Monday, August 20, 2012

Let 'Em Know & Let It Go

"There is love in holding, and there is love in letting go." 
-- Elizabeth Berg, The Year of Pleasures

   There are many things in life that we can influence and very few that we can control. In case you haven't noticed, we cannot control other people - not really. You can insist that a person do something, but you can't actually make that person do it. Even if you hold a gun to his/her head, ultimately that person chooses to do it or get shot. And even if you do find a way to control a person's actions, you certainly can't control someone else's feelings. You cannot make someone love you... you cannot even make someone like you or desire you. You can't make someone treat you with respect or keep someone from hurting you. 

   The only person you can exercise control over is... well, you. Duh. This is a bit tricky, of course, when it comes to your feelings. I do admit some feelings seem rather uncontrollable and often overwhelming. Believe me, I've experienced them all: love, lust, betrayal, rage, disappointment, heartache, and the list goes on. I don't remember asking to experience any of those feelings, but at some point I found a way to manage each one. 

   When it comes down to it, there are always two options: hold on or let go. Physically, we know that holding on and letting go are both voluntary actions (unlike something such as falling asleep, which is involuntary). I recently discovered that emotionally, these are also voluntary actions. 

   The trick is to know when to do what. I have no formula, but I have noticed a pattern that seems to work for me. I imagine both scenarios - the weight and security of holding on, and then the lightness and relief of letting go - and then I choose the one that brings me the most pleasure in that particular situation. Most of the time (but not always) it feels better to let go. 

   See, it's not always easy to let go, but it usually requires more energy to hold on. 

   Whenever your feelings involve someone else (and c'mon, when don't they??) I think it is important to tell  that person. It doesn't matter whether you're in love with the person or pissed off at that person (or both! ha ha). He/she deserves to know, and you deserve to express yourself. (Holding it in sucks even more than holding on.) Life is short and if you never allow yourself to be vulnerable, you're not fully experiencing it. 

   However, once you've expressed yourself, let it out, why not let it go? Hmmm, the phrase "let it go" has become a little cliche' so I'll word it differently: Allow it to leave. 
Allow. That is a verb. Allow. That implies choice/permission/control.

   Feelings will come, and you can't control that they'll come. But you can allow them to leave (when the time is right for you). 

  I don't mean it won't be a little messy still. After all, another way people say "let it go" is "just drop it". And usually when you drop something - especially something heavy - it makes some noise and a little clean up is required. 

   It's still your choice ultimately. Holding on can bring a different kind of pleasure. It makes you feel stronger (it certainly requires more effort); it makes you feel justified. Sometimes it makes you feel protected. Your anger and refusal to forgive can make excellent body armor. Holding unrequited love over your heart can make a fabulous shield. You'll probably be exhausted and possibly lonely... but, sure, sometimes it's worth it. Your call.

   As for me, I'm lucky to have people (and one person in particular) who do a great job of holding me up, so for the first time in a long time, I feel safe enough to let go. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Red Light, Green Light

Not too long ago, I was stopped at a red light that seemed like it was neeeevvverrr going to change. Seriously, I think I listened to three full songs. After a few minutes, I noticed that the vehicles that were on the road I was trying to cross weren't going either. No one was going straight, no one was turning right, no one was turning left. NO ONE was going anywhere. I leaned forward a little bit, and sure enough I saw that the others had a red light too. EVERYBODY had a red light; EVERYBODY was stopped.

Well, um, that was frustrating to say the least.

Then something occurred to me. Yes, the fact that all the lights were red was annoying, but it wasn't exactly dangerous. Now, if all the lights were green -- that would have been chaotic! That could cause a whole new level of "delays". That could have killed someone.

I'm thinking this is a good metaphor for my writing career (and other things, too, for that matter). I'm not going to curse the lights for all being red  (well, okay, okay, I might cuss a little bit!). Instead I'm going to enjoy the music and be grateful things aren't as bad as they certainly could be.

When it's time to safely move forward, I will. And when it's your turn, so will you ;) 

Side note: I just realized that Gavin and I have been playing the game Red Light/Green Light a lot lately. Suffice it to say that the dude gets just as much pleasure from the abrupt stopping as he does the running toward the finish line like a maniac. Ah, the things we can learn from a three-year-old. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I'm a Writer! ... Right?

   Aspiring writers (as well as established ones) are encouraged to have a "strong online presence". All of the reasons for doing so are valid. So why is it that every time I get that particular suggestion, whether from an article or a hopeful friend or a helpful acquaintance, I feel the exact same way -- drastically unmotivated?

