah, this is my makeup free face. Some days my face just wants a wet wash cloth swept over it to feel fresh and beautiful.

So this brings me to my point:

As women, it is important for us to feel beautiful. Sometimes we think we will acheive this with more makeup, or a smaller dress size, or better clothes, or having more money, or getting more men to fall in love with us, or whatever our thing may be, when in reality, feeling beautiful is simply a feeling. We can choose it or not choose it and it doesn’t matter if anyone agrees with us or not.Beauty is a feeling that has nothing to do with what we look like.

Which brings me to my second point:

But before I get to my second point, let me tell you about a little journey I took since we last met.

I knew I wanted to feel beautiful, but that proved to be more difficult than just deciding to feel beautiful.

As I tried embracing my beauty, I found my pathway blocked by a fearful little girl. She didn’t want to be seen or noticed. Feeling beautiful meant coming out of hiding, and she wanted to stay hidden. I had to face her and hold her and ask her what she was so afraid of. I could explain this process to you but it would be tedious and dull and that’s not what I’m doing on here anyway.

The Hollywood ending to this story would be that I emerged from all of this like a phoenix from the flames, glowing like the north star. But this isn’t Hollywood, nor is this the ending. This journey has uncovered layers. I have healed myself enough to come somewhat out of hiding (hence the ability to blog again) but I haven’t cleared all the layers yet. I still don’t hold that constant feeling of beauty in my heart the way I want. But I’m working toward it.

I’ll keep you updated.