The Narcissist

On the surface I put on the happiest show

All the while the darkness bubbles below.

The good things that I want you to see

Cannot be stifled by the flaws of the real me.

If you happen to catch a glimpse of truth

My venom, my fears, dismiss it as a fluke.

I am only here to serve you and tell you how

Everything you do is designed to make me wow.

I compliment and agree, make you laugh and then I pay

For everything you don’t ask for, so you’ll owe me someday.

I’m always here for you, through the good times and hardships

Just make sure it’s always good, only my rose-colored Kool-Aid will I sip.

That sense of security you feel in the loyalty I supply

Will completely evaporate, if you ever question my motives why.

No mirror will break in front of me, for I refuse to look, I’ll never see.

Only good things about me do I ever believe.

How could I possibly do anything wrong when I never take accountability?

I may do shitty things, but you know I love you and don’t need to explain.

If you insist that I have flaws, I’ll leave and never turn back again.

The only reality is the one where we are always happy, doing things my way,

I don’t understand why you now have a problem with the things I say.

You know me. I’d do anything for you…as long as you obey.

I don’t know what I’d do without you…unless you have a problem with me.

We’re enemies – I cast you away!

Angst of the Creative Adult

Unabridged title: “Angst of the Creative Adult Who Started the Journey Toward Publishing “Just Before Social Media” and is Feeling Left Behind.”

 

Dissatisfaction. What a feeling. How can a 38-year-old be angst ridden? Isn’t that something for teenagers and twenty-something’s? I’ve learned as I have lived through my thirties, (now closing out the last couple years of it) that this is BY FAR the hardest decade of my life. Why? Because in your thirties, all of the responsibilities of life are upon you. Yes, at least, you can get past all the social BS that goes with being in your twenties, all the relationship BS, etc. You know what you want and you know how to get it. You’re not afraid to go after what you want nor are you afraid to stay in a situation because you are putting yourself first. But that’s just it, now you HAVE to do these things. There are no more delays or “by the time I’m 40, I’ll have this or that accomplished” type of ideas. No one makes excuses for people in their 30s (nor should they).

Here’s the reality I feel. You ARE almost 40 and you HAVEN’T done all the things you said you would by now. Sure, as a kid, you can’t know how difficult life is to navigate and can be quite naïve about how the world works, but by the time you’re in your mid-thirties, you would hope that most of your money and relationship and especially your CAREER would be just where you wanted it – in a grand place only heading higher. I’m not talking about big business or rising the ranks, but becoming the person you always saw yourself as, or who you know you are capable of becoming.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, when you realize you haven’t put the commitment and discipline to your projects the way you could have. You realize how distracted you have let yourself became by life – by finding love, falling in love, falling out of love, and then finding love again, dealing with family issues, debt, etc. And before you turn around, seven years have gone by and your thirties are almost over. WTF happened? Why have I not already become a massively successful novelist or magazine publisher?

Why do I see all these 17-year-olds with huge contracts with marketing and development firms because they created a sensation on social media?

That’s all it takes these days. I’m a little bitter, but more, I’m pissed. Where were all these platforms in my teens and early 20s when I had all the inspiration and fire and passion burning in me (and all that damn extra time) to create? Moreover, why have I not JUMPED on them now that they are available? It’s not technology’s fault that it came late for me. But it still feels like I’ve been left behind.

My forum was to email and mail in submissions, buy books on what publishers wanted. Of course, I had the internet for research and forums and making connections, but we had like, Myspace. There weren’t apps yet when I was in college. Social media was just beginning (no FB just yet) and smart phones were just on the cusp. Companies and producers weren’t looking for people online. That wasn’t the culture. Creative people before 2007 had to still rely on working their way up, getting noticed by their work and dogged persistence in turning in submission after submission after pitch after pitch, not by their online platform.

I was heavily committed to buying all the publishing industry books on what publishers and editors and movie producers were looking for and I feverishly cranked things out, all while going to networking events, workshops, being in college clubs, going to school, etc. All that energy and drive had me going in many directions, always certain that I’d hit a big writing career along the way and by now, would be living in my mountain estate, cranking out novel after novel while managing my magazine. Ah, what a vision.

Now you can create a following on any one of the current social apps (so long as you take the time to post non-stop, constantly creating new content on a daily basis) and you may get recruited by some big company giving you an even bigger paycheck. Not saying that’s what I want, but I envy the opportunities available to those with plenty of time on their hands today – they can actually make a career out of a hobby.

