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No Regret, Just Some Change

We see quotes and articles claiming that we should never regret the choices we made; simply learn from them and do something differently. We are told that everything happens for a reason and there’s a reason, albeit sometimes a very weak one, for why everything happens. Although I agree in some respects, and I don’t make it a habit to regret the choices I have made, there are a few things I would change in my past to make ‘today’ me a little happier and healthier:

1.       I would show myself more respect: I wish I had shown my body, my mind and my spirit more respect. I wish I had demanded respect from those around me and stood up for myself. Coming from an abusive home where we moved a lot, I never had the opportunity to make long term friendships or create the network of support to help me stand up for myself. Looking back, I should have said ‘no’ more often and not sat back while others put me down. I would have taken more time to get to know my own body before allowing others to have it as well. I would have allowed myself to discover my spirituality and embraced the questions, doubts and beauty that goes comes with that discovery.

2.       I would be more confident: Looking back even as recently has five years ago, I wish I had just forgotten and ignored what those few people, who needed knock me down to raise themselves up, said to me. I should have worn what I wanted, applied for the jobs I desired and went where my heart was leading me.  

3.       I would have traveled: I had the opportunity to travel to Eastern Canada and I chose not to because I just didn’t think I would be able to do it over there by myself. This one ties into the two previous changes I would have made, but I still would change it. I would take that trip, if I could go back and change it, even knowing that it may change what my future was going to be. Traveling brings new opportunities to grow and build confidence as well as perspective.

4.       I would have been by myself more: I would change the fact that I always tried to have people around me. I never wanted to be alone and I spent a lot of time trying to make other people happy and sacrificing my happiness, patience, time and energy on those who didn’t deserve it. I was  

5.       I would have asked for financial advice: I would go back in time, make an appointment with my bank or a financial planner and figure things out. Having a proper mindset about money and a plan for whether I wanted to go to school, buy a house or even just how to budget would have been not just beneficial, but created a security around my life that I never had.

I’m not one to live with regret and, although, I know I can’t go back and change these things, I can make active choices to live my life in a different way than I have in the past and in a more fulfilling sense. I will ignore those who try to put me down and tell me my dreams are foolish. I will set goals AND obtain them. I will travel and see the world, one trip at a time. I will take solace and look forward to time alone. In fact, I now take the time to schedule time to be alone. I am trying to be a healthier, happier version of me. I hope you can to!

I’m Not Lazy

As a working mother (I run a day care) trying to keep up with every day life, things sometimes catch up with me. I run myself thin just on the extra curricular activities that take up so much of my time as well as the house upkeep, work duties and social demands. Life just gets busy. At the end of the day, most days, I can say that I accomplished more than I thought I would: the kids made it to activities and into bed on time; both were happy, fed and read or were read to; the house isn’t a complete disaster (i.e., the dishes are done and my floor doesn’t have sticky spots ALL over it); I was success at completing many of my work responsibilities.

All these are accomplishments, for sure, even just the stuff with the kids! But when those pieces of my day end, the rest of my work begins. No only am I a mother and do I work, but I’ve also just published my first novel and am working on my second. I am *attempting* to point myself in the direction of being able to make a living on writing. This means that when the kids are finally asleep and the house is some what tidy, I get to go to work.

I research and enter writing contests, try to spend some time working on my next novel, write blog posts, read books in my genre, offer reviews and feedback on fellow writers’ works and update my website, Facebook page, Twitter, Goodreads and LinkedIn. There are query letters to write, responses to emails to form and promotional materials to order. Then there’s lunches for my kids to make for the next day while I wait for my internet to work again!

Most nights I crawl into bed after eleven and, tired and worn out, fall asleep for a couple of hours before one of my kids wake up with a nightmare or needing a drink of water. Then, morning comes far too quickly.

There days and evenings when I don’t have the time to do what I want to get done, when I maybe spent too much time staring out the window at the pouring down rain, when I had to clean up five split drinks over the course of lunch, when everyone needed a snuggle at the same time and my lunch got cold because little ones needed naps. On those days, I am truly exhausted. There is nothing left in me to give to anyone.

