“when you gonna make up your mind?”

nora

Confession: I lost a bit of myself in 2017.

I think it happens to every woman. Here and there, pieces of who we are, good pieces, at that, begin to crumble at our feet. The sources of that quiet, subtle destruction are many. Discouragement, lack of confidence, heartbreak, loss, pain, unhappiness–so, so many things. Womanhood is hard. If you’re a woman, you know what I’m talking about. We struggle. We weep. We bleed. Of course, this is the human experience, isn’t it? Every human being endures. Every human being has to fight to hold on. Sometimes I do wonder if there seems to be an extra layer of things to fight for when you’re a woman. Maybe our emotions get the best of us. Maybe it’s biological. I don’t know.

2017 was an interesting year of womanhood for me. Instead of going into the specifics of that journey and all the things I experienced, I want to talk about what I learned and continue to learn from those experiences, as we’re only weeks into 2018 and a new year doesn’t necessarily mean a ton of changes have been irrevocably made. Here are three things I now know for sure.

Protect your heart. A friend once gave me this piece of advice. The heart has many chambers, he said. Know which ones to open and which ones to keep closed.  It’s important to protect both your heart and the energy around it. Because people are powerful. Sometimes we open a chamber without really wanting to, only because we’ve been stupefied and transfixed into action. Know the people around you. Resist them if you need to. Let them in only if they deserve to be there. (I don’t diminish the excitement that comes from meeting someone who seems like they’ll be good for your heart. Maybe they are. Maybe not. Exercise caution.) There were times in 2017 that I didn’t listen to my intuition. That I forced feelings that, deep down, weren’t there. It’s all related to the heart. Protect it however you can. It doesn’t need a suit of armor, but it needs a lock and key.

Protect your ‘no.’ One of the most brilliant, thought-provoking statements I’ve ever heard is the following: No is a complete sentence. It fell by the wayside for me a bit in 2017, this ability to say no and mean it and allow that to be a viable answer. Sometimes I said yes when I didn’t want to. Sometimes I found myself qualifying my no. I’m getting back to protecting my adult right to choose if I’m going to do something or not. You may be accused of not wanting to try new things, of being scared, of not being open-minded. Sure. But determine those things for yourself, dear reader. I’m all for suggestions, but I’m also all for honoring the rights of others, myself included.

Protect your you. Ever mess up royally, just full of mistakes, and then start to call your own self every objectionable thing in the book? It’s intense. It’s not beating yourself up. It’s beating yourself up and then some. You become every villain, every ounce of ineptitude, every horrible thing. Look. 2017 was hard, you guys. I found myself going about 600 paces back when it came to my personal insistence on building myself up. It was very much the opposite: there were times when I verbally and mentally pushed myself so far down…it was just incredible. Protect your you. It’s a bit trite and treacly to say, but I’m saying it anyway: the value you bring to anything is immeasurable. Even if something implodes, you were part of it. Just whatever you do, especially as a woman: hold on to your value. There are things other say, and then there’s what you say about yourself. Protect that power.

I’m continuing to take 2018 one day at a time. Let’s hope there aren’t too many pieces of me left on the ground as I make my way. You, too.

tori

[The post title is a lyric from Tori Amos’ amazing song, Winter. All about growing up, choices, leaving the fairy tales behind. Appropriate for our discussion, no?]

Blogvember #22: Choices.(Mission Possible)

This was the photo I used for the back of my recent work of fiction, The Loftiest Thing. I love this photo. For one thing, the trees in the background absolutely fit the title’s theme, which was also one of the stories in the book. Secondly, I think my photographer (who also happens to be a good, longtime friend) captured the joy I felt at having accomplished this latest creative project. The natural lighting, the setting: parfait. 

My third book is on the horizon. Can we pause to celebrate this?


A part of me wants to keep that photo for the back cover. The other part of me wants to change it up. Just because change is always refreshing, and I think this third book represents some of the changes I’ve made with how I want to present my art. Below are the three photos I’m considering. 


Your mission, if you choose to accept it (and why wouldn’t you? You love me, right?): what say you? Pick the photo you like the most and tell me your option in the comments. I’m partial to all three of them, so I’m no help. The most-picked will win and I’ll make it my back photo. 

Happy choosing on my behalf…

30 Days.

Recall our discussion about comfort zones and the changes looming in my life. Well, hear ye, hear ye…

I’m moving!

After nearly 30 years of living in Somewheres, VA, in 30 days, I will beadventure moving to the Dallas, Texas area. Since revealing this news to my family and friends, I’ve received responses that range from shock to support/glee/excitement to downright confusion. Here are a few of the most popular questions I’ve gotten, followed by my responses.