Well hell, if I had all this shit when I was teenager and writing YA novels and short stories (all submitting via mail or email) – I know I could have created something bigger. I KNOW IT. I used to meet with friends and others and we wrote movies together. We would meet and develop ideas together. But we did not have an instant forum for them. We had to enter contests and wait to hear back. Submit manuscripts and email and wait and wait and finally get a rejection…and try again.

I may have had a chance to “get there” by my own devices a lot sooner simply because I had more time and less responsibility. Sure, an 18-year-old has time to create 6-second videos ALL DAY LONG and the energy and passion of creative youth is perfect for social media. But by the time you’re in your thirties – if you haven’t gotten “there” yet, you are slowing the pace just by simply dealing with L-I-F-E. Buying a home, a car, starting a family, etc.

But WHAAAA? Really? Yes, it sucks and life isn’t fair and yada, yada, yada. I know I’m whining but I’m merely venting. I don’t blame anyone or hate them for their success. The trick is to not compare and feel less-than simply because others accomplish things I’d like to accomplish. Instead, I can use it for fuel.

I refuse to sit back and stay bitter. Instead I can use the opportunities that are now available and use my passion to make it happen. Even if it takes me a little longer and requires further understanding, I can navigate in this new publishing world, too.

The passion is there, but the challenge is finding the will to do all the work in the wake of your…sigh…real job.

 

And yes, at least my real job is creative – I am editor of two magazines. They may not be national, but they are well liked in my community and it generates the feelings that I like to get from a job well done. But it’s NOT my ultimate destination.

I have found that working in a creative job, as a writer, especially, that is it is all the more difficult to create on your own time. But it CAN and HAS been done. It just takes even more will, more time, more desire to make yourself write for you, everyday, to get there one bit at a time.

 

It has been a very tough and busy year. I got the editor job last year (just when I was revving up this blog and my other creative projects), but this year, right in January, I had to say goodbye to my sweet, dear Golden Retriever. By far, that is the worst grief I have ever felt. It was so very acute. I mean, since I lost my father at 12-years-old, that is. But that grief is distant. My dog, my sweet Penny, was everything to me and so suddenly she was gone. I was distraught.

Yet at the same time, I was planning a wedding (a New Orleans jazz wedding with parade and all, no less) with the love of my life. Grief and Joy all at one.

In January a horrible thing happened, and in April, a wonderful and joyous thing happened. Talk about a roller coaster.

It has taken its toll and I have not been writing for myself. Not enough to post a blog. I haven’t posted a FREAKIN’ blog since Feb. Why? Because I just didn’t have the emotional energy to dip into the swelling wave that has been building.

So now I am blowing this up, stream of consciousness style, to get it OUT of my HEAD and onto the page.

Where have I been all year? What am I doing? A trajectory that was started two years ago has slowed steadily and I am in angst.

If I am so dissatisfied with the slowness of my progression with a blog and writing my next book, why am I not making the time to write? Why? Why do I do this to myself?

On some level, I must be afraid to follow through. Not because of failure, but because of success. Success in terms of seeing an idea come to fruition comes from the act of continually feeding that idea and growing it. In my mind’s eye, that’s what I want, but it takes a lot of work and discipline to get there.

The work I can do, the discipline is a challenge. Staying consistently committed to a schedule is my biggest weakness. But my tenacity of wanting something often can overpower my atrophied discipline muscle to power through almost anything.

Woe is me for not doing more with my time. Woe is me for spending too much time vegging out and disconnecting and escaping from everyday life.

The vodka shots won’t help. The smoke won’t help. Only doing what is in my heart will help and only fleshing out my ideas creatively will bring me true satisfaction.

I’m not so stuck on “making it” like I was in my youth. I have matured and I am happy with a lot of my life, but that dissatisfaction (deep down) of not doing all that I am capable of, of not following through on a creative idea I started, is what leads to my angst.

Why can’t I just be happy with where I am, professionally? Because I just can’t. I want more. I always have. And I know I can get it.

I just have to do it. I’ve accepted the reality that I am a late bloomer. That’s better than no bloom at all.

 

I see Them. I see You. I see Me. Woman Sees World.

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Clouds Lift on Self-Doubt

Seeking to grow, to know

the capabilities.

Feeling the pull

of a different reality.

Waiting to go, ready to blow

Out of this stuck place

And into my new space

Wherever that may be,

I know there, I can find me.

