Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Crack at Honesty

It seems that during the past month my desire or need to stay connected with people through the blog and Facebook has dwindled to practically nothing. The realization hit me last week that I don't feel the need to stay connected or validated through my writing. It feels liberating and scary. We go through phases in this life, and I am certainly aware that this is a phase that I am going through. However, the feeling of not looking for approval through writing is a pretty great feeling. That doesn't mean that I have stopped caring what people think of me, unfortunately that nasty habit will die hard. I wouldn't necessarily say that I am on a journey at present, although I suppose we are always on a journey. However, journey implies to me some sort of fun and adventure, and I am not having much fun. I am finding that there is beauty in the darkness and normal does not exist. Perfection is arbitrary. I am not nor have I ever been a model of mental health as much as I may have tried to convince myself of that because seeing the truth of who I am and my flaws was just too painful. So I've spent years finding flaws in others and trying to believe that I really am normal and healthy. I have yet to meet anyone that is normal and yet I have so desperately wanted to be normal and not labeled weird or quirky. I am what I am, whether likable or not. I have spent so much time and energy hiding from myself and the world out of shame and embarrassment. I'm not so interested in coming out of hiding to the world, I just care about being honest and open with myself. I'm not quite sure what that looks like, I just know that the closer that I come to touching it the more I feel myself coming undone. 

My apologies to those blogs that I no longer frequent, I haven't forgotten the writers and I wish them all beautiful things on their journeys.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Harvard Version of Life

I really appreciate all the support that I received in the comments about my journaling class. To answer some of your questions: I teach journaling and blogging classes at 7:00 pm Thursdays at the Open Mind Center. To register call the center at: 678 243-5074. I don't offer my classes online, however, I have begun to entertain the idea of offering individual online journaling sessions via email. Not quite sure yet how to do that, but I am definitely open to the idea. Also, I recently started offering counseling services at the Open Mind Center, which is pretty exciting as this is a new service that the center is offering.

I recently read an article about the need for life to be challenging so that we don't get bored. The challenges are all there for our growth. Over the past few days I have begun thinking about life as both a game and a school. I had a moment yesterday where I could see it as a game that my husband and I were trying to figure out how to master. When I stepped back and in a sense removed myself from life, my life became fun. The challenges became fun. I was trying to figure out how to play this game. The game is messy, dirty, and heartbreaking at times, but I saw that it was possible for me to lift myself above it all and enjoy the messiness. Because the messy does not define me. I am not the messiness. I am just learning to maneuver the messiness involved in this game.

Life as a school. For the most part I have found adulthood to be one challenge after another; I have not enjoyed meeting those challenges. There has been a lot of struggle. Life hasn't always been easy. Holding the awareness of life as a school I realized that I have not been attending the community college version of life, but more like the Harvard version. I had never really thought of life in terms of easy schools and difficult schools. Maybe the people that are breezing through life are really smart at playing this game, or maybe they are just attending a school with a fairly easy curriculum. I have had some pretty difficult classes, I think that many of them have been AP. I'm pretty sure that I have failed some of them, however, if I was put in an AP class at one of the top schools in the country then there must be an assumption somewhere out there that I am capable of eventually mastering the subject and passing the class. I'm really looking forward to a new semester with new classes and teachers. Some of these classes are really getting old, and some of them I am starting to think I will never pass.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm Here

Some people have wondered where I've been, as it seems that I have disappeared from the blogging world. So I wanted to let you all know that I am alive and well, but still not very interested in the blog. I have very little to say that would be of interest to anyone.

Update: I have made great progress toward getting my associates license for counseling. My application will be reviewed by the Georgia Composite Board next Friday, so if all goes well I should have my Associate Professional Counselor license within a couple of weeks. I did a lot of work in a very short amount of time to get to this place. Now I have to find clients, and that task feels a bit overwhelming at present. My energy is quite low, and I don't think that I am putting out the kind of energy that I need to put out to draw clients to me. So I'm frustrated. I know that I need to be patient, I just really like to see results and results don't always happen over night.

Right now I am sitting at the Open Mind Center, typing this blog entry when I should be giving my Journaling Class; however, it's hard to give a class without students. I have this great class to offer; I've seen its transformative powers. However, the trick is to get other people enthusiastic about something as basic as writing. I think that people are looking for "magic" and quick fixes, and they underestimate the power of pen and paper because it is so fundamental and basic. However, processing your "stuff" through the means of pen and paper works amazingly quickly and gives fast results, and it's empowering because the healing is coming from within the writer. Yes, it helps to have me there guiding the students, but ultimately the writer has the answers within themselves, and they have the key that will reveal those answers.

I am so happy to reconnect with you all. Thank you for remembering me, and for supporting me along my journey.  My apologies to all of the blogs that I have been neglecting lately. Although I'm not responding to your posts, my thoughts are with you and I send you wishes for continued success and happiness.

Much love

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Yesterday was all about happiness for me. The weather in Georgia was a perfect 69 and sunny. It was the type of day when all of life seems to come together and make sense, and the sense that I made out of it was that all that has ever mattered was and is experiencing life in the Moment. Not living in past or future, just the here and now.

I took a beautiful and joyful three mile walk while listening to some of my favorite songs. Music has a way of lifting me out of any kind of funk I might find myself in and setting me back down into my heart.

When my husband came home from work, I was making dinner and listening to James Taylor Radio on Pandora. He and I ended up sitting on the couch talking and listening to music for a couple of hours. It sounds so simple and basic, yet it was such sweet and perfect joy. Every song was fantastic. Life was good.

