A Life Defining Break

Gee, has it really been since February!

All I can do is apologize and promise to try to do better (fingers crossed) with posting in the future.

I have been through many transitions since February. 9 to 5 job changes, side hustle changes, and just overall craziness with my life. In the midst of this I just honestly lost my mojo to write.

I think this time off was actually good for me. It forced me to take a break and reevaluate my own life. My life had actually gotten a little routine and frankly a little stale.

I am a young, married mother and have found that I had become more defined by my family (hubby and kids) and kind of lost touch with myself. Thus, when the opportunity arose to put back on my side hustle consulting hat, positivity resulted.

These past few weeks have seen me dress a little cuter, walk a little bit more confidently, and maybe kind of determine a direction for where I want to see my life go.

Have you ever had an eye-opening (and much-needed) break? Discuss it in the comments below.

Image

In 2009 I lost my hair.
Due to a beautiful combination of stress and medical issues, my hair (what the old folks called my crowning glory) began to fall out of my head.

I tried to hang on to it. I cut it short and even shaved half in the back. Then one night, I looked at myself in the mirror and realized how ridiculous it was to hold on to hair – and I cut it off.

From that point on, my hair has grown in its puffy, natural state. I have grown to love my hair but others have never fully been on this journey with me. I have had people ask, “Why don’t you just wear a wig?” Or, “Was your husband okay with you cutting all your hair off and wearing it like that?”

People can be kind of rude.

Case in point, recently I decided to get my hair pressed. Quick back-story: My long time stylist died last year and I haven’t had a good trim since then (man oh man the split ends!!!). So I found a nice stylist who straightened my hair and my world imploded.

Comments at work and from family included:
*You need to keep your hair like that.
*I’m glad you finally combed your hair.
*Wow!

I’m not really good with compliments in general – I’m really not an attention type person (if that makes sense). Also, I’m terrible with the compliments that served to build me up then beat me down – you know the double-edged compliment. This really had me in a bad place. The reaction was like “my gosh, it pained us to have to look at you but now – who knew you could actually look good!”

Image can shatter our self-worth and wrongly overshadows (in my opinion) a person’s work. This past week, I have busted my butt on several projects, saving the day like a superhero but instead of kudos for the excellent work, I received continuous “compliments” about this shocking hair transformation.

People get a grip!

My prime comment for people this week was that I love my natural hair, in all its states. Please do not subject me and other natural women to your bias. I actually love myself and I hope you love yourself too. This is the message I hammered in to my kids this week as they straightened their hair. I told them to expect overreacting from jerks but to take it in stride because when it really matters, their mom and dad tell them they are beautiful everyday.

Writing Question:
How does your main character (or your secondary character’s image) shape their outlook on life. Does society view them in a certain way? How do you shape this in the narrative?

Complacency

Have you become complacent?

So many times in life, we get stuck in a continuous loop. This loop may consist of continuously repeating the same mistakes, same habits, same dreariness.

What has to happen to shake your complacency?

For myself, I find myself willing to take risks when I have been made ANGRY. It’s basically coming into a job and not getting the promotion for the thousandth time, coming home and kids are not being kind, or volunteering my time and ultimately feeling taken advantage of. You remain complacent in these situations for a while – like these are normal expected events. However, maybe it’s a bad day where you got soaked on the way to work, you left your lunch, and then you got a horrible phone call. In this instance, the situation in which you remained complacent rubs you the wrong way and BAM, you are ready for a change.

As writing often time mirrors our life, it is understandable that your writing can become complacent. Maybe all your stories are starting to sound the same, or you’ve settled on a certain routine (that maybe has never really worked for you). The question to ask yourself is what has to happen that will allow you to step outside of the box.

How can we shake things up and become a little non-complacent in 2015?

Giants

In life, we are bound to face obstacles.

We may face naysayers in our personal life, crazy coworkers, or even family members that do not have our best interest at heart. What I believe is a true sign of your personal character is how you deal with the giants in your life.

As a child who was relentlessly bullied, I admit to shriveling and allowing myself to constantly get kicked. Around my junior year of high school, I met a new set of friends who showed me that it was time to stand up for myself and allow mean words to roll off my back. And there were a lot of mean words!

However, I took the mean words and used it to infuse myself with anger and strength. I would tell myself that “you will overcome this and show them all by being more fabulous than they could ever imagine.”

When writing your characters, think about how they deal with the giants in their life. How do the obstacles your characters face, shape their identity and their outlook on life? Once you map this out, it is sure to enhance your character development.

Amping Up

Well, I got up and stretched.

I have been wanting to do this for month and actually started off early 2014 with this morning ritual of light stretching and a little yoga. It felt good to stretch this morning. I feel like it opened my mind and body up for the day.

Although, I did not have time for editing this morning (late again!), I have always felt that I am an evening or even a lunchtime writer. I remain undeterred and have set my goals for January:

1.) Stretch every morning.

2.) Finish editing/revisions by January 30.

3.) Try to write something everyday. (I’m not giving myself a word count goal).

How are you “amping up” in January?

2014: Year in Review

2014 was a year of personal and professional growth for me.

I lost people I loved this year, dealt with illness within my family, and had some shakeups that overall I feel helped me define myself as a person. I have always prided myself on knowing WHO I AM but this year really made me meditate on this.

Major 2014 milestones included:

1. Making a year’s worth of revisions to Cycles. (This book is going to be awesome!)

2. Graduating with my MPH.

3. Changing jobs.

4. Reaching over 100 followers on the blog:)

5. Going on my first beach vacation! (seriously how had this not happened before)

When ever I look back on my life, I look for growth. Change is apart of life and I strive to get better with every breath I take. What were your highlights in 2014 and what are you looking forward to in 2015. Share below!

Willful Blindness

What do you willingly ignore?

I’m sure you have all been in the situation at work or in your daily lives where you see something happen – something that is detrimental to somebody – and you just keep moving with your life because you don’t want to cause a stir.

My youngest memory of this happening is as a high school student. I was living in an apartment with my mom and sister and the woman in the apartment above us was being abused. One evening when I was home, she let out an earth shattering scream but all of the apartment residents seemed afraid to act (I mean I literally saw people in the hall looking in that direction).  I went to call the police but was stopped by my own mother. At the time, I was perturbed but later found out that it was fear that led my mother’s action. We were women, in the apartment downstairs all alone. My mother had a valid fear that the husband could try to retaliate against us. Thus, my mother went about her cleaning choosing to ignore that anything was happening upstairs. To this day, this incident still saddens and haunts me.

I first encountered this term “willful blindness” via Margaret Heffernan and her TED talk on the subject. One of the examples that she used was the environmental case in Libby Montana. How many people saw residents consistently sick and dying young but chose to look  the other way? What precipated these actions? How does this type of blindness shape our everday lives?

Now that I’ve unloaded this HEAVY message, what does this have to do with writing? Everything! Listening to this topic has given me another thing to key in on with my characters. For my SciFi book, there is a dystopia element which of course leads to some governmental situations. My new question is, “what is this willful blindness that characters have let seep in to make this new government the status quo?” What have people ignored and for how long?

When writing dystopia, I think this is a pivotal question that should be considered. If you are writing something in this genre, what are other questions regarding dystopia that you think authors neglect or share your own instances of willful blindness in the comments below.