Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Have You Ever Just…

…wanted to scream, laugh, cry, shake, dance, yell, applaud, thank and shout all in the exact same moment?

Well if you have then you’ve got a teeny clue about what the inside of my brain has looked like for the past couple months. I used to come over here and use this space to rant as my personal form of therapy when I felt like my head might just pop off at any second.

But since this summer started my ADD and overwhelmed, overflowing, over capacity mind has been in full-steam overdrive and I couldn’t seem to reign it in enough to even rant.

Every last word of that song just segues so perfectly into the entire point of all of this stupid bullshit that I couldn’t figure out how to stop from taking over my life. But then it all took over anyway.

This past weekend Matt, my mom & I went to see Jason Mraz perform live here in Phoenix. It was the first time I’d seen him take the stage in over four years and I was looking so forward to the show that I could hardly contain my excitement.

As I predicted, the show was amazing. I soaked in all the positivity he spewed from the stage. I let the whole vibe just wash over me like a big fuzzy blanket of awesome and I felt so great.

Then something really weird happened.

The next day we were invited to go and enjoy an afternoon with some great friends. Nothing fancy. No pressure. Just some pool time, wine, fun in the sun. And I couldn’t get my ass off the couch.

All of the blackness that had been bubbling for so long came flooding up through that blanket of awesome, coated it in sludge, and pulled me into its depths of suckage.

Quicksand inside my head that folds my good thoughts into suck-tion and no matter what I do to try to swim out, I just can’t break free.

I was in such a terrible place in my head that I couldn’t imagine spending one second with anyone. I felt insanely vulnerable. Overly self-conscious. But I know it was for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

Seriously, no reason. I look fine. I don’t have any weird health stuff going on right now (thankfully). I just couldn’t wrap my head around anyone being around me. I disconnected. I was sitting here on my sofa with my mom and Matt but I was so far away from present I wondered if I would ever get back.

My mind was racing at a billion miles a second with way too many horrible things. Stuff that doesn’t matter for shit in the grand scheme of life. But stuff that makes me feel like I’m balancing precariously on the edge of that proverbial razor blade.

But I know it’s just me. Sometimes it happens and I have no choice other than to sink into it and let it happen.

I hate it though, especially when it stops me from having a good time, but I realized this morning that I can’t feel bad about it. Because when it happens I always come out the other side of it understanding more about who I actually am. I have a greater sense of what I want, what I need in my life. And also what I don’t.

A big house. A cool car. Half an acre of underutilized land. Makeup in every shade under the rainbow. Area rugs for every room. 6 colors of the same pair of jeans.


So much fucking stuff.

I should really follow around one of these urban legends I’ve heard about and find out how they do it. You know the people – they only work 25 hours a week, make over $100,000 a year, have a spotless fresh smelling home, totally weed-free front yards at all times, homemade organic non-GMO meals on the table every night, and bath towels that don’t smell because there hasn’t been a moment to wash them in 3 weeks.

Yeah, I know they don’t really exist, but in this world of “everything in my life is fucking great!” internet perfection it’s easy to be convinced that they do.

And it’s just too much for me to deal with anymore.

I’m weeding down.

Starting today I’m fleshing out all the things I don’t need in my life. I don’t need a Pinterest account. I don’t need a twitter account for my old company. I don’t need email addresses of people I never communicate with. I don’t need tax files from 1999.

And I don’t need a house or yard this big.

Another thing we did over this past weekend was watch the short documentary movie Tiny: A StoryAbout Living Small and it finally hit me:

Matt and I are killing ourselves just to keep up with some perceived notion of what we should have and how we should live. And for what? So I have a place to store books I haven’t read since I was 10 years old just so I can say I have them?

I started thinking about Jason being on tour. Sure, he’s got a home base where he can house all the things that mean something sentimental or otherwise, but for months at a time he lives out of a bus, or a suitcase even, but he’s enjoying the things that matter and not needing to be surrounded by copious crap all the time just to feel fulfilled.

At least I think that’s the case. I don’t know the guy or anything but based on his own statements I believe that all to be true.

And I believe it to be the most inspiring thing I’ve ever heard.

Because, why should Matt have to work 50 hours a week, me at least 45, just to make the money to pay for all of this stuff we don’t really need? It’s a pitiful existence and causes stupid shit like this to spew out of my fingers but it doesn’t actually do anything for either of us.

All it seems to do is make me feel like crap because I have too much crap. An avalanche of stuff that doesn’t help me feel any happier.

The time has come to sit down together and figure out how to release all the things that don’t matter so we can embrace more of the stuff that does.

Laughter. Hugs. Family. Friends. Passion for my career. Music. Travel. Love.

Maybe if I do that I’ll be able to make it to the next pool party my friends invite me to. Because instead of feeling chaotic, like I’m nailed to the floor but could tornado across the world at any second, I’ll have a fighting chance for a calmer mind. 