Happiness is all about perspective. My father always told my sister and I that a person is as happy as they want to be. That really drove me crazy when he said that, but he was right. Yesterday I chose to be happy.

Happy music:


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stuff and Nonsense

If you would have told me four weeks ago that I would soon be sitting in a therapist's office attending clinical supervision because I had decided to be a therapist after all, I think I would have thought you were crazy. Or if I happened to believe that what you were telling me was true, then I think I might have become severely depressed. Because this is not the vision that I had of my life. This is not the direction that I planned to be heading. Not only would I have been sad, I would have been furious at the turn of events. I had planned to write; or attempt to write; or fantasize about writing. But use the degree that I spent so much time and effort to achieve, never. Yet this morning I was sitting in a therapist's office attending clinical supervision, and I must confess that it was surreal. What the hell was I doing there?

Something feels different; I kind of feel more grown up. It's sort of like I have opened the door to having a career, and it looks as though I am in control. I realize that control is an illusion, however, I don't know a better way to put this than that it feels as though I am not at someone's mercy. I can choose the hours that I see clients, and I like that. However, I have no control over whether or not my imaginary clients will materialize into flesh and blood people that want to become my real counseling clients. Perhaps I am becoming a more balanced person. Maybe my life doesn't have to be all or nothing, maybe I can be creative and a therapist, or a creative therapist.

This is completely not what I planned to write about if I wrote anything at all. What I really wanted to write about was how ambivalent I feel about Facebook and blogging and technology. But I got off track. I once again find myself somewhat at peace with FB. I go through phases where I feel so disgusted with having the ability to share with a group of friends and acquaintances my most meaningless and random thoughts or even my bathroom habits if I was so inclined. In those moments of virtual doubt and confusion, I wish that I could be alone in a jungle with just me and an antelope or two, sans iPhone. I ask myself if it really matters if I have friends or if I am in touch with anyone. In those moments I am perfectly happy with myself, my little family, and my humble life, and feel no need to let any of you know about my receding gums, or that my roots are growing in too fast, or that I just can't seem to get my arms in shape at this stage in my life.

I'm back in the game for the moment, and I'm enjoying it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Next Chapter

I suppose that lately I haven't been making any great observations about life, so I haven't had much to say. However, it seems that my life is moving in an unexpected direction since I started the blog and that is something to talk about. It is an amazing process that I am going through and  I'm not certain where I will end up. In October I would have never imagined that five months later I would be filling out paperwork to become a Licensed Professional Counselor. I was so opposed to going back into the counseling field, and a large part of that was due to having worked in clinical settings which I found particularly difficult. In a weeks time I have my paperwork almost complete; I found a wonderful clinical supervisor, and most importantly I will be offering counseling at the Open Mind Center, which is a healthy and relaxing environment that is not a clinical setting. If licensure meant that I would have to work at a mental health agency, then I have to admit that the whole process would not be worth it to me. I don't care enough about being licensed to put myself in a situation in which it would be a daily struggle for me to maintain my sanity.

Another wonderful thing that has happened has been my writing for the online women's magazine Ask Miss A. It's exciting to go to interesting places and interview interesting people. My daughter and I had press passes for Tuesday night to attend Burn the Floor at the Fox Theatre. A few months ago I would never have imagined that I would be getting press passes in the near future or anytime in the future. The whole evening was such a delicious treat for us, and I feel so much gratitude for being presented with the opportunity to attend.

Even with these happy and unexpected occurrences in my life, I still feel incredibly ungrounded most of the time. I feel as though I am neither here nor there, and I find that feeling to be more than a little unsettling. However, when I think about the changes in my life, I definitely feel that I am being guided by an invisible force and that I am loved. There is the doubting part of me that I can never seem to shake free from, however, there is another part of me that is comforted in the subtle experience that my life is headed somewhere and it could be somewhere good, somewhere that I may not have imagined, which makes it all the more exciting. Although I don't fully understand it right now, I believe that I am entering into the next chapter of my life and that it has the potential of being quite a powerful and liberating experience. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pen, Paper, and Process

Yesterday morning while waiting for a workshop to begin on Counseling Supervision from an Existential Perspective, I picked up my pen and began writing in my journal. I hadn't attended any kind of counseling workshop during the past year and a half, and I was feeling a little unsettled about being there and returning to a world that I had left behind. The room was freezing; there were depressing overhead lights; I was hungry, and there was a tightness in my stomach that would not go away. However, when I picked up the pen and started to write it felt like I had tapped into some sort of salvation. I needed the thoughts and feelings to come out of me and land on the page. It gave me comfort, the comfort that I have not been turning to this past month, but it was still there waiting for me to pick up my pen and return to myself.

For much of the day after leaving the workshop, I felt disoriented, as if I was disconnected from people and life. Later in the day I remembered that I felt the same way after my mother's death. The anniversary of my mother's death was the day before. I was right back in the disconnected feeling, the whole world had turned upside down.

Last night I gave a blogging class at the Open Mind Center. Two dynamic and insightful women attended my class, and as usually happens when I give a class at OMC I felt that I was given a gift by the participants presence there. Being with them brought me back to reality. We had insightful and lively discussions, and in the end we returned to the message that writing has the ability to connect us to our selves on a deeper level and to give back to the world around us even if only one person is reading what we have written.

