On Editing…books, but more importantly, life.

“Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not. ” ― C.G. Jung

This week I’m working on edits the editor sent back for Somewhere With You. There’s something both freeing and frightening about seeing your work all covered in red and the realization that on page 144 that you’re still making the same damned mistakes you made on page 14. And then on page 145 you SWEAR to yourself you’ll never make that mistake again, because damn it you’ve just spent two days (or two weeks, or two months) of your life rectifying something so ridiculous.

But here’s the thing, or the lesson for me anyway: we make mistakes and hopefully we learn from them– but that doesn’t mean they all of a sudden stop showing up. Oftentimes, they do so over and over, and for what?  Just to make sure we really got it, this time? :) Your guess is as good as mine. It’s a funny thing, life’s way of testing us.

And while this may sound negative, it’s really not. I figure, if we aren’t messing up, we aren’t trying anything new, and if we aren’t trying anything new, we aren’t learning, and if we aren’t learning…well, in my opinion, we aren’t really living.

Speaking of that, recently, I did a little “spring cleaning.” I wiped my calendar (mostly) clean, removed several things that no longer felt right, in order to make room for those that are a little less “certain.” One of these things happened to be joining an indoor soccer league– which as it turns out, is, um, no joke. The last time I played soccer was 20 years ago and I clearly remember leaving the team due to my inability to take organized sports seriously. It seems not a lot has changed. :) It also turns out there’s a difference between having a competitive nature and a serious one. For me, the two do not appear to be mutually exclusive, :) Always a fun lesson to learn, for sure. So yeah, fail forward, I say. It’s pretty fun, pretty freeing, and pretty fucking scary. But scary trumps boring any day of the week.

“In life, there are no mistakes, only lessons.” ― Vic Johnson

Seek and Ye Shall Find…

“It is my belief that love is mostly about showing up. It’s about showing up in the good times. And especially in the bad. It’s about being there, showing up, and continuing to show up. If you can do these things day in and day out, no matter what life brings you, you’ll find that love is there for the taking. In time you might come to find that while it’s not in the form you may have imagined—or necessarily the way that you thought it would be—it’s there nonetheless.”– Britney King, Breaking Bedrock 

First of all, I finding quoting myself quite odd, it’s the first time I’ve ever done it… and I’ll probably never do it again. :) Still, I couldn’t really think of a better quote for what I wanted to write about today. After my last post, having received so many thoughtful, kind responses I’ve struggled a little with the words; how to say that yes, loss sucks. And yes, there are sad days. But…at the same time there’s still so much joy. In fact, I’m not really sure if it’s possible to know such extreme joy and as much love– without having known loss.

Obviously, we all want to suffer as little as possible in this lifetime so I guess what I’m struggling with is how to say that there’s beauty, joy, and love even in the most devastating of times. That’s it’s not all black and white. And not only that, but the joy, and the love is magnified that much more when you’ve dabbled in the opposite.

Which is why I think it’s important to save up for those times when the pain outweighs the joy. It’s why I believe investing in people, places, hobbies…all the “things”, whatever and whomever bring you joy is so important. I think in our day-to-day lives it can become too easy to focus on “surviving”, on getting ahead, keeping our head above water, that we overlook the people and the “things” which bring us true happiness. We take these things for granted and we become pretty good at saying “someday.” Someday I’ll get to that. Someday, maybe tomorrow, I’ll make that call. Someday… I’ll get around to taking that art class or making that trip. The problem with this, I have found, is that someday, though hopefully not soon, you may need to spend that currency which you’ve put off saving up. It’s unfortunate, but I know a lot of people tend to think of currency solely in terms of money. I’d like to counterpoint that currency is a lot things: energy, love, joy… and not that I know personally;) but I’m guessing that all the money in the world will not buy you what it is you’ll need when you’re at your worst.

Anyway, with the holiday’s approaching, I really wanted to give thanks. I consider myself one of the luckiest girls in the world to be surrounded by so many wonderful people, doing that which brings me joy everyday. So…while, yes, this has been a difficult year in terms of grief, it’s also been one of the best years of my life. I’ve lost a lot. But I’ve gained a lot, too.

