Monday, January 30, 2017

Year of the Cannonball

Back at the beginning of 2017, I posted about wanting to reset the year and talked briefly on some goals I've set for myself. Well we are a few weeks deeper into the year and I realize I need to really go deep...dive right into the deep end without overthinking or analyzing the death out of my choices...I need to hold my breath, cannonball right in, get my baring, and come to the surface....just to climb out and do it again and again.

I know, you were totally wondering what that whole blog title was about....cannonball? Say wha...?

But think about it - if life is about choices, it's even more so about living with the consequences.  Sometimes it's fun and carefree, like cannon-balling into a warm pool. Like Mary Catherine Gallagher just jumping right in because she's a born superstar?!!!

Then there are the other times it's a total nightmare f*&^fest of exploding mortars everywhere....I'm only talking metaphorically, though there are so many places in the world where that is the ever present reality.

I've lived too many years with those proverbial grenades, lost so much sleep, cried so many tears waiting for the heartbreak to end or appear because I just knew it would eventually. It's the waiting for the other shoe, to not only drop, but to be chucked at my head with laser-like accuracy at lighting-fast speed. If it comes to fight or flight, well I've been too stupid to run.  I've stressed myself, allowed my emotions and mental health to be battered and bruised, I've even so far all but stood right in front of a cannon while the fuse was being lit - determined to stop it, determined this time would be different.

For the love of cheese and lattes!  Those last few paragraphs were bleak ... but true interpretations to how I've seen life sometimes.  With more darkness then light, thought I was doing everything to be a light.  I see where I am today, see the woman in the mirror, and the damage is clear....the excess weight, the slouching shoulders of defeat....I am not who I thought I would be at this point.

So let me lob another cannon ball right through that and break this funk out of here.  Year of the Cannonball? Yes...year of the cannon ball indeed.  Because I'm not delusional enough to think I will totally succeed and transform into this mega awesome Super Amy in the next 365 days.  I know I will try and fail sometimes.  And sometimes it will feel like I'm failing all of the time...but really, as long as I am trying - is it really failing?

So what started this talk?  Shonda Rhimes and her Year of Yes.  It's all your fault Shonda!  For being honest and open and facing your fears and putting yourself out there to become even more than you could dare you?!?!?!?! (in the off chance she reads this I totally are only guilty of writing a fabulously blatant book that I used to set a fire under my ass).

Click the link to get the book, get the audiobook, get the journal....get it all and listen, listen, listen to it over and over and over.  For realz, my copy of the Year of Yes Journal was just ordered and I can not wait to get it and turn the pages and write the possibilities into it and put them into action.  If you should surround yourself with good people, than I want Shonda to be my person (and yes I totally stole that from her Cristina!).

Therefore, I give to you my attempt at a year of yes in the form of the Year of the Cannonball.  And believe me, I am jumping right in. The journal should be here February 1st, just a week shy of my 39th birthday....that seems as good as a time than any to roll up my sleeves and really get to work on bringing out that Amy that I know is in there...the fearless, feisty, go-getter I was before divorce and debt and drama all brought me down....damn those Ds!!!

There are so many things I want to tackle this year in addition to what comes up, but I know if I try to do them all at once I will fail, give up, and stare longingly at a journal full of Yes until my mind decides to stop taking NO for an answer.

First things and social media are going to be scaling back our quality time.  Just to think of the hours I waste scrolling, liking, sharing things (not all bad), when I could be writing, walking outside, spending time in actual conversation, or writing a real's time to strip it down.  So as of Wednesday, I'm limiting my times on all platforms....don't worry - Sunday is still my day to write here (sorry I'm a day late).

I think two hours each Sunday to blog/social media blast for promotional purposes is sufficient.  And I'm giving myself 30 minutes a day.  I have it on my calendar and everything. Lunchtime is very limited, so it will be a perfect reason to not get engrossed in everything.  I'll say my happy birthdays, congrats on babies and such, give support where I can, but otherwise I won't be trolling.