Today I feel encouraged at the prospect of giving more classes and the hope that more people will come to value the process of journaling and maintaining a blog. Mostly, I feel a sense of relief to find that pen, paper, and process are still waiting for me despite my neglect and inattention. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Writing is Not Like Riding a Bike

I feel a little sad right now in regard to writing, or not writing for that matter. One of the reasons why I started the blog was to encourage me to write everyday. When I kept the blog up to date I found that my writing kept improving and evolving. However, recently not only have I let the blog slide, but I also stopped my daily journaling and morning pages. For me writing is not like riding a bike. Once I take a break it's as if I've forgotten everything that I learned and I no longer have access to good and meaningful words. My writing is not the only thing that suffers, my relationship to my self suffers as well. When I'm at my best I am writing straight from my heart. I don't have to think about what I want to say, the words just flow through me. Over the course of the last month, since I haven't been writing, I have lost that ability to tap into myself and access my creativity. I struggle right now as I am writing this post to know what words to write next. But I knew this was bound to happen if I stopped writing everyday. So this doesn't come as any surprise, but still I am frustrated by the thought that that I am incapable of producing anything meaningful.

Now that I have committed myself to pursuing licensure for counseling, I am worried that I will get sidetracked and my writing will suffer even more. I am aware of my weaknesses and I am aware of the things that I let take me off course. I don't want to lose the most vital part of myself: the ability and desire to create.

I would love to have someone to write with once a week. I can see me and my imaginary writing friend sitting in a coffee shop writing together for an hour. It's a sweet vision, and it's something that could definitely exist in reality, I just need to find that person. Right now as far as writing goes, I mainly need to find myself again.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When the Time is Right

I finished my master's degree in counseling six years ago, however, since that time I never felt particularly drawn to start the process of working toward licensure. I have wanted to focus more on writing than on therapy, and the whole process of applying to become an LAPC (Licensed Associate Professional Counselor), seemed pretty daunting. And to be quite frank, I'm not sure that there has been a time within the last six years that I would have been up to starting the process because it actually is daunting. But something shifted in me last Thursday evening when I was supposed to give a group journaling workshop at the Open Mind Center and ended up being my first individual journaling session.

My student had signed up for the group, however, she ended up being the only person to sign up, so it wasn't a group, which ended up being a very good thing for both of us. During the session I was feeling insecure and worried that I was doing a disservice to her somehow, and that she would walk away without getting anything beneficial. However, mid way through the session something shifted in her while she was writing, and at that moment something shifted in me as well. I realized that I wanted to use journaling as a therapeutic tool with people, and I realized that in order to do that I needed to start the process of applying for licensure.

Yesterday I began making phone calls, requesting documents, and filling out paperwork to become an LAPC. It finally feels like the right thing to do, and like something that I want to do. It would be all too easy for me to beat myself up for not starting this years ago, as I would already be an LPC by now. But I'm not beating myself up, because I realize that I was not ready even last Wednesday to start this process. It's big, intimidating, and you have to really want it to tackle it. I didn't really want it before and it was far too much for me to handle. Now I want it. I put off doing a lot of things because it is easy for me to feel like I am on overload, however, when I really want something I start pursuing it immediately and put everything I have in to accomplishing and reaching my goal. That's how I feel right now. There is no waivering for me with this, there is no putting off. I want it and I'm going for it. The time is right.

Because I have decided to pursue becoming licensed does not mean that I have forgotten about writing and what is most important to me. Expressing my creativity through writing is what centers me in my heart, however, I realize that I can also use writing in a therapeutic way that will help other people and also fulfill a need in me. I'm not quite sure what that need is yet. Possibly it is the need to be helpful to others in a hands on way that involves something that I love: writing.

I feel as though my journey has shifted and that the path ahead has gotten a little less narrow.This is an exciting time in my life. I am ready for change.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Period Girl Comes Clean

Period girl proved to be one of my more popular posts, and I have to wonder if it was because I mislead you with the title. I have asked myself "Did they really believe that they were going to be reading about menstruation?" I think that the answer is yes, some of you began reading that blog post with the hope that all of your questions and concerns about menstruation would be answered. But I tricked you. You know what? I think that many of you liked being tricked. Although you were hoping to become more enlightened regarding a woman's period, you were just as happy to read about punctuation, and emoticons. Did I say that right La Belette? Was it emoticons I was writing about? Over the course of the past few days I have given some consideration, albeit not considerable, to the thought of changing the blog's title to Period Girl. I think that it might be good for business. I have also toyed with the thought of starting another blog devoted to beautiful women with big noses. It might be called Noses of Note. I would feature a different nose every day.

A bit of lightness and fluff can be a good thing on a Friday. I will write again with substance sometime soon, but not today.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Period Girl

Before I started using Facebook I ended my sentences with periods. However, frequently I now end a written sentence or a conversation with a smiley face :), a wink ;), or the ever popular exclamation point!. It's really quite unnatural for me to end sentences this way, but now it's become something that I feel that I must do in order to present a facade of being happy, peppy, or just plain excited about life. I don't end normal every day conversations with a shout, or an exclamation of joy, unless I have just been presented with a really lovely piece of chicken.That's just not who I am. In real life I don't even know how to wink, I guess I'm not visually coordinated enough to pull it off, and I can't really think of many occasions where I would end a sentence with a wink anyway. I suppose that I just want to fit in and seem as sparkling as everyone else in cyber world. But at heart I am still a period girl.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


So as it turns out, my interest for the blog has returned, not full force but a spark. Something in me shut down when I found myself feeling exposed and vulnerable. The truth is, I hardly ever allow myself to really feel vulnerable in "real" life. I stuff down all emotions that will lead me to that bad place that I don't want to go. I am extremely guarded and self-protective and I hate feeling vulnerable, ever. So, I don't let people in and when they try to enter my world, they frequently find that the gates are locked, or if they manage to sneak in past the guard and around to the back entrance they will eventually find themselves expelled.