   Oh, wait! I know why. Because I'm an aspiring writer. (Side note: I mean that as in aspiring to have a career in the writing world. I believe in the concept that I'm a writer simply because I write; I don't have to aspire to a be a writer.) It's difficult for me to spend time trying to recruit followers when I don't have an actual product to offer these people. I've completed two novels, but neither of them is published yet. So wouldn't that make me akin to an insurance salesman with no company? A teacher with no degree? A doctor  with no office or hospital association?

   WHY would anyone want to support my talent if they have no evidence that I actually have talent? Sure, my family and friends are all about it. But how do I get the attention of a much larger group of people who are all strangers? Let's be real. Everybody and his or her cousin's ex-girlfriend is "writing a book". When I mention that I've written two books and am working on a third, I mean multiple drafts with lots and lots of editing and  relying on the help of others to proofread it. I mean researching and polishing. I mean waking up at one a.m. because a great idea pops in my head, and setting the alarm to wake me up at four a.m. so that I can write a few hours before going to my day job at seven a.m. But how is someone supposed to know this and believe in me just because I say, "Hey, I'm a writer. Not a published one, but please follow me on Blogger/Facebook/Goodreads anyway!" 

To be honest, it makes me feel silly. Worse, it makes me feel like a fake. Like I'm in denial or something. The  ugliest, weakest version of me whispers things like, "Having a website doesn't make you a real writer. You think you're something special because somebody commented on your witty little post? Ha! You're just tricking them. You're not published."

Generally, I punch that bitch in the face and get rid of her. Still, those remarks echo in my head. So what happens next? I start to ignore my blog altogether - for months actually <insert sheepish grin>. I refuse to write anything on my newest novel, and I stop submitting to agents about my completed manuscript. Like I said earlier, drastically unmotivated. 

Well, this is me admitting it in hopes of overcoming it. I've started a Twitter account (with 15 whole followers so far, yay me!), I've started "putting people in my circles" on Google+, and here I am writing a post for my blog. Fingers crossed that I'll continue to do this every Tuesday. I also have every intention of reading the blogs of other talented unrecognized writers like I used to do (reap, sow).  

This is me aspiring a little bit harder. Wish me luck! (And for crying out loud, follow me!! HA.) 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Under Construction

Reorganization of blog in process. 
Yay, sigh, etc. 

Oooh Crappy Day! (Um, Literally)

Perhaps it's because my little boy is losing all his "baby fat" and barely even qualifies as a toddler anymore - he certainly doesn't get in anywhere for free anymore - or perhaps it's because I spent a lot of time working at an OB/GYN office... or because one of my closest friends just had a gorgeous baby girl. Whatever the reason, I've found myself coming down with symptoms of baby fever. As in I'm ready for baby #2. As in the prospect of cuddling a tiny little human with my DNA is starting to outweigh the memories of sleepless nights, smelling like spit up, and days of inconsolable crying (whether I'm referring to the infant's tears or my own tears is not important...).

So of course, The Great Cosmos thought it would be wise - and hilarious - to test me, to be certain I was ready for round two.

Cue to a beautiful sunshiny day. Baby Daddy and I are back in Georgia helping the besties get loaded up for their move to Tennessee. While BD is doing the manly stuff like putting furniture into the giant truck and Best Friend is busy directing the dudes as to where to put stuff, etc. I made myself useful by keeping the little ones busy in the backyard.

So, I've got three-year-old Gavin and almost-two-year-old Landon soaked down with the water hose, which is a lot of fun, mind you. But after a little while we're all just too hot. It's almost lunchtime anyway, so I come up with the brilliant idea to take the boys to Chick Fil A. That way they can eat, be in an air-conditioned building, still play and still be out of the way of the moving chaos.

I've got the food ordered and spread out on the table when I realize it's steaming and definitely too hot for the little guys to eat. No worries. The table I landed is right beside the indoor playground so I take off their shoes and tell them to go have fun while the food cools.

(This might be a good time to interject that I've already gotten a few looks from people in the restaurant. You see, despite the fact that I'm twenty-six, even with makeup on I can usually pass for a teenager - and that day was hot so I wasn't wearing much makeup. Or any jewelry, such as a wedding band. Gavin and Landon both just so happen to have blonde hair and blue eyes like me. The town I was in just so happens to be full of rather judgmental people. Do you see where I'm going with this?)

