Tag Archives: Leaving Fear

Guts to Change

Guts to Change

 

I know I need to have the guts to change

I need to find the courage to change my life for the better

Despite not having a lot to work with

And most of all

I need to find the courage to stand up to Fear

 

I need to find the courage to stand up for myself

I need to find the courage to stand firm in the face of criticism

No matter how well-meaning

I need to find the courage to tell myself I’m not a worthless idiot

 

I know I’m not perfect

I know I don’t know everything

But neither does anyone else

I need to push myself harder than I ever have

And if someone doesn’t like that

I just need to ignore them, and not engage them in any way

I know this is an old fear

But it is a fear that refuses to die

 

I need the freedom to write what I want to

Then find the pattern to put it all together

I need to do things without worrying about what someone might think

I need to tell myself I can not only survive

But that I can thrive

And that I can do it in an unconventional way

 

I tried to live a conventional life

A nine-to-five sit-down job with all the bullshit that came with it

And all I got in return were back problems that might have disabled me

So I have no regrets about walking away from that old life

 

So now I write poetry to think out loud

And I want to record my poetry for the world to hear

And I want to write social commentary

Individual pieces to get thoughts and feelings out

Maybe someday they’ll go into a book

A book of commentary on society, politics, religion, and other topics

My intention with this commentary is not to upset

So I’m still trying to figure out how to write it out

I will work my ass off to write well

To edit well

To focus and keep the profanity to a minimum

 

I will also go out on the road more

Hustle more for money

I will battle my seasonal allergies with lots of peppermint and water

And I will succeed

 

For although I’ve needed this time to rest and reflect

I know I can’t do that forever

I need to write

I need to hustle

And I need to make my dreams come true

And not let my somewhat mythical fears hold me back

For as I think the thought of ‘what will someone think’

I need to tell myself that thought is bullshit

If someone has an opinion about my life they can tell me

What I do with it is up to me

 

But to be honest

I live and work mostly in silence

On my own and out of everyone’s way

It’s not always what I want

But I’ve done it for so long I don’t know how much I can change

I want to believe change is possible

But I also fear that change could be upsetting

It’s not like I’m out to break the law

Or rain on someone’s parade

I just want to be a writer-gypsy someday

And to get on that road I need to make this writing of mine happen

And if changes need to be made

I need to make them without silence

**************************************************************************

I feel better after I write and poetry comes pretty easy to me as it’s just a stream of thought that I can lay out line-by-line. It can give me reference points that I can then go into more detail about.

So here goes:

The blog went silent because I couldn’t come up with an entry for the so-called ‘political book’ project. And when I began to avoid that project like the plague I had to go silent and think through to why that was.

I realized I don’t want to limit myself to just one topic and if I focused on just politics and crafting political arguments I’d be regurgitating a lot of what’s already been said. I realized I wanted to do something different, and I also realized I needed the freedom to just write and then once I began to see a pattern to look at putting it altogether at some point in the future. The term ‘social commentary’ came to my mind and it hasn’t left. In the past, I’ve written on just a single topic sometimes prompted from a news item or something like that and it worked well for me.

Now I’m sure someone reading this might wonder why that’s not the case with the ‘Breaking Radio Silence’ project despite that being much more personal. I’ve done a lot of writing in the vein of ‘Breaking…’ even though the vast majority of it has been deleted into oblivion. But the work has been done where the ‘political book’ book project hadn’t been. So the individual pieces of ‘social commentary’ that I’m now calling this are the work I need to do to get that project to come together.

I will also freely admit here when I do go silent from the writing a lot of old fears rear their ugly heads and I have to confront them, too. Yes, I do go silent when I’m trying to deal with things but that’s just what I’ve always done and like old habits, that silence will die a hard death. And right now, it’s still got some considerable life in it. I’m sorry for the slightly gruesome imagery but the good news is that this bout of silence was nowhere near as bad as what happened over the summer months. I don’t think I’ll ever get that down again because I did make it out of there and now know what to look for to stay out of that place.

So here I am back in the saddle after falling off my horse. And now I’m looking for the guts to change things for the better in my life.

Breaking Radio Silence: Reclaiming a Feeling

Introduction

Reclaiming a Feeling

 

A few months ago, I was in the car alone when the song ‘Flashdance (What a Feeling)’ by Irene Cara came on the radio. I didn’t change the station like I always had done before when the song came on because I was in heavy traffic. But I’m grateful for that traffic because for the first time in close to thirty-six years, the song put a smile on my face. So when I got back home I put it on again, listened to the lyrics a bit more closely, and bawled my brains out in my kitchen over a plate of breakfast tacos.