The only time that I ever really allow myself to be exposed is through writing. When I write I feel safe, strong, and confident enough to share myself openly and vulnerably with others. I'm not sure that I need or want to give that up right now. I want to thank La Belette Rouge for sharing herself so openly, warmly, and lovingly through her writing. She makes the prospect of keeping and maintaining a blog an attractive and appealing idea for me. She inspires me to continue communicating through this means. Thank you La Belette.

I am better in writing than I am in person. In person I come off as shy, cold, or aloof. Really I am just scared. With my husband and daughter and with my friend Pamela, the real me emerges. Funny and crazy. But even with the people close to me I don't want to be vulnerable. But I can show up in my writing as an authentic version of me, and that will have to do for now.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Gift of Praise

Last night my daughter told me that one of her teachers loves her now because my daughter is working extra hard and taking more initiative in class. I asked her how that made her feel, her face lit up and she said that it felt really good. My daughter got off to a rocky start this year with this particular teacher, so much so that my daughter believed that the teacher was out to get her through most of the first semester of school. My daughter has started turning things around in most of her classes, putting in more effort and acting more responsibly. Her teachers have responded with praise and encouragement. Guess what? The praise and encouragement that my daughter has been receiving motivates my daughter to keep doing better. Watching what has been unfolding for my daughter at school has been a good lesson for me as a parent. As a parent it can be so easy to reach for a critical remark or become overly focused on what your child is doing wrong. However, criticism never really works. On a personal level, I can tell you that having my flaws and mistakes pointed out seldom if ever produces any benefit for me. However, if you show a bit of confidence in me I will be more likely to rise to the occasion.

Every child needs discipline and boundaries to truly flourish in life, and along with that comes the need for praise and acknowledgment for all that they are doing right, or even attempting to do right. I am reminded of a book about writing that I recently read, in which the author talks about the art of being a good reader when reading another person's work. In a nut shell she said that praise strengthens a person's work and criticism has the opposite effect. We don't have to praise bad behavior or bad writing for that matter, we just need to focus on what is working, and as we focus our gaze on the good we will find a storehouse of more good awaits us.

Monday, February 28, 2011


As some of you might have already noticed, I have been updating my blog less frequently in the last month. A month ago I approached the blog with an enthusiasm to connect to people and to write about whatever thoughts were brewing in my mind at the time. However, after revealing too much of myself a few weeks ago in a post, I lost steam for the blog. This is quite interesting and a bit disturbing to me considering I will begin teaching a blogging class this Thursday at the Open Mind Center. I have really struggled with the fact that I am not maintaining my blog and yet I will be in the position of encouraging other people to create blogs. However, there really is no need for me to see any sort of discrepancy here, because although I am backing off from my block at the moment I still find keeping a blog to be an incredibly creative, therapeutic and overall growth producing experience. As I have said before, keeping this blog has been one of the biggest and best gifts that I have given myself. However, life is a process of ebbing and flowing, and people change and energies at times are redirected. Right now I am feeling very internal and do not feel a pressing need to share my most intimate thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a public arena, and that's okay.

I am focusing more on writing articles and on my first writing love, my journal. My passion for writing always expressed itself in the journal, and I always felt that I was my best as a writer while journaling. A few years ago I started reading the diaries of Anais Nin, and while reading them I experienced a tremendous amount of encouragement and inspiration in discovering the value of a diary as a legitimate means of self-expression and creating art.

When it is time for me to re-emerge from my cocoon I hope that you will still be here for us to share this space together. I really never know anything from one day to the next. Who knows, I may be ready to regularly post again sometime later this week. I can only speak for how I feel today and how I have felt over the course of the past month. As I am writing this, I feel the need to delete and erase it all, because I do not want the bond between us to be broken. So, let's just say that I am taking a mini vacation and will be back soon.

Much love,


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Delicious Foreign Films

Watching foreign films, French films specifically, never feels like I am wasting time. When I am watching a film by an auteur director, such as Roehmer, Goddard, or Truffaut, I feel as though I am contributing to my education. What education you may ask? My film education of course. It's as if I am enrolled in grad school film classes and I have been assigned to watch these films. So, I'm doing my homework and it's homework that I love to do. Watching a good French film also makes me feel like I am ingesting healthy food.

Over the past weekend, I watched two movies that I had already seen, but that still had the power to leave an indelibly sweet impression on me. I watched a British film Enchanted April, and Claire's Knee by French director Eric Roehmer. What is it about these movies that touches me at the level of my soul? They definitely have a quality that is lacking in American films; they embody a certain simple elegance and tranquility that has a very soothing effect on my mind and emotions. There is an absence of music to tell you what you should be feeling, which I find quite nice. I love music, but there is something extraordinary about watching a movie where you can hear the sounds of nature, i.e. birds chirping in the background. Enchanted April was set in an Italian castle and a great deal of the film takes place outdoors in the springtime. The mountains and water play a predominant part in Claire's Knee. The visual beauty combined with the sounds of chirping birds creates an experience within me that sets everything right between me and the world.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, many foreign films try to follow in the footsteps of American cinema. When I watch a movie I want to be transported into the world of the characters, which includes having a somewhat authentic experience of the country they are in. However, when you have a foreign film that tries to mimic an American film you lose the quality of "otherness" of something different and unique to that country. What you get is an American film starring French or Italian actors speaking in their native tongue. I get to see American movies in America, so when I watch a French film I want it to feel authentically French, not like a rip off of what is done over here.