It is on those days when the doubts about myself creep in and start to grow. The day’s mess still lies around me and I feel bothered by the toys and books. The counter and table aren’t wiped from dinner and I haven’t made lunches for tomorrow. I swear half the sandbox is on the floor at the door and I’m tired of stepping on rice that sticks to my socks. I look around, overworked and underappreciated, and say words that should never be said: “I’m going to be lazy tonight and just have a bath and go to bed early.” ….

“I’m going to be lazy…” LAZY! This is such a self-destructive and damaging thing to say. I know, on a good day when I’m feel emotionally secure and not too overwhelmed that I am anything BUT lazy. I am a strong, hardworking woman who does so much for her family and friends. Instead of looking at my accomplishments and being proud of them and realizing that I need to take time for myself; take care of myself, I damage myself and put myself down for taking some much needed me time!

So, now that I’ve recognized this destructive pattern of how I talk to myself (because let’s be honest, LAZY is probably not the only destructive thing I say to myself), I’m trying to change the way I talk. I literally say out loud to myself, “I am not being lazy, I am tending to my needs!” And I try to say it several times a day when I take a few minutes out to sit in peace, ask the kids to quiet down for ten minutes, leave the dishes or walk over the pile of toys in the kitchen.

It is more important for me to feel rejuvenated and more like the person I know I am than it is for my house to be clean or every task on my to do list done. I know I’ll be more productive and useful when I’ve taken the time to take care of me. I’m not laze, I’m just finally putting myself first, and it’s called self-care!

So take that time, read that book, take that bath and stare out that window! Do whatever you need to do to feel more like the real you! The you that can completely rock all of that ‘to-do’ stuff!

Authors for Authors

There is nothing better than seeing authors support authors. We are the backbone for each other in this profession. We offer encouraging words when we’ve been rejected and feeling down. We offer praise and congratulations when our hard work finally pays off. Being able to support each other as writers has become easier with the introduction of social media and the internet. We have an abundance of resources at our hand to help promote and support each other.

One such resource that I *stumbled* upon is BooksGoSocial. I joined their Facebook page and decided to embark on joining one of their author groups. There was a form we filled out regarding the books we write and what we would be interested in doing to promote others’ books as well.

I excitedly filled out the form and a few weeks later I connected with four other women, all authors. Some have extensive experience and several publications under their belts, and others, such as myself, are just starting on this journey. I am looking forward to learning from each of these women.

Over the next four weeks I will be dedicating a blog post to each of these women! I’m going to highlight their work, their personalities and their impact on the writing world! I can’t wait to delve a little deeper into each of these women’s careers and gain insights and knowledge from each of them!

Happy writing and happy reading to all!

Autobiographical? I Think Not.

The last two weeks have been full of excitement with the release of All of Me, All of You taking place on April 9th. I had my promo weekend just this past weekend and I do a physical launch on April 22. I have other promotions booked with several companies as well in the coming weeks. I have gotten few reviews on the Amazon pages and some great feedback from my friends and family who have read the book. It has been such a valuable learning experience and I have take so much away from this process.

Given the topic of my book, I was certainly expecting questions and comments regarding it. Whether or not it was true? Why would I want to write about something like that? Where did the idea come from? I thought that I had most of these questions answered in my head. I thought that I would be able to have a quick retort and a quick response to dispel any notion that it was anything but a work of fiction. But I realized that I haven’t really thought too deeply about it or rather, what the backlash might be regarding the subject manner. 

There are people who read things and can’t believe that if it is so close to reality that the author couldn’t have just made it. There are also people who believe that all of what they read must be true, even if it labeled as fiction. (These are probably also the people who believe most of what they hear and see on the internet.)

Over the Easter weekend we were away visiting some family and one family member proceeded to ask me what would prompt me to write a story like this right now. I took a moment to take in the question, but also the company I was in. You see, not all questions get the same answer when different people ask them. I answered saying that I thought that it was a very real world issue most likely facing many women in this day and age.

