Taking Back the Power

We’re all guilty of taking other people’s perceptions of us and using that to prove our worth. But our worth isn’t dependent on other’s perceptions of us. We determine our own worth. The minute that you let others take that from you, you let them win.

Too many times, we shy away from striving for our dreams. Why do we do that? It’s mostly fear, but is it our fear that we can’t do it? That we’re not good enough? Or, does this fear come externally? Are you afraid of achieving your goals because other people will think that it’s silly? It’s easier to just give up on your dreams than fight through all of the noise trying to achieve them. It doesn’t matter if you’re a college freshman or a nearly 40-year-old woman. We all have this believe that we should have it all figured out by a certain age. But let’s be honest here: how many people actually do? I’m willing to guarantee a lot more people died in the world, just winging it because they didn’t have it figured out. Knowing that should give you some type of comfort that just maybe, there’s no age that you need to have everything figured out. And as I always say, “that’s ok.”

You just need to find some passion in your life, no matter how silly you think other people think it is. If your passion is to stay home and raise a family while your partner works, good for you in knowing what you want to do. If you want to be a writer or a teacher or an FBI agent, and you are truly passionate about achieving that goal, the only thing that should be holding you back is you. And if you decide, “nah, maybe not?” That’s okay too. Sometimes you just have to experience it to know whether or not that’s the right path for you.

This can sometimes be the pressure that makes kids more stressed out than they need to be. That they need to apply to college with a specific program and stick to it because they had to have a plan. Then, for some reason, people make them feel guilty for deciding to go another route. Maybe they found that what they though was their passion, really wasn’t. That’s okay. That’s what college is for. I switched my major halfway through. I get it. You have a dream and realize that maybe you don’t love it anymore.

But, you should never give it up for other people. Don’t give them that power. If you are truly passionate about something, pardon my language, then “fuck ’em”. They don’t dictate your life. You do. Take back the power and do what you want with your life. As long as you can go to bed at peace with yourself, you’ll be all right.

Sometimes Life is About Give and Take… But Mostly Give

In an age of starving artists, some turn to waiting tables or another job that is similar in order to pay the bills while they are waiting for their big break as actors or singers. They work long hours doing this, and spend whatever free time they have following their dreams and passions. That’s the reason that California and New York can have so many restaurants and have a constant flow of workers. Right? Artists turn their dream into creating logos for companies or cartoons for ads while they wait for their time to shine, if that time ever comes. Writers who dream of being best-selling novelists end up freelancing and letting other people benefit from their talent with words. In life, you give until you get an opportunity to take. I am waiting patiently for that opportunity.

My dream for having my Halloween novel being released in time for this Halloween is getting more impossible by day. With circumstances, I have to pick up more jobs freelancing to save up, because things like specialized hearing exams and neuropsych evals for toddlers does not come cheap. My comic was already put on hold during these circumstances. Something has to give, and sometimes those dreams are it. I can stay hopeful that maybe something will magically happen so I can get this novel out in a month. However, I’m not hopeful that this goal will happen. Maybe though, I can cross my fingers and go hard at it with some all-nighters. Then my responsibilities as a mother, wife and primary caretaker of the house kicks in. My household cannot afford me to be out of commission, as much as I would love to just shut myself off from everything for the next 2 months so I can get these novels done back to back as I originally planned. We’ll see how this works out. Everything works out the way it was intended… right?

Stars were meant to be chased after, not just simply watched. It’s not only a job for ourselves to continue to reach for them, it’s our jobs as parents to teach our child this lesson. If we don’t teach them to reach as high as possible, who will? The best way to do that is go just go for it, even if you are pulling at your hair wondering how you are going to accomplish everything. I’m awesome; I can do this. I have the strive and the will to do it, I just have to have the faith that it will work out.

The Art of the Sell Out

I remember when I wrote my first story in the 3rd grade. This assignment was supposed to be a one page historical fiction essay. I dreaded it. I loved to read and was never really asked to write anything, but I figured that I was smart enough and capable of doing it at least to a decent enough degree to get a good grade. I ended up writing a 6 paged short story as a result of getting so into it and was worried that my teacher was going to give me a lower grade as a result. Sure enough, she called me to her desk and applauded my work and gave me edits that needed to be done. After that, a few days later I sat nervously in the principal’s office. I didn’t really do anything wrong, but that doesn’t mean I could have been falsely accused. As it turns out, my story ended up on her desk so the school could praise my efforts. I was rewarded a certificate of being awesome, and a pencil with a “Principal’s Award” on it. It seems silly to look back at that now, but when you’re in the 3rd grade this really does have an impact on your life. From that moment on, I had wanted and dreamed of being a writer.

High school didn’t give me that sort of creative release and sometimes I look back and wonder that maybe if I had more of an opportunity to focus on that, I would have done a lot better in school. I did excel in the art classes, especially my clay sculpting class but it wasn’t enough. I knew I had skills for matching colors and it was effortless for me, but I loved writing more. I probably could have made more money going into interior design or some other art related field, but I went for love.

