I haven’t posted on this blog in quite a while—life was happening, ya know?
2016 had its pros and cons, but more importantly it revealed to me what I wanted from life. So 2017 will thus be the year where choosing to act will gain those wants.
Below are my 5 Focus Goals of this year. So after reading this please don’t ask me what I want to do with my life 😉
I love eating healthy and more specifically I love preaching it to others (don’t get me started, because I won’t stop). Hence why I wrote a book about it.
My upcoming novel, Chasing the Beauty, is nearly complete. With its publication I plan to start my own nutrition program, as well as design my own website and app for it. Thanks to an online course on user experience design my brother encouraged me to take, I understand the tools how to create both.
Look for it this upcoming year! 😀
More than all things health-related, I love writing my psychological novel, Sculpting Beauty, even more (Chasing the Beauty, Sculpting Beauty…they ARE unrelated, by the way). But working on top of maintaining my nutritious lifestyle and balancing a social life makes devoting time to this novel even more difficult. So this new year presents me with the opportunity to cut out any unnecessary things (i.e: spending copious amounts of my life on social media, watching reruns of old cartoons, etc) to give more of my attention to my favorite serial killer (move aside, Dexter!).
It’s a pretty thrilling tale and I’m sure you’ll become aware of it, when it reaches that #1 spot on every bestselling book lists out there 😉
I’ll be honest . . . I don’t enjoy working out. I love running and I love the feeling of accomplishment after exercise but . . . what can I say? I’m lazy. But the time to get my ass up and moving is now. There is only one life–why not make the most of my physical condition? So far, I’m off to a good start.
Livin’ It Up:
Balancing a social life while saving money has always been incredibly difficult. But I don’t think limiting yourself to staying inside just to put aside a few is worth more than gaining new experiences. 2017 has been fun, eventful, and full of life so far. I’ve made to do go out and be with friends, or catch up over dinner or on ‘Skype’ (aka phone calls)—I’ll try to keep it that way . . . while still maintaining a healthy financial state too.
Work on Myself:
Like I’ve told two different dudes this past month who could simply not take a hint: I’m not interested in dating. Rather, I’d like to have a relationship with myself and invest what I can. It’s important to know who you are without seeing yourself as a reflection in others.
2017: Look for Chasing the Beauty and my new website! Sorry this blog was short and sweet, but Law and Order: SVU is on!
What is one of your hobbies? One of your passions? Something you love?
Mine is the art of writing. I’ve loved it since as long as I can remember, which, considering I don’t know what I had for breakfast this morning, probably doesn’t say much. Anyways, trace a timeline of moments throughout your life believe defined your pursuit.
Here are mine 🙂
The First Story:
In the fourth grade my teacher asked the class to compose a short story about anything we wanted. I wrote about…a man who caught a fish every day at the pond near his house. And after so long, the suddenly ‘magical’ sea creatures in the pond didn’t like that, so they had a meeting one night to discuss what to do…and, in your typical turn of events, reeled the fisherman in the following day and ate him.
I loved this story. I was into this story. And, this story is what introduced me to creating tales through the medium of writing. Then, it became my escape.
The Fifth Grade Story Book:
Once again, this was an example I remember about utterly, helplessly losing myself in a story. My fifth grade class was to detail and draw our own short composition. The project consumed me–I vividly recall putting all my effort, all my love, and all myself into this tale about a monkey charge (what the ‘eff–I know…I don’t think it had a starting point either).
In the end, I was sooooo proud…until several of our classmates read theirs out loud. And my best friend’s sounded well-written and descriptive and beautiful and all I could think was fuck you. Unfortunately, at that moment, the unconscious self-urge to compare my writing to others began (dun dun dunnnn).
My ‘First’ Novel:
The sixth grade…was when I decided I wanted to be an author.
We had a Friday period called Writer’s Workshop, during which the class would have an hour to take a piece through the writing process. Brainstorming, drafting, peer revision, teacher edits, final draft.
I wrote a short story on a pick pocketer…it was pretty lame. My next piece was longer, muuuuuch longer, as in about 20 written pages….My classmates were stopping at five or six! But I was so engrossed, so into my tale about three students disappearing into the world of a robot war…it was perfection for me.
And then…and then it began.
