I’m not a writer, I’m a reader: Day 1

I got this idea in my head that I should join one of these Blogging University courses. If you haven’t heard of it, its really easy to find. There are a bunch of different courses you can sign up for ranging from basic to photography to advanced authors. Since I feel like I have the basics of writing and customizing the blog theme down ( I literally went through about 50 themes in a month before settling), I chose the everyday inspiration course. The premise of this course is for the WordPress gods to send prompts to your inbox and your job is to respond to the prompts by sitting and writing for 15-30 minutes straight without stopping. Sounds easy right?

The first prompt I received is to answer the question, “Why do you write?”

Why do I write? Normally, I don’t. I’m not a writer, I’m a reader. I spend every free moment, sometimes stolen moments at work, reading. Actually, that’s a lie. I spend about 90% of my free minutes reading and the other 10% is usually devoted to Netflix. I have a binge watching problem. Damn you, Netflix! I really love immersing myself in other people’s stories. Now I say other people’s like individuals but its a broad term for me. I have my favorite books and television shows whose worlds I can’t imagine living without and I even get upset with myself for not discovering some of these worlds sooner. I’m also a very emotional person; specifically when it comes to television. Easy crier that I am, I love inflicting emotional torture on myself. Have you ever watched Grey’s Anatomy? That is literally the most full emotional spectrum show I watch. In its increasingly far fetched drama and cheesy episodes, I am so beyond riveted it’s pitiful. I need my sad tears, angry tears, happy tears fix.

I decided to write because I love connecting. I try to be social with every person in my world because I want them to know that I care. It’s quite funny that the person I am now is not the person I was. I had a healthy dose of shy in my younger years  (I say younger years because I’m pushing 30). I wouldn’t say I was insecure, just unaware. I didn’t care too much to be social with people. I had childhood friends and it wasn’t like we moved a lot. It was more so I was just not interested. All I cared about was getting good grades in school, reading and my dog. I can’t exactly pinpoint it but at some point in my life, maybe my college years, the shy went away. It was like a switch in my head that said stop holding back, let it all hang out, be honest with the world. Either they’ll like you or they won’t and if they don’t, don’t let it bother you. So here I am. I’m brutally honest most of the time. I’m that person that says what everyone is thinking and then I take it and go beyond. It’s probably inappropriate half the time but I can’t help myself. It sounds like I don’t have restraint but I promise I do when it counts. I’ve also developed a healthy dose of care. Before I could care less. Now I probably care too much but I try very hard not to let it show unless I want it show. There’s that niggling thought in that back of your mind that you’re probably going to be used because a little of your naivety is showing but sometimes it’s worth the risk.

The basis behind this blog is so M and I can share our different days with the world. We come from different backgrounds, different lifestyles but we met through work. The very first book I shared with her was the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. She had never read the Harry Potter series because her parents wouldn’t allow it. She was also raised to believe that if you had free time and you spent it reading you were not productive with your life. That is one of the most insane things I’ve ever heard but that’s just my opinion. She read and love the books and from there it continued. I would bring her another book in my collection to read, and another, and another. We still do this today. I relive my books through her! It gives me great joy when she shares her feelings with me about the characters and the world in which they live in. It inspires me to keep reading and finding more books to love for the express purpose of sharing them with her.

So this is what I got for day one. 817 words. I apologize if it reads all over the place but that’s how my brain operates (plus I’m the worst at endings).

We’ll see what Day 2’s inspiration brings.

Stuck in a Loop

Here are my record favorites on a YouTube loop currently:

 

  1. Ed Sheeran – Shape of You
  2. Superfruit, Mary Lambert, Brian Justin Crum, Mario Jose – RISE cover

I don’t have any words of wisdom about these today except to say that I can’t get them out of my head. They wake me up and make me want to blast my speakers out. The second one in particular gives me chills halfway to brain freeze every time I listen. I have a very wide range of musical tastes and these are on my radar right now.