Let's close this post with some charming French music that I was recently introduced to; I think it's the beginning of a new love affair.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Music has a certain powerful quality that stops the chaotic flow of my thoughts and settles my mind into that sweet and delicious space of my heart. Sometimes I forget about how much I need music to remind me of who I am. Apparently I loved music even when I was a baby, my mother wrote in my baby book that I responded to music by dancing and obvious joy.Although I may have never been proficient technically at playing music, my essence has always been musical.

For most of my life music was like air for me, I needed it to survive. Over the past couple of years, for reasons that I cannot remember, I abandoned music and took refuge in books. At times while reading, I feel that I almost reach that same level of joy and knowing that I experience with music, and at those moments I feel satisfied. Last night my husband turned on James Taylor radio on AOL, and I found myself back in that place within myself where there is nothing but the present moment and all of my life made sense. I closed my eyes and I was carried back to the best part of me. Those moments contain such clarity and happiness that I question why I don't listen to music more often. Music has never let me down and throughout most of my life it was my closest and most intimate friend.

When I feel scared and overly cautious about life decisions I can put on music that has the opposite qualities. I can reach for a piece of music that is confident or quirky and be reminded of my own innate confidence.

Music is the link to my soul. May I remember to reconnect with my soul every day through music.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fashion Eras

I recently found the pilot episode of Thirty Something on Netflix. I was delighted, as TS used to be one of my favorite shows. Twenty four years later and I still like the show, but find the themes bore me and apparently I have a decreased tolerance for yuppies. Yuppies aside, what bothered me more than anything were the clothes. In one scene Patricia Wettig had on a green sweater that appeared to have several small balls attached. Then there were the shoulder pads. What were women thinking in the 80's? Why did we think that it was a good thing to look like line backers?

My favorite television shows generally come from the 70's. There are only two shows from the 80's that I remember with great affection, the first being Thirty Something and the other was the Days and Nights of Molly Dodd with Blair Brown. However, I find the clothing from the 80's so visually distressing that I don't think that I can handle watching another episode of Thirty Something.

At least as far as the twentieth century goes, I think that the 80's was hands down the worst time for fashion, the 1930's and 40's were my favorites. What are your favorite and least favorite fashion eras?

Sky and Snow

It was still dark outside when I dropped her at carpool. I drove to get a cup of apple cider, the sky growing slightly lighter. A perfect white covered the branches of the trees and the rooftops. Snow. Beautiful this time, but not obstructive. On to the dry cleaners and it is still dark, but still with that magical glow surrounding me. I have broken habit by exploring my world in the early morning hours. I like it. My heart and mind feel at peace finally.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


This week I haven't maintained my blog as I usually do. I feel little need to write and share at present. Last Friday I chose to make myself vulnerable in a post, and I ended up regretting it. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, there are some things that I wish to keep to myself, however, sometimes I just really want to connect and to update the blog. If I don't have anything to write about then I take whatever is relevant in my life at that moment and I write about that; that's not always a good idea. I think that it is best to check in with myself and use a bit of intuition in order to know if something feels right to write about. In my need to just write something to keep the blog updated I may overlook an intuitive feeling that tells me not to post. My post last Friday received a well meaning comment that created even deeper feelings of vulnerability for me. We all read from our own points of view and we all have our own interpretation of what we read, and sometimes those interpretations are accurate and sometimes they are not. The commenter doesn't know me and misinterpreted what I was going through last week for something else. I ended up taking down the post, and I'm glad that I did. Everything does not need to be shared.

This week I am not drawn to keeping up the blog; I think that this is fairly common for many of us that have blogs. Sometimes we don't have anything to say, but we feel that we must in order to maintain our blogs and keep our readers. This week I feel more inward and I don't have much to say. I'm hibernating for just a little while. I may even come back tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Who is Your Favorite Author?

Over the course of the past few months I have had the good fortune to have heard some great authors speak. Last night I saw Alice Hoffman, author of Practical Magic, speak at the Margaret Mitchell House. I told Ms. Hoffman that had I seen the movie Practical Magic first I would have never read any of her books. Luckily I read the book before my aborted attempt at watching the movie. Someone in the audience asked if Ms. Hoffman has had any input into the film version of her books; she said that she has not. One of my favorite Hoffman books, the River King, had it's ending changed for the movie. I was strangely relieved to hear that she had no say in what happened to her work once it was in the process of becoming a film. I say strangely, because I absolutely loathe the movie Practical Magic and I'm glad that she had nothing to do with the project. The movie captured none of the the beauty and flow of Hoffman's prose and completely masks her brilliance and unique voice as a writer.

I am not a person that asks for autographs and I don't tend to be overly impressed with celebrity. However, I could not pass up a chance to meet my favorite author and have her "bless" my writing notebook with her signature. Ms. Hoffman asked me if I write fiction and I told her that I write articles, but that I want to write fiction. Her response, "then you will write fiction." Unknowingly, she gave me what in Judaism we call a bracha, a blessing for my writing.

Who is your favorite author? What is it about their writing that speaks to you?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Have You Changed Since October?

How have you changed since October? A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I have changed since I started writing this blog in October. I still have the same chronic anxiety, fear of social situations, and self-doubt that at times completely paralyzes me, however, even with all of that I feel that I have changed and my life has grown richer. Things that were important to me in October aren't important to me now, and vice versa. I have become more interesting as a person now that I am interested in more things. I am learning about who I am and who I am not.

More things that I am learning: I am not a team player; I don't play well with others; I am not a teacher; I am not a leader; I don't want to be in charge of anyone other than myself (it's challenging enough just dealing with me), I am not a good listener.

