My Love Story with Writing- How I Got Started.

I haven’t been faithful or loyal to my writer’s blog. I was trying to turn it into an inspirational blog, but I realized that I was leaving out the most important component. The writing. People ask me all the time how I started writing and how I dedicated myself to writing a book. Before you can even think about publishing, you have to take your ideas and express them on paper (or computer screen). And, writing the book is the challenge most people aren’t ready to meet. It’s daunting. The first page is easy, but it’s a commitment. So, I think I should gear my inspiration to the writing, rewriting and publishing process. I can add some value here.

But, first, let me share my own writing story.

It’s a love story and just like any love story, there are parts where it’s sweet and parts where it is brutal.

It started when I was about seven years old. I loved reading and then I started getting ideas for my own stories. They would be a couple of pages on loose leaf. Over time, it increased until I was filling several pages in a notebook. But, it remained something I did that no one knew about. I wasn’t confident about my stories.

Then, I reached seventh grade and, an English teacher who would nurture my writing held a writing contest. The topic was baseball. I wrote something that was a couple of pages and turned it in with little thought. As he announced the winners, I was barely paying attention because I didn’t expect to win. The other winners were nice stories about baseball, but then the teacher announced the winner and said my name. He asked me if he could read it to the class. I was shocked and embarrassed but intrigued I had never heard anyone read my writing. It was only in my own head.

The story unfolded. The opening described a baseball player stepping out onto the field with bases loaded in the World Series. It described the energy of the crowd and feeling the weight of the bat against his shoulder. His anxiety, sweat dripping down his brow and the wind whipping past him as the ball landed in the catcher’s mitt behind him. On the third pitch, his bat connects with the ball and sends it sailing into the stands. They all round the bases and then they lift him on the shoulders as he comes to the realization that they won the World Series. I was impressed with my own story. I read it years later and could hardly believe an 11-year-old had written from that perspective.

From there, my teacher asked me to share more of my writings with him. He would correct them and give me notes. Then, he would have me share it with the class. I gained more and more confidence in my writing. Before I graduated, he made copies of my final writing and said he would share it with his class as part of the curriculum. I was published, sort of. The same teacher presented me with two writing awards during graduation. It cemented in my mind that I had a real talent. But, I couldn’t let myself pursue it full-time. I thought it was a lofty dream.

I would always return to writing. It was my way of processing my world and, to be honest, the characters wouldn’t leave me alone. I would hear bits of dialogue in my mind and it would haunt me until I wrote. My computer is full of files where I capture soundbites and bits of ideas that just come to me. But, the desire to write a book never left me. It also scared me.

Writing is a great process. It can be fun because you type and the words seem to flow as if you are connecting to a force bigger than you. But, writing also doesn’t care about your attention span, grammar, syntax, or the numbness of your butt after sitting for hours staring at a computer screen. As the words flow, you can lose track of everything. I used to come home from work and write until I would look up and it was time to go to work again. I hadn’t slept a wink.

The one thing I can say is I didn’t just jump to writing a book. I started with short stories. They went from five pages to ten pages and then into the thirties and fifties. I had writing goals. I would force myself to write a minimum of ten pages. Eventually, I started writing a hundred, two hundred pages and, finally, bust the three hundreds. It takes endurance. It’s like someone running marathons. You start out with one mileage, but as you get used to pacing and push yourself harder then you can go further and further. It’s not for the weak. There are days when you have to fight yourself to keep going.

But, that’s the writing part. The writing part is like the honeymoon phase. The real marriage comes in with the re-write. That is where you learn what you are made of and how committed you really are. You end up cutting your most beloved parts of your work because it doesn’t serve your story but serves your ego.

But, that’s for another day…

Feeling Your Worthiness- Love Movement Online

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Feeling Your Worthiness

This world expects you to simultaneously feel worthy while chipping away at your feeling of worthiness. We are constantly surrounded by messages that tell you that you aren’t good enough as you are, especially women. Women have magazines dedicated to telling you how to be more sexy, beautiful, thin or more appealing to men. We are sold products to make our hair softer, shinier, more voluminous along with makeup to cover our skin and enhance what is already there. And, let’s not even talk about the clothes. Things lift, separate, bind and make things look bigger or smaller than what they are. And, if none of that works, there is Photoshop and filters. We are bombarded with ways to change what we project to the world that is presented as making ourselves better, but also whispers that the “real” version of ourselves isn’t good enough.

Men aren’t immune. They are sold that they are inadequate unless they make lots of money, drive expensive cars and date lots of women that other men admire or feel jealous. There is constant pressure to project to the world that they have it “all together” and know how to make all the right decisions. If you take a misstep as a man, the fall from grace is far and not all recover from the guilt and shame. And, their life is a reflection of what they believe about themselves or, at least, it is sold that way to them as young men.