Okay, so the little dudes have been on the playground all of thirty seconds when I notice a suspicious expression on Gavin's face. I ask him what's wrong and he says something about poop. I sigh and assume Landon must have filled up his diaper, and that sucks because I really don't feel like packing up our food and stuff and dragging two little boys to the restroom.

But Landon's diaper is clean. That's when the smell hits me. That's when I notice that my own son - who has been perfectly potty-trained for months now - has not moved from his spot on the giant plastic steps that lead to the slide. That's when I realize that GAVIN is the one who has pooped. Not in his diaper, because Gavin doesn't use diapers anymore. Also, not in his underwear because... well, because after Mommy soaked him with the water hose earlier, she left his undies out to dry on the back porch and thought he'd be just fine in only a fresh pair of shorts for the next hour or so.

Do you have the image in your mind yet? Let me make it a little more vivid. Think brownish yellow and liquidy and sliding out of a pair of cotton shorts down a fuzzy little leg. I panic for about two seconds before I've got Landon on my hip and I'm dragging Gavin ACROSS THE ENTIRE BUILDING to the restroom (Note to Chick Fil A : Really, your business is already exceptional in comparison to other fast food joints, and I have a particular fondness for your good customer service and the mouthwash dispenser in the restroom. Having said that, perhaps it would make more sense for the restroom to be located closer to the playground. Since, you know, sometimes children have accidents.)

Nobody wants to be of assistance... Because it's gross. Also because an unwed teenager who's been knocked up twice deserves this and needs to learns to figure it all out all by herself since she got herself into this predicament all by herself.

The boys are still barefoot, which makes the image that much more entertaining. In my hurry, I also left the food and drinks, plus my cell phone, keys, and wallet at the table. Thankfully, the other customers may have been judgmental but none of them were thieves.

I felt immediately better once I was behind the closed stall door in the restroom. That was before I realized that the only thing I had to clean up the mess with was cheap toilet paper, and that I was going to have to put those nasty shorts back on Gavin unless I wanted to parade him naked through the building to the car. You see, since Gavin is no longer in diapers, I no longer carry a diaper bag with me. Having diapers and wipes and clean shorts would have been just too damn convenient at this point.

Also, in case you are not aware of this, most little kids don't like the sound of loud toilets flushing. Gavin and Landon are two such kids. Which is why they were both crying the entire time... Gavin wailed as he was bent over in a very awkward position while I desperately dipped large wads of toilet paper into the toilet water and wiped him with it. I couldn't do this too quickly because I was having to repeatedly stop and chase down Landon because he was trying to crawl under the stall door. Can you blame the little guy? The playground was much more pleasant than this obnoxious place I was forcing him to hang out in. (Special thanks to the lady in the stall next door who not only contributed to the delightful smell of the place but also repeated flushed.)

I managed to clean Gavin up decent enough to get out of there, and I paused at the sink just long enough to scrub my hands with scalding hot water. Then I drowned all three of us from elbows down with hand sanitizer. With lightening speed, I rushed back to the table and gathered our things. Not an easy feat - Gavin was so traumatized that he simply couldn't carry even something as small as a juice box. (Actually, he tried but ended up squeezing half of the contents onto my shirt and the rest onto the floor.) All Landon wanted to do, as he demonstrated by pointing and squealing, was get back to the playground.

I did make it to the car in one trip. (Thank god - because I KNOW that had I put the boys into the car and then ran back inside to get our things, somebody would have called Child Protective Services on me.)

Take a deep breath; it's almost over. Of course, by the time I had Landon buckled in and Gavin changed into new clothes (I don't carry a diaper bag, but I do always keep a change of clothes in the car!) and had the food divided up (they're both crying about being hungry at this point) I can't find my keys. Frantically I look across the parking lot, hoping I didn't drop them along the way - or worse, leave them inside.

I go to Landon's side of the backseat and search. Nothing. Driver's seat - nothing. I open the trunk and nope, not there. I've just gotten back to Gavin's side to look when I hear honking. That's right, honking. HONKING.

Despite the fact that there are at least five other parking spots available, some old lady simply must have the parking spot next to mine and ohmygoodness, but my car's side door is open and blocking her! Oh no! What an awful day she must be having. And, even better, there's more honking. Because Old Bat is holding up three other cars who are trying to get to the drive-thru line.

