The Sweetie Chronicles

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

New Year's Resolutions

I am not sure who started the tradition of setting a resolution at the beginning of each new year, but I honestly love it. I think there are a lot of people out there who are starting to really frown at NYR's because year after year, most people set the same goals, like "This year I want to lose 50 lbs." or "This year I am going to quit smoking" January usually starts out great. You join weight watchers or go to the gym everyday. You throw out your cigarettes and promise never to buy another pack. But then life gets busy and we fall into our old routines. It's natural. Sure, we get disappointed in ourselves, but the momentum we felt on January 1st is fading.

I have heard some people say that there's no point in setting a resolution anymore. Maybe that's because they are tired of being disappointed in themselves over and over again. Perhaps setting a new resolution only reminds them of what they failed to achieve the year before. I can certainly relate to that. However, this year, I am setting some goals for myself. I am not going to let my past failures ruin my future. The way I see it, even if I can take small steps towards becoming the person I want to be, it's worth it. I love that New Year's gives you a sense of rebirth. A clean slate. A chance to try again, no matter how many times you've tried to lose weight and failed.

George and I have set one goal together as a couple and that's to make a combined income of $100,000 this year. It is going to be a challenge, but it's definitely within our reach. We decided that once we reach $100,000 in 2008, we will set something higher for 2009, like maybe $200,000. It will be fun to see if we can both work hard to find some extra income this year, like EQ2 game money or ebay or the flea market.

As for me, yes, I have some of the same goals that I had last year. Losing weight, for example, is one of the top goals for me. I want to lose 50 pounds this year. That's an average of a pound a week. I know I can do it, I just have to stop eating so much. Not like it's a mystery :P. I also want to sell some of my writing this year. This sort of goes hand in hand with the income goal, but is a bit more personal as well. The third resolution for me is to keep the house clean. Even just a bit more organized than it is now would be good. Looking around the house right now, I am a bit embarrassed that it's so messy. My clothes are kind of everywhere, and there are notebooks and papers scattered around. I have boxes that are still unpacked from when I moved in last summer. I would just like to be ready for anyone to stop by at any time without having to freak out about how the house looks.
The bottom line for New Year's Resolutions is that they take action and dedication. No one is watching you or holding you to it other than yourself. It all comes down to how badly you really want those things that you promised yourself you would get. Only time will tell, but like most people who are setting goals this year, I have motiviation right now and I am going to make the most of it. In fact, I am going to start right now on the cleaning...

What makes a Good Parent?


The most read story of the week over at People.com is about Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney's 16 year-old little sister. What drama has the Spears' family gotten into this time? Teen pregnancy. Jamie Lynn is 12 weeks pregnant with her boyfriend's baby. I was reading the article at People and Jamie Lynns' parents talk about how her boyfriend Casey has impressed them by driving her to work at the Nicelodeon set and staying there while she worked. Now, the article makes it seem like this is just about the best thing they can say about him, and that this is their example of why he will be a good father. Hmmmm... So, what you're saying is that an 18 year old kid loves your daughter so much that he hangs out at your house, leeching on the family's money all day... then drives her to work at a famous tv studio and hangs out there with all the stars all day?? Wow, what a stand up guy! I mean, you would be hard pressed to find any other guy willing to accompany the hot sister of a tabloid legend to prestigious Hollywood events! Give me a break!

But wait! I guess we already knew Britney and Jamie Lynn's parents were not the brightest crayons in the box. Anyway, the article got me thinking about the over-used phrase "He'll be a good father." (Or it's twin "She'll be a good mother") Why is it that if someone is a "good" person, we say they will automatically be a good father or mother? I know tons of wonderful, funny, "good" people who suck at parenting. And then I know others that I never would have thought were going to be good parents who turned out to be amazing parents. My sister, for example. Five years ago, she would have been in my top 5 for "People I know who will make bad parents". But here she is with a 3 year old daughter, and she is a totally changed person because of it. Everytime I watch them together, I am in awe of how good a mother she turned out to be.

What makes someone a "good person" anyway? Is Casey Aldridge a good person for having sex with a 16 year old girl when he's almost 19? (Isn't that legally considered rape?) Is he a good person for not being careful enough to use protection? Is he good for moving out to LA and mooching off the Spears' fortune? I am not saying any of those things make him a bad person, but I certainly don't see one indication that he will be a good father. In truth, I think only actually being a father for a little while can show if you will be a good one or a lousy one. No one knows how they will react to a child in their life. The responsibility is enormous. Only time and experience will tell. Either way, maybe Britney can regain some sanity while the spotlight is on her sister for a little while

Dreams can be the Enemy

Isn't it funny sometimes how dreams, which you totally can't control, can make you feel strange for days after? I will go long periods of time where I don't remember a single dream. I wonder if I'm dreaming at all, really, because I wake up feeling like I was peaceful throughout the night. But somehow, once a dream seeps in and affects me, it's like the floodgates open. For the past few days, I have dreamed nonstop. (Of course, I don't know if that's really true, or if it just feels like that.) All I know is that waking up after a dream (or a string of dreams) that feels very real or very disturbing can affect you for hours, if not days.

Do you ever feel like you know you dreamed something weird or real or disturbing, and you have a weird feeling inside about it, but yet you cannot quite remember the details? I have that feeling today. I slept quite a bit the last couple of days, and I am not really sure why. Maybe I am coming down with something. There's no real reason why I would be exhausted. But the more I slept, the more I dreamt.

I think for sure that I dreamed about my ex-husband. Like I said before though, I can't really remember the details, just that I dreamed about him a lot, which certainly explains the icky feeling. I wish I could just purge myself of the weirdness or the lingering haze of those dreams over the past 24 hours or so. I wonder if there is any way to make sure you don't dream? Maybe tylenol pm or some other sleeping pill would help? But then I'd wake up feeling weird anyway. Those type of pills knock me out, and then when it's time to get up, I feel so groggy and foggy. I guess I will just have to embrace whatever dreams happen to come my way.

Sex and the City!!!

Sex and the City, The MOVIE?? Me Likey! Well, mostly me likey!

I finally saw the trailor for the new movie, and I had to share. Now, it may just be getting a lot of hype at the moment, but this is a subject near and dear to my heart. Scoff if you must, but there never has been and never will be another show like SATC.

I started watching the show during the second season when we were flipping through channels one night and stopped on a show where this woman was talking about how her diaphragm was stuck and she needed help getting it out. I remember thinking, wow, what the hell is this show? Soon after, I caught a full episode and fell in love. I loved the candor, the humor, the fashion, the sex. I loved that I saw myself in all four of those women, in one way or another. Of course, none more so than Carrie. I still to this day wish I could be Carrie, and I suspect that I am not the only one who feels this way.