Why the tears?

Well, there’s a line in the song about crying all alone silent tears full of pride. And that made me break down because I’ve done that since I was a little girl, before that song came out even. But that day in the kitchen those tears began a healing process that has me looking back at my younger self with love and kindness.

The reason I grew to hate that song and never wanted to hear it again was because I heard it five days a week for an entire school year in gym class the year it came out. Every day we started class with exercises done to that song and I was always at the back of the class trying to keep up. And I could never keep up or do anything right physically because I was an overweight girl with terrible balance and coordination. I would always drop something, trip and fall, and get picked last for any team.

So you can imagine my childhood had some pretty miserable times. What saved me from drowning in that misery was my imagination. I have always had a vivid imagination and have spent a lot of time in my imaginary world. I used to think that was a bad thing but looking back I see now it was a matter of survival. Because I have never fit in anywhere and was made to realize that from as far back as I can remember.

For the longest time, there was a part of me that felt like I was at fault for not fitting in. That I could have been less klutzy, learned how to talk to people, or just somehow found a way to fit in. But for some reason, the Universe deemed me to be someone who wouldn’t be like most everyone else. I’m fine with that now and I see that being the odd one out didn’t make me a bad person. And as for all the bullies and assholes back then both child and adult, I’ve left them behind.

Leaving someone or something behind is my form for forgiveness. It’s saying I’m not staying back in the past and I’m not going to let my past define me. I’m not going to think any good I do is wiped out whenever I make a mistake or have a klutzy moment. Because I’ve come to realize no one has all the answers and if they say they do they’re full of shit.

When I talk about reclaiming my past I mean I’ve begun to think like the little girl I used to be. Because back then I didn’t look in the mirror and see a fat, shy, and klutzy kid. I saw a girl who could smile, sing, and dance without fear of failure. I saw a girl who found the courage to stand up and speak even if it meant risking failure, ridicule, or ostracization. I like the fact that she was stubborn and proud, but would have apologized all over herself if told that.

What I like about my younger self was that she wasn’t hard and cynical. She hadn’t let the world grind her down yet and she did that by knowing deep down she wasn’t a bad person. Granted, as a little girl I spent a lot of time in my imaginary world but it was time well-spent because I think it was my way of surviving the bad things. Because when I’ve gotten away from that imaginary world I get hard and cynical.

The feelings I’ve reclaimed from my past are a sense of wonder, of imagination, and of joy in the simplest of things. It’s a feeling of knowing I’m not perfect, but that I’m not a bad person either. And it’s an acceptance that I’m not destined to fit in anywhere, something I’m feeling much better about than I ever have before.

My silence wasn’t a bad thing. It was a way of surviving sometimes. But it was also a way for me to find my own voice, even if it was inside my head most of the time. And though I’ll never really sing or dance very well (my vocal chords have been trashed by my all my years of chronic allergies and being on the phones, and I can’t dance very well because due to my scoliosis I really am off-balance). But that’s alright because my world hasn’t ended because I can’t sing or dance very well.

Like back then, I know life will go on. And I can decide how I want to go on with it. One thing I want to go on with is looking at myself and thinking that at least in my own imagination, I can sing and dance.

 

 

Life on the Hustle: Freedom to Be The Boss

At the end of May 2016, I quit my last call-center job after realizing I can’t sit for eight to ten hours a day in a chair anymore (the month prior to that was sheer agony for me as I was in constant pain from my lower back). In July of 2016, I took on my first gig-economy job which was food delivery. Then later that year I took a gig delivering packages for a contractor for Amazon. Both gigs dried up for me and I started driving for Uber. And I’ve been with Uber ever since.

