3 Things from the past week | 9

1. I spent some time (a little too much time) scrolling through the Instagram account of an author I admire. I went all the way back to the beginning. At first I was dismayed. I thought: my feed will never look like this. I’ll never be able to write as quickly as her and share so many new book release posts. There will never be photos of me posing with fans at book signings. I can’t even remember how long it’s been since I was able to say “I just wrote ‘the end’.”

I was feeling sorry for myself. Oh god, that’s embarrassing to say, but it’s true.

But I kept scrolling. And slowly, I snapped out of it. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started to feel inspired, motivated, determined.

I opened up my novel and wrote for the first time this week.

And you know what? I know that one day my Instagram feed will be pull of those pictures; because this is what I’m meant to do. Write.

It will happen; just you wait and see.

2. I’ve been thinking about summer a lot. I’ve written a whole blog post about it that I hope to share soon. It’s around this time each year that the temperatures ramp up and my heart goes along with it. Summer is when my heart is most full. Drinking my morning cup of coffee with the back door open, eating outside every night, lounging by the pool, cool weekend mornings at the park with my son—I am myself in the summer. I know how to shut off my brain at the end of the work day. I know how to enjoy my weekends.

I know how to just be.

3. Late Saturday night I caught a bug, or something, that had me incapacitated for most of the night. When I woke this morning, my body was aching like never before. I could barely roll over without my stomach twisting and turning. It’s been a while since I’ve had anything like this, whatever it’s called. But if I really think about it it happens when I’m at my worst. When I’m stressed out and not myself and not eating well or exercising enough.

It’s my wake up call.

3 things from the past week | 8

1. I finished reading a book this week that blew me away in the best kind of possible way. Write Naked: A Bestseller’s Secrets to Writing Romance & Navigating the Path to Success—(phew! That was a mouthful)—was just what I needed to read. Ever since I decided to re-write Finding Lily, I’ve been struggling with how to truly give it life. It was the first book I ever self-published and it’s horribly lacking in so many ways (hence my decision to re-write it).

And then Write Naked and Jennifer Probst came along. Through her words, through her guidance, she made it easy to pinpoint exactly what was wrong with my book. In the days since I finished reading her book I have gone through my original manuscript and finally—finally!—come up with a plan of action as how to re-write it… and re-write it well. Like it should have been in the first place.

There’s a lesson here: don’t rush!

And also: thank you, Jennifer Probst.

2. A few days before mother’s day I was clearing out a bag of things that my mother-in-law had sent home with us and I came across an envelope addressed to me. I didn’t think much of it and absentmindedly tore it open. Of course, then I realized: it was for mother’s day.

I don’t quite know what I expected. My mother-in-law has this way with cards; they always perfectly encapsulate the receiver. So, I knew it would be sweet.

I opened the card, read it, and burst into tears.

It said: “For you, daughter-in-law…Our family just wouldn’t be complete without you.”

I cried because I felt loved. I cried because I felt appreciated. But I also cried because had I not just been feeling overwhelmed by his family? By the sheer size? By how involved everyone is in each other’s lives and the way that can make me feel sometimes?

I cried because, for a moment, I didn’t feel worthy of their love.

3. I got to attend a last-minute wedding this week. Some family of my husbands’ were coming into town and decided they should finally get married. Everything came together pretty quickly. After the short ceremony at The Flamingo’s garden chapel, my husband, his sister and I were standing around talking, watching the photographer take photos of the happy couple and his sister said (about the bride), “She looks like a real woman.”

I knew exactly what she meant. I agreed wholeheartedly.

Days later, while driving to somewhere or home from somewhere, I brought it up again with Dom. “I don’t know what makes me look at her and think she’s a real woman. She’s in her thirties, she’s a mother, she has a real job, she’s married. I am all these things, but I don’t look at myself and think ‘now there’s a real woman’.”

Dom said, “one of my favorite ages, besides when I was around twenty-seven, was when I was your age (thirty-two).” And then he smiled reassuringly as he gave my knee a squeeze.

“As hard as it has been to admit that I’m in my thirties now, there is something to be said about how I feel now versus five years ago. I have my shit together more than I ever have before, so there’s that.”

Dom smiled again and said something I’ll have to remind myself of time and time again. “I think you’re a real woman. But it’s always hard for us to step outside of ourselves and be able to look at ourselves objectively like that.”