In college, I did very well. My first English professor made us do essays every few weeks and at some point it was a fictional essay. I had remembered this story that I had wanted to write, which lead to me applying to college in the first place. From there, I again took a one page assignment and tripled it. Again, there was a note on the paper when he returned it that said “see me after class” in large red letters. Again, I felt defeated and was glad that I was going into teaching instead of following my dreams of writing. I walked up to him after class, and he raved about how awesome this story was and where did it come from. The next semester I was waiting outside of the classroom for my new English professor when I saw my old and new professor walking together. My former professor said to my new one “watch out for that girl, she’s going to end up on the New York Times Best Sellers list”. Later the “new professor”, who I proceeded to have for the rest of my time at that school, wrote in my recommendation letter the same sentiment about how I had such a talent. My creative writing professor declared that some day she would be watching me read my novel aloud to eager listeners and how I bring the story alive when I do so. These people are the ones responsible for me throwing caution to the wind and going for it.

That said essay did end up being my NaNoWriMo book I released earlier this year though it was obviously completely reworked because I had lost the original piece. Years later, I have no made it big. I’m not on a best seller’s list. In fact, I have only sold 5 books. Maybe 6. I’ve decided to go into freelancing to help supplement this until I “make it big” or at least “big enough to pay bills”. Pretty much all the jobs have been awesome, but recently I picked up a job that makes me question the morality you sometimes are faced with on these sites. It seemed like an easy payday, and it really is. Give an honest review of a product. I can do that. And I did that, only to get a “I appreciate that review, but….” response back. They didn’t want my honest review, they wanted their honest review to hock a product. I gave myself a day to consider this, and then I saw bills piling up. I went against every fiber of my being and I feel guilty for it, and gave them the review they wanted. After I receive the payment for it, I will immediately end that contract because I’m not some pony that does tricks against my will. I know I’ll be faced with the same dilemma again, and unfortunately I will probably make the same decision again because the advantage is not in the freelancer’s court. We are pawns of a greater game where we sell words for menial profit just to make ends meet until our dreams are fulfilled. And those other people profit from our words, often times without us even getting credit. Which we generally don’t mind until something like this comes along and we’re stuck with “do we want to really lie about how great a product is for a retailer’s website?”

I sold out for $5. That’s all it took. Was $5, just enough to buy milk that my ravenous boys goes through so quickly. Am I giving up though? No, in fact today I’m hoping to start my next novel and hope I can release it for Halloween. And I will be participating in this years NaNoWriMo again, and hope for achieving it again. Hopefully with more breathing room than 5 hours before deadline. I can do this. I’m talented enough, and I’m focused enough to do this.

New Beginings

We grow up and start new phases of our lives. It’s all about being an adult, right? We put ourselves out there in sink or sail situations and hope that it works out. That’s the whole point of being an adult though: following dreams and making it on our own. Being a child is great, there’s something envious about never having to worry about paying bills and buying necessities. But nothing beats the empowering feeling you get knowing that you are successful and independent. That is what I feel real adulthood is.

Today we sign the loan paper for our mortgage. Wednesday we will get an inspection done, and once we pass that hurdle we have smooth sailing ahead of us. Then we can plop down money to buy the rest of our essentials and be ready to just move right in. This is a step in our lives that we are beyond ready for. We’re not even nervous about this step. We’re excited to start the new chapter of our story and just hope that all this planning and budgeting works out in our favor.

This isn’t the only new beginning that is occurring. My freelancing career is starting to pick up and I want to expand on it. I figure this can help me with marketing my ebooks. Then it hit me: I have a knack in the arts. I was great with sculpting clay, but I was a decent enough artist. In discussing ideas with my business manager/husband, we decided to try my hand at the web comic scene. My specialty in writing is witty one liners, so this seems like an obvious idea. So I made my way to ebay to see what kind of graphic tablets I could afford and happened across a slightly dinged up Wacom Bamboo for $20 to see if this was something I could do and if I should invest something better. Worst case scenario, if the Web comic fails, I will have another tool in my freelancing career to get more jobs in graphic design. I feel good about this.

In my short story collection “Wondering What I Was Thinking” (available for $0.99 on the Kindle store), there is a few short stories that follow 2 friends that are very Rosencrantz and Guildenstern-esque. These 2 characters, Gwen and Johnny, are probably among my favorites I have written. I’ve always wanted to do more with them but never felt I could do adequate enough short stories for them after the ones I have already finished. So immediately when we decided to venture into web comics, I felt these 2 characters could be revived and brought to a better life than short stories could ever do for them. I can’t wait to get started.

Everything seems to be changing and I can’t be more excited about it. I’m not afraid of change. In fact, I love the unpredictability of it all. Life is what you make if it. You can stay stagnant and settle or you could aim for whatever cloud you want to try to improve it. I choose trying to improve it.