It’s November and another NaNoWriMo is upon us. During the last one, I wrote a novel. Number 3 in the True Hearts series. Where is it? It’s with my beta editor and she’s taking way too long to go through it. It’s not completely her fault. It’s mine for having forgotten about it.
How do I forget about a novel? I started an IT certificate, started writing a new novel, got a new job and moved all within the same couple of months. So yeah, I let that one fall. I’m pretty organized but I don’t have a control-center. I have an appointment book, a school agenda, a work calendar. All these individual things to keep me on track in different parts of my life but nothing that encompasses everything.
Anyway, I’ll nix the beta-editor and find an editor. But none of this is why I started writing this post. No no no. The reason is NaNoWriMo. I have to finish the novel I started several months ago and what a better time than during this month where the creative juices of so many writers are flowing into the universe and every one bands together to support and encourage eachother. So I got off of the witch’s broomstick last night and I’m settling in at my desk for some solid bonding time with my characters.
It’s that time of year when I’d rather not look in the mirror. That time of year when my skin is at its palest. And of course, spot one flaw, spot them all. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like. Is that a double chin? What happened to my collarbone? Where did it go? Is my collarbone showing too much? Why is my butt jiggly. And why are my thighs moving that way? Are my elbows too knobby? Is the gap between my thighs wide enough? Or why don’t I have a gap between my thighs? I do all that legwork and nothing happens in my thighs but now I have a bubble butt and potato-shaped calves.
Can you feel the headache coming on? Have you bashed your head into the wall so much that you left a dent and some blood? Are you done mentally carving yourself to pieces like a butcher? So let’s get the collective knife out our backs and figure out a few things.
Who’s to blame?
It’s not men. They have to fit into tight, low-waist tapered pants that show just a glimpse of ankle, sport perfectly groomed beards, maintain their hair so that it looks like it gets cut every week by a stylist and not a barber, and then their chests. They get to compete with the Hemsworth brothers, the entire cast of SEAL Team, S.W.A.T. and 9-1-1, every fast, strong, agile and drop-dead-gorgeous-super-sexy comic book character from Captain America to Wolverine, AND mutant heroes of the shifter romance genre. So, they don’t have it easy either.
Can we blame the media? Take a moment and look around you. How many twig-like Amazonian women are you seeing right now? If you’re a fashion model or live in L.A., never mind. If you’re a mere mortal woman, note that there aren’t any. However, she is not a mythical creature. She’s been corralled along with every woman of the same body type by capitalism.
Next time you watch TV or Netflix, notice how when an actress turns sideways, her body blends into the scenery. It’s not camouflage. It’s her size. If I don’t focus on her face, she disappears.
It’s scary. At least for me. Because if every woman I see in the media is gorgeous, always made-up, fabulously dressed and laptop thin, I start to think that should be me too. And people, I have never come close to that. And realistically, I never will unless I become extremely sick. It’s just not my body type. Nor is it the body type of most women out there. Why would I even consider that for myself? I wouldn’t except I get bombarded with images of that single body type over and over again.
And this media that’s affecting my state of mind, that’s not just warped unethical capitalism, it’s me and you, right? We repost pics of who we’d like to look like. We spend hours filtering and retouching our selfies. We consume gym memberships, self-help fitness books, try the latest fad diets like we can all be Karlie Kloss or Hailey Baldwin. Yet, in their own eyes, they are as flawed as we are in ours. They are as beautiful to others as we are to others. And they are as unique in the universe as we are unique in the universe.
Self-confidence often lands as the number one most important trait of attractiveness. Let’s focus on building that by adopting a positive self-image. By doing accepting ourselves as we are, we are making our contribution toward a body positive, body inclusive world.
What’s your body challenge? Where do you see change happening? I love hearing from you. Leave a comment.
A lot of things impact our mental health, many of which we have zero control over such as the weather, bad drivers and meteorites. But so much, we can control. You know the drill: forgive, perform acts of kindness, smile. Once in a while the world is trying to tell us something. Lately, it’s been telling me, “Declutter your life, declutter you mind, Patricia.” While I don’t think my life is that cluttered, the universe seems to think it is. (I have been known to ignore what I don’t want to deal with.)
It all started at the end of March while having dinner with my girlfriends. One mentioned Marie Kondo. You know her: keep only the stuff that “sparks joy” in you, organize it, keep it organized. (I might be over simplifying.) My friends were praising her and also feeling guilty about their cluttered homes. While I’d never heard of Marie Kondo and her Konmari method, I was feeling quite smug while I listened to my besties confess how much they needed her to come over to their homes. Because yeah, I’m that person who will wage war on the shoe rack that has more shoes surrounding it than on it, that person who will spend the afternoon cleaning out the bureau because I’m tired of its drawers launching their contents at me when I open them and require two hands to stuff, one hip to shove and a prayer to close them again, and that person who will spend an hour with a shredder because I can’t see the surface of my desk anymore.
Having said that, I’m not Miss Perfect And On Top Of Things. Not at all. If I were, I’d post here with more regularity like twice a week. (I’m doing my best so I’m not going to feel bad about it.) My girls did catch my attention when they mentioned the Konmari folding method. Check out this video:
So I checked out the organizing guru on Netflix and transformed my drawers. Tada!
Apparently, that wasn’t enough because I found myself reading an article about how to declutter your home in 31 days. And why do that? Because a tidy home is a tidy mind. So I’m not sure that’s entirely true if you take it to the extreme. Then it’s obsessive compulsive disorder. However, knowing that cleaning out the garage, donating clothes you no longer wear or deleting all those unnecessary files and folders on your C: drive means that task is no longer on your to-do list. Peace of mind. Om.
