Are you reading anything worthwhile?
Is it really Thursday? AGAIN? My best friend and I say this every week, especially if we don’t get a few hours to chat about what’s going on in our lives. Factor in a seven hour time difference. I won’t lie; there are many moments when I have almost crawled into bed and stayed up because she was messaging me as I was about to turn my phone off for the night. What’s a little lost sleep between the bonds of friendship?
This week took its toll on me. Neurologically, I’m not looking forward to having, “the serious talk” with my doctor next week. But I have to, because everything I’m experiencing is indicative of a stress related breakdown or a possible stroke. When I’ve brought these issues up to both my primary care physician and my neurologist, both of them refused to order tests, deeming them, “unnecessary”, and proceeded to ignore my suffering. I’m putting my foot down and demanding an fMRI of my brain to rule out specific issues.
My mother had half a dozen strokes, and because they don’t always show correctly in women with precise indicators, we didn’t know about them until after tests were run and doctors were shocked that none of them had been serious. I remember the first one quite clearly, because she nearly hit a newly planted tree and I was with her. We both thought she’d had an anxiety attack. I talked her down, got her cold water and a tiny dose of anti-anxiety meds. She said the medication helped immensely, so she believed it was anxiety. Fast forward two hours later when the police showed up to ask her where she’d been and if she’d hit a tree, because some asshole called it in, but didn’t bother to come out and make sure either of us was all right. I have to wonder about the priorities of a person like that. Ultimately, nothing came of it; there was no damage to her car and no damage to the tree, unless you count some earth getting moved around (I thoroughly checked it all before we left.), but as I have thought about that day many times, I am experiencing some of the same brain related issues and it’s scary. Language issues, where I type not in English, but in another language entirely, or where my brain scrambles the words I use in my daily vernacular, is difficult for someone like me, who prides herself on her memory and her skill set. Generally, I type with zero typos or spelling errors, but now, I am having to retrace my steps through everything because I find the most basic mistakes. One has to be concerned about their brain when they are experiencing such troubling symptoms.
A close friend is trying to help me navigate this mess, from another state, and while I appreciate the bits of guidance and encouragement, I also get annoyed at times because I don’t want to be anyone’s pet project. I should not have to fight this hard for proper medical care. No one should have to endure this.
Add in a month long migraine, vertigo attacks, balance issues, and a lot of neck and shoulder pain, and I’m basically a husk. One day, I will have better news.
For now, I thought I’d check in. It’s the equivalent of sticking my head into a room and then ducking out gracefully. 😉
Amid all this craziness, I am doing the final revision on a novel. I cracked 150,000 words, and realize this is an achievement all by itself, but I’m still polishing the diamond (because it needs polishing, and a few more facets.). The character development has far exceeded my expectations and I’m pleased with the new material I’ve written, and what I’ll continue to write as I head toward the finish line. I’ve also done some writing on the psychological thriller, which I feel good about. I chose to do it to challenge myself, and I’m so glad I listened to that voice that told me, “You have a story to tell.” Those characters are developing at a slower pace, but they will get there. In between, I’ve been focused on a lengthy piece about racism and then, I began writing about a few incidents which occurred earlier this week. When I get mad, I make sure I am doing something constructive to get it out of my system, and help others think or look at it from a different point of view. I don’t write anything I don’t feel is valuable to others, so hopefully, upon completion, these pieces will make an impact on someone. Both will be submitted to magazines. I have an additional creative idea for my followers, so stay tuned. I am determined to make major changes this year, and I’ve been doing a lot behind the scenes. 🙂
Someone had the audacity to make it sound like writers don’t actually do any, “real work”, and they, quite stupidly, said it to me, as if that kind of thing is acceptable. Not understanding something does not mean you get to insult it. It’s a good thing we’re still social distancing, or someone would be missing their face.