It's time to fight for focus.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I Should Just Stop Saying “This is What I Want to Do!”

Because the minute I start doing the thing that I really want to do I end up losing all my inspiration.

Maybe I’m just meant to be on this planet to be a muse for everyone else. I’m like Salma Hayek’s character in Dogma. I can come up with a million ideas for everyone else but can’t seem to keep any for myself.

But does that mean I should just go be a stripper?

<insert hysterical laughter here>

Because, yeah, I’m sure that an almost 41 year old, pasty white and 25 pounds overweight woman with sagging boobs is exactly what all those drunk guys are looking for in a stripper. Then again, maybe they are…

Anyway, I’m not going that route but I just can’t seem to wrap my head around anything anymore. Not where my work is concerned anyway.

I’m planning and working toward launching a new venture later this summer that’s plucked right out of my writing experiences. There’s going to be a new book and I’m going to start formatting a coaching/mentoring program for self-publishing Authors so they can actually finish a book and bring it to market. The same basic gist of what my book is going to be about.

Sounds great right? I’m excited about it but every time I sit down to start populating my blog or getting some stuff together for guest posting opportunities that will help with my authority in this niche I literally go freaking blank.

It’s hard to pull out just a portion of the information I want to share with would-be Authors so I can get my posts going when I’m also going to need to create a small giveaway, then a book, then a coaching program all based around the same concept.

But the thing about today’s market is that if you have a product to sell you have to give away free informational shit first so people want to buy your even more informational stuff. Or at the least look forward to engaging with you about the content.

All the business owners in the world who have started something and run it successfully would say this is the part of the process where I need to push through, continue to try my best to get things going. Because this is the part where fear stops most other entrepreneurs in their tracks.

I want to be a successful business owner. I’ve wanted to be a successful business owner since I picked up my first package of Avon catalogues about 100 years ago and tried to sell makeup for a living.

Over the years after that I moved on to every other possible product that I could sell door-to-door – Tupperware, knives, memberships, and maybe more but I’m blanking now on what they all were. But I avoided selling the one thing I knew I really wanted to sell because I was so afraid that when I got there it would all end in a similar fashion and I’d have to admit defeat.

Of course I’m talking about books.

But I said screw it and wrote one anyway. The sense of accomplishment I felt after getting that first proof copy in the mail was like an enormous weight being lifted off my entire body. I felt like my efforts, all the odd jobs, the time I’d spent doing everything I didn’t really want, led me to the very thing I was born to do.

I got a plan together, finished it and put it out there.

And guess what happened when I finally lived my dream, wrote some books and tried to market them? Yeah. Epic fail.

But it had less to do with my writing (I hope) and a whole lot to do with my knowledge of marketing. I just can’t seem to break through that little wall in my brain that allows me to market appropriately. Hence the lack of inspiration now.

And so the merry-go-round spins. And I’m still on it, going around endlessly where I know I’m really good at what I do but struggling big time with how to get the rest of the world to see that while I’m moving in slow, measured circles that never get me closer to anything.

How am I going to coach other Authors if I can’t even do the stuff I plan to tell them to do?

I’m so sick of starting, going nowhere, stopping then starting over again. Especially when this is it. This is the thing. I’m done searching endlessly. I know what I want to do with my life. So why the fuck is it so difficult to just make it happen?

I get that whole bullshit cliché about nothing worth it will be easy but I’ve been working for this for what feels like forever now. Can’t I just get a little something for all the fucking effort I’ve been putting into being a full-time writer for the past 5 years? Can’t I just inspire myself for once and figure out how to make this work?

Because I can’t go back to working as a corporate drone. I can’t NOT be a writer now. But I need to make this a real business because I can’t stop eating or paying my bills either. I’m not afraid anymore. Not afraid of being successful.

So where the hell is the success? I’ve been asking for it for so many years now that I can’t help but think of a couple more clichés – quitters never win but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over expecting different results and never getting them.

Maybe I should just chuck it all and move into a tiny house with Matt in upstate NY, eat twigs and trap geese. Abandon the internet altogether and become a crazy shut-in lunatic who writes a 4000 page manifesto.

Of course, then I’m going to want to sell it…

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Model Example?

This morning I read an article posted by a woman who clearly has a very strong and negative opinion about getting the Victoria’s Secret swimsuit catalog*. The post was filled with images from the catalog and she tossed out numerous jabs at both the clothes and the women wearing them. After a couple paragraphs I started wondering the following:

Why is it okay for average Janes like us to say that models are too skinny, too tan, too sexy looking in their photographs but the moment someone comments on our weight, our skin tone, our facial expressions we get all up in their face like they just called the Pope an Atheist?

