Offering

I often look so hard

That I fail to see

Stars shining down

From the Heavens at me

As I await for opportunity

To knock at my door

I enjoy little that I have

As I am wanting more

Though I am broken

I hold onto faith

Beyond my humanness

Exists eternal grace

Beneath grace, waits love

Which bears all things

Even one who does not see

But whose soul still sings

This is my entry for One Shot Wednesday.

You Must Respect To Expect Respect

Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners. ~Laurence Sterne

Respect is an attitude. Respectful people are honest, considerate, responsible, polite, and tolerant. It is treating others with courtesy and dignity. Being respectful is having regards for others feelings. Respect is necessary for healthy relationships. One must be respectful of others in order to be respected. The golden rule applies here. “Do unto others as you would others do unto you.”

Respect is the cornerstone of integrity. It should be taught at home while children are young. They should be taught to respect not only themselves but their parents, siblings, other relatives, and friends. They should be sent to school with the view of respecting their teachers, people of authority, and their friends.

A lack of respect results in disgrace and hostility, so therefore; I feel respect should be given freely rather than earned. However, I think it should be taken away if someone doesn’t reciprocate respect or doesn’t measure up to the worthiness of being respected.

Knowledge will give you power, but character respect. ~Bruce Lee

I was raised to be a person of good moral value. I have always respected and trusted those I thought to be of good character. I don’t respect people because of their political power or celebrity status. Money or fame does not make someone deserving of respect. It is a matter of personal integrity. I will not hold them in high esteem because of those two things. If I were to meet them, I would be kind and expect to be treated the same. If they treated me in the same manner, I would feel they were deserving of respect.

I try to treat all people the same. I am respectful of all that I meet, and most are respectful in turn. There have been very few people I have met that I have immediately felt disrespected by and turned off. These have been people who are self-absorbed, think the world revolves around them, and expect everyone to do for them. I don’t mesh with that type. I don’t care how intelligent someone might be, if she/he has no respect for others I consider the intellect somewhat of a waste. I’d rather associate with a considerate person of lesser intelligence than a hateful scholar

Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts? ~Confucius

Society has recently thinned the line between political correctness and respect. People are afraid to tell jokes because someone somewhere is going to be offended…even though no one in particular is the target. It is the fact that it could possibly be about them because they “might” fit that profile. I am not speaking of smearing someone’s reputation. I am referring to innocent remarks people make on occasion.

Recently, I have noticed a total lack of respect in areas where people are claiming to be so open minded. The problem is that they are only respectful if your opinion is one that agrees with theirs. These same people take offense every time someone else makes a joke that has absolutely nothing to do with them. Yet, they can say anything they want and it’s ok for them to make jokes at their intended targets and no one is supposed to be offended. I think respect should definitely be a two-way street.

I think if we love ourselves and open ourselves to loving others and we are honest, courteous and understanding, we are living respectfully.

When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you. ~Lao Tzu

This is my Spin on “Respect” for Sprite’s Keeper.

These Feet Were Made For Hiking. Not!

No whiners allowed. Except me. Let me tell you…I often come up with these brilliant ideas that I live to regret. I decided that Dirt Man and I needed to start hiking every weekend in preparation for our Utah trip. I wanted to do a fifteen mile hike. We ended up going to a different state park and doing ten. There is a reason I am not in charge of planning, and it’s a good thing.

First of all, the front page of the trail map states : Virginia State parks are a tonic for the mind, body, and spirit. Mind and spirit maybe, but my body feels like somebody grabbed that tonic bottle and beat the heck out of me with it. They could have at least let me drink the tonic first!

It had probably been a good twenty years since the last time I had hiked First Landing State Park, and at least ten years since I’d biked it. What I did not remember was the incredibly beautiful Spanish moss. Spanish moss has no roots (has aerial roots) but grows out on trees by taking moisture out of the air.

We set off, and immediately, my shoulders started aching. Dirt Man removed some of the water bottles and put them in his pack. As we turned to go onto the trail we had planned to take we noticed a sign that said “Bridge closed”. Ya think? The bridge was almost completely gone. Well, I thought we would just change our plans and take the trail to the left. But no, Dirt Man brought it to my attention that the sign did not say trail closed, only bridge closed. So how did he think I was getting to the other side? Wade the creek? Or walk the plank so to speak? See those two narrow pieces of concrete? We all know my balance and coordination skills lack at best. Well, he made it across. I had no choice but follow. I made it safely. Keep in mind that we will have to cross this to come back…and that’s another story!

The swampy areas are loaded with Cypress trees. All of those knobs sticking up are called knees. The knees are projections sent from the roots to procure CO2 needed for the trees growth. This only happens to Cypress that grow in water.

Another interesting phenomenon we noticed was that many of the trees grew in a twisted or swirled fashion.. There were a few clusters that all of the trees turned all the way up. We saw this in the areas close to the water. I wonder if it was caused by the wind blowing from shore. Much of the trail meanders along some creeks that eventually run into the bay.

This tree had been struck by lightening. The scar ran from the base of the trunk to almost the very top.

This appeared to be a lone Cypress knee.

As long as we were near the water. The Spanish moss was everywhere.

This is a Live Oak dripping with Spanish moss. It is called a Live Oak rather than just an Oak because it keeps it’s leaves year round.

I’ve told you before that I am not a bird person. Thus meaning that I am not an avid bird watcher. I don’t look for them. However, it is an added bonus in seeing them and listening to their beautiful songs. We heard many wood pecker along the first part of the trail. This is the first Egret we saw.

If you look closely in this tree, you will see five Ospry. There are two larger ones in the top (maybe the parents), and three smaller younger ones a bit lower.

This is a Blue Heron we spotted. 