I am not even sure if I could properly explain my love of SATC without sounding a bit pathetic. But why should I care what you think? Part of my love affair with this show is about fantasy. I always dreamed of living in NYC and being a part of its fashion and attitude and culture. But an equal part of my love for SATC is the reality of it and how much I honestly could relate to it in my life. It was, at times, almost uncanny how closely the situations Carrie and the girls faced matched my own. At the end of season 2, when Mr. Big is getting married and Carrie confronts him at the Plaza... that was me and L, 100 percent. (and ironically, L left me for a girl named Keri with a K) And when Charlotte married Trey, it was like me and J... with his rich, stodgy parents, and his lack of ability to get it up... our marriage a total sham. There's so much, I couldn't even put it all on here, but let me tell you. I related to this show and I loved it like no other. I own all of the DVD's and still watch the episodes regular, especially in marathon style when I'm feeling down.

I have some mixed feelings about a Sex and the City movie. Mostly, I have good feelings about it because I miss the girls and I miss Carrie's witty banter and seeing what she'll wear next. On the other hand, I kind of have the same feeling I get when an ex-boyfriend that I share a difficult past with calls me up or sends me an email. You want to know what they've been up to and how they are doing... but at the same time, it was hard enough getting over them the first time. Spending time with them now is just a tease... a reminder of the past when things were simpler. I want to remember the show the way it was. Fan-fucking-tastic. I hope the movie is good and that it isn't rushed. I would hate for it to seem like they tried to jam a season's worth of content into a 2 hour slot.

Either way, love or hate, I will be there on opening night. I wonder if Carrie and Big will get married? I'm sure I will be hearing more and seeing more photos from the movie since it doesn't come out until May 2008. Keep your eye out for information, photos and more trailors at http://www.sexandthecitymovie.com/

Sexy

Yesterday, the next two Brava finalists were announced, and man, let me tell ya. They are hot. Make sure to check them out at http://www.bravaauthors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=162&start=7&sid=79c80d5dbfb542af9a84d394d104a8a4

The first entry was "Losing It" by Dawn Munroe. It definitely has a candid flavor to me and reads with a voice that sounds very true to today. I thought it was a touch wordy at the beginning, which I recognize only because I know that is something I do as well. It is truly an art form to be able to use the least amount of words to get your point across. But I kept reading, and it got really good. I love the playful ending of it, and it definitely made me want to read the rest of the story to find out how these two knew each other and how they have changed since. That last line of text... hooked me.

The second entry revealed yesterday was "Reese" by Georgi Anne Porter. This one, for me, had some shock value, haha. It is quite sexy and in your face, which is certainly original so far with this contest. My favorite line from the entry has to be

"Every erogenous zone I had was starting a cheerleading squad."
Pretty cute, I thought. Especially because I know exactly what she means! :)

Overall, each entry that comes out teaches me more and more about what it takes to win a competition like this, and what elements help create tension when you only have a short word count to send in. I know it's going to be super tough to pick a winner. And then, honestly, so much of who wins the reader's choice will come down to personal genre preferences as well as writing quality, so it's subjective. I printed out all of the entries so far and have been going through them, re-reading the ones from before, and realizing just how much talent there is in Romance writing. I hope that someday I can add my name to that list of talented authors.


Look at what G got me for Christmas!!! We exchanged gifts early because we are heading to my parent's house for Christmas and wanted to have some time for just the two of us to open gifts. I love this necklace!!! I know that it is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. I want to wear it everyday! Thank you my sweet man, I love you with all of my heart! :)

It's Monday again...

Wouldn't it be wonderful to just have one more day of weekend? *sigh* It is always hard for me to get up on Mondays and face the week. My tummy hurts a little this morning too, so not sure what's going on there.

G and I had a great weekend together. We decided on a whim to go see the movie "I am Legend" on Friday night. I think I mentioned wanting to see the movie at about 9:45, so we looked it up and the last showing at the theater near us was at 10:10. We quickly got ready and sped out to the theater, only to see that the 10:10 showing (as well as the two or three before it) were sold out. We headed home, found another theater, and drove a little farther to see the midnight showing of it at North Hills. I don't even know that I can remember the last movie I went to see that was so packed. Usually there is that two or three seat buffer zone between you and a stranger, but not this time. Almost every seat was filled, and it was midnight! As for the movie, it was well worth the ticket price.

Basically, a miracle cure for cancer creates a virus that kills 90% of the people on earth in a very short time. Something like only 1% of people were immune and the other 9% became some sort of dark zombie type creature that only comes out at night and feeds on human flesh. Living in New York City alone with his dog for three years, Will Smith's character is still doing research, looking for a cure and trying to avoid the creatures living in the darkness. I won't give away more than that, but I will say that it was probably the most terrifying movie I have seen in years. But more than that, I also cried the way I do at sappy dramas, which is very rare for a horror movie. It really was an excellent film and I highly recommend it to anyone who can stand make-you-jump terrifying.

The rest of our weekend was fun, like usual, but like I said, it's Monday and G just left for work. I so wish that we could just be together all day everyday. At least I know that after this week, he'll have the next two weeks off for the holidays. Saturday we'll head to Georgia to stay with my parents over Christmas, and I am very much looking forward to it.

Keep your eye out for the new finalists over at Brava today. It's not going to be me, but I can't wait to read them and see how they compare. I wonder if they'll be announding some next week, with it being Christmas Eve and all? Guess we'll find out soon enough.

Mall Food Court Nightmare

Semi-last-minute Christmas shopping brought G and I to the Crabtree Mall last night in search of gifts for the last few people on our list this year. After stopping in the Hello Kitty Sanrio store of all things happy, we smelled the food coming from the food court and decided to grab a bite to eat. Now, there are somewhere around 12 different places to eat in this mall's food court, so there is a good variety. G chose Moe's, which is like a tex-mex grill sort of place, and got a "Joey Bag of Doughnuts" Burrito, chips and queso, and a drink. He was treated nicely, served quickly, and overall pleased with his choice. I, on the other hand, chose poorly.

I decided to go for pizza, which is my choice in food courts about 95% of the time. As is common in a lot of mall food courts, SBARRO was the only pizza choice, so I made my way over to the counter. Maybe I should have read more into the fact that G got into line at Moe's behind eight people... while no one was waiting in line at Sbarro. The pizza looked pretty good, so I ordered a slice of cheese pizza, a breadstick and a drink. There were four people working behind the counter. One guy seemed to be keeping to himself, taking the pizza in and out of the oven. One of the girls was in charge of putting your pizza onto the plate and passing it over to the customers. Then, there were two girls working the register. Or at least they were both standing at a register together talking.

