Working Through My Fear

I’m going crazy trying to figure out what to write about. I start a million things and abandon them. My passion, enthusiasm and motivation are at a standstill. My therapist says I’m a perfectionist pussy…without the pussy part, but I know he’s thinking it. Apparently, I put such high demands on myself that I’m too scared to produce anything. Because, “Oh My God it could suck.”

Or scariest of all, what if it doesn’t? What if it’s good?

Shiver.

What makes that scary? I can’t answer that because it would have to be the perfect answer and there isn’t one. The short answer I don’t know, but I’ve been trying to figure it out.

The thing is the best writing, the stuff that really speaks to you whether it touches your deepest soul or makes you pee your pants with laughter is done by an author who is honest and shows vulnerability. It’s when you can relate that makes it good…makes it real. The trouble is society shakes its finger at realism. Vulnerability is weakness, not human.  We put on a front to save our dignity while watching scripted reality television folks.

Yay us!

I’m scared to actually be real and that’s holding me back. Once something is out there, it’s out there, which means friends, employers, kids can read it and it doesn’t go away. If you choose a public forum to lay out your opinions, idiosyncrasies or God forbid your skeletons you open yourself up to criticism which isn’t exactly something a perfectionist can overcome easily.

Plus, my Mom would have a shit fit. On a side note, it’s amazing how your Mother’s opinion still influences all your decisions…even in your 40’s.

I keep thinking the time will come when I’ll stop caring what people think and just write what goes on in my wacky head…but what if you hate it? What if you like it? Is the glass half empty or full? It’s a vicious circle. Sometimes I want to just give it up and go on with being an employee, wife and Mother. It would be easier, but would it be right?

Then I think of all the great things that could happen if I score a best seller…like going on a book tour and getting asked to write the screen play.  I’ll go to lunch with John Cusack and we’ll have witty intelligent banter before he agrees to play the leading man.  And let’s not forget having martini’s with Kelly Ripa the night before I guest host Live. We’ll giggle and give each other knowing looks the next morning throughout the broadcast. Oh, that Kelly, you couldn’t possibly know the time we had…

So. Much. Fun.

These are things I actually think about. Don’t even get me started on charades with Ellen and Portia.

The unfortunate part to this fantasy is when I get a free moment and sit in front of a blank screen; my funny, witty thoughts and creativity take a detour. It’s so frustrating. I wish I could make a career out of snappy Facebook retorts. One, two lines and I’d have it made, but putting the time in to write another novel or even this blog seems impossible sometimes. I’m tired.  I work a full time job. I have two kids with multiple extracurricular activities, my dog needs walked, I manage to exercise, despite and because of the 20lbs I’ve gained this year. I’m slightly depressed. Plus, I’m only on season 2 of Breaking Bad for shit sake and you expect me to find time to write?

Related: I hate reality.

It’s all fear.

Fear is an asshole. A mother fucking asshole.

I almost erased the cursing for fear of you judging me, but there it is anyway; my first step out of fear.

Sorry, Mom.

Baby Steps to Blissdom

This year I promised I would get out of my comfort zone and do what frightens me. I started this blog even though it was a big scary task I knew nothing about. October marks one full year for Good Girls Wear Thongs and so far I haven’t been criticized (to my face), yelled at or told to shut up. I have however, been looked at funny, backed away from and whispered about, “Don`t talk to her she might blog about you.” But that’s just my family…

Since I haven’t made a total mess of it, I thought I would take another step and investigate this blogging life a little further. It seems to be a lovely way to (insert sarcasm font here) earn a living, especially if you don’t particularly like getting out of your pajama’s every day and if you don’t need money to survive. I’ve been told it’s rather difficult to cash in, even for spare change and like anything it requires dedication, perseverance and a hell of a lot more blogs then I’ve been writing.

I read as much as I can. I bought Blogging for Dummies, but every time I open it I end up horizontal with drool down my face. Not exactly thrilling stuff. I’m better one on one. I need a blogging coach or therapist (if you will)…someone who knows what they’re doing; who can draw me a pie graph of my time divided into focal points (social media, writing time, etc.,) then slap me across the head with it for wasting time looking at a graph when all it does is make me hungry for pie.

I’m hoping to find some answers next weekend (Oct 20 & 21) at Blissdom, a bloggers conference in Toronto I signed on for months ago when I was feeling enthusiastic.  I’m looking forward to the advice and inspiration of the guest speakers and the answers to the important questions like, what do I do now?