3 things from the past week | 7

1. I’m a strange person; this is no secret. I was that kid in school who spent more of her time bent over a notebook journaling or writing short stories. I was painfully shy, wildly unpopular and the recipient of a whole lot of bullying. When I started College I thought the best thing to do would be to hide those parts of me that people thought were strange. I wrote at home or on the bus to and from school. I didn’t tell people I wanted to be a writer. I never told anyone I played the flute—not just played it; I performed, I competed, I took theory lessons alongside my weekly lessons. I sketched here and there, but rarely showed anyone my work.

And then I grew up and I learned that no one is universally liked. I cannot please everyone. And by hiding my true self I am doing a terribly disservice to myself.

I’m happy to say that I’m more strange than ever. And I no longer hide it. Plus, I found in a partner an equally strange man who constantly makes me laugh. I read somewhere that one of the key factors of a successful marriage is that the couple be able to make each other laugh. So, we’ve got that down pat.

2. There’s an indie bookstore downtown that holds the most interesting events. On Thursday I convinced Dela to join me. It’s been a while since I’ve felt that inspired, so thank you, Laura McBride. And to make the night even more golden, I finally got to visit PublicUs. It’s officially my favorite coffee place.

3. I’m pretty confident in saying that besides ensuring our basic needs are met (shelter, food, love, health, etc) that everyone just wants to feel understood. To be surrounded by people who get you. Really get you.

When I left Canada I was convinced that no one in Las Vegas would understand me. How could they when they didn’t know my past? And maybe, for the most part, this remains true—though not for the reasons I once expected. No one here has known me for longer than seven years. The majority of them don’t know that I grew up singing and performing Hakuna Matata with my three cousins at our cottage every summer. They don’t know that once, while my best friend and I were babysitting her younger brother, we locked him in his bedroom and he put his bunk bed ladder through the back of his door. They might not know the details of why I have a complicated relationship with my mother, or why I’m a total daddy’s girl—but, they get me.

It turns out they don’t need to have known me for my whole life to understand me.

They know that if I’m not writing; I’m grumpy as hell. That I’m fiercely loyal. That I’m terribly hard on myself. They know I drink too much coffee and that I can’t stop listening to John Mayer and Ed Sheeran. They know I read voraciously. They know I’m absolutely useless after 8pm and that I get the most work done between 7 and 11 am.

They know me. I am understood.

3 things from the past week | 6


(image by Paul Citone)

1. My hubby celebrated another birthday this week. I won’t say the number out loud because he’d probably feel better if I didn’t. But to me, his age has always been a plus. He was the first real man I ever dated and the moment I realized that I never looked back. I had a few gift ideas for him, but he kept saying, “I don’t need anything” and unlike me saying that (and not meaning it), he meant it.

Once our son was asleep, he showered and dressed and came into the bedroom to kiss me; he was off to spend some time with his cousin. I asked him, “was it a good birthday?” and he said “it was a great birthday.” I lament often about how different him and I are (would I have been satisfied if this were how my birthday played out?), but in the end, as long as he’s happy with how his day went, than so am I.

2. At the time of this blog post, I will be nearing the end of my self-imposed social media detox. I have mixed feelings about how the past five days have gone. On one side I feel great. Renewed. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say there’s a part of of me that feels like I’m missing out on something (which is really silly, I realize; but it’s the truth). What’s truly amazing is how many times a day I think: oh, I should document this (on instagram). And then I stop and think to myself: why? Which is when I remember why I truly decided to take this break.

3. I can’t believe I didn’t mention it last week, but the hubby and I went to see John Mayer last weekend (The Search For Everything tour) and just as I imagined, he blew us away. I’d seen him before, but this was Dom’s first time. He was a good sport for coming along, considering it’s not his kind of music at all, but I had faith than JM’s guitar brilliance would win him over. And it did.

I catch him humming along to JM’s songs during the day. He’s learning how to play Helpless on the guitar. He sings, “Still feel like a man” instead of “still feel like your man,” and it might possibly be the most endearing thing about him yet.

 

3 things from the past week | 5

1. If you’re already having a weird day, don’t pour yourself a glass of wine or eat chips for dinner. Or pour yourself that second glass of wine. It’s never a good idea. You’ll feel worse in the morning, I promise you. I learned this the hard way.

2. It’s really frustrating to me that one day, I can manage to get 2,300 words written amongst chaos (I’m talking the kid running around, at my in-laws, at the coffee shop when I forgot headphones), and then the next day, I struggle to get out a measly 341 words). If you don’t already know this about me, I’m really hard on myself—so to be the kind of writer who still experiences these inconsistencies really gets me rattled.

3. I’ve been reading When You Find Out The World Is Against You and—while making me laugh and smile—it makes me think about Canada. It makes me miss Canada. It makes me smile and nod my head and yell out “YES!” (scaring my husband half to death) because here is someone who not only gets what it feels like to move to the US from Canada, but to articulate it so well also. I’m in awe of Kelly Oxford. And I kind of don’t ever want this book to end.