When I walked up to pay for my meal, I stood patiently for a moment until I heard "hey, you want a drink?" which I thought was a little short, but okay. I ordered a drink, presented my debit card and waited. By this time, a few people had come up behind me. They were not there to buy pizza, but rather to chit-chat with the girls behind the counter. The group was talking very loudly, crowding around me and talking over me, which already had me feeling a little bit aggravated. I just wanted to go sit down with G and have a nice meal.

I grabbed a couple of napkins and looked for a straw. I couldn't see one anywhere. I politely asked one of the girls, "Excuse me, do you have any straws?". This question went unanswered, because the girls were both much more interested in the people behind me. I looked around again, still not seeing a straw, so I asked again. "I'm sorry, can I have a straw please?" Now, at this point, one of the girls started to hand a piece of paper out towards me, so I instinctively reached out, thinking it was a receipt or something. She snatched the paper back and rolled her eyes, saying "Excuse you!" and passed the paper over my head to the boy behind me. I still did not have a straw and was getting more than a little bit frustrated.

I guess at this point, I should have taken my food, grabbed a straw at any one of the 12 restaurants, and sat down. Like I said, I made some poor choices last night. Instead of walking away, I asked again, only this time a little bit louder. "Can I have a straw please?" The girl at the register pointed over to the right side of the counter and said snappily, "They are over there in that can." I picked up the can, looked inside and saw only trash, and I told her as much. "There are no straws in here, do you have any in the back?" I asked. Apparently, me as a customer wanting a straw was just getting in the way of her conversation too much, and she angrily said "Damn! Let me get you a straw." I almost lost it. Honestly, in my mind's eye, I could see myself lifting my tray up and throwing that pizza at her. I almost did it.

Instead, though, I just demanded my money back. When I handed her my debit card again, she said "We can't put it back on your card." I asked to see the manager, who turned out to be some guy in the back with an apron on who didn't speak much english. After a couple minutes of him figuring out how to give me a refund, and me meanwhile standing there tolerating the girls' eyes rolling back in her head and her mumbling things I couldn't quite catch, I was almost in tears. I eventually got cash back, the pizza was thrown in the trash, and I sat with G trying to calm down while he ate his Joey Bag Burrito. (G was, by the way, extremely sweet and supportive, and had me feeling better in no time.)

I don't understand that kind of attitude and behavior. Someone who is working a job where their only real responsibility is to be NICE to their customers, should never be allowed to treat someone the way she treated me. First of all, to use profanity towards or in front of a customer should be an automatic firing, in my opinion. Her manager, however, didn't seem to care why I wanted my money back. I probably ended up making myself more upset by sticking around and waiting for the cash while she mumbled, but it was a matter of principle for me, and not wanting to patronize an establishment where I was treated like crap.

The sad thing is, I know that last night, in shopping malls all over the country and perhaps even the world, too many people felt like me because of too many people working in customer service like her. Merry Christmas, huh?

A "Morning Dog"


My pomeranian, Snickerdoodle, (aka "snoodle")is the ultimate morning person, except that she's not a person. Of course, like most small dogs, she thinks that she is a person. At night, she sleeps in her crate in the guest room. Much like me, she goes to the bathroom and then happily snuggles up in her warm blanket at bedtime. Where we start to differ is that while I am cranky and never want to get out of bed in the morning... Snickerdoodle can't wait. I don't know if she is more excited about the fact that she's about to go to the bathroom again, or if she's excited about the food. I would like to believe that she's most excited to see me in the morning. Anyway, whatever it is that gets her so riled up in the mornings must be pretty exciting for her.

When I open the door to her crate, she leaps out of it and circles my legs, jumps up slightly to say hello and then bounds down the stairs as fast as her little legs will fly. Then, she makes a lap around the living room, passes back by me as if to say "Hi again Mom", and then circles around the dining room. Once I get to the back door, she appears, hunched down, ears back, ready to rocket outside the door and into the back yard. She exhibits more energy in the first ten minutes she's awake than I do in an entire day! I wish that I could be a morning person, like snickerdoodle, and wake up excited and ready to face each new day.

Christmas Cheer

I think that most of us have a love/hate relationship with Christmas. You think you have all this time to get everything done, but then suddenly you look at a calendar and it's December freaking 12th already. How did that happen? So, here is it, less than two weeks till Christmas now, and a to-do list 10 miles long. It really makes you wonder if it's all worth it. I mean, in some ways, it's wonderful that we have a holiday where you are guaranteed to get and give presents to everyone important in your life. It's a wonderful way to be personal with them and to express your love for them. It is also a fun time to get together with those people that you love and share in traditions and good food.

On the other hand, what percentage of those gifts that you ran your ass off and went into debt to buy will just get returned or thrown to the back of a closet after Christmas? Maybe it would be better if we all just figured up what we were going to spend on other people and just started a new tradition of just giving cash. I guess in some ways, we already do that with the ever-popular "gift card". All that is is store-specific cash, which for some reason just looks more thoughtful than a wad of cash in a card.

I am not at all trying to be a bah-humbug because I personally love Christmas more than I hate it. It just seems that every year that goes by brings us more commercial, spend your money type holiday cheer and less love you forever, wanted to show you how much type. My Christmas wish is that everyone who is stressing out right now about gifts and to-do lists and cooking and such would just take a moment to realize that the people who are most important in their lives will not care if all those things are not done in time. All that matters is that you get to spend some time with the people you love. I know that is what I'm most looking forward to.

Halfway There

Well, the first 10 finalists have been posted at http://www.bravaauthors.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=5 , which means that they are halfway through announcing, and I have half as much chance to still make it. I guess I am following the age-old adage of "Hope for the best, but expect the worst." Honestly, though, I already know the results. I entered the competition with absolutely no experience. Part of me had hoped that I just had this amazing natural ability and that I didn't need any experience to help me through. Haha! Very silly of me to think that for even a moment, really.

The finalists so far have mostly been amazing. I definitely have some favorites though. "Treasure's Pleasure" by Liz Falkner is really good, and that was the first one posted where I was thinking, wow, that was really good. "Bounty Hunter" by Michelle M. Pillow is really good too. And she is one of those that I clicked the link beneath her name in the thread and sighed. Maybe she hasn't published for Brava, but she is published many times over... and has probably been writing for years. It certainly shows. "About Last Night" by Rhonda McKey is really good. I ahve read through that one several times. It if filled with mostly dialog in her entry, but it's great dialog. My new favorite, though, is one that was just posted yesterday called "Southern Fried Seduction" by Cindy Richards. She doesn't have a link to a website beneath her name, so maybe this is her first attempt at writing. I don't know. If it is, maybe I should be worried that it isn't coming so naturally to me.

