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).

 

Music makes me tired. Is that normal?

We are human, and we are alive for the soul purpose of connecting and healing.

Let me start by saying I understand and believe those words, BUT today and every day at work, someone turns on their music loud enough to fill an enormous space. Sometimes I like this music, but mostly I don’t.

As I sat today, being annoyed at the music player and jealous of those with earbuds, I considered my feelings of connection. Is it better to connect the room with music that is not agreeable to some? Or is it better to keep the room quiet while allowing everyone to have their own private Idaho with earbuds and iPod minis? No connection. No interactions.

If I were the organizer of the world, I would always keep everything silent. But whenever I have the opportunity to keep things quiet, within minutes, someone is saying, “Why is it so quiet? Let’s turn on some music.”

Today, as I thought about this, I assumed everyone enjoyed the noise of music, if not the music itself. Just then, my coworker said, “is that music bothering you?”

I said, “Not at this exact moment.”

She laughed and inserted her earbuds. So, not everyone is in love with the generic noise.

I thought about the ear plugs in my purse. If it bothers me too much, I will just get those out. When I kept thinking about them, I figured it was time to bring them out. So I dug around in my purse and pulled out the little ear plug container, but when I looked inside, it was empty. So much for my escape plan.

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Maybe next time gadget.

Eye Believe

Back in court, just like old times. I’ve actually missed it.

How is that for a catchy opening? Since I’m not trying to be catchy any more, just trying to be honest, it just happened to be the truth. I am back in court after a few years away, and I have missed it.

In case you are new to my life, I used to drive drug addicts around for a living. I spent lots of time in court and the homeless shelter. I preferred court to the homeless shelter.

But actually, despite the stressful job, I found sitting in court all day to be quite relaxing. There is something about the extreme order of it that was comforting to me. I seriously considered going to law school. But day after day in court did become tiresome. So I’m not currently pursuing a law degree, in case you were wondering.

But what do I do when I miss sitting in court?

(In case you were wondering, I am here to support my step son who is fighting a ticket for camping in a non camping spot.)

(The officer didn’t show up so the case was dismissed. Easy as that.)

Now I’m home. And here is my face as per usual.

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It actually took a few times to get this photo, I kept winking at the camera because I had something in my eye.

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See, selfies aren’t as easy as they look.

A farewell to prison

Dear Ego,

Thank you for all you’ve done over the years.

I know you tried keeping me safe, you even tried saving me from life. You kept me in fear. You kept me hidden. You kept me from breathing. You kept me in pain. You kept me in prison with you as my sympathetic guard. You even let me outside sometimes all while telling me how cold and frightening the world is. Your descriptions were so real I felt the cold, I felt the fear. I didn’t want to be free in that scary world. I wanted to stay safely in prison where my jailer took care of me.

You, my ego, my jailor, are a great listener. You sympathize, understand, and support all of my fears. Silly me didn’t realize I was only repeating your lessons back to you. You convinced me prison was safe by showing me a cold empty world in which I was afraid to live.

But all of that was a lie. You lied to me, ego. The cold empty world is the prison I’m living in with you.

My senses are dead because I experience no opposition. The food is all the same. There is no delicious because there is no bitter. There is no captivity because there is no freedom. There is no warm sunshine because there is no cold. All this safety amounts to no safety at all.

This prison has been my normal, but there is a whole world of opposites I am ready to explore. Safety is not holding my breath in a prison cell with my eyes squeezed shut, hoping the world will be different, but afraid it will change.

Safety is experiencing the world and knowing everything will be okay. Safety is knowing I can handle everything the world offers. Safety is knowing I don’t have to absorb anything I don’t want to. Safety is faith and trust. Safety is loving without needing its return. Safety is allowing myself to be cold because I know I will be warm again. Safety is breathing in the air of freedom even if it smells bad or makes me cough. Safety is knowing that my strength, with God’s,  is enough to thrive in this beautiful free world.

Safety is knowing that even if I get hurt, everything will be alright and I can heal in this life or the next. Safety is knowing that no one can truly hurt me without my permission. I am safer without you and your lies, ego.