As the date nears I’m getting nervous. Emails, Tweets and Facebook conversations are coming fast and furious telling me to get ready for round table discussions, costume parties and fun excursions, which all sound wonderful if you’re not a hopeless recluse like me.

Blogging is a community, a community I’m not yet a part of, which means a lot of these women already know each other and just know a lot more about everything in general. My blog is small potatoes with green skin and big hairy eyes. Of course, I know the whole point of going is to get acquainted, mingle and network but that’s exactly what scares me. I feel like my parents moved me to a new city in the middle of freshmen year and I don’t know whether to wear boots or heels to my first day of school. I’m an amateur; a (gulp) newbie. I hate not knowing things, not being in control. I don’t know if it’s because Halloween is just around the corner, but I keep hearing the scary voice from Carrie echoing in my head, “They’re all going to laugh at you.”

Not to mention there will be sponsors looking for a good match for their products, someone who will fit into their marketing plans. I’ve heard the word “brand” a lot over the last year. What’s your brand? How do you market yourself? What is your theme?

What am I supposed to say, “Well, I write about ass dimples and getting bit in the vagina by black flies?”  Who is going to sponsor me, Raid?

I don’t have a good answer, but I better have one by Friday. If I want to move forward I have to talk to people and make them like me, believe in me, invest in me.  Oh good Lord! How on earth do I fool them into doing such a thing?

I don’t know. I really don’t know anything about Blogging, I just shoot my mouth off when I feel like it and you read it for some reason. But, I know I like it and even though I’ve been distracted lately and feel like topics are eluding me, I know when I write and purge whatever is on my mind, I feel a little better; a little lighter. I don’t know what it all means right now, but I want to find out, so I’m walking through the fear and grabbing my cafeteria tray and going to find a place to sit.

Wish me luck!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Where have I been?

Simon and Schuster sent me a copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower because the movie adaptation premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this month to some really good reviews, which isn’t surprising after I did a little research and found this book has a huge cult-like following. I’m a sucker for cult followings, innocent cults, not purple kool-aid cults…unless there’s vodka.

Written by Stephen Chbosky, it was published in 1999; thirteen years ago. Where was I? Well, I was pregnant eating chips with my head stuck in, What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

The book is comprised entirely of letters written to an anonymous source, which makes for a fast, yet thought provoking read. The letters are written by Charlie, a high school freshman who lost his best (and seemingly only) friend to suicide.  Charlie’s a straight A student and an avid reader with extremely poignant observations about the world around him.  He’s honest, poetic, sad, innocent, romantic, quirky and cool. He comprehends classic literature and instills it into the modern day, yet, he doesn’t know how to stop a run on sentence…we could be twins. The writing is so easy you zip right along page after page until you realize, you have feelings for Charlie. You understand Charlie and in some way and at some point, you were Charlie.

At a chance meeting at a football game Charlie becomes friends with seniors Patrick & Sam (half-siblings) and they develop a bond. Through his first year of high school he fights his anxiety and depressive tendencies by standing back and taking in the actions of this older crowd.  Along the way he’s introduced to homosexuality, drugs, alcohol, love, infatuation, abortion, among other things, only to immerge at the end of the school year with a better understanding of why he is who he is.

And isn’t that what we were all searching for in high school?

There’s a moment when the three friends drive out of a tunnel in a pickup truck, music blaring and burst into the city’s skyline. The now famous line reads, “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” I remember those moments, feeling so good and invincible. At the time I knew it was something special but I couldn’t put it into words, I just remember I liked it.

I wish Wallflower would have been written in my time. There’s so many quotes my younger self would have fallen in love with,

So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be. – The next time my kids ask me what high school was like, this is what I’m telling them it felt like for me. So simple. So true.

Things change. And friends leave. And life doesn’t stop for anybody. – Forget high school, I’m still trying to come to terms with this.

The fact that one of these ladies was my mom made me particularly sad because my mom is beautiful. And she’s always on a diet. Sometimes, my dad calls her beautiful, but she cannot hear him. – Charlie gets it.

So obviously I highly recommend getting this book if you’re one of the few (like me) who hadn’t heard of it until now. If you have a teenager you can probably save your money because chances are they already have a copy hidden somewhere. Give it a try before seeing the movie and let me know what you think.

Bucket List Fail

Courtesy of www.buzzfeed.com

The kids are back at school. This marks the end of my hiatus from the working world. My first extensive break since I was fifteen, (unless you count maternity leave, in which case…OH MY GOD, don’t get me started…).

When this summer began I was all determined to put my dreams on turbo-charge and get my life working like a well oiled machine by Labour Day.