Yesterday's other finalist was Kim Knox, and although her entry wasn't my favorite, it had more to do with subject matter and personal taste than her writing, which was really polished. I went to her website to check her out,and found that she is another multi-published writer. I was looking at her blog and realized that she started her blog over 2 years ago... and even then was posting about contracts and such. I don't know how long she's been writing, but it's been longer than two or three years it seems. On one hand, I think this should be encouraging. It shows that experience does add up to better writing. It also shows that a lot of the winners of this competition are very experienced writers, and I have nothing to be upset about for not making the finals.

So why is it that I still am beating myself up about my own progress, or lack of progress? Fear, I suppose. I am afraid that since the ability to write a novel is not coming as naturally and easily as I thought it would, I will never be able to do it. I am afraid of what in the world I can do with my life if writing isn't an option. I am scared to death that it's taking me too long to figure this out. I need to calm down and put it into perspective. Okay, so I havent' accomplished what I had hoped for when I started in July. Then again, I spent most of July and August working on the house and getting things set up. I have only really been trying to write for a couple of months, and only been focused on it like I should be for a week and a half. Some people probably take years of writing to really figure out something that is publish-able. I need to stop doubting myself, find my confidence, and get to work. G is right. I need to just finish one book. Probably any writer out there has some beginning material they know is not anywhere on par with what they are currently writing. But they know that it took writing that first stuff to be able to write the way they do now. Did that make sense?

Congrats to the 10 finalists announced so far at Brava. And here's to the 10 yet to be revealed. And, most importantly, here's to learning something from them all so that I can be in their shoes a year from now.

Weekends Go Too Fast

It seems like this weekend just flew by. G and I picked out a beautiful Christmas tree on Friday night, and we spent part of the weekend decorating it and cleaning up some things in the house. We also went to see The Golden Compass on Saturday night. Yesterday was spent more on the computer and in the bed than anything else. We watched Eragon while lying in bed, then took a nap after that. It just seems like, all in all, there wasn't enough weekend to go around. I love having G home with me all day long. I wish every weekend could be just one day longer. I definitely was not ready to wake up to a Monday today, but it came anyway and here we are. Nothing to do now but embrace its Monday-ness and make the most of the day.

Before I go, a passing word about The Golden Compass... I, not having read any of the books or having heard much about the movie except a couple of previews, had no idea that the movie would not wrap itself up like most normal movies at the end. I was definitely enjoying the story and the cinematography, when in the back of my mind I thought... surely we've been in here a while, there can't possibly be enough time for them to show the rest of the "war" and fit in rescuing her father and such. I was very curious how they were going to wrap up the story into the expected and anticipated happy ending that is customary with epic children's tales like Neverending story when suddenly, the screen went black. Hmm, I thought. Part 2? Then the credits began to roll and the movie was over. Wait. Over? OVER??!%$#&*(!? Needless to say, I was not prepared for this abrupt ending, and was slightly pissed that there was not more warning that I was in fact going to see a movie that would not really end. When I went to see Lord of the Rings, I knew it was going to be Part I of three. I was prepared for whatever ending they gave, because I knew there was more in the works. Maybe it's an example of my own ignorance for not knowing the books the movie is based on. Anyway, I guess there will be two more movies still to come. All I can say is that I hope they actually make them, or rather... hope they have already started, because I want to see the rest of the story! I may actually run to the book store and just pick up the books. Chances are, they are probably better than the movie anyway.

And now... back to Monday.

Some things don't make sense

Here I am obsessing over my own life and beating myself up for things like not doing the laundry... Meanwhile, there are things like this Nebraska mall shooting going on and I had no idea. Since I don't watch much television anymore (with the exception of DVR'd reality shows like America's Next Top Model, that I watch and fast forward through commercials and such), I miss out on some of the current events. I sometimes browse through the news online, but mostly this involves people.com, not cnn. :) (hey, don't blame me for wanting happy celeb gossip as opposed to depressing things like mass murder)

Anyway, yesterday I was browsing cnn and saw the news reports about a 19 year old kid who killed eight people and himself in an Omaha Nebraska shopping mall. Apparently, he was living with some friends and their mom, who describes him as being pretty fucked up emotionally. They didn't go into detail about what had led him down this emotionally dark path other than to say that recently his girlfriend had broken up with him and he was fired from his job at McDonald's. If that is all it takes for someone to get so depressed and messed up that they open up 20 rounds on a mall full of innocent people, we are heading for some dark times, my friends.

I guess one part of the article found at http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/12/06/mall.shooting/index.html that stuck out to me was all the signs he was giving to his "landlord". CNN reports, "Maruca Kovac told the Omaha World-Herald that Hawkins showed her an SKS semiautomatic Russian Military Rifle the night before the rampage, but she wasn't alarmed." Excuse me?? You're telling me that this boy moves in with you and has obvious emotional issues, is dealing with a breakup and losing his job... then he shows you a very dangerous and murder-friendly weapon and you aren't alarmed?? I wonder how that conversation went.

Maruca: Hi sweetheart, what's that you got there?
Hawkins: Oh, just wanted to show this sweet rifle I picked up.
Maruca: wow, where'd you get that? Walmart? Looks expensive, dear.
Hawkins: Well, expense means nothing to me now.
Maruca: That's nice dear. So, are you planning to go hunting this weekend or something? Not usually a lot of big game hunting in downtown Omaha this time of year you know.
Hawkins: Oh, I don't know. We'll see.

I don't know why this woman wasn't alarmed by the presence of a semiautomatic rifle in her house. Also, she says she got a phone call from him around 1 PM saying he was sorry for everything and that it was too late for him, that he was a piece of shit all his life. He told her he'd left a note. She claims she found this note saying that he was going to be famous now. After piecing together these three major clues... 1) A semiautomatic killing machine 2) A desperate apology phone call and 3) A suicide note that also claims that this is his ticket to fame... this woman did not call the police or try to do anything at all? I wonder what she did for the 42 minutes between reading the note and the first shot. I'm certainly not saying it's her fault. I am just pointing out that somewhere along the way he was at least trying to reach out and scream at her that he was not okay and that he needed help. Maybe there was nothing she could have done, and I suppose there probably wasn't. However, my advice to everyone would be that if a kid who is living with you shows you a semiautomatic rifle, you should ask him what the hell he's doing with it, and then promptly confiscate it and throw it over a bridge or something.

