…in other words, what I’d like to do to commemorate my last day here at the OK Corral. Since my adolescent gym teachers shamed me for my inability to tumble, therefore ripping that desire out of me for the rest of my days, here’s this instead.
The most popular question I get as I continue on this gaining health journey: what inspired you to want to lose weight in the first place? I don’t mind the question; to me, it’s natural that people want to know. And so I tell them: I was making very unhealthy choices in my life and it was beginning to affect my well-being. So I needed to make significant changes. Admittedly, however, there was another reason I was inspired: pure cosmetics.
Let’s be real about it: an enjoyable part of weight loss/health gain is how good you look in clothes. Sure, I’m still working on the whole not wearing baggy clothes thing (it’s all mental; we’ll talk about that in another post), but I can easily say that getting dressed has become far more enjoyable than it has been in the past. Of course, you know that beginning at age 30, my body and I became besties. I accepted this house in all its glory and that will never change, weight loss or not. But to dress it up in outfits I’m not used to wearing is certainly a treat. That said, I recently realized that even before I embarked on this journey, I had a lot of visual inspirations along the way; women that had transformed before my eyes and looked great and caught my attention. Seriously, I was stalking them on Pinterest and finally figured out why. Here are a few:
Can I tell you, first, how much I adore this actress? I saw her in Real Women have Curves and absolutely thought she was amazing (see it if you haven’t); to me, she was the heart of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (no shame; see it and you’ll agree that it’s a terrific movie); and come on, Ugly Betty. So, being a fan, I certainly noticed a few years ago that the chubby girl on Ugly Betty was chubby no more. She was sleek, elegant, more confident. I remember thinking that I wanted the same thing if I ever slimmed down: still looking entirely like myself, stylish, real. An inspiration, for sure.
Oh, Marsha. That hair that gives me life on a daily basis. Anyway. If you don’t know, Marsha is the other half of the soulful duo Floetry and an accomplished solo artist in her own right. Other than drooling over her gorgeous natural curls, what appealed to me was Marsha’s style. I loved how her style seemed to evolve along with her slim-down. Google her and see what I mean. Her sense of style is everything.
What I love about Jordin? She talked about her journey. She talked about loving Zumba (and I learned that she took classes with my instructors!), she talked about watching her portions, she discussed the joy of wearing a dress without a bone-crushing instrument holding her together underneath. (Tell us how you really feel, huh, Ms. Square Peg?) I loved her transparency. Each time I saw her photo or happened to read an article about Jordin, I remember noting how impressed I was by her openness. Went a long way with me.
Real Women. There no photos of these women. But to me, they’re far more important than the bold names listed above. Some are my friends. Some are strangers. And yet whether I’ve watched their journeys occur right in front of me or talked to them about it, I have been and continue to be inspired by them. There’s a woman here at the office who, for years, I’ve watched transform before my eyes. When I see her now, I marvel. There are friends who are dedicated and so forthcoming about their continuing journeys to better health. Wholly inspired by them, too, even more so.
So, my dears, if you’re currently on a journey, whatever it is, what’s your inspiration?
Yes, indeed. I’d like to happily announce that my second book, a collection of short fiction entitled The Loftiest Thing, has been officially published. *insert primal scream here*
Congratulations, you. Wow. You’ve been working on that thing for an eternity, haven’t you?
Admittedly, yes, some of the stories have been gestating for years. It feels awesome to share my art, first and foremost, but to finally see this goal realized after all this time is nothing short of amazing. Thank you.
So where can people get it?
See the following links: a paperback version and a digital version of the book can both be purchased through Amazon. The book is also published in hardcover, which is available through Lulu Publishing here. The links are also available in my “Writing” page right here on the blog.
Good, good. Will we see some of the fiction you shared on This Square Peg in the book?
Yes, you will.
Nice. Now: about this title. Tell us all about that.
Can I just say that I like this good mood you’re in?
Don’t ruin it. Answer my question about the title.
Sheesh. Spoke too soon, huh? Anyway, to answer your question, The Loftiest Thing comes from one of the stories in the book with the same title. In general, however, when we’re faced with choices in life about who we are are, what we deserve, and the nature of our relationships, the loftiest thing in life that we can choose, each and every time, is love. Love is the highest, most elevated thing any one of us can reach for and attain. So that theme/question runs throughout the book: when faced with which way to turn, will these characters choose the loftiest thing?
Interesting. So are these love stories?
If you’re thinking about love between families, for yourself, within relationships, between husbands and wives and mothers and daughters, then, yes, they are.
Oh. So not smoochy, smoochy stories, then?
But you said these stories are about love.
See my response two questions ago.
I want romance!
Then don’t buy my book, you weirdo.
Whew. Sorry about that. Lost my mind a bit. How many stories do you have in there?
Twelve. Plus an excerpt of my brand new novel, which I’m currently working on.