What has you stuck in a loop?

I probably shouldn’t, but I did.

I’m thinking about what to write about in response to the daily prompt. After googling the word, because let’s face it, it’s a weird word, all I can think about is the inner murmations I have with myself in certain situations. For example, today I was speaking to a friend about an upcoming film.

Me: “Hey, did you see the trailer for that new film?”

Her: “Not sure who’s in it.”

Me: “Scarjo, Kate McKinnon, and some other girl I don’t remember the name of.”

At this point she goes and checks out the trailer.

Her: “Looks fun. Maybe we should go see it.”

Me: “Mhmm, sure.”

What I’m really thinking here is, ugh, Scarlett Johansen. She has that face that even when she’s happy and excited it still looks like bitch face. Doesn’t really clash with what I see as a funny movie. But do I tell my friend that? She might be a huge Scarlett Johansen fan. I probably shouldn’t say this. How to phrase this without sounding harsh?

Me: “You know…”

….and proceed to say what’s exactly on my mind. Luckily she knows me well and took it in stride.

Take this next scenario. I’ve decided I need to find and try a new leave-in conditioner. I’ve watched all these YouTube videos with natural girls talking about their hair routine and how they swear by such and such product. Here I am wondering if any of these products would work for me cause that looks like my hair type so why the hell not. It’s currently snowing outside and that alone makes me not want to go anywhere. I shouldn’t be lazy. I should get up and go! Instead, I start to think about ways I can get my husband to go instead. I have to phrase this in such a way that he thinks it was his idea all long. I go through all these ideas in my head.

Me: “Soo I need leave in conditioner.”

Him: “I feel like you already have some.”

(I do, but that’s not the point!)

Me: “Not really. There’s this new one I want to try”

And then I proceed to tell him all the reasons why including the ingredient panel and their benefits.

Him: “grunt”

Me: “So I was thinking I’d go to Target and get the conditioner and then maybe go to Sam’s Club and get a pack of razors but after I do the dishes and cook breakfast.”

Him: “grunt”

Me: “Okay sounds good right?”

Next thing I know he’s putting on layers of clothes looking like he’s going to venture out in the cold outdoors. This is exactly how I wanted this to play out! I should feel bad about my mini mind manipulation, but I don’t. Inside I’m smiling but of course I ask.

Me: “Where you going?”

Him: “I’m going to go to the store for you.”

Me: “You don’t have to”

Him: “Don’t worry about it. You’re cleaning and cooking. I’ll do something too.”

SCORE! He goes off to the store and ends up calling me about what specifically to get even though I sent him screenshots. He came home with the wrong stuff, even with guidance. I knew that was going to happen. I kept thinking to myself, “I should have went.” It’s one of those where you walk in the store and you know exactly where to go versus he goes into the store and, instead of asking someone who works there to point him in the right direction, he walks around aimlessly until giving up and calling it a lost cause. He asked me if it was the right stuff and I nodded and said yes and thank you. It’s the gesture that counts right? Plus, fuck snow.

There are always those”what should I say vs. what I really want to say” moments you have with yourself depending on the situation. Sometimes the word vomit completely overrides the logical and you hope it comes out sounding nice enough in a way that the end game isn’t disastrous.

Forward

This post will probably be all over the place so fair warning.