It’s cute how I start out all optimistic.

I’m a bit of a list maker. Every night before bed I write down all the things I want to get done.  It makes me feel like I have a plan. By mid afternoon I’ve added so much all I can do is look at it and eat chips. Repeat cycle.

You would think having this knowledge of myself would stop me from creating projects like a Summer Bucket List. I know you’re laughing, but I did it anyway.

Bucket List – Summer Edition

1. Get Published – Didn’t happen, but my nasty letter to the editor almost made it into the local paper, but they went with some “feel good” story instead. Cowards.

2. Write Another Book– In February I had an idea for a plot. So I went to Staples(because every successful project starts with shopping) where I indulged in my obsession with school supplies. I laid out the story line. It looked fantastic. All bright and everything. Very motivating. This is what it looks like now. I haven’t written a single sentence.

See the pink board? That’s it. Behind it is my Vision Board.

3. Brachioplasty – What you say? It’s plastic surgery for the back of the arms. My Nana had big saggy triceps…so naturally I inherited them. No amount of triceps’ kickbacks help. But the truth is, I’m a coward and cheap and neither of these things are qualities to have if you want plastic surgery.

4. Organize and De-clutter The Entire House – HAHAHAHAHA. Not one drawer.

5. Lose Twenty Pounds – In a fit of defiance I threw my scale and shattered it on the garage floor.

What was I thinking? Clearly my expectations are too high. And holy shit, I was home with children not at a secluded country club with maid service. As far as I’m concerned the bucket, can fuck it. In fairness though I thought this list was tame considering my five year plan:

  1. Cottage – I have no money
  2. Italy – I have no money
  3. Mercedes – I have no money
  4. Brachioplasty – See?
  5. Horse – What the hell? Really?

Someone (okay, my therapist) suggested taking baby steps towards the bigger goals. In fairness to him, he hasn’t known me long. I’ve never taken a baby step in my life. I prefer instant gratification. But I decided to give it a try. So considering how I like to overshoot the mark, I created a less intimidating list of goals just for this week. It may not help me in reaching my five year plan (wish is under evaluation) but I have to start somewhere and it has to be doable. So, without further ado:

Doable Things I Didn’t Get Done Over the Summer List

1. Eyebrow Shaping – I have good intentions to keep up with them, but before I know it there are two dead caterpillars on my forehead and from then on whenever anyone looks at me, all I can hear is, “They’re totally looking at your hideous eyebrows and will unfriend you on Facebook.”

2. Eat Breakfast Alone – All summer no matter how many times I asked the kids if they wanted anything, as soon as I sat down with food someone would be there to announce they were starving.

3. Watch Adult Television – I’m tired of Zeke & Luther and having to censor my shows because the kids are still up. Is it too much to ask to watch a heroin addict shoot up in peace?

4. Publish a Blog – Done! Here it is. I didn’t say it had to be a good one.

5. Look for a Job – It’s time. I’m not exactly making millions off this blog. I know, it’s shocking. I’m just not good at time management. I need a pay cheque and a boss breathing down my neck to motivate me. I have good intentions at the start of the day, you know, with the list and all and then before I know it, “Hey, Judge Judy’s on…”

So that’s my scaled back fuck-it list. Hopefully by next week I’ll be a bit more willing to put forth more effort, but for now this is all I can manage. Plus, I started this blog last week so…

Procrastination…

Okay, so this is my first post. So exciting and so appropriately named. It has taken me forever to write this because every time I sit down to do it, my mind goes blank and I have nothing to say. Nothing! Can you believe it? It’s so unlike me. I’m fully aware if I want to be a writer, I
must write, but things just keep coming up that have to get done or so I like to tell myself. My procrastination is much like an addiction really, I get angry, ashamed and swear never to do it again and the next thing I know, I’m cleaning toilets because evidently I would rather scrub fecal matter then throw a few sentences together. I’ve also made going to the gym everyday a priority,
clearly choosing physical pain over my fear of failure. That ladies and gentlemen is the ultimate procrastination and I am a master.

Well, no more! Because a few days ago I decided enough was enough so I packed up my writing stuff, blanket and snack and headed to the pier on the lake.  It was a beautiful day. Sunshine was what I needed.  A little Zen in my life, to quiet my mind and let the creative juices flow.

On my ride over, I felt the sun baking into my skin, my sprits lifting, envisioning how peaceful it would be; no distractions, no heaps of scattered laundry screaming at me from my bedroom floor. The quiet, the water, the sun, breeze and people gathered peacefully eating their lunches…everyone needs this once in a while. I deserved it.