Now I’ve read a lot of articles about the so-called ‘gig economy’ as its’ referred to. People in the gig economy are independent contractors, meaning we get paid directly and get nothing taken out for taxes, Social Security, and insurance. Which is fine because there are a lot of deductions available, but I won’t go into a tax-talk here (as you should always see a tax professional for any questions related to that). What a lot of detractors to the gig economy will go on about is how there is no minimum wage or benefits and no real protections. I will say a lot of these articles read like class-A click-bait written by people who have no real knowledge of what gigging is like. I spent close to twenty years in the corporate-call center world and all I got out of there with was a few thousand dollars in savings and a slightly-messed up back. And in corporate-call center world there was always the threat of being managed out the door if they decided they didn’t want you there anymore because you wouldn’t drink the Kool-Aid the way they wanted you to. (And yes I know that sounds terrible but it was my experience, and a story for another time)

The reason I keep gigging is that I’ve been out of the job market for too long and would have to do some serious ass-kissing and groveling to get a job and two, I like the freedom I have with my gig job that doesn’t involve Kool-Aid drinking with the sword of Damocles hanging over my head. Now with the gig economy you do make your own hours but in order to earn money you’ve got to work those hours, or hustle as we say. Which is fine by me as I’m not afraid to work. Yes, more money would always be a good thing (and that’s probably coming with the new incentive program Uber is introducing for its’ drivers). But if you ask any gig worker the biggest reason why they do what they do it’s simply put, freedom.

The gig economy is freedom from punching a clock and having a set schedule that life can really mess with. It’s the freedom of not having a supervisor or manager to report to who may not be the right person for the job. It’s the freedom to think on your feet and solve problems without someone nit-picking your decisions to pieces. I will freely admit that my views are seriously-colored by my years in corporate call-center world which is probably one of the most uptight and regimented work environments there is. But I’ve discovered that escaping from that and being on the road of freedom has made me hell-bent on never going back to that prison again.

Now with the gig economy there are ups and downs because supply-and-demand fluctuates. And yes that increased supply and leveled-out or lower demand can depress earnings, but those of us who have stuck with the gig know you just have to ride it out.

But as I’ve told a lot of my passengers in addition to the freedoms above, I’ve also discovered I like being my own boss. Because of all the bosses I’ve ever had I’m my favorite. This freedom and independence is why people like me do what we do and it’s what’s given me the courage to pursue a writing career. Because I know writing, like hustling an Uber, requires a lot of hard work and patience but if something isn’t working you can make changes until you find something that works. Because although a hustle can be a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, it’s never been a soul-sucking grind for me.

So if I had to sum up hustling for a living I’d say this:

 

– You have the freedom to make your own schedule as you’re not working to the clock.

– Remember the busier it is and the more money you make, the sooner you can go home.

– Be able to think on your feet and solve your own problems.

– Be good to yourself, and to the people who are paying you to do your job.

– You are your own boss so be the boss you always wanted to have.

My Top Ten Writing Guidelines

I don’t believe in writing ‘rules’ because there aren’t any. There are NO laws governing writing because even ‘rules’ on grammar and usage keep changing over time. What doesn’t change is the infinite variations on the writing process based on individual writers and their need to communicate with the written word.

But if I have to impart any advice to writers it would be the following:

1) Don’t write to perfection. There will be a few but very rare times when something comes out the first time and doesn’t require any significant editing. Most of the time, your writing will require multiple rounds of editing to make it work well.

2) Remember, you can always revise later. As one of my all-time favorite authors Nora Roberts once said, “You can’t revise a blank page.” Get it down first so you can revise and edit. Because revisions and edits are a fact-of-life with writing.

3) Edit and revise but don’t beat the crap out of yourself in the process. I know so many writers who write and edit while beating themselves up at the same time. Yes, there are times when you’ll read something and not have any idea what you were trying to say. But unless you were writing drunk, high, or seriously messed-up, cut yourself some slack.

4) Try to understand that writing is purely subjective. What one person likes someone else won’t. Accept that as a fact of life and try to figure out what it is that works, or doesn’t work for you.

5) Writing days can be up and down. Some days the words will flow out of you like a water tap turned on full. And sometimes it will be a trickle. And some days the tap will be dry. Yes, you can push yourself but if the writing isn’t flowing, you might need to take a step back to try and figure out why.

6) Don’t adhere to absolutes with writing. For some writers, adverbs don’t work at all and for some writers they’re good friends that can be very useful. Personally, I don’t have a problem with adverbs though I do make sure they serve a purpose and aren’t just marshmallow fluff.

7) Don’t compare yourself to other writers. You’ll always fall short sooner or later and then you’ll feel bad and probably not be able to write. I believe every writer has to figure things out for themselves and you have to do what’s best for you.

8) Read your work out loud to yourself. I believe in this because when you read something out loud not only do you hear the rhythm of your words, you’ll also catch a lot of mistakes, too.