I spend a lot of time driving. My job is 45 minutes away, one way. Five days a week. I spend a lot of that time just thinking. I think about past conversations I’ve had with people and wonder if I said the right things or if I could have said something different. I often press rewind in my head to review the past few day or two and analyze. For example, last night I had quite an interesting conversation with a friend of a friend. When you meet your friend’s friend, there is usually an automatic impression. Its human nature. We can’t help ourselves. I wondered what he thought of me as I sat there thinking about all of the things I’ve heard and placing it to the face. The content of the topics we discussed were baffling to say the least. Here you have two black people, (and I have to define race here), talking about their feeling regarding interracial relationships. I like to think I’m a general, open minded person. My views are simple. You love who you love. Race doesn’t matter. Why should it? If the person you love makes you happy, that’s all that matters. He asked me how I feel about gay marriage. Same answer. I don’t care what you do in the confines of your bedroom. I hope its sexy as hell because that would make both partners happiest. He tells me he doesn’t like the white race. I didn’t know what that meant so I asked. People with white skin, he says, mainly of European descent. How do you know someone is European descent, I asked. Because I can just tell, he says. Instead of getting angry, I ask, why do you feel the way you feel? He says because if “they” wanted to change the way they treat black people they would. So I asked him, what do you do to change the way people view you. And he felt that striving to become a history teacher and telling the “real” truth would bring about necessary change. I wished him the best.

There was a lot more commentary in there but that was the short of it. I understand to an extent why he feels the way he feels but most of me just thinks he lives a sad existence. Attraction to a race is one thing but to condemn the whole race for past transgressions that you were not even a part of is downright astonishing. Do I think history should be swept under the rug? No. Do I want history to repeat itself? Of course not. Change is necessary. It will always be necessary. That’s how we grow and get better. I believe our history shapes who we are today but I believe it does it unconsciously. When you decide who to befriend, you don’t ask yourself what your ancestors would do or how they would feel. You weigh how you feel and how that individual makes you feel. If they make you laugh, if they inspire you, if they tug at a piece of your heart in some way; things are the things that shape your future.

Besides going over interactions in my mind, I think a lot about my dream job. I used to think it was a veterinarian. I love animals. One of my favorite land creatures is the elephant and one of my favorite sea creatures is the sea turtle. After various jobs, some in vet clinics, I realized I don’t have the strength of heart to be a veterinarian. I’m an easier crier and dealing with death is just not for me. Shutting my emotions off is impossible. I also realized I hate school. I made it the first four years but I was not motivated enough to continue the other eight or so. From here I thought, well I’m pretty great with computers, I love staying updated in the tech world, maybe I can get an IT job. This comes from many years of pet retail and finally burning out. Technology is where the jobs are. I hear that a lot and maybe one day I’ll actually pursue that. Ultimately I’ve come to realize my dream job would be to read. I enjoy reading SO much. It gives me life. I can hardly step through my day without imagining how Astrid is going to solve her interesting dilemma. I read chapters whenever I get a free moment and binge read on the weekend. I’ve been told before that reading is not productive but I disagree. It’s way beyond productive! That piece of imagination is my expresso shot in the morning! It’s my midnight snack before I go to bed. It stimulates my dreams! I strive to emulate the characters in real life because that world is fantastic! I learn their histories and how they deal with their present. The stories I read are not always fantastic. I’ll admit, I’ve read some books and didn’t finish them because there just wasn’t a connection. Nine out of ten times though, I am living! And let me tell you, it feels GREAT to be alive!

To connect my two ruminations (in my mind anyway) I leave you with this. History is a part of us, yes, but you will never connect with anyone if you don’t leave it behind. When I say leave behind, I don’t mean forget it entirely. Remember it. Grow from it. Learn from it and make your life the better because of it. There are people who want to be in your life, real and imaginary that don’t care about your history. Open your arms, your eyes, and especially your ears. Free your mind or at least free up a portion of it for new thoughts and visions. You’ll love it, I promise.

Book rant

I just finished a book series that took me longer than usual to read. It was by an author I’ve read before and absolutely loved the first series. My usual reading genres are paranormal romance, sci-fi and contemporary romance/thrillers; sometimes a little bit of historical romance thrown in every once in a while. There are many sub-genres off the main ones such as urban fantasy, steampunk and space operas. Then you have Adult, YA (young adult), NA (new adult) and so on.