P.S. This short (15 minute) film perfectly encapsulates everything (and more) I’m trying to say here. Not only is it incredibly moving but it’s further proof, that if you just look hard enough, amidst the pain, the chaos, and the mess there is beauty. And so much love. You should watch it. Really, you should. Today…not someday. ;) xx

One should not blog when…

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”― Mark Twain

After my last post I decided it might be a good idea not to blog when you’re having a crappy week. In fact, I’m thinking about starting a running tally of all the times one shouldn’t blog, text, or call. I believe there is any old saying that goes something like this: “Silence is golden.” I’m working on that…

In the meantime, I give you number one. Perhaps you shouldn’t blog when: You’re cleaning out a storage unit of your deceased family members belongings and you’ve been dealing with folks from Craigslist all week. It turns out life’s choicest people tend to show up when you try and off load your stuff.

Thankfully, this week is lookin’ up.  And as a side note, there’s a giveaway going on over on Goodreads for a signed copy of Bedrock. 

How about you? Have thoughts on when one shouldn’t blog, text, or call? I’d love to hear them. :)

P.S. I rather like his sentiment….

i-dont-know-why-people-find-drunk-texts-annoying

The Gift of 32.

“This is an important lesson to remember when you’re having a bad day, a bad month, or a shitty year. Things will change: you won’t feel this way forever. And anyway, sometimes the hardest lessons to learn are the ones your soul needs most. I believe you can’t feel real joy unless you’ve felt heartache. You can’t have a sense of victory unless you know what it means to fail. You can’t know what it’s like to feel holy until you know what it’s like to feel really fucking evil. And you can’t be birthed again until you’ve died.” ― Kelly Cutrone, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You

Last week I turned 32. Thirty-two isn’t exactly considered a milestone birthday (even though I happen to think every birthday we’re lucky enough to celebrate should be considered a milestone:) so I’m not sure why I felt compelled to write a list of lessons I’ve learned or why they’re swirling around in my head begging to be let out. But here we are nonetheless…

I wrote this list with my children in mind…these are things I’d want them to know if I weren’t around to tell them myself. While it is my belief that we each learn lessons in our own time, as we experience life (otherwise what’s the point of the journey?!?) and not so much from a list or what someone else has experienced, I do hope this provides an avenue, or at the very least, serves as a conversation starter, in which to discuss the bigger, more important questions in life.

32 lessons I’ve learned in my 32 years:

