I don’t like talking. Period. I typically keep my head down, literally and figuratively, when someone strikes up a conversation.
But as I was just walking around my neighborhood, a really nice woman hailed me from her front lawn. She struck up a conversation. And I was stuck.
I don’t even know what I said to her; it was all a blur.
All I can say was that it was a very pleasant conversation, and she was an extremely nice lady. I almost didn’t want to keep walking; she just had that air that she was someone I wanted to talk to.
That was probably my first conversation with a stranger since quarantine started.
And I needed it. And she probably needed it.
So, during this difficult time, remember that people need to feel less lonely. Even for a minute. So, even if you are a hardcore introvert like me, just try to be brave and say hello. Everyone’s isolated, but they don’t need to feel that way.
When I was in high school (shudder), I sang in the choir. I had grown up singing because of the plays I did in middle school. But if truth be told, I am not a great singer, and I am nowhere near as good as my sister.
So, when I went to high school, I wanted to be in drama again, but all my school would do was musicals, and I didn’t think I was a strong enough singer to compete. So, I joined the choir. A mass of voices instead of one. (And it would bring me closer to my then-boyfriend now-husband because he also really liked to sing.)
All through high school I would go to my boyfriend’s plays and cheer him on but the whole time I wanted to be up there with him, trying my hand at being an actress (which I’ve wanted to be since I was very little.)
And the end of my story is kinda sad. I never did drama in high school, and it totally fell by the way side, even though I went to all the plays.
All of that to say: In a lot of ways in life, we hold ourselves back for what we truly want to do in life. Scared of what it will make us feel, when we should be focusing on what joy it will bring to our lives.
Don’t ever sing in the choir when you were meant to star in the show. I know that now, and I am trying to live my life accordingly.
Writing a blog isn’t as glamorous as you might think.
(If you think it’s glamorous at all, that is).
And I have to admit, most days I have a blank space where my post should be. I just can’t think of anything to write and it gets really frustrating.
So I stare out the window, or I do dishes, or I read, or I do just about anything else to help jog my brain.
I’ve trained my brain to write “dailey” for a few years now so I do eventually come up with something.
But I want to let you know that if something isn’t working for you right now, it doesn’t mean you won’t get to it. It’s okay to have a blank space or page where your next idea, or solution, or question should be.
Blankness is where everyone begins.
So, I’m a little down today so I put on make-up to make me feel like I was going somewhere, even when the only place I am going is down to the office to write this.
But as I was putting on my winged eyeliner, which I love so much, I started to think about what I was doing.
Everyone does their winged eyeliner differently. I’ve seen Amy Winehouse wings and I’ve seen eensy teensy wings. I’ve seen thick black and I’ve seen thin lines. I’ve seen it done with eyeshadow and I’ve seen it done with a pencil and I’ve seen it done with liquid.
And it made me really happy: the fact that all these women (and yes, men) can put on their winged eyeliner in different ways. And still feel beautiful at the end of it. Including me.
If you’re not feeling pretty, try your own winged eyeliner, but try it your way.
In “Colors of the Wind” by Disney’s Pocahontas, she sings, “We are all connected to each other, in a circle, in a hoop, that never ends.”
And despite the movie not getting literally anything right beyond that, I’d like to say that this line is too true.
I think our lives are circles. Like ripples on a pond, never-ending and never touching the one before it. I think time is a circle, where there is constant pressure to repeat ourselves.
But I think one other thing exists in a circle: happiness. I think happiness comes in a circle because there’s always a time when you’re happy and there’s always a time when you’re not. And like a wheel, it just spins in equal measure. Everything balances out. The time you are happy is equal to the time that you are not. At the end of your life, you can see this clearly but it’s a little hard to see when you’re staring at the circle up close.
So, if you’re unhappy right now, just wait for the circle to turn. It will. And you will be free to be happy again in a little while.
In quarantine, all of the days blend together. They all end in “y” and nothing really happens. So, what I’ve been doing is tracking the weather. Is it going to be a particularly sunny day? Is there going to be thunderstorms? I then immediately look forward to that day. Because it’s just a break in the monotony.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Any day can be a red letter day, if you decide it is.
You don’t have to wait for something to be going on to make your life worth living. Or so I have been taught by this virus. (I know it’s new to me too.)
So, try to have a good day even on a Thursday. Even if you don’t have anything else planned. Even if you don’t have anything going on. Even if you’re still in your pajamas.
Make it what you want.
I don’t say this lightly: take the night off.
I’m not one to stop working until things are complete. Mostly because when I do so, I never return to them. I mean, seriously. I tend to do things in obsessive spurts. And when I take a break, it’s like telling myself I give up.
But tonight, I’m taking the night off from my novel. I’m scared, I feel nauseous, and my chest is tight when I think about taking one night off. I was doing so good on my streak of writing.
But I think someone out there needs to hear this as much as I need to hear it: you are not productive just because you do something every day. You’re productive when you are happy with the end result.
So, if you have been running yourself ragged, if you feel like you can’t go on, if you feel like you need to refill your cup.
Take the night off. Off of any responsibility you thought you were going to do.
Trust me. I’m giving you (and myself) permission.
My glasses are always dirty. And most of the time, I see just fine through them. But every once in awhile, my husband points out how dirty they are.
“How do you see in those things?” he always asks me.
And it got me thinking, whether we have glasses to help our eyesight or not, everyone has “glasses.” It’s called their perspective.
And I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can’t see anything else except from my perspective. Through my dirty lenses. And most of the time, I don’t notice that I’m doing it because I’m just seeing. It’s a little cloudy, and not as clear as it could be, but it’s there all the same.
Remember to clean your “glasses” so that you can see the world from another perspective, a clean one. Which will give you a whole new lease on life, just like cleaning your real glasses would.
So, try to see the world from a different perspective every once in awhile. Oh, and clean your glasses more often too.
A critique partner is someone who looks at your writing before it’s sent out to query and gives you a first look of what someone might say about your writing, good or bad.
And while this is really essential to writing, (shoutout to my friend and critique partner, Chelsea who takes my writing as seriously as I do), I think also that people should have a critique partner for life.
Someone who isn’t afraid to tell you what’s wrong and how you can fix it. Someone who nudges you in the right direction when you can’t seem to pick a direction at all. Someone who loves what you’re doing and is waiting for you to do more of it.
So be unafraid to seek the opinions of your critique partners. We all have those people in our lives. Make sure they are a partner, and not just critiquing for the sake of it. You want them to grow with you.
I never, ever give up on the things or people I love.
I read books even if they stink halfway through, I try to eat everything on my plate, and even though I took a break from blogging, I’m here now.
But it’s okay to give up…just a little.
The other day I was writing my novel and I couldn’t get a scene to work. I stressed about it and grew frustrated. The more I sat and worked on it, the more the hours seemed to drag on and the more I got angry that I was working on it for so long. It was a vicious cycle.
I finally gave up for the day and went and sat on the couch. But the story still nudged at me, and a few hours later, I came back and everything was fresh and new. I suddenly knew how to solve the problem.
But in the act of stepping away from it just for a little while, I was able to clear my head. If you give up, just a little, every once in awhile, you might be able to step back with a fresh perspective. As long as it’s temporary and not a permanent giving up, then you’ll always have a better time coming back.