The general basis of any book to determine the genre is characters and the world. If your book is set in the 1600’s  and has a Downton Abbey feel, you’re looking at a historical romance. But if it its set in the 1600’s and has boulders than can transport you back in time then you’re looking at a historical paranormal romance. Adult genres are usually based off the character’s age. Early 20’s and up is considered adult. 15-18 is young adult. Anything lower than age 15 is not usually a genre I explore; at least for now anyway.

The series I just finished was considered YA and NA. The character started the story at age 18 but ended up being about 23 or 24 by the end of the series. I’m not an expert but blending the lines between a young adult and a “new” adult can come easily to some authors and not so much for others. It’s that stage between leaving school and going off on your own whether it be college or some other route depending on the world you’re in. The story I read consisted of a young girl, a senior in high school, going through a transition from being a regular human to trying to find her place in the world with her friends. She ends up finding out she’s not completely human and that sets up the rest of the books in the series.

When you read a pilot or even watch a pilot you jump end expecting it to start out slow. You know the author (or director) is trying to build your imagination by creating a world and the characters in your mind. They want you to get to know the people and the places. They want you to grow attached to some and hate others. It’s necessary to keep your interest. They want to take you on this amazing, exhilarating, heart pounding, addicting ride. They usually succeed. You dive in deep, get comfortable and ready yourself to ride it out. You get so attached that you can hardly think of anything else except what is going to happen next. You expect the cliffhangers, crave them even because of the feelings they’ll leave you with.

And then you get to the last book in the series. The finale. The world was built. You have guesses, expectations, hopes. This is how I was feeling with the last book in my series. Halfway through I got excited, shocked, and sad. My guesses, expectations and hopes changed. I’m in the last 100 pages. This is it. The war is finally happening! THIS IS IT! And then — fade to black. What the hell? If you aren’t familiar with fade to black it’s essentially when you get the moment you’ve been finally waiting for but instead of getting the moment in detail you get a “5 years later” epilogue that looks back on your moment in a paragraph or two. I’m screaming inside. I feel like I wasted so many sleepless nights. I got past the YA/NA blend, the lame phrases and the questionable missing moments. I had my plot. It grabbed me and I held on! What do I get for that? A rushed ending. Why???

This pretty much ends my rant. I’m going to try a new series by an author I’ve never read before recommended by one of my favorite authors directly on Twitter. Crossing my fingers.

Synchronicity

Desire is synonymous with temptation. Would you agree? Take a walk in your mind and think about how often, in a day, you desire something.

Every morning I wake up to my alarm that  goes off at the same time. I know it’s coming and yet I dread it. My desire to stay beneath the warm sheets is strong. Not that I don’t like my job, but my bed never fails to tempt me to stay in it. At work, it’s lunch time. I bring a lunch, usually leftovers, to eat. However, as soon as I open my Tupperware, stare at my food, I lose the desire to eat it. It’s Taco Monday or Sushi Wednesday, I tell myself. Justifications for my desires along with the temptation of not so healthy food. I’m having a text conversation with a friend on my phone. I will them to respond while trying to be nonchalant about it in my mind. The pain in my body is strong. I’ve already taken x amount of mg of this or that. I desire to add more medicine into my system while trying to tell myself I am stronger than the pain. I’m stuck in traffic. I don’t know what’s going on or how long I’ll be at a standstill. I’m eager to be home, in my husband’s arms curled up in his love. I’m riveted to a great story or television show. My desire to sleep is crumbling because I need to know how it all ends.

Desire. Temptation. Will. Eager. I can’t feel one without feeling another. They go hand in hand. I can’t desire without temptation. I can’t be eager without will. I crave it. I love it. I want it. I need it.

 

Can I? Should I? Maybe?

Can I?
Should I?
Maybe?