A Good Book When it's Cold



There is just something about snuggling up with a good romance novel when it's getting cold outside. In the name of research, I went to a bookstore and picked out a couple of Harlequin's latest romance titles. The first one I decided to read is "Snowbound" by Janice Kay Johnson. Sure, it's light reading, but isn't that a good thing when it comes to leisure time?

The book is about Fiona, a 28 year old private school teacher who is caught in a snowstorm along with eight of her students. They were on their way back from a quiz bowl type competition when the storm caught them by surprise and they were unable to make it home. Luckily, they find a ski lodge in the mountains and are taken in by the owner, John. John is a loner of sorts... a veteran who recently returned from Iraq with injuries, both mental and physical. He was hoping the storm would mean solitude, but he reluctantly takes in Fiona and her students, giving them every luxury at his disposal. Of course, there are sparks between Fiona and John, and they gradually get to know each other. I am on page 151 of 276, and they have really just gotten to their first kiss. After mainly reading Brava's more erotic novellas lately, this is actually a refreshing change.

I think just by reading this book, I am learning a lot. The author is kind of using an old standard plot, being pushed together in a mountain lodge because of a snow storm... but then she twists it a bit by adding teenagers to the mix. Also, I usually cringe when I see that a story involves a hero who was in Iraq. But for some reason, I am really loving this book and these characters. I want to learn how to make a reader care about the characters I am creating. I think that in my own writing, I tend to be less patient in my descriptions. For such an emotional person, my writing so far is not emotional enough, I think. Anyway, I'm going to get back to reading.

Perseverance

I have been thinking about perseverance a lot lately. I watch my boyfriend and this is something he seems to have down pat. He seems to see very clearly that if you just put a little bit into something every day, it will slowly but surely start to move in the right direction. I would guess that also makes him a patient person. As for me, I am not naturally patient when it comes to most things. (Although, strangely, I was a very patient teacher, but that's another story.) I am often motivated by results and progress, and I don't always have the confidence to see that by giving a little each day, the results will come. I am also really hard on myself, which can be a major flaw. I expect so much from myself all at once and then when I don't deliver 110%, I feel defeated. I wasn't always the type of person who gave up easily though, and I'm not sure that I've quite become that yet either. I just have been feeling more fragile over the past few years, and I want that to stop. I want to be more like G. I really admire him for his perseverance and patience.

I decided to google "perseverance + quote" and when I clicked on the first link, I found a lot of great quotes to read through. The first one that caught my eye was:

"The great majority of men are bundles of beginnings." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I thought this was particularly appropriate considering that I had already written about how many new starts I've given myself. I feel that I have been exactly that, a bundle of beginnings... without any real substance or concrete movement towards any one goal. I don't want to be lumped into a category with "most men" anymore. I want to start achieving some goals and make some changes in my life.

Another quote that caught my eye and reminded me more of how my boyfriend approaches some things is:

"If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep walking." - Buddhist saying.

I just love the simplicity of that thought. As long as I get up every day and keep writing, I will be published. As long as I don't give up, I will succeed. Now, I would say there is probably a direct corellation between how much effort you decide to spend on something each day and how quickly you achieve that goal. Even so, there is some comfort in thinking that even if I don't put as much as I think I should, as long as I am still walking, moving, taking steps in the right direction (however small), I will get there eventually. Maybe there is danger there in becoming a bit too complacent and non-driven, but I think it's still a thought in the right direction for me. Just don't give up. Keep walking. Build momentum. No excuses.

Yesterday was a Great day

Yesterday was my best day yet as a writer. Somehow I feel like I am finally coming into my true beginning as "writer-sweetie". This used to happen to me as "singer sweetie" also. I would work on a song and not really connect with it, or work on a technique and not really understand how it works in my body. That might go on for weeks or even months, until one day... poof... it suddenly came together. Like Magic.

I am not exactly saying that I wrote an entire book yesterday and will be published in no time. All I can say at this point is that I approached the day with confidence and focus, a clear goal and an idea of how to achieve that goal... and for the first time in a long time, I achieved a lot of what I set out to do. Small steps are still steps in the right direction sometimes.

Probably one of my proudest moments of the day was after lunch, when G went back to work and my belly was full. I lost focus a bit during lunch because we were watching tv and eating, and what I really wanted to do when he left was go up and crawl into our comfy bed and take a nap. I resisted the temptation, though, and went to my computer instead. I got some ideas worked out, read a few chapters in my "Romance Writer's Handbook" and even wrote a few quality pages in my novella. I know this probably sounds stupid to most hard-working adults. My proudest moment was not taking a nap? A bit pathetic maybe, but at the same time, I would bet there are more closet nappers, procrastinators, and generally unhappy, didn't-accomplish-my-goals type people out there than most people care to see or admit. It actually is surprising to me how much I can get done in one day if I just focus and believe in myself. Now I just have to make today even better.

A New Start

When I think back to the last couple of years of my life, I probably couldn't count the number of times I've "started over" on both hands. I always used to think of my life as a book... with chapters lived out from beginning to end, all neat and organized. After the college chapter was over, I imagined a "first apartment" type chapter, a "grad school" chapter, promptly followed by happy chapters like "She starts the Opera career of her dreams" and "happily ever after with Prince Charming". Maybe life turns out like that for some people, but that is certainly not the way my life after college turned out. I never expected the chapters of my life to include things like "rape" or "divorce" or "the second time my house burned down". Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be poor me or give excuses for why I am not yet living happily ever after. I'm just saying that life takes us on a journey we never expected.

I am actually really glad that my life didn't turn out the way I had planned. I might have never met G, and I certainly wouldn't have been able to appreciate our love the way I do now. Because of all that I've been through in the eight years since college, I have found new goals, true love, and a chance to be a writer. I can still see ways that my life could be separated into "chapters", but maybe not so neat or easy as I once thought. Maybe the last four years of my life before I met G would be a chapter called "bad decisions". Even so, I know that I have found a new start here in a new city, with a new love that is finally what I want and need, and a new career that I am excited about. I know that I have tried to start over so many times with a new attitude and a new me, but this feels different. I am being honest with myself about my laziness and my weaknesses, but I am also giving myself little pep talks about how amazing I know I am deep down inside. I am going to try to wake up every day and see it as a new start, a new chance to accomplish what I want, a new chance to love and be happy. Maybe we have more control sometimes over the names of our life's chapters. If so, I am calling this next chapter "Finding Joy".

Have I lost my Mojo?



I think it's in the sequel to Austin Powers where Dr. Evil goes back in time to steal his "mojo", isn't it? On the screen, "mojo" appears to be some psychedelic liquid pulled forth from Austin's veins with a syringe. Now, I think I would have remembered someone sticking a syringe in me and extracting a funky, sparkly substance. However, I do appear, like Austin Powers, to have lost my "mojo".