I know you pretended to care for me but it was only to serve your own purpose. I am feeling a little angry and resentful towards you, ego, but freedom is forgiveness so being angry just keeps me as your prisone. I don’t love you, ego, but I don’t have to love you to forgive you. You can keep your empty prison but I won’t be coming back to it.

Goodbye, ego, this is the last day of our acquaintance.

As I walked away from the prison and the small, cold square of sunshine it offered, where everything had been the same, I knew now everything would be different.

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Not feeling so hot, but sharing my art anyway

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I thought a lot about art since I read “Linchpin”, and also since my last post.

I have a lot to say about art. I guess I’ve rejected my art impulses for so long that now, when I’m allowing myself to let it out, it’s a flood.

So like I’ve said before, I’m a writer. I’ve always been a writer, but I was afraid of writing. I wanted my writing to be perfect. I wanted so much from myself. I would criticize other writers while choking my own writing.

This blog has helped me let go of some of that. With this blog I’ve focused more on sharing my art than perfecting it.

And then I got this job… now I write everyday all day. And I don’t really have an editor. I’m just released onto the program, write whatever I want, and a week later it goes public. And because there is so much to do I don’t have much time for editing at all. Sometimes my mind is blank, sometimes I write stiffly, and once in a while I write something I’m really proud of. But no matter how I write, it has to go live on the deadline.

In the past I would have felt freaked out and self-conscious about this whole set up, and I have to admit I was a little uncomfortable at first, but since I didn’t have much choice, I have since let my art go. Since doing this, I feel more like a real artist than I ever did when I was trying to be perfect. I feel liberated. I know everything I write won’t be perfect and a lot of it might not even be good, but I’m doing it and releasing it over and over, and that is a place of power.

After my last post I thought a lot about the art I’m sharing with the world, and I realized fashion is a kind of art. When I put effort into my appearance, that is art. It’s not because I look perfect, or even good, it is simply about making an effort to share my best self with the world that day.

So after my last post, I got dressed in an outfit I enjoyed and went around town with my husband. I found strange feelings bubbling up like, I’m supposed to be more attractive than everyone else and because I’m not, what’s the point of trying? I felt like I was supposed to act stuck up because that was how people expected me to act. I had to keep reminding myself that my appearance was a form of art I was sharing with the world, not because I look perfect but because creating art whenever and wherever I can, brings light and joy to the world.

But I’m still working on that one.

What is this blog doing to me!?!

After writing my second post yesterday, I realized I hadn’t finished my thoughts about all I learned from my good friend Gwen.

The real message isn’t just to keep going after your dreams and not quitting, the real message is to have a vision, have faith in that vision, and not give up on the vision, even when the rest of the world doesn’t seem to care. That is the real message.

It is easy to say, “I won’t give up on my dreams.” But it is much harder to say, “I have a vision. I have been sharing this vision with the world for seven years now, and nothing has come from it, but I feel so strongly about what I’m doing that I won’t quit. I can’t quit.” That is what Gwen Stefani taught me.

I have said I wanted to be a writer since before I could write, but as I grew up I realized there is more to that vision than the word “write”. I can write in my journal every day and call myself a writer. I can blast out a novel and upload it to Amazon without reading through it and call myself a writer. I can blog about random things that happened during the day and call myself a writer. But none of those things would have vision or purpose to me.

Until now I have lived without vision. I have lived randomly writing and hoping things would fall together in a way that I could call myself a writer.

Well, my friends, I have a vision. I have built this vision for a while now, and it has recently become more concrete. I think it’s time to tell you about it.

But before I tell you about my vision let me tell you about fashion and healing. Fashion and healing is the name of my blog because my story is about how healing and fashion are invariably connected in my life. I can gauge my healing and my progress by my clothes.

Now let me say one more thing and then I promise I will tell you my vision.

My blog is my story. The reason it is a blog instead of a memoir is because as I grow, my story grows with me. Sometimes I can tell the same story numerous times and as my perspective changes, the story changes.

My vision is to write the open, honest stories of myself and others. I believe that if every person in the world were to have this same vision, the work would still never be complete.