The conversation drifted to other topics and I thought that might be the end of it. I was ok with answering questions, knowing they would be coming, but I assumes my answer would be enough to hold others’ curiosity. After all, I accept people’s responses at face value and do my best not to read into what people say.

But no… The conversation didn’t end there.

A couple of days later I received a text message from the same family member. This family member requested that I no longer bother sending a copy of my book along to them as they found it too racy. Ok. That I can accept. All of Me, All of You isn’t for everyone. I knew that when I wrote it. But it was the next few messages that I received that got to me.

“I hope it wasn’t written from experience…”

“Your main character was married too…”

I didn’t respond right away. I needed to mull over these statements for a few minutes. In no way was my book autobiographical. Sure, there were certain aspects of the main character that reflected my own personality, that doesn’t mean she is me. Sure, there are aspects of some of the scenes that have close ties to things that have happened in my life or things I have experienced, but in no way does that mean that each scene is or was a part of my life. Now we all have that one female friend we identify with and, realistically almost crush on a little: they’re pretty, supportive, funny, you kind of idolize just how much they seem to have it all together AND you want to spend all your time with them, BUT you’re just friends! And, frankly, it’d be more than a little weird to even fathom the idea of being anything more than that with her.

So, although I wanted to defend the fictitious nature of my book and shy away from even commenting or replying in fear of being caught in the idea that my book is autobiographical, I laughed it off and didn’t comment further. Just a quick, “LOL” and short reply to the extent of the fictitious nature of it and on my way I went.

But it still somewhat bothers me. It bothers me because, although I want people to feel open and welcome to ask questions (especially because All of Me, All of You as well as my next novel, Devil in Their Veins – release date TBA, touch on such hot button, real work issues of right now), I want them to have a semblance of tact and, as a good friend of mine would put it, couth. Just because an author writes about a topic doesn’t mean that it is their life. Authors always write a piece of themselves into their writing, but in no way is that parallel to their every day lives.

Beautiful Woman

My beautiful woman. Don’t fret about what lies ahead and don’t spend your time worrying about where the past has placed you. Sometimes forward looks like a grey day that just won’t brighten. Sometimes forward looks like your bed at 2pm and the rain at midnight. Sometimes forward even looks like you are moving backwards, but trust me, even those days when it seems like you are paused or falling further away from where you want to be, from where you NEED to be, are pushing you forward.

Those days when you are stagnant and hurting are teaching you. Your body is learning and so is your mind. Your body is learning how hurt feels, how indifference feels, how even without a physical force placed on you, your body can still feel heavy. Your mind is learning to cope, learning to play the games, learning to shut down or fight.

It is on those days that make you want to cry, to curl up in a ball and hide, to just give up and give in, that you will learn what you can rise from. You will know, when you wake the next day and maybe the sun is shining just a little, or maybe a song comes on that reminds you of your strength or maybe you just have a feeling, a flicker of difference and hope. You will know that this isn’t all that life has to offer you.

Your past has helped to shape who you are today. You are strong and have survived things that other people would have perished from. They would have given up long ago, but instead you are setting new goals, have fresh aspirations and plan on how to get there. And although you wish that plan were set in stone, set in a way you could predict it, you know you have the strength to take the detours life will demand of you.

It’s those detours that will etch your life on your heart and on your face: 3am laugh lines and 10am tears; 5pm worry and 11pm joy. Your face, and your heart for those few you will let see it all, will tell of your life. Your strength and struggles; your accomplishments and failures: all pieces that shape and mould you into the beautiful woman you are and will continue to become!

Masks

When people speak of wearing masks we often think of that as a negative quality. We think of all of those superhero shows where the bad guys are wearing masks and we find out it was someone we trusted and liked at the beginning of the show (I have kids and Scooby-Doo automatically came to my mind with this). The bad guys are always pretending to be good to try to take something from the people around them that they felt they were misunderstood by or cheated out by.