  1. Every relationship in your life is a mirror reflecting how you feel about yourself. Chew on that for a moment. This one is BIG. And if you learn NOTHING else from these lessons know THIS: There is nothing that you have to do, or be, or achieve to be worthy of love. You are already infinitely precious and truly loved exactly as you are.
  2. Become a master at disobeying. But, of course, only after you’re out of your parents house. The world and those around you will often expect you to conform to their ideal of who you are. Older doesn’t always mean wiser. And others best intentions will not be always be in your favor. Ask the hard questions and live on terms that make sense to you.
  3. Love has a heart of its own. What else is there to say, really? ;) It just is, what it is. It almost never happens like (or when) we think it should. And it rarely makes any sense. Also, it is mostly true, especially in the beginning, what they say about love being blind. Your family and your friends do not need to be in love with the person you’re involved with, you do. While it will hopefully all mesh well, just know it is likely those same friends and family who will clearly see whether or not the person you love brings out the best in you. You know, while you’re too busy being happily blind. All kidding aside, I’ve found that love is almost always worth the risk. Just trust your intuition. It will rarely lead you astray.
  4. Expiration dates on friendships/relationships are ok. The question isn’t always how can you keep them intact, instead you should be asking how alive the two people in the situation are. Are you growing or stagnating? How can this experience bring more to the both of you? Sometimes growth as individuals necessitates moving on.
  5. Make sure to ask yourself if you’re truly emotionally and spiritually alive on a regular basis. You’re breathing, you’re alive! That’s great news. But how alive? Do you wake up excited…or are you “just trying to get through the day?” Getting through the day and surviving is ok, sometimes, but go on like this for too many days and there’s a problem. So many of us are unwilling to ask ourselves these questions because the answers can be scary. Checking in with yourself frequently will lead to fewer problems down the road. A rut can last a lifetime, if you let it.
  6. To understand what love is, you have to understand what love isn’t. Enough said. It is my greatest hope that you learn this lesson as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
  7. Get down to the root of self-love. Ohh, that sounds kind of dirty. Seriously though, most of us think we love ourselves but fail to pay attention to the thoughts running around in our head. Figure out as soon as you can what it means to truly love yourself.
  8. Allow receiving to be as gratifying as giving. There are two sides of the coin. Enjoy both. Admittedly, this is one I haven’t always been so great at. But the ability to allow yourself to be on the receiving end of anything (without feeling guilty about it) is an important quality to have.
  9. Grief and heartache work on their own timetable. And it never seems to work with yours. Let yourself sink into the emotions you’re feeling. It’ll be uncomfortable…but necessary for healing. As cliché as it sounds you’ll need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s easy to mask the discomfort with other things (food, shopping, pick your poison) but don’t. Doing so will only prolong the process. There is no such thing as a quick fix.
  10. Relationships are perfectly imperfect. They are supposed to be containers for growth. For some reason we expect that it’s normal for our jobs, children, friends, etc. to let us down…but not our lovers. In expecting our love stories to unfold perfectly, we set ourselves up for unhappy endings. No one is going to “complete” you. In the best relationships, it is ideal when both people want (and keep wanting) to bring their very best to the table. Don’t wait or depend on the other person to do it first. Relationships are not tit for tat. Communicate what it is you need. Word hard at love. Love fiercely. Like anything worth having, don’t be too quick to give up on it. Aim to please. And forgive fast. Continually, check to make sure you’re still on the same page. But if you find that you aren’t, and one or both of you no longer want to be…if one day you find that it cannot be fixed, understand that’s ok, too. Be courageous in letting go, and know that lesson 11 was meant to be read at this time.
  11. Trust that what’s waiting for you is worth moving towards. Be willing to let go and steadfast in discerning when the time has come. This invaluable advice in business, love, and life in general. It likely will not be easy, in fact it will probably hurt like hell, but I’ve met very few people who say they wished they had stayed in “that job” or in “that relationship.”
  12. To understand the light you have to know the dark. The good tastes all that much sweeter after you’ve experienced the bitter. Life just works out that way.
  13. Fasting of any kind (particularly juice fasts) will cause you to literally go insane. Spiritual experience, my ass. Don’t try this at home, folks. There is a reason that throughout history people traveled to the desert when fasting. If I had to guess, based on personal experience complied data, I’d say that it was so their loved ones didn’t have to suffer through their insanity.
  14. You actually can eat just one. Buy into their marketing BS and you’ll likely have gained five pounds and a bad mood. Food is energy. And as the saying goes: “you are what you eat.” So choose wisely.
  15. When in doubt, pause, and listen. Unless it’s a life threatening emergency. In that case, act and/or call someone with credentials. Remember how important stillness and mediation is. If you aren’t able to sit in silence and be at peace with the quiet, you won’t be able to hear the answer when it comes.
  16. Have the nerve and self love to go on the journey. Following your heart takes courage. Be courageous. It will be worth it.
  17. Be a student of life. Never stop learning. Be open to considering that your way is not the only way. No one likes a know-it-all. They’re boring.
  18. Speaking of boring, don’t be. Have fun and have it…often. I’ve found that few situations call for complete and total seriousness. Unless you’re my pilot or surgeon, be silly. Laugh often. Play hard. Learn to be okay with being the butt of a joke. Because the plus side is…you’ll excel at comebacks. Comebacks are an essential skill in the game of life. Which could very well be a lesson of its own.
  19. Be the one who looks for the silver lining. Optimism is an incredibly magnetic trait. Almost everything has an upside.
  20. Know when to keep your mouth shut. Like I said, almost everything has an upside. Sometimes though, it will be important not to communicate that said upside…because you’re the only one who sees it. Know the difference between the two. A smile or a nod can do just as well.
  21. Always be empathic. Choose your words wisely and consider the appropriate time to use them. You will face situations where you’re uncomfortable standing in another’s pain. There will be times when there will be no “right” thing to say. Don’t tell them you know how they feel. You can’t. Don’t tell them you know someone who has faced this before and he/she did so and so. Don’t say something for the sake of saying something. Fill the uncomfortable silence by just being. Let them know you are there. There will be times when this is all you can do.
  22. When someone shows you who they are believe them. Pay attention. Like your mama told you: actions always speak louder than words. Second chances are ok but only if you’ve communicated what you will and will not tolerate clearly to begin with.
  23. And then trust. Trust that the right relationships/opportunities will be given to you because you have the wisdom to see them. In order to receive the best life has to offer, live with a sense of wonder. If you’re hurt (and you will be) you must be willing to try again. With an open heart. And an open mind.
  24. The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. You’re probably thinking I’ve repeated myself here. A few times. There’s purpose in my repetition. Self awareness is one the best gifts you can give those around you.
  25. Never forget…women have a different level of hormones surging through their bodies each and every day. This is important to know whether you’re female or not. In fact, it’s probably more important to consider if you’re not.
  26. Be on a first name basis with failure. If you never fail, how will you ever learn? Remember, all great innovators were at first failures. They simply kept trying. Behind every big hit or blockbuster movie there are usually at least a handful produced that weren’t. The media is quick to tell you about the success story but rarely will you hear about the blood, sweat, tears and “failed attempts.” This tends to keep a lot of people from trying again once they’ve “failed.” But hopefully not you. If you feel called to accomplish something, want to spend your time doing it, and you’re passionate about it (keep in mind there will be days when you aren’t and you wonder why you even bother, these usually pass) then don’t give up.
  27. Cherish those you love. Tell them often. Show them in a way that is meaningful to them. When in doubt, leave love notes in unexpected places.
  28. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. No is about as bad as it can get.
  29. Everything will make more sense once you’re a parent. I invite you to question why things are the way they are. I understand it’s a part of your growing up. Just don’t be surprised when this is my answer. And, yes, it is final.
  30. Never trust anyone who is unkind to wait staff. People show you who they are by the way they treat people they feel have nothing to offer them. This personality trait is magnified in restaurants.
  31. You do not need to be fixed. You are YOU for a reason. Most of us have our own moral compass and understand where we need improvement. Trust that you’re well rounded enough to figure out what needs fixing. Then, yes, be willing to change. Adaptability is absolutely necessary for growth. But please consider your values first. I pray that maintaining a sense of individuality is one of them.
  32. Rarely listen to critics. Everyone has an opinion and they’re more than willing to share it. Hell, these days they even give them out for free. Tune them out.
  33. I know I said 32 and hey let’s not get ahead of ourselves with 33. But, I’m an overachiever, what can I say. :) So…here’s one to grow on…I believe that everything comes back around to love. Giving, and loving until it hurts, as it turns out, will most likely not kill you. Just do it. This world seriously needs more of it.