These are the things we ask ourselves when we’re hesitant in a decision. Can I really change my career? Should I order that dessert that’s calling my name? Maybe I should hold off on that decision until something better comes along. Any of these sound familiar? Why is the natural instinct for choice to hesitate? Why raise that level of doubt when it can be nonexistent? Probably because we feel it necessary to weigh all options before making that choice. Maybe we are in a situation where we need to think before we speak and that one second of hesitation can make a difference between keeping or losing a relationship. Maybe none of that matters. Don’t hesitate, just say it, just do it; you only live once and it will open doors. No thinking. Just instant choices, instant decisions, deal with the consequences, if any, later. I wonder, do you think even those people have a moment of hesitation?

I look back on important points in my life and I wonder if the outcome thus far would be different? Would I be any happier than I am in this exact moment in time? At this rate, I believe it can only get better, happier, stronger from here. Ask me again a year from now. 🙂

How do you live your life? Is your hesitation level situational? Curious.

 

 

“Confidence is what we get when we take fear, face it and replace it.”
― Tim Fargo

The Strength of Friendship

I’ve had an idea for a post on my mind all day long. I couldn’t quite figure out where to start to write it. I came across the Daily Prompts page and decided today’s word would actually work out in what I’m trying to get across. Last night I was invited to tag along with a group of friends for dinner. We had a great time; talking and laughing and sharing stories. When I got home later in the evening, I had a moment of reflection. I thought to myself how lucky I am to have these friends; how much fun they bring to my life. Do you ever just sit down and think about everyone you interact with each day and how much they actually mean to you? Who your real friends are and really, what is the definition of a real friend?

Each of of us have different definitions. For me, I would define a real friend to be someone who likes you the way you are. I don’t mean looks wise, I mean personality wise. Someone who always has your back in any situation. If your name were to come up in a negative light while you were not around, your friend would be the first one to call someone out. Someone who keeps your secrets and honestly, knows that sometimes it’s necessary to break those secrets. Someone who laughs with you, cries with you and will be blatantly honest with you when they think you’re being an idiot and then laugh about that too later. This is where you realize that at the center of everything there is always that one person or couple of people that just fit your always evolving definition of a real, true friend.

Now, this doesn’t apply to everyone. Some people are really, really good at making friends. I envy those people. For the rest of us, we make friends, hope we’ll become close to them, and then hold on to them as long as possible because the process of finding a new friend is hard. Most of us meet our closest friends in the workplace. These are people we see five out of seven days a week or more. I’ve been told not to make friends at work before but how can you not? My co-author and I met through work and throughout transfers, workplace drama and almost anything else you can think of, our friendship has survived. I think the root of a lasting friendship is to want to have a lasting friendship. Sounds super simple but as adults, we have to work a little bit harder to keep something we want to survive.

Newbie Success!

For anyone who has visited this blog in the past few weeks, I AM SO SORRY! I’ve changed the theme around a million times and every time I thought I settled on one, something tiny would stand out at me and I wouldn’t like the whole theme anymore. Then when I finally found a theme I liked, I couldn’t figure out how to manipulate it to my specifications. I finally confessed to myself that I was more of a beginner than I wanted to admit.

In lieu of this, I proceeded to search for the simplest themes possible. I found quite a few but still had trouble executing them. For whatever reason I just did not know how to make a drop down menu, or add widgets the right way or text alignment, shortcodes, none of it! You think it’s easy, it’s not! Then I started to download random widgets hoping a combination of all of them would give me what I wanted.

Finally, (thank you YouTube gods!), I stumbled upon a video that gave the most perfect step by step instructions on how to create a WordPress blog from scratch. So I went back into my dashboard and deleted all themes, except the one featured in the video, and deactivated almost all of the plugins so that I could start from the beginning. The video was two and a half, gloriously long, hours and now because I followed that video step by step, I have created something that I’m proud of AND got a HUGE lesson in WordPress. I’m sure there is more in the WordPress great beyond but I am very proud of what took me half the day to accomplish and I promise I am done changing anything for a very long time!

If you are swimming in my canoe, or have in the past, I HIGHLY recommend you visit WPSculptor or follow Josh Jackson on his YouTube channel. He explains everything in the easiest way possible and his video guides are truly a godsend.