I loved the show Dragonball Z. My childhood, my life. I kind of, sort of copied ideas from it into a novel on my own DBZ figurines. And it was long. Jesus, I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and couldn’t stop because I was having so much fun and not knowing where I was going but ohhhhh myyyy God it was funnnn! And suddenly it was over a hundred pages long, and my classmates wanted to read it, my teacher told me to put her name somewhere in it when I became published, and my sister straight up said, ‘You should name the second Battle for the Universe and the third The Last Hope.’
Okay. I would. I would finish this story and write more. Because everyone expected me to. I was a writer, a novelist, then. End of story…
…But the expectations of others–were they a good thing?
A Walking-and-Talking Thesaurus:
My dad was the first one to read my completed novel–I was so excited! He laughed at times, said he enjoyed it, didn’t finish it–and then I read my friend’s (the fifth grade friend) own short story. My final thoughts: fuckkkkkkkk youuuuuuuuu.
It sounded good. The writing was good. The characters were good. The plot was good. Everything was good. Mine was…all story and no writing.
All throughout middle school and all throughout high school, I used big, big words that came straight from the thesaurus to sound impressive, sophisticated, and smart. Because that was my definition of good writing.
Overall…my passion and excitement was lost–writing became nothing more than a chore. My stories were something I expected myself to complete because other people still called me an author. Everything suffered.
The Girl Who Could Change Fate:
One day after school, the words ‘the girl who messed with fate’ randomly stumbled across my mind. I don’t know how they came about, but they did; and in that moment I spontaneously decided I’d write a novel about it. I had no expectations for it. Others were unaware, therefore they had no expectations. I just…started writing, as they say. And I loved it, loved coming up with its plot and characters and voice to where I was utterly, helplessly consumed once again. Everything about it, for me, was good.
And I ended up ultimately publishing it 🙂
So these are five big writing moments for me. My relationship with this hobby has overcome darker moments, these times of struggle, but has also experienced brighter moments. I’ve learned over the years how strong it has become a part of my identity and self-expression. And look forward to where we will go together 🙂
What are your timeline moments?
A week or so ago, I celebrated my 26th birthday. I didn’t notice a difference. Then again…who wants to turn 26?
Adulthood…When I was in middle school, I thought high schoolers were adults. When I was in high school, I thought college students were adults. When I was in college, I thought graduates were adults.
Nope nope nope.
I just turned 26. I’m still living with my parents. I’m spending every paycheck I earn on bills with maybe $12 to blow on a nice beverage at the bar. I’m working a job that should be a career but is really only there so I can spend every paycheck on bills and blow that $12 on a nice beverage at the bar.
Is this adulthood? I thought, with every passing year, one new piece would be added to that ideal life we see in movies and read in books. Added responsibilities for growth. Decorating your own recently-bought house. Expecting them kids to pop out one after the other.
That traditional path of hitting your 20s. College. Marriage. Buying your first home. Having your first baby. Isn’t that adulthood?
Nope nope nope.
26…I’m closer to 30 than I was to 20….That sucks. And I don’t have any of my shit together.
Buuuuut…the good news is none of that matters because I choose instead to have a positive attitude. Your life’s success isn’t an overnight miracle–you’re not rubbing the genie bottle and granted three wishes. What you are doing is moving. At times breezing by, other times limping, even crawling. But no matter what you’re still moving, and more importantly you’re moving forward, because it’s the only direction. Plus, you can always choose how to handle the pace.
So let’s stay positive. Here are the most positive things right now:
-Nutrition: Tonight, I ate a salad for dinner. Then I pounded a couple of Cheetos, some Amos cookies, and will later hit the unopened bag of Oreos sitting innocently in the closet. Why? Because tomorrow is a beginning. I am going all the way with this future of healthy eating. I have never been more interested in nutrition and want it to be the critical part of my life it should be. Splurging has only been an escape of self-destruction. But no more 😉
-Yoga:I will spend that $12 on any yoga class I can get into, because I love it oh so much. Now I just need to be more consistent with my other fitness goals.
-Writing: Sculpting Beauty Chapter 1 is complete for the most part. The edits for Chapters 2-4 are next. With my nutrition novel, Chasing the Beauty, well, it’s easy to write–I just have to do it. Apart from my personal writing, I have opportunities to write for Vegan websites and perhaps even a Wilmington magazine and Content Curator job.
I don’t know what adulthood is–I certainly don’t feel like I’m in that phase of it, but making decisions is definitely adulting.