One step at a time....or one cannon ball at a time.  I hope my friends and family understand if I seem distant, it isn't you, it's totally me...stuck in my head, trying to get out, trying to get back to who and what I want to be....because if you were honest with me, you know I'm right.  Not that I want to be right that I am fat and have become lazy or aloft....but in order to get to the truth you gotta say it there ya have it.

I know cutting down on social media doesn't seem like a big deal, but to me it is.  As someone always fearful of disappointing others - it's actually a SUPER big deal.  "What if they realize I didn't like their post? Will they think I'm mad at them?" "If I don't share that video, will they think I'm being mean?" "If I don't join their book club/weight loss challenge/online mom group, will they think that I think I am too good for them???"

To release myself from those pressures (even if only in my head) frees up a lot of space for me....that's space I can fill with dialog and romance and scenes....for books of course, though I'll probably make time for the real thing's all part of the yes...that cannon ball into the sky to see where it lands, how it lands, how good it feels when it hits.

Stay tuned!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Wrestling with Motivation

For any parents out there - have you ever had your child be the one to teach you a lesson?  It's humbling. 

For me, the lesson is to not just say it, but to do it.  Let me explain....

I have talked about it several times, but for those who don't know, my son - Jake - is a wrestler.  He's 125lbs and a sophomore.  He started wrestling in 6th grade through the club wrestling program our school offers.  His first season he lost every match, most of which were pins.  His second year he won a few, but not until almost the end of the season.  His third year was better still.  Then he moved to his dad's house and by time he moved back he'd missed two seasons.  

So here he is this year, after a two year absence, and is stronger than ever.  He wins more than he loses and even from those losses, it goes more to points than pins.  He eats, sleeps, breathes, thinks - wrestling.  

He is so focused and motivated that I am in awe of him.  He has this passion and follows it without weaver.  He knows he was meant to be a wrestler.  And once his wrestling career comes to an end (whenever that may be), he will continue as a coach to motivate and inspire others.  He wants to be the best, he wants to be HIS best.  If he could win by heart alone he would be a gold medalist.

Now to the lesson....Jake asked me if I was really a writer, to which I said of course.  He returned with 'Are you sure? You don't write, you don't work at it every day, you don't do book shows anymore.  So are you really a writer?"

Reality face-palmed me then when he put it another way.  "Just because I say I'm a wrestler doesn't mean anything unless I get out there, learn the moves, build my strength, and get on the mat and put in the work.  Otherwise I'm a kid who likes to goof around, but that's not me.  I'm a wrestler."

By that point I was a little miffed to be called out by my teenager.  But he was so right.  And he loved telling me so.  "If you are a writer than get in that office and write.  Don't be on Facebook or Instagram. Don't be on YouTube or Pinterest. Write. Write. Write."

Jake loves sending me motivational videos.  Most are geared toward wrestlers, but really they can apply to anything.  Heck, after I hear them even I want to put on a singlet and get out there and sweat and work my butt off!  But they also make me want to hunker down, to dig deep and make writing a priority.

He doesn't focus on the losses in the past or taking two years off, he focuses on today and what practices he has, what amount of running he's gonna do, how many matches he has to train for.  It's awe-inspiring on so many levels.

So not just because he told me so, but because I owe it to myself, I write.  On Saturdays when I'm sitting in the stands for eight hours watching him do his thing, I am also reading through the printout of my newest WIP, seeing where I can fill in gaps, give more description, or set the scene even more.  I'm looking at how I can bring the best out of my writing.

At night, when I get home from work and after dinner is done, I take time, even just ten minutes, to put more words on the page.  Books are written one word at a time and sometimes it feels like it will be forever, but each day I work and progress....each day I reclaim the title of 'writer'.  
Leave it to our kids to show us what life is's going after the things in life that give us joy - with no fear, no excuses, just passion and drive and a desire to want to give your best to the world.  