I can say with 100% certainly this statement is true – models are people with feelings and just as much ability to have them hurt by words tossed in their direction because the people who say them seem to think their life and career choices are somehow superior.

Let me say right now that I’m not jealous of supermodels, Victoria’s Secret models, catalogue models or models in general. In fact, I might even respect them more because I don’t have that talent. I take horrible pictures most of the time and I accept that. What I lack in visual appeal I make up for with my glorious, witty personality.

Or something like that.

Anyway, I’m not a model and I don’t know any models but I feel it’s my duty as a woman to put this out there as a rebuttal to the common misconceptions many people have about models: 
  • Just because a woman is skinny doesn’t mean she doesn’t eat.
  • Just because a photo appears in a magazine doesn’t mean it started out looking exactly how the finished product appears.
  • Just because a woman is beautiful, sexy, can wear tiny little clothes and sell those clothes because of her look, it doesn’t mean she should be open to public ridicule for doing her job.

Sure there might be some models who have eating disorders or other issues but it isn’t just models who face these problems. Lawyers, school principals, stay at home moms could have the same body/food issues but no one seems to harass those people about their weaknesses in public.

I really started wondering why the public seems to think it’s alright to scorn someone else for having something they don’t have – money, love, a rockin’ body, sex appeal. Is it jealousy?

For me, the real issue is that I’m disappointed in myself for not getting off my lazy ass and working out, for not eating healthy enough to still have the tiny frame I used to have. My feelings and my body image have nothing to do with the woman who has somehow managed to find the time to do all that stuff.

It’s not her fault I’m overweight. It’s not her fault I have cellulite and it’s not her fault I can’t rock the swimsuit that she can (yet). It’s my fault.

Yup, I said it and I stand by my choice.

Bear in mind, I don’t harbor delusions of body where I think that if I work out all the time and stop eating I’ll suddenly grow 6+ inches in height and lose every curve or varicose vein on my body. Come on now, I’m not young and stupid (anymore). But if I stopped being lazy and started taking better care of myself I actually could rock this bathing suit:

Yes she’s beautiful, yes she sells sex through her eyes and body, and yes the scene around her is picturesque.

Now, here’s some other things to think about when you look at that picture:

► Most swimsuit photo shoots happen in winter. Yup. This woman is probably freezing her tight, tan ass off but do you see that in her face? No. Models have to rise above being totally uncomfortable in order to do their fucking job. And that ain’t easy.

► What if she’s got the flu but scheduled for a photo shoot they’re paying for her to be a part of? You think she gets a sick day? Uh, no not so much. At least, not if she wants to pay her mortgage.

► What if the only time they could book for a shoot is on her kid’s 5th birthday? You think they’ll reschedule because she ordered up a bouncy castle? Try again.

► The chances that this woman just got 2 hours of sleep on a plane, spent 8 hours “frolicking” in ice cold water then got right back on a plane to travel 10 hours for another shoot where she has to be professional and upbeat (aka not cranky and tired) is pretty high. How much of a toll might that kind of schedule take on someone’s body?

► Speaking of body, models contort into positions no human should be able to pull off so you can see as much of the product as possible. Seriously, I dare you to get in front of a full-length mirror and try to get your body into the position in this photo. Then stay there for 4-8 hours with little time for a break.

► Oh, and don’t forget your face because getting in that position for that long is painful and you can’t let that show on your face or your photos will suck and you won’t get paid to do your job.

► Then, while you’re doing all that other stuff, don’t forget your light source must hit the right places on your face or again you’re going to look kind of weird.

► And weirdness might sell some stuff – see tortoise framed glasses, hipster music, books – but it doesn’t sell swimsuits. Sexy sells swimsuits.

So here’s my big overarching question:

As women, shouldn’t we be embracing of WHATEVER other women want to do for a living (you know, as long as it’s legal)? Are we seriously persecuting each other for being too sexy now? How fucked up of a female double-standard is that?

If I met whoever that gal is in the picture up there I’d give her a high five and thank her for taking care of herself. I’d thank her for getting her ass off her sofa, going out and using the thing she has to her best advantage to make a career for herself.

Remember how women used to not be able to do that? This woman should get a medal for doing what she loves AND getting paid for it.

And I’d thank her for pushing me to go that extra half mile on my stationary bike. Because, while I have ZERO delusions that I’d ever have the same body type or shape she has, I use the image as inspiration to better myself.

It’s hard enough for women out there so I see no reason for other women to shit all over each other just because we make choices to make the most of the gifts, skills and talents we have. Regardless of what those gifts, skills or talents happen to be.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to get back on my stationary bike to do my 5 miles this morning because I’m going to get back in shape for me so I can buy that bathing suit and love how I look in it.

Non-model flaws and all.

Image courtesy Victoria’s Secret

*Sorry I can’t seem to locate the link to this story. If you read it please feel free to share the link in the comments.

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