Category Archives: self-image

Peeking Around Corners

theater-curtains-green-velvet-left-trompe-l-oeiltheater-curtains-green-velvet-right-trompe-l-oeilI’m not usually one to put myself forward.  At least I never thought I was, but when I look around, I keep seeing ways that I have tried to step out and experience some of the World Stage in  some other capacity than as gopher and janitor.

This past week another writing challenge that I participate, JuNoWriMo, in has held an open ‘audition’ for featured authors to spotlight on the challenge’s blog.  I demurred at entering a post.  I mean, who the heck am I?  I’m not an ‘author’; often I hesitate to call myself a writer, even though I write (profusely).  So I almost let another year pass by without stepping forward with a post.

Oh, I toyed with the idea.  Last night, during our local NaNoWriMo group’s weekly write-in, I started plotting the post, answering the questions more as an exercise to get myself into thinking about my story in an all-inclusive sense than the multitude of blogs and snippets I’d visited yesterday for the Weekend Writing Warriors bloghop.  As much fun as I have participating, I find it’s hard to come home to my story after a day of bloghopping, and sometimes the near-thoughtless act of answering stock questions about my story and my writing helps me refocus.

Peek

And…  being asked to write a synopsis of my story is always a good challenge for me, because frankly, I suck at trying to winnow down all these characters and their emotional/physical traumas into a few impact laden sentences.

But today, because of a post by Shan Jeniah, I looked a bit closer at my  choice to even start that feature…  that post that I was writing because I just wanted to practice.  Or did I?  I thought again of some of my other online activities: my participation in writing blog hops such at the Weekend Writers and the WIPpet Wednesdays, about my creation of a First Friday Photo, about even my choice to be a sponsor in the ROW80, and so many other choices I’ve made in my life where I tried to step out into the spotlights for just a moment.  And I decided to take the plunge and try entering a post.

Stepping forward in this manner shouldn’t be as hard as it is  It’s staggering however.  As much as I stepped out and made a small place in those things I listed, the things weren’t about me, no more than the JuNoWriMo is about me.  This feature piece however is about me (well, as is this one you are reading in a different way); it’s about me saying “look at me; I do this, and I’m damned proud of it”.  As Shan notes in her post, most of us aren’t taught to speak for ourselves this way.

ROW80LogocopyBios of any kind trip me up.  I usually fall back of self-effacing humor and deflection.  The one paragraph blurb on my main blog has a picture I took and mentions furniture and unpacking but no mention of what I do.  It’s not even on an “About” page.

But I’m going to try to show myself a bit more this time.

And that, is what I’ve done since last week’s ROW80 check-in in addition to maintaining steady progress on most all of my goals.  I fell behind on my push-up goal somewhat in all the desk-time.

That’s it for me  today.  What new ways are you trying to grow and more deeply become who you are?

Please step in and visit and encourage other ROW80 participants via our linky.

What’s With Wednesday — Age Old Issues

Every few months or so I get to wondering about what it might feel like to get old.  You see, despite the fact that I am now 43 and starting to see a nice thin streak of silver in my hair, I don’t feel like I’m any older than I ever was.

Old woman pouring tea, unknown artist, 19th ce...

Old woman pouring tea, unknown artist, 19th century, OP582 (Photo credit: Black Country Museums)

I feel much younger than I did when I was leaving college.  Back then I felt the weight of the world on me; I felt the weight of my family on me; I felt…

old and careworn.

I feel younger now than I did when I was in high school.   Then I felt responsible for so many things I couldn’t change–not that I knew it at the time–but I felt I had a job to fix them all.

I was tired and careworn.

I can vaguely remember days when I felt young.  I think it was yesterday…. or maybe this morning.

So all this thinking confused me.  What exactly is young?  What is old?

I checked the dictionary, and that didn’t really help at all.  I still feel younger now than ever.

I must be getting younger each year.

Why?

I feel a strong awareness of how short a time I have on this earth, I feel very inexperienced, and…  enthusiasm and optimism?  I have those in spades.  I can’t say I was “made or built” long ago; these 43 years are a pittance to human existence.  Barely a breath–how I would love to breathe longer!  There is so much to see and experience.  And half the time we spend here involves just getting ready to enjoy it all and see it all…  Preparation takes up years upon years of this precious time we have been given.

We live our lives backwards.

A woman thinking

A woman thinking (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And I truly believe I am growing younger.  The only possible way to say I am getting older is if the idea of appreciating how much there is comes with age.  If so, then I am ancient beyond my years… and proud of it (and  I’m glad I’m past those horrible middle years then too).

There is something amazing about real youth, the complete newness of everything.  There is also something amazing about being “old” enough to see everything for the wonder that it is and…to not give one damn if someone laughs at you if you wear a big purple hat.  In fact, I need to find myself a good big purple hat (though a Red one would look better with my coloring, it’s not so much about the looks…  It’s about the joy and the realization that being alive is …  WONDERFUL!

Young or old, I am happy to be alive.

My Row80 Check-IN

After Sunday’s check-in with the excitement of the day, I found…  nothing.  We have no real answer as to why my computer is acting up.  The only issue we can see?  It’s old.  It’s got a 2GB memory limitation on the motherboard, and part of that is shared with the video adapter.  It’s a 64-bit processor, but most things don’t seem to want to run in that mode…  And it’s only one processor, and some applications, such as my sound driver and the Microsoft Security Essentials want to demand more “brainpower” that the machine seems able to give with so many hungry programs such as Picassa, Seamonkey and Minecraft running.