Third Time’s A Charm: A Cover Reveal and Other Awesome Related News…

“Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.” – Garrison Keillor

Yes, I know. I’ve been very, very, very bad about talking about anything work (book) related here for longer than is probably acceptable for someone who is trying to sell market books. But don’t let my neglect of all things work kid you. I actually have been working. You see, as it turns out, in order to sell books you have to write them first. Who would’ve thought, right?!? So that’s (mostly) what I’ve been doing. In other book related news, this happened:

photo

Oh and wait a sec….there’s this too….

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have A NEW COVER! Here’s to hoping the third time’s a charm. ;) For the past few weeks I’ve been working with Lisa of Pixel Pixie Design again (she is also responsible for the trailer) to create a new cover for Bedrock–one that would more accurately portray what the story is about. Working with Lisa has once again proven to be so much fun. It’s always inspiring to work with people who put their whole heart into what they do. Lisa is one of those people… I had a vision and she brought it to life. Not once, but twice, and soon to be a third time with the sequel cover. So… without further ado…I am beyond excited to show off Bedrock’s new look:

Standing-cover

BEDROCK FINAL JPEG

P.S. I also want to say how incredibly lucky I feel to be able to do something that makes me so happy. Everyday I get the kindest emails and social media messages and I am extremely grateful to know that the characters I created mean something to others. It’s funny and quite amazing how writing this story has enhanced my life- by opening up windows into others lives. When people find out I’ve written a book (as a nicety) they usually ask what it’s about and when I tell them love, infidelity, and everything in between it’s been really neat to see how they open up and how excited they are share their stories. I’ve heard from people who are 17 to 77 and because of this I’ve decided that there are really only two conversations in life that people tend to want to have. There’s love and there’s money. Anyway, I have to say that right now I just really love people. The truth is we’re all more alike than we are different and it’s a humbling experience to have the opportunity to simply observe, without attachment nor judgment.

P.S.S If you haven’t seen the trailer, have a look-see:


So What. Who Cares.