So with that said, I am considering starting my fashion blog again, but it wouldn’t be a real fashion blog. I would just post a picture of myself every day to show you what my fashion/healing day is looking like. I guess the real question is: Will posting a picture of myself every day support me and my vision?

Since I am feeling very sloppy today it takes courage posting pictures of myself. I feel like I’m posting naked pictures of myself, and not sexy naked pictures either, the embarrassing kind, the vulnerable kind. But maybe that’s the best way to be. Okay, I’m taking a few deep breaths. Should I do it?

I don’t want the pressure of posting my picture every day affecting the way I dress. The point is honesty. If I dress for myself then the pictures have more purpose than if I dress for the blog.

Okay, fine. I will do it. Here it goes.

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Gwen Stefani and Blogging

As I have said before, much of my life has been spent carrying anxiety and depression on my shoulders. As I have also said before, I believe my anxiety is curable and I am on a quest to do just that.

Well, after saying all that, I can say that I believe my anxiety is almost all gone if not completely gone. I am proud to say that loudly and proudly across the rooftops without fear of being proven wrong. I am different. I am new. I am free.

So anyway, because of my anxiety, and many other factors. I have spent much of my life wandering around from job to job, purpose to purpose. Whenever I set my sights on some goal, I would fixate on it, put tons of energy into it, then get nervous and depressed and give up, thinking I probably didn’t want to reach it anyway as I wander away to repeat the pattern somewhere else.

Now I am feeling so different. I used to listen to a Sinead O’Conner song called, “Feel so different” and imagined that one day I would be able to say that with pure truth and knowledge that I had changed and I was never going back. I often sang along to the song, hoping it was true now…now…now? But now, after not hearing or singing that song for years, I can say I honestly feel different now. I feel so different.

Now it’s time to talk about Gwen Stefani.

I have been watching The Voice this season and I feel like Gwen Stefani is my newest best friend. Several times she has said that she has been in a band since she was seventeen and the band didn’t become her career until ten years later. I didn’t know this. I had considered Gwen Stefani as a lucky person who fell into her stardom because a series of happy accidents, her quirky style and her cool personality. I kind of thought that about every successful person. I mean, sure, talent played into it somewhat, but I figured most success was either grit, or luck, or both.

But the lesson Gwen Stefani taught me was focus. For ten years, she and her band rehearsed, wrote songs, played and toured, and didn’t give up. I assume her goals were to eventually earn enough money to rock and roll full time, but whatever she thought about her future, she and her band continued working together, working their day jobs, working on their music and didn’t give up.

I know I have heard this story before, the don’t-give-up-follow-your-dreams story, but for some reason, today it hit me how unfocused I have been. I expecting things to come quickly when I hit on the right nerve. And yes, I have said I wanted to be a writer since before I knew how to read, but I kept wandering away from that, and not knowing what kind of writing I wanted to do.

I didn’t know how to make writing a career. I thought I wasn’t good enough. I had to be perfect. It didn’t occur to me to write more and in the process of writing more, I would become good. Not being afraid to write something that will get bad reviews on amazon. (Thank you cjgames for reading my book, even though you didn’t like it.) And it didn’t occur to me to set a goal like blogging as a career, and sticking with it even when I didn’t see any progress. It didn’t occur to me that I could set solid goals and work towards them and enjoy the process of working even when it takes time to reach my goals.

And I was so afraid to set the wrong goals. What if I work so hard heading in a certain direction only to find the road hasn’t taken me where I want to go? That was a constant fear my whole life until a week ago. My fear and doubt about taking charge of my future is gone. (Thank you, Chandra.)

So now, with a solid goal in mind (making blogging my career) I will head towards it with Gwen Stefani-like focus and fun. I will write and post more often, without focusing on getting a bajillion followers, but on becoming a better writer and producing something meaningful and worthwhile, and enjoying the process.

And because I feel that my anxiety is gone, and because I can look at my future and see power and light and hope rather than darkness and fear, I now is the perfect time to become focused and take charge of my writing career.

So there. And thank you, Gwen. Yes, I’m feeling so different.