So, I did the only polite thing. I walked - quite slowly - to the other side of the car and did exactly what she wanted. I shut the door. Well, I slammed it. Rather dramatically, I'll admit. Then, with a big smile on my face I used both arms to guide her into the parking spot - you know, like all those silent models do when they're showcasing some product on a game show.

And, in case you're wondering, no, I didn't fling Gavin's dirty shorts onto her windshield. I really wanted to, but I'd already bagged them up and tossed them into the trunk, and I didn't have the energy to get them out again.

Well, Universe won. I don't think I'm ready to be taking care of two kids at once. Unless, of course, we adopt... a four-year-old girl who has been potty-trained without incident for two years and who insists on wearing undies no matter what and who would simply be too grossed out to ever allow her body to get diarrhea.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gavin, You Save Me

Siiiiigh, my baby boy turns three-years-old today. Which, of course, means he's not actually my "baby" boy anymore. He can feed himself, walk and run and play, and entertain himself (and whoever else is nearby), use the potty (thank heavens for that one!) and speak very fluently (no, seriously, VERY fluently). It's been amazing to watch each development, but if I'm honest there's one thing he's done from the very beginning:

He's rescued me. And from what danger, you might ask? Well, without him, I'd have been confined to a life without experiencing the purest kind of love in existence. (And this is where I send out a little shout-out to his daddy for giving me the best gift ever!! xoxo).

So, Gavin darling, I'm borrowing some of Kenny's lyrics and dedicating them to you:

Every now and then I get a little lost
The strings all get tangled
The wires all get crossed
Every now and then I’m right upon the edge
Danglin’ my toes out over the ledge

I just thank God you’re here

When I’m a bullet shot out of a gun
When I’m a firecracker comin’ undone
When I’m a fugitive ready to run
All wild-eyed and crazy
No matter where my reckless soul takes me
Gavin, you save me

I don’t know how you do it
I’m not sure how you know
The perfect thing to say
To save me from myself
You’re the angel that believes in me
Like nobody else

And I thank God you do

When I’m a ship tossed around on the waves
Up on a high wire that’s ready to break
When I’ve had just about all I can take

Gavin, you...

Baby, you save me

Happy birthday! Mommy loves you ~ you're her hero :)

Friday, January 6, 2012


A few months ago I read an article that still haunts me. I don’t remember all of the specifics, but the part that hovers in my mind is this: In a survey,  4% of the women asked said they thought they were beautiful.


Only four percent. It literally sickens me.

It’s not like I’m going to sit here and lie by saying that I believe every woman I’ve ever come across fits personal idea of beauty. But I can quite confidently say that a MUCH larger percentage of the women I encounter are beautiful.

In general, I think the problem is that too many people are making the terrible mistake of believing beauty is some kind of competition. Well, damn, of course they do.  Just think about an actual beauty pageant. EVERY contestant in the pageant is attractive (or else, duh, they wouldn’t have qualified to compete), yet all the focus is on narrowing it down to who is the MOST attractive. Don’t miss the point – I don’t have a position, good or bad, when it comes to the things. I’m just saying that life is not a beauty pageant. Your own beauty is not determined by a comparison to someone else.

Go read that last line one more time.

I looked up the definition of beautiful and it gave me pleasant chills:
Having qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc; 
delighting the senses or mind

See, I understand the sentiment behind the cliché, but beauty is in fact, more than skin-deep. Allow the most genuine version of yourself to radiate from within, and you’ll notice a beauty on the outside that is breathtaking.

Surely you’ve experienced this with others? You think someone is “cute” but then, the more you are around that person and the negative attributes that dominate their behavior, you start to question how you ever thought that person attractive in the first place. And the reverse is true – you think someone is “average at best” but before you know it, you’re overwhelmed with that person’s essence.

I encourage you to take care of your physical appearance – brush your teeth and wash your hair and dress in clothes that fit properly and exercise, etc.  But understand this: If you want to see yourself as beautiful, you have to see yourself.

This may make you laugh, but hopefully that’ll help you remember it. In order to be beautiful, you have to  be-YOU-ful. (Not necessarily arrogant or selfish, but you – and not someone else’s interpretation of you, or what you think will make somebody like you more.)

In hopes of raising that pathetic percentage I mentioned earlier, I’m offering these two basic suggestions to sum it all up:

 Don’t wait for someone else to tell you you’re beautiful before you believe it.
BUT having said that,
Take the advice once given to me, “Don’t question the beauty someone sees in you.”