If this person knew how hard I worked (sometimes for 16+ hours with no real break), with no guaranteed salary, they would be in a psychiatric wing, because what I do is not simple, easy, or lesser. Writing is a high form of art. It’s not black and white. It is full of grey area, and I tend to drown myself in the grey most of the time. I am a writer because I have talent, a voice, and I know how important it is to use that voice on the right platforms, at the right time. I’m not trying to be funny or force humor, which is usually when people find me hilarious. When I’m serious, sometimes people think I’m kidding and they laugh even harder. Other times, I’m genuinely kidding and people think I’m serious. <shrugs> This person doesn’t seem to grasp that if you insult me, I will work harder and, eventually, make you cry for your disrespect. What’s worse? The fact that they don’t grasp that it is an insult to begin with.
As such, I will now return to work. Then I’ll catch some sleep. Wish me luck!
It was a bizarre first week of January, to say the least. I’m going to try not to talk about what happened at the Capitol Building because my brain is still trying to process the remnants of the act. I didn’t know how much it would trigger my PTSD. Especially as someone I am familiar with shared his experience of being in lockdown in the building while this was happening. I remember immediately thinking of him and worrying, but he stayed in touch and I respect how honest he was about the entire ordeal. People like to say nasty shit to him, for no real reason other than trolling someone because their politics don’t line up with yours, but he’s been a good connection for me to make since moving to Massachusetts.
What have I been up to since January 1st? I’ve been reading like a madwoman, studying hard, and was also able to write over eight thousand words on a psychological thriller I’ve been trying to grasp for maybe six months, or so. The story is progressing nicely. 🙂 When I look back upon the beginning of the month, it seems like I had a steady, and successful week. I suppose I did. I’d consider it small steps, in truth.
This week is already different. I am determined to truly break open my new laptop (She’s beautiful and I shall name her Poison 8.0. I won’t lie; all of my laptops have names. Why else do they give me the option? 😉 It’s not for shits and giggles. I might not name a car, but I’m sure as hell going to name the laptop that keeps me creative and working.). The computer arrived much earlier than I expected, and after initially logging in, I put it back in its original box and set it aside. I had looked at it, from day one, as a matter for 2021. My brain, unfortunately, is still confused whenever I write the new year down or see it on anything. I have the same reaction to the calendar; it startles me a bit. I feel discombobulated, for lack of a better word. I feel like I blinked and there was a ton of change I haven’t quite caught up with just yet. I’ll get there, because obviously, work is taking off in a new direction and I have to be prepared for every moment of it. I am also going to take it to Best Buy and have all of my files transferred over as soon as I can. But only if it means getting them both back within the same day. I don’t want to miss a moment of this creative drive. It’s a nice ride to be on, and any good writer will tell you the same thing.
2020 was a good year for me financially and professionally, which encouraged me to break out of my shell a bit and look into new options. The “new options” and new projects are on their way, and I am encouraged by the authenticity of them. They are 110% ME from start to finish and I am proud of this fact. If you see me do something, know that I didn’t have help in it. I will only ever credit someone if I had no hand in it, but the work you see with my name on it, know I did it all.
The downside of having this success, on any level, is seeing how hard others have worked to try to one-up me. And it’s not so much, “work”, as it is someone trying to compete against me for no valid reason. It really made me roll my eyes; especially one person in particular who has felt more like a frenemy over the past 4-5 years, as opposed to a real friend. I realize some women don’t understand deep connections, and that’s okay, but I’m not going to get behind people, “just because”. That’s not who I am. My core group of friends know they will always have my support in whatever they do personally and professionally (Unless I am worried for them, in which case I will be honest. I’m known for my honesty because it’s part of who I am. Being direct shouldn’t be considered a bad thing.), and they support and encourage me, as well. They’re happy for me; not competitive. So, I’ve started severing ties here and there with toxic people and the negative energy they bring along. I do that to move forward, and I also do it because it helps my mental health not to see those low vibrations trying to touch me as I ascend.