This was followed by another article about prioritizing the day. The idea behind it was that you can only focus on doing three things really well in one day so make those your priorities for that day. This totally spoke to me because, like most people, I can have a bunch of different things planned for a day like work on WIP, read for course, workout, check-in with Mom and do laundry and groceries.
Just looking at that list makes me hurt. Here’s what’s really interesting: look at the categories all those items fall under:
work on WIP is work
read for course is school
workout is fitness
checkin with Mom is family and friends
do laundry and groceries is home
That’s five categories. That’s a lot to have on one’s plate in one day. Each takes time to do. Each will take place in a different location. And if those two things aren’t stressful enough, the constant switch in mindset is enough to give anyone mental whiplash. So maybe I could live longer and healthier if I focus on work, school and family and friends today and work, fitness and home tomorrow, and family and friends, home and fitness on the weekend. Just writing that out feels much nicer than that earlier list.
I’m giving this a try. Today is school, work and family and friends. And tomorrow, I’m going to tackle the 400+ emails in my inbox. So I’m thinking I’ll make it a work, work and work day. Although it would probably be a good idea if I planned work, fitness and work. Taking a fitness break halfway through that inbox sounds like good mental health, don’t you think?
What kind of clutter accumulates in your life? How do you manage it? Do you have a decluttering routine? I love to hear from you. Leave a comment.
As an only child, storytelling was a form of entertainment for me. Like every other child, it started with toys having adventures. The toy airplane that flew to my best friends house, the doll that went to school with me, the teddy bear that followed Mom to work. You get it. Eventually, I started writing scripts in copybooks. I was certain when I was eight years old that I wanted to be in the movie business. Hollywood, here I come! Make way for me and my favorite teddy bear.
I discovered reading for pleasure at thirteen. Until then, I’d thought that the movies were the alpha and omega, but it was romantic curiosity that had me reading my first novel. A romance novel, of course. And while I don’t remember the title. I do remember the story because I had expected a romance novel to be about, well, romance. But it was so much more than that. It was actually an adventure into the Catskills as a killer, a convict and a detective vied for survival. It was suspenseful and thrilling and I was hooked. Television and movie viewing took a backseat to reading about interesting characters, their exciting worlds, and their struggles.
So this is what my bedside looks like, right now. Out of those stacks, I’m actively reading:
Ride Wild by Laura Kaye
Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich
The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles
Offside My Life Crossing The Line by Sean Avery with Michael McKinley
How To Be Rich by J. Paul Getty
I would claim that I mostly read romance novels but looking at this list, I realize that I tend to be all over the place. I read a variety of fiction and non-fiction. And I have boxes of books in storage to prove it too.
Did you notice in the above description of World Book Day that writing isn’t mentioned? Am I the only one who thinks that’s strange since you can’t copyright, publish or read what hasn’t been written? But maybe they want to keep the emphasis on what happens after the writing.
I already hinted at the beginnings of my writing career. Out of respect for this special day and UNESCO, I will continue that story in some other blog post. For today, I’m going to leave it here.
What are you currently reading? Have you published or copyrighted anything you’d like to share/promote? Go for it, you have my permission to be shameless. I love hearing from you so leave a comment.
I’m happy to announce that Masks: A Novella is now available in print!
Coversis with a beta editor, who will hopefully, get on with it already! I want to start rewriting as soon as possible. While this is on hold, I have not been wasting time waiting. I’ve started writing book 4.
The main story will go something like this:
By the end of her summer, Rohini will fulfill a promise she made to her grandmother by following Indian traditional marriage customs. But when she discovers her brother in her fiancé’s arms, she flees her grandmother’s city of Mumbai for home, Montreal, Canada. Betrayed and angry, she seeks refuge among friends, but she can’t find the words to tell them what really happened in India. Thankfully, her friend’s big brother gives her a place to heal and regroup. There’s only one problem: everything she does becomes his problem.
By the end of his summer, Ryan will be in the best shape of his life. He’ll blow the competition away at hockey camp in September and earn a spot on a NHL team. He was well on his way to making his childhood dream come true when he let his little sister’s friend move in for a few weeks until he finds a more permanent roommate. He had expected a quite incense burning yoga-loving vegetarian. He got an undisciplined overly dramatic Netflix binger.
His life is like boot camp. Her life is like a Bollywood movie. To call this summer a success, they would have to survive each other.
Definitely a lighter and more romantic plot than my usual trauma surviving dysfunctional family stories.
So how does Book 4 sound? Let me know because you’re the reader.
I started the day by telling my daughter not to move as I stared at her back in horror and reached for a paperback book to smash the imaginary offender. Her shrill scream of terror and her crumpling panicked expression forced me to end the prank abruptly. She laughed in relief and said, “That wasn’t funny! Never do that again.” Oops. Guilt plagued Mom here.
This is a great day to appreciate imagination, creativity, and humor. I’ve enjoyed myself watching more than a few April Fool’s videos. The day is not over yet so we might see a few more, but here are my top 5 so far.
5. McDonald’s Canada
I heard this one on the radio before I saw it. I thought Brilliant! I might have to use this one on my daughter after school to make up for this morning.
Exciting news. As promised, I relaunched the digital version of Masks: A Novellathis weekend. It has a beautiful new cover that matches the Secretscover. Now the two books like they are part of the same series. It also got the copyedited it deserved. again. It is now available on Amazon and Smashwords. I’ll let you know when the print version becomes available for the first time ever.
Today, my daughter and I went to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade downtown. It was a first for her. As for me, I haven’t been to one in years. In my younger days, the celebration started at some downtown pub on Saturday night and continued until the bars closed at 3 AM. While some of my friends enjoyed a morning beer with their hangover, I usually ate buttered toast while we stood on St-Catherine St. as the parade floats went by.