I don’t think wearing a mask is quite that simple. For sure, there are people who wear masks to hide their negative and manipulative sides from most people. There are those who are abusers and users, those who lie and cheat, who often except for those who are closest and experiencing the abuse and hurt have no idea how that person really acts. They wear their masks to protect themselves from being found out and having to deal with the behaviours they have allowed to become the norm for them.

There are other people who wear masks to hide their own pain and hurt from the world as well. There are people who walk around with happy faces and pretend-happy lives when really they are dying inside. They might cry themselves to sleep at night, they might binge drink at home by themselves, they might cut, all to expel the pain that they are hiding inside. Often, those masks are so firmly placed, and so well placed, that even those close can’t see the true depth of the pain and loneliness of their lives.

We all wears masks to protect each other and ourselves. Sometimes we worry about hurting someone, so we pretend, wear a mask, to show them we care. Sometimes we are tired of being hurt so we wear a mask to be strong and stand up to them, when doing that is far from our personality and is terrifying.

Mask wearing is just a part of our every day life. It is as much a part of us as our heart or mind, but with all of the mask wearing we must do to get through our lives, I hope with all my heart that everyone can find ONE person they can be with who they don’t have to wear their masks all the time. Find someone you can just be you: tears and laughter at inappropriate times; anger at things that can’t be changed and joy with things you shouldn’t be happy about. I know, I believe, that person who you can just be YOU with is out there. Waiting to be able to just be THEM with you!

All of Me, All of You

Here’s a peak at the synopsis of my debut novel. Enjoy!

“Neither Emily nor Anika expected to fall in love at this point in their lives: young children, messy marriages and exhausting work loads kept these two friends busy and tired. After a failed attempt to spice up Anika’s marriage and Emily struggling to gain the dedication she needed from her own husband, the two women found the love and support they had been craving. Both women had become so caught up in creating the family they lacked growing up, they pushed aside their needs to fill the emptiness that still haunted them. All of Me, All of You touches on the very real fight that everyday women have between their true desires and who society expects them to be. “AllofMeAllofYou-03-3D_2

All of Me, All of You Sneak Peak – Part 1

I finally got the go ahead from my publisher and have All of Me, All of You in the queue for formatting. This is an exciting time as I am finally able to start to see some of my hard work be not just words saved in a word document on my computer. I picked and designed my cover (thank you so much to Jenna Leanne Photography of Vernon BC for the amazing job she did on the picture – check out her facebook page here) and even decided on interior design. I decided that since I am so excited about this that maybe I would share an except from my debut novel. I hope you enjoy it and that it starts to bring about the same sort of excitement and anticipation as I am feeling! Happy reading! 😉

          “Emily opened her usually light blue eyes which have darkened considerably and met Anika’s brown ones which, consequently, had lightened. Both women wore expectant and needy, yet hesitant gazes. They leaned in allowing their foreheads to rest together, arms around each other. Their knees were pulled up to their chests while their legs wrap around their torsos.
Emily breathed in deeply, attempting to calm her nerves. Pressing her cheek to Anika’s, feeling it warm on hers, she realized Anika was just as on fire as she was. Their breathing now laboured, Emily slowly pulled away to allow their lips to come together at last. Both women gasped, their breath stolen from the electricity exchanged between them.”

Dear Me: Part 1

Dear Five-year-old Me;

How I have longed to write to you and tell you what is to come… But at five, would you know, would you heed my warning? No, not at five, not at ten, not at twenty.

The lessons I have learned, have been learned in recent years, though they were taught many years before.

My dear, young and innocent (though really not), self: Please know that you are deserving of love. Please know that your lack of innocence isn’t because of you. Please know that this wasn’t your fault (none of it was your fault)!

Please remember to look for peace where peace will find you; Search for peace where you feel there can be none; Be the peace you need the world to show you.

Just be at peace.

Dear five-year-old me, trust that one day you will be loved in all the ways you need to be loved. In all the ways you have desired to be loved and in all the ways you deserve to be loved, you will be loved.

Love:

Thirty-two (almost)-year-old me