When I was younger, I was basically unstoppable. I had a list of accomplishments that grew on a daily basis. I was the youngest drum major in my high school band's history. I was the first debater in my district to compete at State tournament and not lose a single round. I won first place in Girls' Solo performance at State Literary. I won piano awards, made it into honor band with the flute, sang all over the state of Georgia. I graduated Salutatorian, went to a top 20 University where I graduated with honors and was chosen to sing the Alma Mater for the close of ceremonies. I could go on and on and sing my own praises for all my years between ages 3 and 23. What happened to me after that? Maybe I lost my mojo.

I certainly started down a much rougher path at that point, but it does me no good to blame my circumstances. Since then, I have seen glimpses of the "star" I used to be, but it's been more like a witnessing of unrealized potential than a manifestation of mojo. Everything used to feel so easy. Winning was easy. All I had to do was be myself. I guess that deep inside of me, that winning girl still exists, but winning is no longer effortless like it used to be. Confidence isn't coming naturally like it used to. Actually, come to think of it, confidence probably is my mojo. You could see it in my eyes back then. I think you could probably feel it if you got near me. Confidence came so naturally.

So the only question now is how to get it back. I talked to my boyfriend about it at lunch yesterday and his solution is to become a slave driver and set a deadline for my first novella to be completed. I have until lunchtime December 13th to produce a novella. Once I have a completed work behind me, I can submit it or shelve it and move on to the next one with the confidence that I can do it. Sometimes you just need a little push from the people that love you in order to get your engine started. I am going to put my whole self into the goal of reaching this deadline and making my boyfriend proud of me. Also, making me proud of myself for a change.

Life is a puzzle...

It is a perfect example of how my life has been going lately to look at the topic of my last blog entry and then realize that it took me 9 days to write a new one. I figure out that in order for me to keep writing and stay on track, I need to create momentum. How do I react to that newfound knowledge? I become stagnant and stale, an object at rest. I create the opposite of momentum for myself. I don't know why it is so difficult for me to just see what I want and make it happen.



With that being said, I am writing today, which is where it has to start. A million false starts might mean nothing without momentum, but all it takes is one really great start followed by another day of writing, and another, and another to get this started for real. I know what I want from myself, and that is a great start. A lot of people never really explore what it is they want out of life, so they just go down the path we are taught we all should want. Maybe they end up happy, maybe they don't. I know that I can only find true happiness when I start becoming that person that I always wanted to be and always knew I could be.




Sometimes I think that happiness is like a puzzle. You know what the end result is supposed to look like, but the pieces are all jumbled up and chaotic. Sometimes you find a few pieces that were never completely severed, and are still stuck together. Those are freebies, like my family... pieces that add to my happiness without having to look for them. Other times, you search for a matching piece for years, when it turns out that it fell on the floor when you opened the box. When I put together a new puzzle, I like to start out by finding the four corner pieces. It always makes the whole process seem less daunting to have those four corners to outline where the rest of the puzzle will go. Then, I find the pieces with smooth edges and start to fill out the outer box of the puzzle. I never start with the inside pieces until the outside edges are all found. Maybe I should look at life this way instead of seeing it as chaos. I know that all of the pieces of my life are here, and with G, I have truly found my corner pieces, my foundation. But instead of trying to rush ahead and expecting the final picture to come forth out of the choas, I need to slow down, build my foundation and my anchors. Maybe then all the rest of the pieces will just seem to fall into place.




Momentum

Ever since I turned 30 and realized that I am nowhere near as accomplished as I thought I would be at this point, I have been looking for answers and truths about how life works. I have been redesigning myself, trying new things, and looking for the best route to becoming ME... you know that ME that I always felt I was meant to grow into. I know that I am just starting out on this new "journey" of sorts, but I have come across a fundamental truth that I never quite realized before now.

Momentum is essential to success.
I decided to google the word "momentum" to see what definition it would spit out. The top result was http://www.answers.com/topic/momentum where I found exactly what I was looking for ( further proving the amazing power of google and the internet at large, but that's a blog for another day). Beyond just a basic definition of the word, the page explains momentum to be the concept that "The faster an object is moving—whether it be a baseball, an automobile, or a particle of matter—the harder it is to stop." This simple concept could have a profound impact on my life. It's not as if I didn't know about momentum. It's just that I never realized before now just how much it affects me. Once I start moving in the direction I want to go, and actually start making a little bit of progress, it becomes easier to keep going and to build on that progress. For example, if I write in my journal every day for a week, I start to make progress in my writing, which then makes it easier to write even more in my journal and to branch out to writing more poetry or spending time on my blog. Also, if I lose a pound one week and then another pound or two the week after, it is easier to work harder in the weeks that follow to lose more and more each week.
This brings me to another concept that I hadn't really considered until I started reading that page at answers.com. INERTIA. "Inertia, as defined by the second law of motion, is the tendency of an object in motion to remain in motion, and of an object at rest to remain at rest." This concept goes hand in hand with the momentum theory really. If I stop writing for a few days, it is hard to start writing again at all. If I stop counting my Weight Watchers point values, it is more difficult to start it up again. But, if I'm following a schedule or sticking with a certain plan for more than a day or two, the inertia kicks in and momentum takes over.
You hear people say a lot that "persistence is the key to success" and that as long as you don't quit and you keep pushing forward, you will be successful. I think this is absolutely true. I think that most of the time, people who were not successful just quit too soon. For me, I think that if I can just set a couple of goals and then stick to them for a full week, the next week it will become a little bit easier. And if I make it through two weeks, I'll start to see results that will give me confidence that I am on the right track. Like a chain reaction, the confidence will push me to work harder and achieve more, thereby providing me with that magical thing, (cue cheesey inspirational music) Momentum. Keep moving, I will tell myself. Don't stop. Remain an object in motion, build momentum, never give up.

Nerves

Today I have a lot of nervous energy. It isn't exactly butterflies in my stomach, because that lifts you up and makes you feel light and bubbly. No, this energy is more like a weight, heavy and rock-like, pulling me down, grounding me. Last month, I entered my first writing competition. We could only submit up to 750 words and that little bit is being judged by about 30 currently published romance authors. I think the final count of entries was somewhere around 347, and starting Thursday, they will announce the 20 finalists two by two over the next ten weeks. I guess on one hand, 20 sounds like a lot of finalists. On the other hand, that means that 327 people will not make the finals of the competition, which sounds like a lot of non-finalists.