In the past, like a week or two ago, I entertained the idea of what it would feel like to be a boss. Maybe if I were the one in charge I would be less anxious in certain situations. I was so off on this one, it is unbelievable just how far off I was. In August I started teaching Hebrew School on Sundays. I thought that it would be pretty great to have my own classroom and to have some sense of being in control. Hebrew School has taught me just how fallacious my reasoning has been all these years that I fantasized about being in charge. What I have learned is that I am not a teacher, and I don't like being in charge. In fact I am absolutely horrible at being in charge. I am not assertive and hate being in a position of telling people what to do and trying to maintain some sense of order. It's unbelievable how wrong I have been about myself.

Whenever I would take a personality test or a job test I would answer the questions under the false assumption that I enjoy working with people. What an earth was I thinking? All of the evidence accrued through years of work experience obviously points to the fact that I hate working with other people. My anxiety becomes so intense that it becomes hard for me to function. Working in corporate America? Forget about it, that most definitely is not me. So it turns out that I have been answering test questions incorrectly for several years. I am an introvert as much as I might want it to be otherwise. I am a person that does best working alone far away from other people.

Before I hit twenty I was very clear that I wanted to do something creative with my life. Somehow along the way I lost sight of what I really care about and value. I tried on someone else's identity, and it turns out that it looked terrible on me.

An old friend of mine that I hadn't seen or spoken to in several years told me that she couldn't believe how much I have changed. She thinks that I am dynamic, confident, and outgoing. When I hung up the phone I was completely baffled. However, some people actually do see me that way, so I'm sure that exists somewhere inside me. Perhaps I am a mixture of both.

I see myself a bit clearer than I did in October, although the glass is still pretty smudged. I hope that by April I will feel differently than I do now. Mental evolution is such a fascinating process; I love it.

I'm curious if other people notice changes in their internal or external lives in a very short time. How have you changed since October? 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Some Prose

The Stack of Books

I sit precariously on top of a stack of books of many sizes. Text books on top of small books of poetry. I feel as though this small mountain of books may come crashing down at any moment. I am scared of the crash and the fall that will surely come. I wobble and shake atop this mountain of ill piled books. How far is the fall and what will happen when I hit the floor? I can’t say that I believe that I will die, because I know that I will not. It’s the unsteadiness that scares me most. I am not on stable ground. Everything that I am, have been, and believe that I one day will be is built on a shaky pile of books. Who will I be when the first book has been pulled out from under me?

Cup of Light

The sky rained diamonds that day. A cup made of shimmering blue light hung suspended in the sky, eclipsing the moon. I drank from the cup and became filled with bliss. I drank and my heart began to fill up with blue light until the light overflowed my heart and spilled out, splashing particles of magnificent light throughout my entire body. I held my pulsating blue heart in my hands.

The Color of Words

Stuck within pages that have already been written on. I have been looking for my voice for so many years. There has been an absence of words and a fear that the absence will continue to haunt me. For what I want most is to be a river deep with words. Painting pictures with beautiful words. Words in acrylics and pastels bringing a blank canvas to life. Red, blue, purple and yellow words. Words swirling together creating deeper and richer colors.

Cornflake Monday

Rainy Monday morning. A sense of quiet, but not tranquility settles over the house. No real need for idle talk, however, a desire to connect is whispered in my ear. It is barely audible, just enough for me to know that it is present. But I have nothing to say today. The whispered voice asks me to try, as sometimes when I feel quiet there are good things just below the surface, at those times if you and I are both lucky we may find that a plate of warm gooey half-baked cookies awaits us. My fingers move, my mind is trudging along behind. There are certainly doubts that we will share cookies this Monday afternoon, I feel that all that I have to offer is a bowl of Cornflakes. I look through my cupboards in search of a box of instant oatmeal, because I think that on this gray day you might appreciate ingesting something warm more than you would enjoy a cold bowl of cereal that will go bad if you let it sit for too long. Sorry it looks like I am out. I will go to the store in the morning and buy the ingredients to make you a delicious tiramisu from scratch. I have never made a tiramisu, so it will definitely be a challenge and it may not be ready by tomorrow morning or tomorrow afternoon for that matter. Don't worry I won't let you go hungry, I will try to show up everyday with something in hand. I know this meal that I am offering today is hardly a meal and it won't provide you with the sustenance that you need to make it through the day, and for that I am sorry for us both. Have patience for I am still learning to cook, and I promise you that one of these days when you come to my table I will surprise you with a feast.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Uncovering My Essence

It's amazing how much a person can change in a year. Sometimes I like to look back at where I was in my life a year ago and contemplate the events that have happened during that time and the ways that I have changed. My first post in October was about change, however, I have even changed since then. I am discovering that I have changed in ways that I didn't know that I needed to.It's not that I have been trying on new identities over the course of the past year, it's more like I have been shedding whatever isn't really me and getting closer to my essence.

Last year at this time I was giving public talks centered around the topic of Embracing Life's Imperfections. At the time I knew that I didn't want to speak to anyone as an expert on any topic, and I didn't want to speak with the intention of inspiring people. I just wanted to get up and talk as myself about things that were important to me. However, when I spoke, I still felt as though I was standing up in front of a room full of people pretending to know something that they did not know, which was exactly what I did not want. Also, I knew that I didn't want to be any kind of coach, counselor, or social worker. However, some part of me was still tied to that identity as a "helper". I feel that the cord which tied me to the "helping" profession has been cut, liberating me from a false identity that I picked up some years ago.