I got a great parking spot and headed down to the water. I immediately felt something wasn’t right, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it.  My favourite spot with the clear view of Toronto was empty and as I arranged my blanket I realized it was louder than
usually, like a lot louder.  I looked out to the water at the glorious sail boats gliding along the pier heading out onto the lake and then dipping out of sight behind the cranes.

Wait…cranes?  Yup, cranes. Two massive ugly cranes.

They were digging rocks out of the water and let me tell you, steel against rock does not a peaceful soundtrack make.

But, I soldiered on, sat on my blanket and arranged my things all around me thinking I could get past the noise. A writer has to get used to some distractions, right?  I
checked my Blackberry, Facebook, Twitter, SMS…you get the picture. Eventually
so did I. I put the phone away, took a drink of water, contemplated my apple, then
finally took a deep breath and mentally kicked myself in the ass.

I begin to write, well, doodle really, until a high pitched, shrill scream surpassed the already deafening screeching of the heavy equipment. At first I thought someone was in
trouble, so I turned along with everyone else in the park in the sounds general
direction and immediately understood it wasn’t a scream, but a squeal of
delight coming from a grown woman who undeterred by the attention, continued to
shriek and giggle.

I mean who actually sounds like that? It’s not normal.

Not only was she loud and distracting but she was carrying on with this nonsense while perched on top of a balding, middle aged man’s lap. (I don’t know why I needed to tell you he was bald. I guess it gives a better visual. You really need to understand I’m very uncomfortable with public displays of affection in any way shape or form and when the people involved aren’t exactly stunners, you’ve got to admit it just somehow makes the whole thing a bit worse to watch..just sayin’).

You know what else would have been a little less offensive? If she wasn’t totally straddling the guy. I can understand a little lap sitting on a nice day at the park (not really) but she was facing him head on, her stilettos stuck through the slots of the bench
and she was basically dry humping her partner in crime.  And believe me it was a crime. Her face was an inch from his; her lips were on him like a fat kid on a smartie.  It was a whole lot of gross.

I tried to concentrate on what I went there to do and ignore the soft porn with the not so attractive/young people before me. I turned in another direction, but there were distractions everywhere, like a woman who was on the phone the entire time filling everyone in on what a stressful day she had with her nanny…Really lady? Really?

Thirty minutes later I still hadn’t written a thing. But I ask you, who could with all this business going on? And besides I was starting to get concerned for the man. I mean she was no lightweight (not that there is anything wrong with that, just a fact) and he was well past middle age for God sake! She could have cut off his circulation.

Finally, out of the corner of my eye, I see them make a move to get up. Now I’m caught in a dilemma, because something inside me wants to see how she intends on gracefully unravelling her legs and her shoes from out of the bench and from around the waist
of this man. I mean, because of them I had accomplished zero on this little
trip, so one good public fall could, in fact, make my day at this point.  I felt I deserved some sort of redemption.  On the other hand, it occurred to me this woman had been caressing this man for a good long while, which meant he could really be packing some heat when he stood up and that was something I definitely did not want to see. So I looked away. Damn. When they left, I swear I heard a collective sigh over the park, even the lady with the nanny problems put her phone away.

Knowing I was now past the point of no return creatively, I pulled out a magazine and read until the sun’s glare hit me in the corner of the eye and I looked up and followed it to an Oldsmobile coming toward me. The elderly driver and his (who I assumed to be) wife were casually taking a nice drive, clearly enjoying the day, which would have been really sweet except they were driving down a bike path. No shit. Everyone watched them two slowly approaching us as they gazed out to the water, while bikes, strollers and dogs had to move out of their way. It was hilarious! They were oblivious. It was so bizarre, but so cute that no one said anything to them and eventually when he came to a dead end, he just calmly turned the car around and drove back to the road.

So, clearly my day at the lake was done. I mean what could top it? I got nothing down on paper, but I had a whole lot of things in my head. Sometimes things just write themselves. As I walked back to the car I saw this old Asian woman doing Thai Chi and I stopped to watch her. At that moment I realized, despite the distractions I now felt pretty relaxed.  I was reassured that maybe things would come together. Let the writing write itself. It could be the start of a new beginning, the first day of the rest of my life and all of that.

With my car windshield in clear view, I was also reminded of the irony that is my life and why I will never run out of things to talk about. Because that day I witnessed in public (and in broad daylight, I might add) the possible molestation of a grown man and a significant driving infraction down a bike path, but  I’m the one out of all those people at the park that day who ended up with a parking ticket.