Why in the world are you moving?
Because I’m a human being, an adult, a grown woman, and I have the right to vacate my premises.

I’m so happy for you! What inspired your decision?
Thank you. Honestly, I’m ready for a change in my life. It really helps that the area I’m headed to is affordable and has a great cost of living, as well as an abundance of jobs. Also, I have personal goals that I’d like to see through and I think being in a less expensive area may assist me in those endeavors.

But why Texas? It’s like the Wild West down there.
Well, no, it’s not. It’s different from the metropolitan area we live in, sure. But I fell in love with the area when I visited and always had in the back of my mind to move there one day. I think it’s beautiful there and we’ll see what life will be like for me.

Won’t you miss your family?
Of course I will. I love my family to pieces and pieces. But I’m also pretty excited about this new, impending chapter in my life. For the first time, the idea of moving away isn’t causing the butterflies that permanently reside in my belly to implode. I’m actually OK with this choice, and my family has been nothing but supportive. And if it stinks over there, I’m headed back home without fail.

Uh, do you have a job lined up?
No, I don’t. I’ll be starting the hunt when I get there.

You must have thousands of dollars saved up then.
*crickets*

How will you LIVE?
I’ll be staying with a friend temporarily while I look for work. Eventually, when work comes, I’ll get my own living arrangements.

I’m terrified for you. Have you seen the news lately?
I have. And, honestly, it gives me pause, too. Sadly, however, bad news isn’t relegated to one area of the nation or the world. I can only pray that I stay safe and make good decisions about the places I go and the people I see.

Do you have family down there?
No, but I have friends who are like family that live down there.

This is just really shocking.
It is. Change can always be shocking. And you always imagine–at least I do–that people will stay where they are forever.

We’ll miss you.
I can’t describe how I’ll miss my friends and family and will miss living in an area where I know the shortcuts to the shortcuts. I’m starting over and without a known tribe around me. But I’ll be ok.

Well, it was nice knowing you.

I’m not going to the moon. I’m just some states over. There’s FaceTime, Skype, social media, the phone, and this blog, which won’t change just because I’ve changed my address. If anything, my new life will be healthily updated right here on This Square Peg. It’ll be an entirely new story line of square pegness, actually, in this new area, so we’ll have a lot to talk about.

So, yeah. I’m moving. I’m moooooooving!

Have you moved before? Whether stateside or to another country? How did you adjust? Details, please, in the comments. 

The Wedding.

Like I said, I chose to be joyful.

On Saturday, two of my friends got married. It was a lovely wedding–sweet, simple, understated. I got to see good friends and family and dance these weak knees into lovely oblivion. And, if you’re wondering…

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Overall, I was happy. Inside this mind and heart, however, was a different, rather interesting scene. See, the thing is…back in the day, years and years ago (11 years, I think), I was massively infatuated with the groom. I mean, it was…it was acute. I was done the moment I met him. Let’s move on. Obviously, nothing became of it. My crushdom lasted for a good, long while, and then it departed, as all crushes do, to that place of resignation and acceptance of reality.

To see him marry his love wasn’t easy. To see how he had matured, to see the man he had become, to see him–quite difficult. Back then, all those years ago, I had imagined a similar day with him as a groom but with a different bride. (Guess who?) Nevertheless, I chose to be joyful, remember? So when the past would come creeping and knocking on my heart, I immediately detached myself. I focused on my yummy chicken dinner, my mom’s amazing performance on the dance floor, taking photos of my girls and the venue. I refused to allow the past to trump or to triumph. Did I succeed at being joyful the entire evening? I’ll say this. My intent was to go the whole evening avoiding the groom. Honestly. I didn’t even want to congratulate him. I wanted to hug and congratulate the bride and just be done with it. But that didn’t happen. The ole conscience wouldn’t allow it. I hugged and kissed her, and then, with a deep breath, I approached him and congratulated him. He kissed me on the cheek and thanked me for coming. I almost shed tears. Almost. But it was the past joining hands with the present–what else could I do but almost shed tears? Yet, I didn’t. I smiled and resumed my dancing.

All that said, all those moments aside, arming myself with joy helped. Going in with the self promise of having a good time and detaching myself from melancholy and memory helped. A glass of Verdi Spumante would have helped, too, but water was just fine. My point is that although my feelings for this individual had long dissipated and departed, I’m only human. It was important to walk through those doors with a determination to just enjoy myself. And that, I did.

It was a beautiful day.

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