“Quitting is not giving up, it’s choosing to focus your attention on something more important. Quitting is not losing confidence, it’s realizing that there are more valuable ways you can spend your time. Quitting is not making excuses, it’s learning to be more productive, efficient and effective instead. Quitting is letting go of things (or people) that are sucking the life out of you so you can do more things that will bring you strength.” 
― Osayi Osar-EmokpaeImpossible Is Stupid

I don’t know why it is that I’m thinking in lyrics these days but Pink’s “So What” came to mind and thus the title of this post. Or… I could’ve just as easily gone with “I’ve got 99 problems but you ain’t one of them.” ;)

I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to write about today because I knew that another post about love just might send some of you over the edge. So there’s this, instead:

Today I decided to be a quitter. And also that it’s perfectly ok. Absolutely freeing, really.

Lately, I just can’t seem to get my act together to do the things I’m “supposed” to do. You know how it is. There’s something on the calendar or the to do list that you just keep shifting from one day to the next…until before you know it you look up and a month (or more) has gone by and there it is still staring you in the face. Well, for me, there are about 20 items that have continuously been shifted over the past few months. So what do I do? I decide that I need to add just one more thing and of course, uh, you know, I’m sure that this time it’s going to be THE thing that kicks my ass in to gear. And just like that I’ve enrolled myself in two intensive training programs that are certain to do the trick. Until the smarter less logical side of my brain kicks in: But it’s summer!! The days are long. And life is short. Play. Have fun. Yada. Yada. Yada. I know it’s right… but what I don’t get is how the logical side is so damned good at making me feel bad about it.

So, here I am on the fourth (or is it fifth?) day of this training program where four of the five emails have gone unread and the videos unwatched, thinking...so what, who cares. Obviously, these things aren’t all that important or I would’ve done them, right? Right?!?

Then I realize…I am SO over making myself feel bad about the stuff I don’t want to do, the people I don’t want to see, and the meetings I don’t care to take. So, this morning when this little nugget of pure wisdom landed in my inbox, I knew that not only was I meant to read it…but that I’m clearly on the right track. :)

“Life has a much bigger plan for you. Happiness is a part of that plan. Health is a part of that plan. Stability is part of that plan. Constant struggle is not.” Kris Carr

Chin Up, Girl. Chin UP.

“I have spent a good many years since–too many, I think–being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction or poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that’s all.” ― Stephen KingOn Writing

I’ve thought a pretty good deal about whether or not to post this….because in general I don’t believe in shedding light on negativity. The last thing I want is to add fuel to the fire. That said, I also believe that it’s important to set a precedent on how you expect to be treated. In the end, I thought about my children and how I’d want them to react if someone were treating them badly. And I’d hope that they would have the courage to not only stand up for themselves… but also for what they believe in. -B

This past week the world of author land (via the web) has been a relatively negative one. Which makes me pretty sad- because as a general rule I try and stay away from negativity and drama. But there are a few things in particular that I did want to address: I received my first few pieces of hate (e)mail. I’m not going to rehash or share what was said here…because in my opinion that would lend credence to it. I will say that it’s a waste of time sending me mean emails because I really don’t pay attention to what (hateful) people think of me. If one wants to send helpful critique… then by all means. Yes, my novel is dark (and some would even say twisted) which is why I’ve added a warning label- just about everywhere possible. It isn’t required reading material and as a consumer all major retailers have fairly generous return policies. As a writer, I stand behind my story. I do not read or respond to people writing for the sake of being mean.

Which brings me to the fire storm of press that author M. Leighton has received this week for taking her novel down because a few people couldn’t handle its dark content. I’m not inclined to judge this author or her motivations for un-publishing her work. I don’t know her but I can relate (a little) to how she feels. Putting yourself out there is inviting people to judge you. And it takes a certain type of grit not to give a shit- especially when their judgement is not in your favor. The thing about email, social media, and the internet is that it gives people a certain power. You can say (write) what you think while for the most part remaining anonymous. And because of this there are a whole crop of assholes out there just looking for an opportunity to utilize their newly found power. They say things they would never say to your face as though wielding a sword, waiting to stab the first thing that moves. It’s crazy. It’s the not funny- kind of funny. It’s sad. And yet their audience thrives on it. They feed on the drama of it all. As for me, I decided not to pay attention to it. I do however pay close attention to the energy I surround myself with- and it’s my belief that once you draw a line in the sand and let people know that you won’t tolerate their bad behavior… they get bored. And they do what bullies do… they move on to their next target.