Will that take another five plus years?
You’re the worst. No. I intend on completing it sometime next year.
Yeah, we’ll see about that.
Back to normal, huh, Miss Moody?
You love it. But I am proud of you. You’ve been talking about this collection of new fiction since Raincoat for your Senses was published 5 years ago.
Why, thank you. Yes, this has been my baby for a while. It went through different incarnations, it went ignored for a while, but I think being inspired by fellow writers largely inspired me. I have the pleasure of having fellow artists in my life. Seeing their work ethic influenced me significantly. The little writer in my head stretched her fingers, cleared the cobwebs, and got to work.
Wonderful. So we’re really going full speed ahead with this “About your Author” feature, huh? This is like the 15th time.
Ok, exit stage left.
The plan to combine my favorite month with my favorite season by blogging every day? Check. Done and done.
What good times. Thanks for supporting my blogging efforts this month by reading and/or commenting and/or liking, thanks to those of you that joined me for the project, for those of you that decided to follow This Square Peg, for all of it. I certainly hope that I won’t disappear because we’re done with Blogtober, but I’m also extremely lazy and that’s what we lazy writers/bloggers/square pegs do. But even if I’m away from a day or two, resting my typing thumbs, take comfort that I’ll return soon enough. Kidding. (Or nah?) So I started blogging in 2008 because a former co-worker mentioned that my acute writer’s block would be forced to retreat if I wrote regularly. In her estimation, the creative part of my brain, filled with sad cobwebs at the time, would wake up if it saw that I was making an effort to simply write, even if my blogging wasn’t necessarily fiction or poetry. I took her advice and began my very first blog. She was right. It’s been an adventure ever since. I remain a very happy blogger, and Blogtober reminded me of that.
Thanks again. Team Blogtober! Yeah! (Um, there will be no Project Blogvember, in case you’re wondering. Feel free, though. All yours.)
Gone are the days when I would disdainfully glance at the clock on Labor Day, watching the morning and afternoon slowly wane into evening, into nighttime, into the last few hours before the following, dreaded day. Gone is the queasy feeling that would consume the entirety of my belly as soon as I opened my eyes on September 2, my mind immediately riddled with anxiety of the coming day/school schedules/lockers/teachers/what I would wear/etc.
Can I tell you how happy I am that I’m no longer school-aged? Can I tell you?? As much as I loved learning and education and all that, there was something indescribably vomitous about that first day of school, that second day of September. Even when I finally reached college, I would greet the first day of school with the typical queasiness and abundance of nerves, wondering just what the ensuing day would bring. It was anxiety at its worst. (Is there anxiety at its best?) That said, you can imagine my fists-in-air glee at the fact that I don’t have to deal with that madness anymore. Join me in a yay and an extended sigh of relief, won’t you?
So it’s no surprise that I’m quietly freaking out about this. You know I love her. Here’s why I’m happy with People’s choice this year:
1. Does my Lupita (because she’s mine, really) need a magazine to declare her beautiful? No, she doesn’t. But this is icing on the cake. Such sweet icing.
2. We’ve seen Halle, Beyoncé, etc., on People’s cover. This time I’m looking at a gorgeous African woman who’s wildly different from the “status quo” of beauty in our society at large. I feel like making her fufu and soup to celebrate. I.love.it.
3. Another highlight in her terrific year. It Girls come and go, but I genuinely can’t wait to see what happens for her next. Yes, I’m a fangirl and I don’t care.
4. Ah, look at that smile!
Excuse me while I pump a few fists in the air, won’t you?
I used to bristle when folks called me a late bloomer. (Those folks being my bestie, whom you’ll hear about often, and my mama, whom you’ll hear about often.) There was something condescending and juvenile about it, as if I hadn’t grown up yet.
The online definition I found for late bloomer is “a person whose talents or capabilities are not visible to others until later than usual.” I like that, don’t you? No juvenility or stunted growth to be found.
Nevertheless, my blooming was a bit different. It wasn’t that my talents and capabilities became visible to others at a later time. I can honestly say that the important people in my life have always been pretty communicative about things like writing and what I can do. Major cheerleader action, thankfully. But those talents and capabilities were never visible to me.
I didn’t buy it. I was waiting for the Carrie-like bucket of yuckness to fall when people gave me compliments. I thought my writing was sub-par, that my strengths weren’t strengths at all, another blip on the screen of life. Lack of self-esteem was certainly the culprit here, combined with a long-held belief that those cheerleaders had something sinister up their sleeves. (It’s usually the forcible harvesting of my kidneys. Don’t ask. I watch too much Law and Order.)
Things change, though.
Women who are not yet 30 and reading this, embrace what is coming. I bloomed at 30. Something happened that day. I woke up and began to fall in love with myself, my writing, my mind, my capabilities, my body. There’s always, always room for improvement. I accept that. But I blooooomed. And five years later, the process continues.