Small group night #2 was pretty in depth! Here is another excerpt from my book that shows why it is so resounding!
‘It is a classic Hollywood scene: a voice shouts at four frightened souls in possession of a witch’s broomstick. Emerald cauldrons spew flames and smoke into the sky. ‘Come back tomorrow…you ungrateful creatures,’ the Great Wizard yells as his bulbous head floats over a pit of fire.
Then, in the scene’s climatic moment, a mangy little dog pulls back the green drape to reveal a worn-out circus magician cranking levers and pushing buttons.
‘Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain,’ the wizard commands them. But the hocus locus is over, the illusion is gone, and it’s time for a frightened girl from Kansas and even the Great Wizard himself to see way beyond the rainbow.
Our freedom surprisingly starts with becoming more aware of the great cover-up. It begins when we accept that all of us have veiled habits, blind spots, and hidden places in our hearts. And whatever the issues might be, we must instigate our very own Wizard of Oz moment that pulls back the curtain on the mischief maker. If we want to be free, we must be aware of the troublemaking con man behind the scenes.
But many of us will only take action against the great and powerful Oz when we can see what he is doing to us, which is of course the tricky part. We can’t see how loss, pain, and unforgiveness pull levers; send us on meaningless witch hunts; and trap us in haunted forests.
Unresolved pain keeps us in a dead life where we are stripped of anything authentic. We protect ourselves with detached ambivalence to guarantee we never hurt again. Our sadness is masked in seething anger, and our daily lives become grinding, shallow, and less than magical. We gut it out and hope one day it might get better.
Some try to fix their hurts by replacing pain with short-term pleasure. Compulsive behaviors like alcohol addiction, self-injury, online fixations, illicit affairs, unrestrained shopping sprees, and the aptly named ‘comfort food’ all see us numbed up and ‘happy.’ Pain has us completely owned.
And though we might not understand what’s going on, thankfully Jesus does–and he is going to deal with it all. He promises us it doesn’t have to be this way.’
Mike Foster, Garry Poole
Tonight is my first official small group meeting. We will be using a book called Freeway: A Not-So-Perfect-Guide to Freedom. What I’ve read so far is pretty inspiring. Here is one of the intros, which I believe anyone can benefit from reading!
‘Life is a weird but wonderful mystery that none of us can fully understand. We just believe that we’re meant to show up each morning, throw on a pot of coffee, hurry out the door, try our best to survive, and accept that both good and suffering will equally share the stage of our frail and beautiful stories.
There are good parts–having birthday parties, running faster in new shoes, being debt free, going to springtime weddings, and smelling the sweetness of newborn babies. These are everyday gifts for us to savor and enjoy.
Then there are really hard parts–our battles with loneliness, the fight with our muffin top, kids who need chemo again, that affair and the divorce, our silent suffering, and our unseen addictions. These are the parts we want to begin to talk about.
For it is the dings, the skinned knees, and the broken bones of life that Jesus is most interested in. We hustle to be noticed and long to be accepted as we are. We’ve become what everyone else wants us to be–yet the best gift we could bring the world is being people God created us to be. As writer Henri Nouwen once said, ‘One of the tragedies of our life is that we keep forgetting who we are.’
Too many of us believe the lie that we need to sanitize our scandals, brush away our grief, and cover up our scars. We’re frightened that our fumbling, stumbling mess of hypocrisy and shame will soon be exposed.
Like a birthday-party magician protecting all of his tricks, we worry that someone might catch us screaming at our kids before church or snicker at our sexual history or discover we take Prozac. We hold tight to the secrets that we sneak Hershey bars into movie theaters, lied about our SAT scores, and love eating those shiny hot dogs from the local gas station.
We’re scared that if the world sees how messy our lives really are, they won’t like us one bit. They’ll leave us out of the cool kids party and our invitation will surprisingly get lost in the mail. So we bury all of our hurts and struggles underneath lies of perfection. We pretend to be OK when really we’re not. And then we eventually go nuts and become fed up that we start throwing things at our poor dog…or worse.
And if right now, we sat together at a Starbucks and you told me your story–
how you’re scared that you’re not enough, and that you feel like a screw up, and how you lie about this and that, or how you wish your friends would invite you over more often
–I would hold your hand in a non-weird sorta way, look you straight in the eye, and tell you this:
You are loved more than you could possibly know, and everything is going to be OK.’
-Mike Foster, Garry Poole