9) Know that with writing, like anything else you do in life, you will get better over time if you keep at it. Because if you keep learning, you’ll push yourself to go further and deeper and your writing will get better because of that.

10) Don’t let Fear stop you from writing. This is advice I really need to take myself but knowing that I’ve retreated from my writing because of Fear is the first step in moving away from it. Don’t let the bullies and jerks of this world ruin writing for you, and don’t give them any power over you.

Good luck with your writing.

Breaking Radio Silence – Introduction – Leaving Fear

This is the introduction to my book ‘Breaking Radio Silence’

Leaving Fear to Find Questions and Answers

For a lot of people, if asked to visualize Fear it would be a huge monster with blood dripping off its’ fangs as it towers over you and blocks out all the light.

For me, Fear is a monster, but it’s a monster with an enormous cloak that envelops me in silence. It’s a retreat that’s always there for me and it’s always welcoming. But I can’t stay there forever, nor can I let Fear guide me in my life.

So breaking radio silence is leaving Fear’s embrace to live my life to the fullest. It’s about not running back to Fear’s embrace when something scares me or hurts me in my life. It’s about finding the strength and courage to do what I want to do and keep doing it for the rest of my life.

I won’t lie to you and say that I’m not feeling scared right now.

What am I scared of?

Anger, ridicule, doubt, good intentions.

I’ve always been scared of people getting angry at me. I’m very sensitive emotionally and since anger is very powerful energy I feel it at a very intense level inside me. My own anger scares me so much that I’ve repressed it more than anything and I don’t ever want to give in to it. But I’ve come to realize that anger is a part of me and that I don’t need to repress it when I can find ways of dealing with it constructively.

Ridicule is something I’ve dealt with as far back as I can remember. I was a very shy, fat, awkward, and klutzy child, which I’ve always said is not a recipe for social success. I’ve tripped, stumbled, and fallen on my ass both literally and figuratively so much if I had a dime for every time that happened I’d be richer than J.K. Rowling. But I also tell myself I’ve always managed to pick myself up off the ground and keep going though mostly in silence.

Doubt and good intentions go hand-in-hand because every time I’ve stepped out of my quiet little role wanting to do something I’ve never done before, people have asked me the following questions:

– Do you know what you’re getting into?

– Have you thought this through?

– Are you sure you can handle this?

The answer all three questions is ‘no’. These questions have always caused me to doubt myself in every way possible and when I challenged that, I was told those questions were being asked for my own good. And the reason I call them good intentions is because they’re not if they create fear and doubt in someone.

All my life I’ve felt like people have been so terrified of seeing me fail at something they’ll do anything they can to keep that from happening. I honestly don’t know what inspired this over-protectiveness other than being a fat, shy, klutzy kid because whenever I did fall on my ass I always tried not to sit there and cry about it. I always felt like I had to get up and keep going and keep trying to figure things out for myself, and do things for myself, too. Maybe it was that odd combination of independence and klutziness that some people just couldn’t understand or handle.

I will freely admit here I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time. I’ve learned on the job more often than not and had to think on my feet and solve problems pretty quickly. And if I do make a mistake now I don’t beat the living shit out of myself like I used to. I’ll apologize and make amends, but I’m not going to wear my mistakes like a lead weight around my neck for the rest of my life.

And that’s something I really want people reading this book to understand: it’s okay to make mistakes and if anyone claims to have all the answers to call bullshit on them even if it’s only inside your head.

Because as I’ve begun to look back on my life I’ve begun to ease up on myself. In fact, I’ve looked back on my past self with a lot of kindness and compassion. I see a person who somehow managed to get up off the deck and keep going no matter how hard life threw her to the ground. I’ve been told I have a shit-ton of pride stuck up my ass, but I will say that pride kept me going when nothing else did. The only bad thing was that stubborn pride kept me silent when I shouldn’t have been. That’s something I’m learning to overcome here now.

So breaking radio silence and leaving Fear’s embrace is about living with strength and courage that I’ve always had, being kind and compassionate to myself and the world around me, and living my life knowing I don’t have all the answers and never will. Life is learning experience, and I believe we learn by doing.

I’ve been silent for too long. And in homage to the television show ‘Doctor Who’, my silence will fall when not only do I ask the questions, but I find some answers, too.

No one should be silent, or feel they have to live that way. Because although Fear can be a warm and quiet place, it’s not somewhere you want to live forever.