Especially Minecraft.

So most of Sunday I spent reading while I watched my computer try to sort itself out.  I also checked out my laptop and found that had a virus on it.  Odd since that machine was actually running better than this one….

I didn’t get much writing done on Sunday.  Monday, I wrote.  Tuesday I wrote and attended both #teamsprinty sprints.  That’s writing and social media.  I got my sponsor visits done Monday and checked back for a few extras Tuesday.

I even got out of the house and exercised (walking around abandoned houses and meeting local horse owners) on Monday with my camera.  I’m not quite as happy with those shots as I could be, but I’m pleased enough.  It’s all a learning experience.

And lastly I’m clearing my reading pile a bit more.  Partly because I stopped trying to be so fussy about what I would read.  Craft books…  I can read craft books.  They count!  I told myself that, and now I’m off having playtime again.

It’s great to be alive and so very young.  Don’t you agree?

Please enjoy with me a wonderful poem by Maya Angelou that sums up my feels lately….  Phenomenal Woman.

Some Words Sunday from Beaver Lake Sue

For those of you who’ve never heard of Beaver Lake Sue, it’s my mother.  How she got that nickname is a story for another day.

For this post I wish to share one of her “Mommisms”, as the nascent “Mark of a Man” blogfest got me thinking about her advice to me when my son was born.

“Decide what you are willing to put up with and never compromise once you know your limits.”

It certainly CAN be

It certainly CAN be

As Mom-advice goes, I think it’s pretty much universally applicable .  It even applies to the ROW80 and the check-in I’ll be including at the bottom of this post.

Where I see it applies to the Mark of a Man comes from Julie Glover’s wonderful post, Stepping Up and Stepping Out that she did for the fest.  It comes from “guys”.

Guys are well…  guys.  Even the word sounds like a toss off.  Guh…eyezzz…

Sounds like something that gets stuck to the bottom of your shoe and doesn’t want to come off.   It doesn’t even have the faint ferocity of  girls with its token growl.  It’s a meh word about a meh attitude some meh people carry inside them about themselves and others.

Then there is the word man or men.  “Man” is decisive and firm.  There is quickness to acknowledge itself as being worthy of a title.  The plural softens just slightly, perhaps in admission to the magnification of its power.

Huh?

You WILL be a man

Yes, power.  A man is powerful.  I’m not talking about muscles, though on average men do tend to build muscle better than women.   I’m talking about that sense that a real man has of being good enough for whatever task he takes on and not needing to prove his prowess to the world.

I’m not talking about Players or Casanovas or … guys.

A man isn’t perfect (no more than any woman is).  A man can’t do it all.  Point is–he knows it.  He accepts it, and he does what he can do to the best of his ability.  If he can’t commit to a woman when he’s interested, he tells her up front.   If he doesn’t know if he can, he says that too.  Honesty and sharing his feelings costs him nothing, because his personal value isn’t tied up in image.  It’s tied up in the very core of his being.

And what does all this have to do with my mom’s advice?  Just this:  I see a lot of people out there who are unhappy because they got into a relationship with someone thinking “I love so much about him/her, and I’m sure that s/he can change” (unfortunately the thing they’re hoping will change usually involves physical or emotional abuse).

Stop right there!

Go back to the beginning of the post and re-read what Mom said.   Now think about this: You cannot make a person change who they are.  You can change; they can choose to change of the own accord, but you cannot make it happen.

So decide what you’re willing to put up with, what you’ll allow to happen, and don’t compromise.  Better to say “no” to yourself now than risk hurting both of you and possibly others in the future…

Caveat emptor:  You can be surprised–we’re always growing and changing as human beings, and all may work out just fine.

This week in the ROW80

Since I didn’t have much to say on Wednesday I probably should make a more detailed report for this week’s check-in.  However, since we’re all dodging high fevers here and have been  since last Sunday there’s not much more to report.

I have managed to increase my daily average word count from 800 words to 950.  It’s not a big increase, but it is an increase.

Thursday's Child Went Far

Thursday’s Child Went Far

I’ve found, courtesy of EM Castellan, another delightful blogging/Twitter group, Thursday’s Children, that shares posts on inspiration and writing.  Despite being a “Thursday’s Child” since I was born, I’m not quite ready to join the fray (I’m learning what I am willing to deal with–I said Mom’s advice applied here too) if they’d have me.  But reading the member posts was great fun and definitely inspiring.  Well worth a visit.

The trade-off in my responsive blogging and the house sick has been that I’m still not meeting my editing goals.  I have done about three pages all week. 😦

My social media and my reading goals are in track.  My Goodreads Challenge page says otherwise, but if I keep on at this pace I will be able to add another four books in a week to my tally.  And I suspect I’ll be electing a few less page-heavy classics from the pile next.

My ROW80 fitness goals have fallen by the wayside this week.  Ick does that…  I didn’t get to the YMCA at all.  I did manage some aerobics in the house between tasks, and there has been a LOT of running up and down the stairs to deal with sick family members.

I did say when we bought our house I wanted stairs to help encourage me to be active…..

Anyway, that’s about it.  Have a great week and if you feel inclined, here is the linky for the ROW80.  How about visiting a few more of our awesome crew?

Some last notes:

  • Beaver Lake is not the commonly known one in Pennsylvania, but rather a small lake in Onondaga Cty, NY.
  • The photo of Rudyard Kipling’s “If” is credit Wikimedia Commons
  • There is a cool story behind the poem, and an article to it here