Spring Into A New Self-image

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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?

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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.

Change

Ashley Graham in Nevis photographed by Josie Clough.

I’ve posted about Taryn Brumfitt, who is promoting self-accepting throughout her organization Body Image Movement, before. There are also actresses like Victoire Dauxerre who are creating change by exposing impossible realities. Just the title of her memoir says so much: Size Zero: My Life as a Disappearing Model. And we had the beautiful Ashley Graham gracing the cover of 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

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.

Decluttering For Your Mental Health

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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!

Konmari method

 

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.

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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?

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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.

World Book Day

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What a crazy few days! We had a four-day weekend, cold windy rainy days, sunny warm days, a full house at church, birthdays at Easter dinner, and chocolate at bedtime. How was your holiday?

world book day

And the celebration continues! Today is World Book Day, an annual event organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote readingpublishing, and copyright. World Book Day was first celebrated on 23 April 1995. (Thank you Wikipedia for that explanation.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

Bollywood VS NHL: Who Will Survive?

I’m happy to announce that Masks: A Novella is now available in print!

Amazon Masks Print Edition

Covers is 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:

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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.

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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.

My Top 5 April Fool’s Pranks For 2019

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. 

4. Kathmandu

Check out her face when it’s “raining”.

3. Contiki

What every dog parent wants to offer its dog.

2. Calgary Police

A police dog/gecko team might be the next step in law enforcement collaboration.

1. Google

The actors are amazing and the tulips, well…they can talk!? I’m still laughing at this one.

Hope you all have a mischievous April Fool’s Day pranksters.
What prank did you play today? What’s the best prank you’ve come across? I love hearing from you. Leave a comment.

RHCP Carpool Karaoke

As I mentioned earlier this month, NaNoWriMo has got me busy so I’m keeping my posts short and funny. Hope you have a good time with this one.

My ten year old daughter introduced me to James Corden last week. I’m really behind some of the cultural media evolution. Please forgive me if this is redundant. For those of you who might not have discovered Carpool Karaoke yet, I want to share this episode of Corden and, one of my favorite bands, the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

What did you think? I love hearing from you. Leave a comment.

Challenge: Writing Romance In Fiction

Yesterday, my critique partner and I had a chat about a romantic scene I wrote in Covers, the next book in the True Hearts series, and we concluded that it needs to change.

About My Critique Partner

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First, let me say that I use the term critique partner loosely. She critics my work, I do nothing for her except acknowledge her in my publications. Let me tell you that she deserves more than that because her comments take my work to another level. Having said that, Christmas might be a good time to show more gratitude.

My Comfort Zone

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Secondly, while the scenes in Covers are not the first romantic scenes I have ever written or published, they are the most intense and explicit. I decided to include this type of scene a little more because I’m more comfortable writing it now and the genre, which is New Adult, can totally handle it. Time to stretch that comfort zone.

The Right Fit

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Back to the chat with my critique partner. The tone of the romantic scene was wrong. It suddenly switched like it was written a different author or it was a different story. Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but I was not surprised either. I felt it when I was writing it. So how do I fix it? I’m not sure but I’ve started reading a few articles which might be of interest to you too:

Back To Drafting

 

Now that I’ve done some research, I need to mash up what is comparable to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Suck My Kiss” with something along the lines of Kings Of Leon’s “Sex On Fire”. A little humor, a little heat, and a whole lot of intimacy. Wish me luck!

What are some romantic movie or novel scenes that you love? What are some songs that  would convey the right mood? I love to hear from you. Leave me a comment.