If you’re the kind of person (I am) who requires more time and experience to hone your inner strengths and abilities enough to break out of the consciousness clouds of self-doubt, you may struggle with habits and take longer to get where you want to go, but it’s certainly possible. Most importantly, you must take out the trash! Rid your life of ideas, mindsets and people who bring you down. Surround yourself with only those who lift you up and expose you to upward motion (as opposed to wallowing in one place complaining and blaming – and getting buzzed in the process to drown out the inner cries of your soul to do MORE with your life) to be able to truly OWN yourself and confidently conquer the world in whatever form that is for you. (My new mantra?)

As hard as it may be, release what holds you back. The beer, the wine, the smoke….where has it gotten you? Sure, it’s comforting and produces numbness, a protective layer from the outer pain and inner turmoil…but you don’t go anywhere.

The forward movement slows to a crawl.

The only thing to truly conquer is self-doubt.

Where is me? All over the place. Yet so much good is happening at once. I’m learning to appreciate what I have right now, focusing on what IS rather than what IS NOT.

With loss comes gain, and gain comes loss, but the changes are inevitable and allow for true growth.

The clouds of my self doubt are lifting as I reclaim my passions. Passions are meant to be pursued. I’m listening to that inner voice telling me to go forward, and I put one foot in front of the other.

 

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I see Them. I see You. I see Me. Woman Sees World.

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Gotta Grow Up Sometime…

* pardon any typos…stream of consciousness…tried to find them all*

It’s true, growing up takes longer than we are led to believe in childhood. (That is, growing up in all ways beyond the obvious physical maturity.) It’s amazing to think of how you look at the world from youthful, just-becoming-an-adult eyes and feel passionately that you’ll have all of life’s big questions figured out and all the negative habits you picked up along the way will have also, worked themselves out…basically, you’ll have your shit together and be successful and settled.

It really, really did seem like there was plenty of youth to sort out all your bullshit. There was plenty of time until 40 or even 45 to make the successful progression from novice to master in whatever your chosen profession was that you followed through to college and even started a promising career. Whatever the dream, it is supposed to be WELL within your grasp by now. While some things have come along, it’s maybe not as far as you expected based the timeframe you had in mind. For me that vision included being settled into a career, married with a kid or two and living in the mountains, in the house I designed, living and working according to my own schedule while  making more than enough money to have everything I require and then some, but I actually give a lot of it away to the many causes I am a part of…that’s what was supposed to be in place by my late thirties. I know, I know…hold for laughs.

Get out your tiny violins and record players. It sounds like a comical (and very typical) realization that probably most people come to when they aren’t the dream of themselves they saw in their youth.

Yet experience teaches us that life cannot be planned up to the moment. As a wise colleague put it – life zigzags and you have to be able to zig and the zag with what life throws at you. A path, including and especially the path of your life, is very rarely a direct route.

Interestingly as I muse on this topic and think about it with other people of my generation (those between ages 35-38), we seem to (many of us) have experienced a series of false starts as we embarked into our lives. We were certainly not satisfied with the lifestyles of our predecessors and elders. Getting a job and building a suburban family life was not enough. The idea of being able to do everything you wanted professionally and creatively AND have a healthy grasp on the intimate side of life (at least for women) was brought forth before I was burn. But by the time I matured into a very young adult in the late 90s, I had specific plans and I was going to see them through and they were simply just going to go the way I planned, with minor variations as I can handle being on the fly, but basically things were going to progress and get bigger. I could see it and taste it and feel it in my bones. And I still do but I’m SO much more experienced now.

I have been beaten up a bit more by life and my own mistakes well enough to know how to temper what I expect and demand more of myself. (By the way the 90s were one of the coolest decades and I was coming of age in it. Mad props to have come up in such a time that only NOW do I realize was so great since I always wanted to be from the 60s but now I appreciate my own time period.) But basically, it feels like many of us from this time period had a rocket ship start right out of the house, like way early, so that by the mid thirties it became necessary to “start over.” Start over professionally, find a better life partner, basically a reset button was required. All that we established to set up our vision of how life was supposed to go seemingly disintegrated in the middle. This was owed to a combination of naivety and the inevitable facing of some of life’s harsh realities. So we started over and found what worked better for us and got some things pretty darned right (even if we did it by accident). But in your early thirties you still think you have P-L-E-N-T-Y of time to accomplish some major goals before 40. You also don’t realize how your 30s is the true bootcamp for life.

And then you wake up one morning and your thirties are almost gone! Age 37 crossed the boundary into 38 and 40 is a LOT closer than it seemed seven years ago. What happened to all the time?