3 Things from the past week | 4

1. I try not to be the kind of person that imagines their life looking any different than just the way it is, but sometimes… sometimes I catch a glimpse of a beautifully dressed woman in impeccable heels getting into her Mercedes and I wonder what her week will look like. Or I turn to my husband and say: in another life, I’d live on the road, writing in a different coffee shop each day. Or I nod along when he tells me he’d love to live even a day in the life of the families that own the beach houses we passed the shoreline of La Jolla last weekend.
2. A girlfriend of mine who I’ve known online for a couple years now is writing some of the most honest, heart breaking words I may have ever read. It seems silly to tell her how brave she is for putting them out into the world, but that’s exactly what she is. You see, I worry too much about what people think of me. I always have. I wish, for just one moment, I could open myself up the way she does. I’m so lucky to know her; she’s going to do some wonderful things.

3. I’m slowly realizing that I’m going to have to be one of those writers who makes the time to write. It isn’t readily available to me. With a child and a full-time career and a husband and all the responsibilities that come along with that, I’m going to have to steal extra hours. It’s going to mean nights like Friday night when I make coffee at 9 p.m. and sit down on the couch with my laptop. It’s going to mean setting an alarm and waking up earlier than everyone else. It means continuing to steal moments here and there–like the time I waited in line at the post office for ten minutes, writing chapter notes in the Notes app on my iPhone. It means choosing, today, right now, to open up my laptop and write instead of turning to Netflix to watch the next episode of 13 Reasons Why.

But I’d choose this life over any other life. Ask me tomorrow and I’ll say the same.

3 things from the past week | 3

1. It’s been interesting, this week, to see how people respond when it comes up in conversation that Dom and I just celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. We get one of two responses: either a semi-disinterested stare and a barely audible grunt (which I take as a “ha! six years is nothing, just you wait until you’ve been married as long as me and xyz”); or their face lights up in a way that makes me truly proud to have made it this far already.
I’ve been hearing all my life that a lot of marriages fall apart around year seven. I’m happy to say that Dom and I are as happy as we’ve ever been.

2. Yesterday, I started writing a short story about a woman who can’t work on her novels in public without being hit on. It’s about love. It’s about self-care. It’s about personal growth.

It’s nothing amazing yet, but the point is that I’m trying.

3. Just look at this picture, taken this week. I can’t even. This last year of motherhood has been really hard, but sometimes we have moments that seem to make it all worth it. Four has been good to us, so far.

3 things from the past week | 2

1. Sometimes I’m irrationally scared to go back and look at things I’ve written in the past. I’m worried that no matter how much I liked the writing at the time I wrote it, it will now seem somehow less than. As a writer, all I really want is to keep working and improve my skill set. To look back at something I wrote two years ago and published is scary. As such, I’ve decided to re-write my first book, Finding Lily. Wish me luck.

2. We leave for California on Saturday morning. Last year, after our three amazingly relaxing days in La Jolla, I jokingly told Dom I wanted to go back for our anniversary again next year. Well, today’s our sixth anniversary and we’ll see you in a week, La Jolla.

3. I’m entirely certain that one of my favorite feelings in life is when someone falls head over heels over a book that I recommended to them. I’ve been telling everyone I can to read The Hate U Give and smiling more and more as their positive responses find their way back to me. I love the way reading can unite people. (by the way, this is what I’m reading now, in case you’re interested).

3 things from the past week | 1

1. Does every other woman worry about turning into their mother as much as I do? It seems irrational; how much space I allow this worry to occupy in my mind. I suppose I’ve always been hyper-sensitive to what I do and say and how I act towards Dom, because what if I become her? She’s an amazing woman, but I see so much anger and dissatisfaction in her that I don’t want to carry on my own shoulders.
2. I weigh the most I’ve ever weighed in my life. I’m supremely unhappy about this and yet I have no motivation to change it. Not yet, anyway. I suppose I keep waiting for something to happen to snap me out of it and make me care… but it hasn’t happened yet.
My mother in law is obsessed with weight and appearances. She’ll be the first one to point out if I’ve gone passed the point of no return. Until then, I complain to myself each morning post-shower, but continue to do nothing about it.
3. My mother recently ran into one of my high school english teachers and told her I’d become a writer. I was shocked to know my mother had told her that. I guess if I’m not doing it full-time it doesn’t feel like the truth. But that’s silly. I’ve been a writer my whole adult life. Before that, even. It’s the one thing that has and always will ring true.