Yesterday my husband and I went to a tea house for an afternoon date and to gather information for a piece that I am writing. Drinking tea in a quaint tea house for the purpose of writing an article, felt like I was connecting to the life that I am meant to lead. I definitely feel challenged, as my normal writing comes straight from the center of my chest while writing a review comes out of my head. It's okay if I feel challenged by the tea piece because I am finally wearing an outfit that fits me instead walking around in some strangers two sizes too big hand me downs.

With hindsight certain things in life are beginning to make sense; I have been given more of the puzzles pieces. Although I was a good speaker, and maybe an okay counselor I could never make it work as a profession, and now I am glad because ultimately that's not who I am.  

Writing everyday has contributed significantly to my transformation. The more I write, the more I become visible to myself. As I become visible to myself I learn who I am and who I am not. The process of shedding happens without my being aware of it. Sometimes loss is gain.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


If I could do it all over again, meaning my life, I would go back and experience from childhood through to adulthood what life would be like to be popular. I don't mean being a pretty cheerleader, although that might be nice. What would my life have been like if I would have been self-assured and outgoing? I imagine that the experience of going to school would have been completely different than the one I had, where I was plagued with constant stomachaches and just wanted to stay home with my mom where I felt safe.

I know that beauty is not the key to having a great social life and school experience, although when I was in school I believed that beauty reigned supreme. As an adult I have seen kids, teens, and other adults that are well liked and even popular that aren't necessarily beauties. Having an outgoing personality and being a good friend is what makes other people desirous of your company. Whenever I see an average looking girl that is surrounded by friends, it gives me a warm and hopeful feeling. As a kid I always believed that looks were the most important thing, and I didn't have them, therefore, I wasn't popular. The real issue for me was not so much lack of popularity, but lack of friendship in general.

For years I blamed everyone that I went to school with from grade school through high school for giving me such a lousy social experience in my most formative years. Now being slightly more mature, I can see that the problem wasn't theirs, it was mine. I was painfully shy, and I still am. Shyness prevented me from making friends, and from being a good friend. I simply got freaked out from being around other people. Making friends, and even showing up for school was beyond difficult for me. I still battle shyness, I still struggle with friendship. I would love to be that person that entertains groups of women in my home, giving them the security to know that they can come to me for friendship. I would love to be that woman that serves her friends hot cocoa and warm gooey chocolate chip cookies when they are down. I would say, "you can take refuge in the shade of my leaves when the heat becomes too much" because that's the kind of friend that I am.

Yes, if I could do it all again I would lose the shyness and be a great friend with many friends. I would love to show up for kindergarten every morning with a feeling of excitement and anticipation for the day ahead; the chance to learn new things, play on the playground with my friends, have milk and cookies for snack and return home at noon to nap and play with my best friend Kelly for the rest of the day. Lying in bed with the sweet memories of my day running through my mind. My mommy kisses my head, and I am drifting off to sleep to be greeted by delicious dreams of a summer night's sky lit by the light of a thousand fireflies.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Childhood Dreams

When you were a child what were some of the dreams that you had about life? What did you imagine your life would be like when you grew up? What was your dream job? Where did you picture yourself living? What was important to you?

When I was a child my fantasy was to be a singer. I wrote songs, and spent large chunks of time lost in images of an older version of me, that looked a lot like Olivia Newton John, on a stage with microphone in hand belting out Xanadau. The Christmas that I received a Solid Gold microphone, inspired by the hit show Solid Gold, I was elated with the feeling that I was that much closer to my fantasy being fulfilled. When I was twenty-one, an unfortunate event occurred, I heard myself sing for the first time. I mean I really heard myself, without Barbra or Olivia turned up to ten to drown me out. I was tone deaf. I never cared about singing again after that day. The dream that I had held onto for sixteen years I abandoned just like that. Interestingly enough there are many nights when I have dreams that I am on stage singing and I sound really good. I guess the dream never really went away, it's still stored in all its glory in my subconscious.

My other fantasy job was to be a writer. When I was ten years old I got my first real typewriter. It was a blue Holly Hobby, with a picture of Holly Hobby on it, but it was a real typewriter. When I was fifteen my parents let me sign up for a writing correspondence course. I still remember getting my large red binder with writing materials in the mail. What a great day. It was such great fun sending in my writing assignments to my editor in New York. And yes, I typed my assignments on my Holly Hobby typewriter. I am grateful that my parents indulged my fantasies.

One thing was for sure, I knew that I wanted to be on stage. In elementary school I did some modeling for the Boston Store, an upscale clothing store in Arkansas. My little cousin was modeling for them and I wanted to also. I wasn't asked by anyone at the Boston Store to walk the little blue runway. My mom asked for me, and the Boston Store agreed. My first time on stage I didn't want to leave, I loved being up there so much. Because I wouldn't exit the stage when I was supposed to, the emcee had to start describing my socks and shoes(which didn't come from the Boston Store).

There was a time as a teenager when I paid to be in my school's beauty pageant, the Miss Southern Belle Pageant. That story is for another time, however, it is an example of belief that I really was pretty, and deserving of attention even if no one else could see it and I had to nominate and pay for myself to be included.

Where did I want to live? In elementary school I wanted to live in California. When I was a teenager that changed to New York. I really wanted to sit on the stoop in Brooklyn with my imaginary Italian family.

Lastly, having fun was the most important thing in life.

Please send in comments about your childhood dreams. Did you get close to reaching them? Do they still exist somewhere in your heart or subconscious? What can you do now to regain a sense of childhood wonder, and the ability to dream?