Why aren’t I as far along as I thought I would be by now? It’s not my fault is it?

Well, of course it is.

But you know what? The truth is, it doesn’t have to be that big of a deal as you have all the time you need…that is IF you are taking action and moving forward each day. Leaps and bounds aren’t always necessary. It’s in the step-by-step and day-to-day that we find we are progressing. When we look back over the steps we’ve taken, we can then see it for what it is. Growth cannot happen fast. Success and money can come at any age – it can come way early and it may come way late or at any time in between or not at all, at least in the form you imagined.

But true inner growth and evolution can ONLY happen over a matter of years. It takes time to realize life is complex and what you have already done is actually more than you’ve given yourself credit for in the past. You’ve found gratitude, plain and simple.

I see it now. It makes so much more sense now. Far from the campy adages of “you’ll understand when you get older,” it’s actually true that as you continue through the journey of life, life becomes more obvious – at least what works and what doesn’t – and you can truly act as composer/director/president of your own life by making specific choices and decisions that can take you in the direction you want to go and ensuring the energy around you (i.e. other people and your own thoughts) is uplifting and follows suit with your heart’s pursuits. It simply has to be that way. I’ve tried to keep “friends” that indulge all my bad habits or stay around family that generate only feelings of “less than” and stayed in a job that was sucking my soul away. I’ve tried speaking only in positives while internally beating myself up for any small infraction. I’ve held my mind hostage with my insecurities and dogmas about who I am and what the world should be. It ALL holds you back by closing you off from the greater world around you, from the possibilities of life, from the best version of yourself. Your internal and external environment matters, it just does.

At some point one really DOES have to grow up in all senses of the term. I feel that time has come for me. This reality has been screaming in my brain for the past three years and I’m on the precipice of staying put or moving forward. I choose to fly and I’m ready to release the things that no longer serve me while embracing the ones that do.

In this next year of my life I reclaim my youthful wonder at the possibilities of life. I affirm that I have all the time I require to accomplish my dreams and live a fulfilling life. I’m already well on my way!

Happy Birthday to me!

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I see Them. I see You. I see Me. Woman Sees World.

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Fall, My Love

Leaves change from green to orange, yellow and red, dropping from the tree to blanket the world below.

Some fall faster than others leaving a single leaf at the top of the tree holding on, not ready to let go just yet of another year.

Seeing the transition prepares my spirit for saying goodbye, all while saying hello.

My heart, my love crescendos in the seasonal transition.

Taking stock, reviewing memories, each day remembering to be grateful, remembering to honor what I do have and what does work in my life.

It takes more than one day a year to truly feel the benefits of life yet I look forward to a time when the weather is cooler and people are closer, allowing us to focus on affirming what one does want and what can be good.

Autumn, my heart jumps while it falls as another year is slips through my fingers, all while feeling the rise of warmth coming in the promise of a new year.

You are my favorite time of year and with it you bring a visual and emotional wonderland of past and present.

Wind down and slow yourself into winter, but let me enjoy your rich colors for just a big longer.

Until we meet again next year, I shall cherish every moment, taking stock internally and externally, correcting my errors and forgiving myself.

Seasons change showing us the phases of life, transitions, life and birth, decline and death. Nothing can outrun these transitions and each season prepares and allows for reflection upon the spring, summer, fall and inevitable winter of life.

Fall, embrace me one last time this year as I prepare for the next.

 

World, I Miss You

World, I miss you

World, I love you

World, I see you from my screens

Yearning to seek out, reach out, connect beyond the glow of LED

More ways than ever to connect while feeling less and less connection

Background noises distract from the internal

Smoke and mirrors are the game of the day

No such thing as real news or investigative journalism

It’s all just money, the worship of money

This is reality and humans are just toddlers and teenagers of evolution

Individuals are the only ones now who can change the world

Take to your mind and heart, write and document what is really there, what is seen, felt

Resist being fooled by headlines and power plays

All coming to a head, the world won’t wait to plummet

The island is getting smaller as the tide closes in from all directions

Seek out the pleasures of art, music, love and people

Connecting with each other is soon to be our only way

Electricity, water and the air we breathe is all but a luxury

World, I miss you and want to feel you in my bones again

Get the bills paid and let’s travel forever

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I see Them. I see You. I see Me. Woman Sees World.

Thank you for following the WSW blog.

Follow us on Twitter @womansees and Facebook here.