The economic system is built on people feeling inadequate. We wouldn’t need things if we didn’t feel like we needed things. How much junk have you bought that you haven’t even touched a year later, but, at the moment, you thought it was the thing that was going to make you happy and change your life? Many have closets overflowing with clothes, shoes and accessories and countless items designed to elicit attention. Many spend money on diet plans and exercise videos. I can say, I have wasted money on the newest exercise video only to have it collecting dust while I sat on the couch eating ice cream.

I’m not saying no one should have material things and these things aren’t enjoyable. Or, that some people don’t benefit from them. I am just saying that the messages are designed in such a way to trigger the feeling of unworthiness that seems to chip away at us starting in middle school into adulthood unless we become aware of it.

But, the truth is that none of us is unworthy. We are all special in our own way and we each add value to the people who love and care about us. There is someone who would be sad if you weren’t here. There is someone who would feel your absence. And, that has nothing to do with all those things you buy. It has everything to do with your heart, mind, and ability to give. We don’t place as much value on our just being here. We keep trying to create some concrete legacy of things that will last long after we are gone. But, those things, even buildings, get torn down to their foundation and no one remembers who lived there. But, hearts and minds, resurrect people every singled day with words as simple as, “remember that time, such and such did…”

You can live on forever and you are worthy of that, you just have to love while you are here to be loved in return.

Self-Acceptance is more than Self-Esteem.

“Be — don’t try to become”
― Osho

I thought I understood self-esteem and self-acceptance, but I have come to find out that self-acceptance requires way more than just awareness. I always thought my self-esteem was the issue. I can be a people-pleaser at times and too nice for my own good. I thought that was tied to low self-esteem. But, as I have done more soul-searching, I realized that my esteem is and always has been high. I have boundaries. There is just less that bothers me, in terms of extending myself, but I do say no when I really don’t want to do something. I am laid-back so I can seem very accommodating because I don’t view much as worth fighting over.

So, it is strange that self-acceptance is my issue, but it is. It is because self-esteem are the boundaries you create for others. But, lack of self-acceptance is the boundaries you create for yourself. And, often, we are harsher and have higher expectations for ourselves than we ever place on others. We will forgive others and let them off the hook while continuing to punish ourselves. We will also judge others harshly for the things we can’t accept within ourselves.

I had no idea that self-acceptance was my issue. I write about my flaws all the time. I thought that meant that I was aware of them. And, I am, but I have also been secretly punishing myself for them. This is the danger of self-improvement. You can get so caught up in improving yourself that you don’t see that you are actually demonizing the things within yourself that you are trying to improve. I skipped over the acceptance part and went straight to trying to “fix my problems”.  I also set a goal in my mind that once I “fix myself” then I will find happiness and my life will be perfect. This also set me up for approval addiction. I have been searching for validation in others that I am “fixed.” Unconsciously, I slipped into my perfectionism and found myself behaving in certain ways trying to gain approval. I kept looking for the outside world to mirror back to me that I was accepted as a sign that I had permission to be happy.

It’s strange how you can think you are on the right track and end up right back where you started. I had a new mask under the guise of self-help. And, while my self-esteem was high and I could tell you everything about myself as if I felt at home within myself. I wasn’t accepting my flaws. I was secretly punishing myself in self-destructive ways. I was also pushing people away because I didn’t want them to see the things I didn’t accept about myself.

Once I became aware of it, I had to do something different. I have found that writing things down and getting them out of my head is a good way to lessen their power. So, I made a list of all the things I have had trouble accepting about myself.

The most notable was that I only allow myself to feel good when I am doing something destructive, such as drinking too much or avoiding something. I don’t validate the things that feel good when I’m not being destructive, I view them as being overindulgent. And, I go back to punishing myself for being overindulgent. To make it simple, good is bad and bad is good. And, good deserves punishment, so there is no way to win.

The next step was to look at this list of things and ask myself, Can I still love myself even if these things never change? 

And, I looked at the list. I felt my disappointment as I first looked at it. And, then I looked at it a couple more times, I distanced myself more and more until they were just words. I looked at it as if it was a list of flaws in someone else I loved and thought about if I would reject them if these were their issues. I thought about how there are people in my life who have similar issues and I never rejected them or looked at them as if they deserved to be punished.

Even, if I try to change some of the things and they never change, I am still a good person and worth loving. And, that is how I found self-acceptance. It’s not something I do once and I am forever changed. I have to remind myself whenever I feel needy and insecure. I have to accept that as a part of my experience. I have to forgive myself for being human. I have to be a best friend to myself and give myself the same compassion I would give to anyone else in the same circumstances.

So, the answer is yes.