I will say this now and never again: I don’t buy followers to make my numbers look better. Not here. Not on Twitter. Not on Instagram. Nowhere. When I look at my numbers, I know they are authentic. I don’t have bot followers. I have certainly been approached to pad my numbers, but that’s so disrespectful to my core readers and it detracts from my message, as well. My ego isn’t part of the equation here. I receive offers all the time to pad the numbers by tens to hundreds of thousands, and I refuse to do it. It sickens me. So while social media ebbs and flows, I let it be. I only follow and support people who are part of my circle and/or people I genuinely like. There’s no other reason to click the follow button, and I speak for myself on this level.
Occasionally a friend will have to remind me about their newest blog post, but they will also tell you I DO jump online and read it. I don’t allow people to have a lot of access to me anymore, so generally the people who can reach out instantly have my phone number and can text me whenever they want. Or, they will message me via a different app and we have a relationship based on communication and mutual support. I have seen these extremely talented individuals start from scratch and a few years in, they are, like me, not padding their numbers. I have more respect for that than I do for people who so obviously are buying fake followers. People don’t like to admit it, but I’ve had so many agents and publishers tell me they know it’s going on and they can’t abide by it. If it makes no sense to someone who knows how all of this works, then it should raise questions for others as well.
So, after I make hopefully just one more tedious phone call this week, I will have time to prepare the new laptop. In between reading and writing. If you’re going to be at home, you might as well be productive on as many levels as humanly possible. Because other than grocery shopping and laundry, books and creativity will always be there for me, and I’m grateful for that.
Stay tuned, my friends. Stay tuned. 🙂
Many of my friends have small businesses, so as I laid out in a previous post, I will be sharing links to their websites for those of you who want to support a single Mom who is now struggling, an artist who shouldn’t have to close up shop, etc. I want everyone to know that I stand with them because I only get paid for the work I do; my income isn’t guaranteed, so I fall under Freelance Independent Contractor status. Unlike most people, I don’t qualify for a stimulus check. I found out this afternoon, after I filed my return. Since I don’t owe anything and they’re not issuing me much needed funds, I refuse to mail the return in. Yeah, I MAJORLY pissed. However, I’m determined to do what I can to help others in this difficult time. I’ll live, but I’m not happy about it.
Let’s encourage each other, be supportive, and do what we can. I have many talented friends and individuals who would appreciate every penny, nickel, dime, and dollar. Many of these people also donate portions of their yearly proceeds to charity, just so you know.
This dose of shameless support is for Leslie Blodgett. Her book, #PrettyGoodAdvice hits shelves April 7th. Pre-order now at your favorite online retailer or you can use this link for a copy from Amazon: Pretty Good Advice book
Called the “Queen of Beauty” and the most influential singular woman to impact the beauty industry by the New York Times, you’ve never met anyone like Leslie Blodgett. Not only does she do the splits on boardroom tables, as CEO and creator of bareMinerals, Leslie pioneered the original power of community (before the idea of social media existed)—reinventing how beauty was sold.
Her warmth, empathy, and authentic bond with her global community of fans, along with her unconventional approach, set a new standard that continues to shape the beauty business today. In 2006, Leslie took the company public in one of the largest cosmetic IPOs of the decade, and in 2010, the company was acquired for $1.8 billion.
Pretty Good Advice is Leslie’s next chapter. This refreshing book features 97 candid and entertaining insights on business, life, and beauty. Everything in this book is honest, all tried (and sometimes failed) by Leslie. Personal and often surprising, Leslie dishes on leading with humor, and why, “You owe it to your co-workers not to be boring.” Pretty Good Advice is full of frank, actionable advice to help light a fire under you.
Leslie is a beauty industry pioneer, angel investor, startup advisor, and philanthropist. For her efforts in reshaping the beauty industry, Leslie was recognized as one of the “Top Entrepreneurs of the Decade: 2000-2009” by Inc. Magazine, was named the first female recipient of the “Visionary of the Year Award” by Women’s Wear Daily, and received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the Fashion Institute of Technology. Leslie is a 2018 Stanford DCI Fellow and Humor Ambassador for the Stanford GSB program.