I would say that "all I can do is wait" but that would not be truth. See, the prize for making it into the 20 finalists is that Kate Duffy, the editor at Brava, will read your 750 words. If she likes what she reads, she will be asking for your full novella manuscript. They aren't guaranteeing to publish anyone's novella, but I am sure they have the intention of publishing a few of them. For one thing, it's good publicity for next year's contest to be able to say, "The contest that launched the career of Brava Best-Selling Author {Name Here}"! Last year, Kate published 3 novellas from the competition in one anthology. I have a feeling they will do the same thing this year, since they asked us to write on a theme (Reunited Lovers). I am not sure when the editor will start asking people to send in their manuscripts, but mine is not totally finished yet! I am not expecting to get "the call" from the editor, but I want to be prepared just in case. So, that means I better get to writing and revising!! I envy the two people who will find out this week that they made the finals. Wish me luck!

Excuses, Excuses...

There is no doubt about it... Life can really suck sometimes. As the popular phrase goes "Shit happens," right? Of course, some people's "shit" is worse than others. For some, life sucks when you have a bad day at work or if you get a flat tire on your way home. For others, it might mean something really devastating like having your leg amputated just days after your husband was violently murdered on your birthday. I certainly am not going to deny that the flat tire pales in comparison with the murdered husband. However, I think that so much in life is a matter of attitude and perspective.

Last week I mentioned that G and I play this game called Everquest II. Well, I logged in this morning and a bit of conversation in one of the game's chat channels caught my eye. This player, let's just call her "Girl", was bemoaning her plight in life. Not her game life, mind you, her real life. I am not sure why she was sharing this with random strangers in the game, but one would assume she was looking for either help or sympathy. The basics of her situation seem to be that she has no "heating oil"or money and is freezing. She said she lives in Maine, which I imagine, is indeed cold. (However, I am not sure what "heating oil" is, but it sounds a bit primitive. /shrug.) Anyway, Girl went on to say that she hadn't gotten paid in two months for her job, and the man that initially hired her has been let go from the company and now apparently she has no proof she was hired. Her complaint seems to lie with, well.. the entire state of Maine. She claims that every business owner only screws people over and that it is impossible to find a good job anywhere in the state.

At this point, the diverse community of EQII begins to chime in with their opinions and suggestions:

Player 1: Move
Girl: Haha. How? I have NO MONEY!
Player 2 : Join the Military, they will take care of you.
Girl: I can't join. I have a bad knee and back from being run over by a truck and dragged for 20 feet.
Player 3: Find another job.
Girl: There ARE no other jobs in this state.
Player 4 (which was me, btw): Sell plat from the game.
Girl: I don't even have the money to open a bank account to open a paypal so I can sell plat online.

At this point, I am sure you can begin to see a pattern emerging. No matter what suggestions people came up with, Girl was sure to have an excuse as to why it wouldn't work. People like this drive me insane! This conversation could go on for weeks, and she would probably never find a single thing that would help her, because instead of trying to actually make her life better, she would rather come up with excuse after excuse. I think the issue is that she doesn't really want to work to make her life better. What she really wants is to be miserable. Miserable, poor and unsuccessful is SO much easier to maintain than happy, wealthy, and prosperous. It's just easier to make excuses than to make changes. Bottom line.

You probably don't have to look too far to identify a minimum of four or five people that you know who are just like this. In fact, there are a lot of programs put in place in this country that allow people to just sit there with their hand out and complain that someone only put $10 in their hand rather than $20. Heaven forbid they actually got off their ass and earned any money or made some changes in their life. What I should have said to the "Girl" online is this:

"Here's a plan for you. Cancel your Everquest II account and save yourself $15 a month. Cancel your internet service. Sell your fucking computer. In fact, sell everything you have that you don't absolutely need but can get some money for. Then, buy a bus ticket to another state that doesn't have Maine's so-called labor issues or any other problem that you can complain about offhand. Buy one nice suit/dress/outfit and get your ass on the street every single day from dawn till dusk if that's what it takes, until you find a job, any job. Stop making excuses and start making your life better. Get out there and suck cock for rent money if you have to, but don't sit at home playing an online game through an internet connection on your computer that has good enough graphics to play it and complain to me about how poor you are and how unfair life is."

I wonder what she would have said to that.. ? Probably something like, "I can't move away and get another job because my son is here in Maine with my ex-husband and I am trying to get custody, but I was falsely arrested for a DUI and..." /sigh.

Two Quick Stories

I am going to share two quick stories today that will illustrate 1) how messed up I am; and 2) how amazing my boyfriend is.

Story #1 - I have been trying to lose weight since I moved in with my boyfriend. Not because he told me to or anything like that, but simply because I know I need to. I am 5'8" tall and in July at my first Weight Watchers meeting, I weighed in at 200.6 pounds. This is absolutely the heaviest I have ever been in my life. According to the height/weight chart, someone my height with a medium build should weigh between 136 and 150 pounds. Now, anyone who has ever dieted understands that 50 pounds is not going to be easy to lose, nor will it be fast. I follow the Weight Watchers Flex program where I assign Points values to everything I eat based on the amount of calories, fat, and fiber it contains. The program is actually really easy to follow. The hard part for me is attitude. When I first started, G (my amazing boyfriend) and I would go walking in the afternoons. I complained a lot because it hurt like hell to make my body walk up and down hills and everything, but G kept going with me and encouraging me all the way. Unfortunately, however, I wasn't losing weight very quickly. This probably had a lot to do with the fact that I was not being completely honest with all of my Points. I would count the bread as a point, but then not count the butter. Or else I would just "guestimate" on the value of something, when I truly had no clue. Apparently, this isn't good enough.

My weight went down, and then up again, and down and up for a few weeks. So, about three weeks ago, after hovering around 190-192 pounds, I finally came to the realization that I couldn't lie my way to weight loss. If I wanted to lose weight, I was going to have to really commit to the program and follow the rules. And G was right there with me, saying what he often says to me for encouragement, "Do it Sweetie!" The results have been very satisfying, honestly. However, I have a slight addiction to the scale that probably isn't healthy, in that I weigh myself every morning and every evening religiously, fretting over every discrepency. This week, for example, was the first week I was actually seeing some results. My pants were fitting a bit looser, and I could see my cheeks beginning to slim just a bit. Wednesday morning I stepped on the scale for my morning torture, and was thrilled to see that it read 186.5!! Hallelujah! I ate right all the rest of that day and again yesterday. But last night, we decided to run to Best Buy to get a new mouse (see story #2, which I'll get to in a minute) and then swung over to the Japanese Hibachi Express Restaurant that we go to all the time. Honestly, I thought I was doing good to only eat half of my Hibachi Chicken, and I knew that I was still under my allotted daily Points. When we got home, though, I went in to weigh myself and it said 190.5! OMG, I was freaking out! Maybe it was the rice, does rice sit heavier even though it has less points? I have no idea. Anyway, the point of this story is that even though I was freaking out over something most men would find ridiculous, my amazing boyfriend put on his coat and walked out into the freezing cold 10 o'clock evening air to go for a walk with me to ease my mind. He didn't get upset with me or tell me that I was being stupid. He didn't chastise me for eating too much food or give me a lecture on losing weight. He simply told me that I was doing very well on my diet and that he would help me in any way that he could. I know that I am very lucky to have someone that is going to stand by my side like that, even when I am being silly.