So what I would say to M. Leighton (if she were a friend) is this: taking down your work but only after telling everyone it will be gone forever within the next two days…is going to seem a little bit overly dramatic to the general public. They will see it as a publicity stunt and one way you propelled yourself into the top 100. Unfortunately, there will surely be backlash in that, too. And it’s a choice you’ll likely regret. Because in the long run you’re letting your critics win. You’ll come to find for the very reasons that people wrote to say that they hated the book, will be the exact same reasons others love it. Either way, this decision as a writer is a personal one that is yours to make. And truthfully, it really isn’t right for me or anyone else to debate it. But don’t let temporary defeat stop you from doing what you love. Get back to writing. And chin up, girl. Chin UP.

“I don’t have time, energy, or interest in hating the haters; I’m too busy loving the lovers.” ― Steve MaraboliUnapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

Flash Fiction RE: Absence

“Hiding how you really feel and trying to make everyone else happy, doesn’t make you nice. It just makes you a liar.” ~Jenny O’Connell

It’s time for another installment of Flash Fiction…. I wrote this post months ago about those in our lives who are present when the going is good but notably absent when the going gets tough. That said, there is no one in particular that this letter was intended for; but more like a conglomerate of people who have come in and out of my life. It wasn’t necessarily written to or about a specific person but more about expectations that went unfulfilled. And isn’t it always the expectation that gets us, that lets us down? Because the truth of the matter is (and the lesson learned) is to accept people for who they are and meet them there. Which is why I’m calling it flash fiction: “Fiction is the truth inside the lie.” – Stephen King

If you're absent during my struggle, don't expect to be present during my success.

Dear You Know Who You Are,

I have all of these questions…and I am wondering if you could help me answer them? These are things that I’ve wanted to ask for so long… but never have. And to tell the truth, probably never will. No, instead, I’ll keep on pretending. Pretending that this doesn’t bother me. That everything is ok. Picture perfect, just the way you like it. But resentment is the worst kind of bad. It tastes awful, looks worse, and always lingers far longer than you want it to.

Make no mistake, I’m following your lead. And taking notes in the process. Passive aggressive never really was my style. And yet here I am trying it on for size…..

Do you really think that you know me…know us just because you see brief snippets of our lives?

Does it bother you – that you don’t know? Do you give it much thought? Does it hurt you, the way it hurts me? Do you realize that it isn’t even myself I hurt for, but them, and yet, it hurts all the same. Worse, in fact. So much worse.

Is it easy to be present, engaged, when times are good, when it’s convenient yet notably absent when things are bad…or simply mundane?

I wanted more. Expected more.

Do you realize how much you are missing? That you’ll never get this time, these days, these years, back?

Do you care? How does it feel to know that you are letting people down? Does it taste as bad as resentment? Or is it all just the same to you?

Simply curious,

B

Know Your Worth.

“Don’t you dare, for one more second, surround yourself with people who are not aware of the greatness that you are.” ~Jo Blackwell-Preston

I swear when you have kids no one EVER tells you that you won’t sleep for a veryveryveryvery long time. What they tell you instead is that the first three months suck and then it gets better. I don’t know exactly just who “they” are but “they” are LIARS! Of course, I say that with all due respect. Perhaps, maybe “those people” are just blessed with magical children, who love sleep. For that alone, I hate them. Even at 7 and with the twins who are 3, I am still consistently woken up several times a week in the middle of the night. It may be a bad dream, a bloody nose, a bathroom trip, leg cramps or “I just want Mama!” but I swear I have three of the worst sleepers EVER. That said, this isn’t what this post is about at all. You see? I’m SO tired, I can’t even think straight! Actually, for once it was not my kids who woke me up this morning in the wee hours, at 3:48 AM. It was someone else. And she inspired this post. So at least some good came from it. Right?!?

My neighbors down the street (three houses down to be exact) consist of a couple of guys about my age (brothers, I think) who own a few bars down on 6th street. While they may be my age, their profession (and who knows what else) puts them about a decade behind the times. Truly confirming the saying “that age is just a number.” Hmmm. This sounds rather “judgy” huh? Totally not my intention. Sometimes, I’m even jealous that we’re both up at 4AM, for very different reasons. Anyway, long story short, there are a lot of comings and goings at their house. Of the female variety. Well….last night they must have upset the wrong female because at exactly 3:48 this morning she had a nervous breakdown of epic proportions outside of their house. For all of the neighborhood to see. At first, I thought something really bad had happened. There was screaming, pounding, wailing. And lots and lots of profanity. It was really quite the show.

