The Sweetie Chronicles

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

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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