Story #2 - Back to the mouse we bought at Best Buy... G and I are very much into an MMORPG called Everquest II. Not only did we meet online through this game, but we also play it almost every day. I have been wanting a new mouse for quite a while now because the one I have is very plain and doesn't have any extra buttons that I can program for use in the game. My current mouse also isn't very comfortable on my hand, and since I'm writing or at the computer most of the day, I need a better mouse. So, after looking at the selection for several minutes, I finally picked out a mouse called the "Death Adder" by Razer. It is comfortable, attractive (it has very cool blue lights that light up the scroll wheel and the design on the front), and has some extra buttons that I can program however I want. When we got home (after the Japanese food) I immediately opened the box and read the instructions on how to install the mouse. It seemed simple enough. Plug in the Mouse. Turn on the computer and insert the Driver disk. Install the software. Restart your computer. Standard installation procedure, and I felt confident that I would be using my new ultimate gaming mouse in mere moments.

The mouse apparently had other plans for me. Why does it seem like the majority of things that claim to be "Plug and Play" or "easy to install" just don't freaking work? I followed all the instructions to the letter, but when I rebooted my computer, the mouse did not work! Sure, it gave me a pointer on my screen, but when I tried to left or right click, nothing happened. When I opened up the "TrayIcon", the software that came with the mouse was yelling at me "Warning! Your mouse is not connected to the computer!" I wanted to scream back, "Oh Yeah?? Then why is it clearly plugged into my USB port!" Let me tell you, I have zero patience for this sort of thing. Surely when they were developing this product to sell at major retailors across this great nation, they noticed that the stupid thing doesn't actually work when you follow the directions on their little sheet. It's not as if there are millions of operating systems out there that they have to work around.

Okay, so here's where, somewhere between the rice and the mouse, I started to turn into what my boyfriend affectionately calls... Poopey-bun. There was no "troubleshooting" section in the booklet that came with the mouse, and I couldn't figure out how to make the dumb thing work. G very calmly slid into my computer chair and started to work to figure out why the mouse was not responding. After a few minutes, with me ready to call a 1-800-hotline number for Razer and chew their heads off, he calmly moved the mouse to his laptop, downloaded some driver update from the Razer website, and miraculously fixed the mouse problem like a true modern day knight in shining armor. I realized afterwards, of course, that I was being quite dramatic and silly, but what I noticed most was that, unlike boyfriends I have had in the past, G did not once get frustrated or upset with me.

Oh, and this morning, I went to Weight Watchers for my weekly meeting and weigh in. The results? I lost a pound and a half, and am now officially down to 187.6 pounds. I immediately text messaged G to tell him the good news. During my meeting, right after I accepted my 16 week charm for sticking with the WW program, my phone alerted me to his text response. "Do it Sweetie!"

Not as Easy as it Looks

I have a folder in my bookmarks that is called "Blogs I Find Interesting" and it is filled with witty, amazing blogs that I visit often, if not daily. I suspect that they are mostly written by people who are a lot like me. So, I can write a witty, worth-a-daily-visit blog also right? Well, it's not as easy as it looks. This is my third attempt at blogging, and while my second was definitely better than my first... I am hoping the third time's a charm. I think the key is just to keep posting. Also, this time, I am just going to write about my daily life or whatever happens to be on my mind.

So what is on my mind today as I think about the prospect of yet another blog attempt? In a word... confidence. After searching for happiness in many ways, I have decided that CONFIDENCE must be the answer. If you are confident that you are good at something, then you will enjoy doing it and being good at it. If you are confident that someone loves you and that you love them back, then you will be happy in that relationship. Confidence in your appearance also makes you happy. And by that, I mean looking good and feeling good about it. 250 pound women who say things like "I love myself just the way I am" or "I came to terms with my looks a long time ago" are just big, fat liars. When they get on the scale in the morning and see that number shoot over 200, they are not loving themselves. Trust me. Every time they bend down to tie their shoes and that roll of fat oozes over the top of their jeans, they are not happy about it. Of course, there is something to be said for a woman who can act confident, even if she's really not deep down. That's probably still more attractive than someone who wears every self-doubt on her sleeve.

When I was growing up, I was super self-confident. I knew that I was smarter than your average student. As a teenager, I was thin and sexy with long, flowing hair that made me feel good about myself. I had talents that a lot of people around me admired. I won competitions easily and had no problem putting myself in front of a crowd. When I think of that girl, I want to scream! Why am I not just an older version of her? There is, of course, a story between then and now that cannot be told in one entry, but maybe that's the wrong question to ask anyway. Deep down, I know that the way to a better future right now isn't going to be found by asking "why not?". I have asked that question a million times, and honestly, I already know why I am not that girl anymore. I let the actions of other people strip away my own self-confidence. Dwelling on certain events or certain people that hurt me is not going to bring that confidence back either. In fact, wallowing in that "poor me" land of regret and doubt where I am always the "victim" is only going to keep me doubting and regretting.

So, the right question is, what next? I may not be able to change my past choices, but I can certainly change my attitude towards today and tomorrow. One of my favorite poems is "Testament" by Erica Jong and in it she states "I declare myself now for joy!" I love that, and I hold onto that this morning as I think about confidence and change and the future. She says "If the joy house I inhabit must be a house of my own making, I accept that making." We create our own happiness or our own unhappiness. I think it is a daily choice, an hourly choice, and sometimes, on the really tough days, it is a choice we make moment to moment. Right now, I want to identify the obstacles in my way and to begin to eliminate them one step at a time. I choose to move toward life instead of away from it. I want to focus on this love that I have found, and to be happy that he loves me instead of doubting why he loves me.

Now comes the tough part, where I have to be able to hold onto those choices for the next five minutes, and the next five...

Sarra Cannon

Young Adult Indie Author

I always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, I write about both. The first five novels in my Peachville High Demons Young Adult Paranormal series are available now in ebook!

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Beautiful DemonsThe Time Traveler's WifeLoveroot: PoemsFear of FlyingWe the LivingAnthem

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