For any of you who have never seen a wrestling match (because before he got into it I thought WWE was real wrestling), check out my author's page on Facebook to see Jake's first match Saturday.  He went into OT!  I think actually this was his best so far.  On top of this, to know that just the night before he'd been told his father's parents are both in bad health (his Papa has a heart condition and needs a pacemaker and his Memaw's cancer has returned for a third time - they are giving her weeks life), to think that was on his heart and yet he still set it aside to go out there and give it his all just leaves me breathless.  By time they match was over I was shaking with pride and had goosebumps!!  (Jake is in the grey singlet).

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Find the Reset

I looked at the calendar today and realized we are already eight days into 2017.  What makes me so super sad about that is that these last eight days feel like just any other day of 2016, and that isn't how the new year is ever supposed to feel!  I'm making day 8 into day 0.  Time to reset....

I could blame this feeling on not setting any resolutions, on not promising to loss weight or bitch less.  I could blame it on missing the actual ball drop because we were too busy talking and the clocks were a minute or two off so by time we turned on the television they were already kissing!  Isn't that how it goes though...always feeling like you are a minute or two too late?

In the last week of December, I thought I was prepping at an all time stellar level.  I had my 2017 goals in place, I had my major expenses figured out, I had a plan to get back on track with the healthier lifestyle.  I was ready to make 2017 my bitch...

...And then the clock struck midnight without me knowing and life continued on the same path it always has.  In that moment, I realized I'd missed the magic of New Years, the unexplained feeling you get when you know you are able to start fresh again...though you really aren't doing that, you just tell yourself that.

I'm over a week into the year and I don't feel as hopeful or optimistic as I have at this time in all the 38 years before....ok 37 years, save that one year where I slept through the New Year because I didn't want to face the divorce I knew 2010 would bring...though that year did turn out to be pretty amazing all things considered.

So today I am resetting the year, and if necessary I will do it again tomorrow or next week or next month, because we really shouldn't wait 365 days to allow ourselves to start fresh.  We should feel that same hopefulness and giddiness every night, when that clock strikes midnight....RESET.

In that thought, there is renewal...I mean really - day is just crap, dogs puked in your shoe, boss is a dick, world looks like it's sewer deep in the crapper...close your eyes, take a beat, and mentally reset.  Because what are the odds of the dog puke two days in a row....I mean my other two examples could totally happen over and over, but maybe approach how you see it different on the new day.

I really don't know what I am trying to say today.  I feel like I need to do-over, I need to get rid and ignore the last 7 days I've wasted on not hitting my goals or doing the things I said I would to improve my life.

One month from today I turn 39 years old.  I will officially be in the last year of my 30s, and thus far I am not troubled by the thought of getting older.  Truth be told, the 30s were a major time of learning and failing and learning some more...I was much more aware and not as oblivious as I was in my 20s....hopefully the 40s are where I just embrace it all.

To squeeze as much life out of these next 13 months, I set 39 goals for the year...It was a happy coincidence on the number, but I'm taking it as a sign.  Some of the goals pertain to going deeper with my faith, some focus on my work life, others make me be less introverted, while there are those that just sound fun. One big goal is to say YES to life, to those adventures I usually shy away from, those times I fear stepping out of my comfort zone.

If life is what you make of it, I want 2017 to be happy, loving, kind, and with space enough to be at peace with these first 39 years of life thus far.

This next week, I will start breaking down the major goals into smaller check points to keep myself on track.  Being more consistent with the blog is a goal, building my social media following on all platforms is as well.  But my major writing goals for 2017 include releasing 2 in the next 90 days!

I hope all of you are off to a better 2017 start than I am.  Things progress as they should, it's accepting where we are before we can make the changes to get us to where we need to be.

Until next week...set a few goals for these next 7 days, comment them below if you'd like...then work those booties off to hit them! But always remember to leave room for all those other moments, the ordinary ones, where most of life happens.

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