Livin' the Dream

A character in a movie that I was watching yesterday said that she was living her dream. The movie was Starting Over from 1979, starring Burt Reynolds, Jill Clayburgh, and Candice Bergen. If you haven't seen this movie, I highly recommend taking a day out for a Jill Clayburgh fest and adding this to the queue. Candice Bergen's character gets a recording contract, which is pretty funny in itself, as she is tone deaf and her voice is beyond hilarious. Even though she and her husband are recently divorced and he is still struggling emotionally, she's feeling pretty great; she's living her dream. When Candice's character Jessie made that statement, it sent all sorts of marvelous images running through my mind of living my dream. How would it feel to actually be at a place in life where I could say that? Is it possible that even after forty I might one day reach a point where I am living my dream? I don't know why it took a character in a Burt Reynold's movie to open my imagination to the possibility of living my dream in this lifetime, but it did.

Last night I was driving my daughter home from play practice, listening to the Human League, transported back to my teenage self in 1983 when my whole life was about dreams and believing without a doubt that one day I would live them. Don't You Want Me is playing on the radio, I am starring in the role of mother to a teenage daughter, however I felt as though at forty-one I had a magnificent life ahead of me. I'm not just talking about a life spent driving carpool and doing laundry; I'm not complaining about these things because I do love being a mom. The vision that I saw was of me in a convertible driving around California, my hair mussed by the wind, living the life of a writer that actually makes money, like enough money to live on comfortably. In my dream I am living this creative life, the one that I wanted since I was a kid, the one that I should have been living all along. Feeling like,"wow it's still possible, everything is still possible". I want this year to be the best year of life that I have had so far. Like Candice Bergen's character Jessie, I want to say one day in the very near future, "I am living my dream".

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Warm Cookies

All day I have thought about you, longing for us to be together again here on the page. I have pushed and pushed for something to say, but continued to come up empty. I am empty still, yet wish to be filled once again. As the words come out one by one, fullness replaces the emptiness. This state of depletion happens from time to time. Sometimes there simply are no words even when the desire to speak and write is strong. The words that do come are awkward and shy and ask me please not to publish post. They know that they are half baked, not ready for ingestion. But the longing is so intense, the desire to publish post, the wish to meet once again in the corner of the bookstore by Chagall's Amoureux de Vence.
I am ready to serve this half dozen warm and gooey, but not fully baked chocolate chip cookies. Bon appetit.

Monday, January 24, 2011


This morning my dear friend told me that one of my posts yesterday made her feel guilty, and she said that I sounded angry. I was angry and I knew that it was coming through in the writing. I intended for it to come through in the writing. I was feeling considerable frustration and disappointment about some situations in my life and about my fear of dealing with them in order to take care of myself. I worry so much about offending other people, that I end up not taking care of myself or saying what I need to say. So that frustration manifested in a blog post. After talking to my friend I thought about deleting my post or posting a retraction. However, my feelings haven't changed about what I wrote, so why do I feel the need to pretend that they have. The only reason for me to try to take back my post is because I don't want my readers to leave me. This blog is a place for me to take refuge, and a safe space for me to speak the truth about what I am feeling and thinking. Part of me wants to pretty it up to make my feelings palatable to my readers, but then what really is the point in keeping this blog if I have to put my make-up on before I can write.

The bottom line is that if you read this blog, whether or not you comment or follow, I still feel that you are with me on this journey. I appreciate every single person that takes the time to read this blog. Yes, I get frustrated that my friends don't follow, I can't deny that. Nonetheless, you enrich my life beyond measure by taking the time out of your day to read my words. Why don't I want you to leave me? Because you all make me happy, and you all improve the quality of my life. This blog was one of the best things that I have done for myself, and the fact that you show up day after day, or every other day, or once a month makes it all worth while.

So, if I offended anyone yesterday, I really can't change that. I was frustrated with many things, however, I am also immensely grateful to everyone that reads this blog. Thank you for reading and thank you for giving me something to look forward to everyday.

Farewell to Cable

Last night with a mixture of sadness and anticipation for the future, my family bid adieu to cable television. This morning while drinking my cup of English Breakfast tea, I remembered what we had done; we stripped our family of entertainment leaving us with no other choice than to engage with each other, or to get hooked up with Netflix asap. What were we thinking? Had we temporarily gone crazy? Did we actually believe that we would be satisfied with a life filled with conversation, puzzles, books, music, and possibly friendship? We had just discovered Episodes, a delightful new show on Showtime with Matt LeBlanc and two charming English main character (sorry, I forgot their names). Well, so much for that new love. And what happens in the summer when the new season of Weeds begins? Will we have to wait for the season to finish before we can access it on Netflix? Okay,  I am starting to get nervous.

I must say that there is something quite sweet and rather empowering about renting movies once again. Once we got cable we stopped thinking for ourselves and started letting ATT Uverse make our decisions for us. It may have appeared as though we had choices, perhaps many choices as to what to watch, but they weren't our choices, they were Uverse choices. Although I may be going through withdrawal, I am also excited about taking some power back over our television viewing, and the possibility of having a life outside of watching cable.I usually only watched about an hour or two a day, however, I was comforted in knowing that it was there. It brought me comfort to know that if ever I were lonely or feeling empty I could turn on the little box and the voices would come to soothe me.

I would like to close by thanking my cable box, which will soon be sent back to its rightful owner, for bringing so many wonderful images into my life over the course of the past year. Thank you for standing by my side and bringing entertainment into my life during good times and bad. You never questioned or doubted my decisions or my competence, you just kept playing movies twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week as long as the bill was paid on time. I miss you already. I'll try to write. Adieu.