~Leslie created bareMinerals, a company many women are familiar with. She was a regular face on QVC for YEARS, and her original products are still the core of the company. You can find the products almost everywhere (Sephora, Ulta, etc.).
Since leaving bareMinerals, she has traveled, went back to school, became a Grandmother, and is now sharing her expertise with the world. Down to earth and kind, she’s opened so many doors for others in the beauty industry. I still recommend bareMinerals to people who’ve never worn makeup and want to try something, “subtle”.
Leslie had to cancel her 22 city book tour in light of current events, so I’m happy to be one of the people who tell you that you should pick it up. As one of #LesliesAngels, she sent me the coolest t-shirt and a stack of promo cards that, without a tour, saddens me. I so looked forward to catching up with her, despite her up-to-date social media posts and e-mails. She’s currently doing Zoom chats for the group. 🙂
I’ll keep featuring people, even if we aren’t close, because women should support other women.
**Side note: I might be thrilled for you and silently supportive of a new business venture, but I do have contracts and sponsorships that require me NOT to promote for a competitor. I also WON’T put my stamp of approval on anything I haven’t personally used or tested in terms of makeup or skincare. So if you’re selling something and have wondered why I am not visibly showing you support, that’s the reason. I can’t afford to burn professional bridges.
Being without my laptop has been trying these past few weeks. I’m SO READY to be writing and creating, and I hate being stalled. Poor thing is a very expensive paperweight at the moment. 😔 I don’t want my creativity to dry up or meltdown. If anything, it’s ramped up considerably. Talk about frustrating! I found something that could be the perfect fit for 75% less, but I still have to wait, which sucks.
This week, I picked up some notebooks so that I could at least get some chapters written. The pens I already had. I purchase a box or two of the pink Uni-Ball Signo pens each year. A portion of the proceeds goes to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The ink is black and these pens are my faves. We won’t discuss how many pens are in my purse at any given moment. I was teased last year for signing something in purple ink while wearing a purple t-shirt, sneakers with purple accents, and I had a bottle of water with me that matched. “Do you usually match your ink to your outfit and water?” 😂 Smart ass.
Current hardcover inspiration: Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare, Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu, and Next Level Basic by Stassi Schroeder. I finished the latter this afternoon. It’s decent, but I cringed over the editing, which, in my humble opinion, was not well done. 🤷 However, I supported three different libraries, so that’s a positive. 👍
At the moment I’m on page two of a new scene, and I started reading Red Scrolls a few days ago. I always have 2-8 books in my current rotation. I’m trying not to be too miserable or upset, but I won’t lie; I’m getting there. However, I feel like there’s a lesson to be learned here, so I’m trying to keep calm-ish.
I’m having an in-office medical procedure done Monday afternoon. The anxiety is already creeping in. 😔 It’s 30% procedure and 70% Boston traffic, which is a fucking nightmare, and makes other major cities look GOOD. Especially if you don’t have to view the nearly three billion dollar casino that has yet to open. It looks like it was accidentally dropped off in the wrong neighborhood, except this monstrosity is intentional. I feel like it’s going to be an epic fail, but to each their own. I always come back with a vicious migraine, but after eight months, my migraine medication was finally approved! Celebrate the small things, yes? The photo series will continue.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend!
Last year was a beast. I am cautiously optimistic that I can achieve my goals this year, but after spending the entire day sick, I can only hope tomorrow will be better. It’s time to manifest good things. What are some of your 2019 goals?
“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books”
―Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“A written word is the choicest of relics. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It is the work of art nearest to life itself. It may be translated into every language, and not only be read but actually breathed from all human lips; — not be represented on canvas or in marble only, but be carved out of the breath of life itself.” ―Henry David Thoreau