That poor girl. Had she not likely been under the influence, it not been 3:48AM, and had I more energy, I would liked to have gone out and told her “Honey, NO man is worth this.” I know break ups are hard and it brought me back to a time where I too *may* have acted this way over a boy. Only I wasn’t drunk and it wasn’t 3:48 in the morning. Which in a lot of ways probably makes it worse. :)

While I can attest to the fact that love can make one temporarily insane (so can sleep deprivation, by the way!) I think it’s so important (especially as women) that we know our worth. It’s important not to settle. Or to allow others to treat us in a way that is demeaning. Most importantly though, we must not demean ourselves. I think the important lesson here is this: No one is going to love you more than you love yourself. We teach people how to treat us. When we allow ourselves to settle for less than best…. that’s exactly what we’ll keep getting.

Also, it’s oh so important to watch others actions versus listening to what they tell us. Saying is one thing. Doing is another. And everybody knows that actions speak louder than words. I’ve known a few people, in my time, who are SO eloquent in the words that they use. They come across as smart, confident, and successful. And yet, I trust only a fraction of what they say to me. It’s so interesting. Eye opening, really. At first, I thought I was crazy. Until I watched their interactions with others and I saw the body language at play. For one, I learned that I’m not all that crazy. And, two, I could tell that lip service will only get you so far.

Now, off my soap box and back to the point :(see, still tired!) If you accept whatever comes your way, then that’s precisely what you’ll get. You have to be discerning. It’s like knowing where you want to grow, and where you’re happy to stay the same. It’s boundaries, mostly. It’s knowing yourself. And it applies to everything.

You have to keep top of mind that YOU are a force to reckon with. You are someone to watch. The only person who can really know this is you. Your work, as a person, is to make everything you say and do speak to how awesome you are. No one else can or will do that work for you. I used to think that my sense of self worth could somehow be gifted to me by other people, but the real, cold hard truth is that other people take their cues from you. It all comes from you. Which is why it is essential that YOU know your worth. Not the worth of the person you are going to to be, not the worth of the person you could be, if only. I’m talking about knowing your worth as you are. Right now. Starting on this very day.

“If you’re wearing a disguise for too long, it will be difficult for the mirror to recognize you. At the end of the day I hope you become the person they didn’t expect you to be. Be proud to wear you.” ~Dodinsky

Stop Thinking. Start Doing.

How often do you think about or obsess over doing something instead of just doing it? Or at the very least get started on the task at hand. Sometimes, I think, we forget that there is a HUGE difference in contemplating something and actually doing it. There have been periods in my life, that I’ve been SO guilty of doing this. Don’t get me wrong, thinking things through, having a plan, and utilizing it, is a very good thing. But I used to take the thinking and planning part further than was really reasonable. I’d over think and let fear, or lack of knowledge, paralyze me. I’d think something to death, research something to death, plan something to death, before I’d actually take action. Sometimes, the process would go on for so long, I’d just lose interest in the project.

In the past, I used the “thinking strategy” in regards to the book I’m working on. I also used it with the things on my to do list. Instead, of taking action, I’d spend my time thinking (and worrying) about doing so. I’d use so much energy contemplating doing something, instead of on actually doing it.  I came to a point where I realized that the amount of energy I spent and wasted, thinking, was energy that I could’ve used, if I’d just taken action. I realized that if I’d just take the first step and get started it would get me a lot further than just thinking about it. I also had to stop making excuses for myself. Excuses like “Well, I’ll just wait until the twins start school.” Or  “I’ll wait until we’re not so busy.” Now I understand that there is NEVER going to be THE perfect time.  Yes, as my kids get older, life will get easier, in some ways. But why wait? Why put my dreams on hold, until? Until this or until that. I had to take the word until out of my vocabulary.

That said, I’ve gotten a lot better. For example, I realized that the sooner I write this blog post, the sooner I can stop obsessing thinking about writing this blog post. The sooner I finish writing my  book, the sooner I can stop thinking about having to make progress on writing my book.