As we were nearing our halfway point, Dirt Man suggested that we go off the trail and up the main road a half a mile to a picnic area to eat lunch and take a rest. Then he spotted a trail that would surely take us there. We ended on trail that ended up being twice as far. The trail was rocky. We had been on a soft trail until then. I thought we’d never get there. Every part of my body started aching. We approached the park, and did not see any picnic tables…however, there were bathrooms and a place to refill our water bottles. He convinced me to walk to the other end of the parking lot where the boat lift was located. Their were no picnic tables, only one bench located in direct sunlight. I was ready to take off my backpack and beat him with it! Note to Dirt Man : P means parking not picnic area. For future reference, they use little symbols of picnic tables to designate a picnic area. He also told me there was a snack bar. Where the heck he got that idea I am afraid to ask. There was a soda machine. However, we did not have any money on us. It was locked in the truck five miles away. I seriously contemplated pimping his butt out for a ride home. I even thought about calling one of our kids to come pick me up. Instead, I ate lunch and rested. I did not think I was going to be able to lift my butt back up off that bench or move my feet. Dirt Man did spray me back down with Deep Woods before we started back on the trail. I had thought we were going to have a problem with mosquitoes, but I did not get the first bug bite. This little excursion in search of the picnic area and going on a different trail added over a mile to the hike and I was dying at that point.

We did not encounter many people while we were hiking. There were some other hikers and a few runners. I figure those people running must have been totally insane, and what I wouldn’t have given to be a crazy person many times throughout the day. The crazy people with stamina were the bicyclists, but they were not allowed on the trails we were on. We were close enough to the water that we passed by the obviously “happening” area. There was a strip of shoreline where all the boaters were anchored. Their music was blaring, grills stoking, and they were kicking back a few brews. I was so jealous it wasn’t funny. I did not want to be the hiker that still had five miles more to go!

Remember, I told you that we had to come back across this bridge to get to our truck? Let’s just say that after all of that hiking (begrudgingly trudging!) my coordination was even worse than at the beginning. See the last narrow beam of concrete? Yes, you guessed it. I fell off! It’s ok though. I landed on my feet! And at least it wasn’t the beam that was over the water! However, it shoved my toes to the front of my boots and jars my hips! I still had a mile and a half to go! I repeated my sister’s motto “one foot in front of the other”. I amazed myself with all the useless trivia that floated through my head as I tried not to concentrate on the pain of all my aching bones and muscles. I decided that my brain must be a hollow vessel that thoughts from one lala land float through to reach another lala land.

We finally reached a sign that said we had three tenths of a mile back to the road. I swear it was the longest three tenths of a mile I’ve ever traveled! But that only took us to the road. We then had to walk what seemed like another mile back to the parking lot. The asphalt rocked my body with every step. I truly thought I was going to die before we reached the truck. When we did reach the truck and I pulled off my backpack, I discovered that a bird had crapped on it. Actually, it had crapped down the back of my arm as well, but I was in too much pain to feel it. Dirt Man is hurting as much as I am which is really sad…I was counting on him to be able to save my butt if needed on our Utah trip. We learned we have a lot of training to prepare for our trip.

Finding Comfort In The Trials Of Life

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” ~Isaiah 43:2

This is my favorite Bible passage. While I do not claim to be a Bible scholar or an overly religious person as in the means of resting my faith in a religious institution, I do have a personal relationship with God and find comfort in certain verses.

This is a verse that soothes me. I can recite it in my mind whether I am lonely, uncomfortable, or downright burdened. I feel it offers constant protection. From what? The stresses of life. And yes, we all have stress.

I find comfort in water. It is an element that relieves tension from both my body and mind. Maybe, it is the idea of the water providing me with comfort, yet not overwhelming me. Maybe, it is more of knowing He is always with me. Maybe, it is a reminder of His presence.

I guess in this passage I view the fire as more threatening even though I know that water can be just as dangerous. I know fires can burn and waters can flood, drown, and devastate. But water is also refreshing and cleansing. And yes, I know fires heat, cook, and sterilize. And I’ve shared some wonderful moments in candlelight or over an open roaring campfire. But water rejuvenates. I guess I feel more like fires are trials and the waters are washing them away…and knowing regardless that He’s by my side to protect me.

I am also at home with a crisp wind in my face, climbing rocks, or digging in the dirt. I find comfort in all of the elements. I guess we can establish that I am a girl who feels at home in nature. (As long as I have Dirt Man near by for protection from the really wild things, like snakes, bears, and bobcats, out there!)

My goddaughter with her comforters, thumb and Puppy.

We do many things to comfort ourselves in life. These are often referred to as nervous habits with adults. Really they are no more than soothers or comforters, much like a pacifier given to a baby. Many children suck their thumbs or carry blankets or objects of affection. As adults we have similar habits but they come in the forms of thumb twiddling, teeth sucking, finger or foot tapping, hair twirling, and necklace and earring fingering. We find many ways to find solace in an often cruel world or in moments of particular distress.

Words have always been my comforter. Words soothe my soul along the same lines as water. It’s a world in which I feel I belong. Often words I have long forgotten will come back when needed. For example, the perfect words were delivered in the most critical time in my life. If I try to remember words, I usually can’t for the life of me, but when I need them they appear out of nowhere. Often the words that comfort me would not support the average person. Most people would consider Poe to be a morbid writer, including “Annabel Lee” which is my absolute favorite of all time. The cadence of “Annabel Lee” pacifies me from the inside out.

I leave you with this today.

ANNABELLE LEE
Author: Edgar Allan Poe
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love –
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me
Yes! that was the reason
(as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we
Of many far wiser than we
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In the sepulcher there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

 

Swinging The Gates Of Soul

“Love is the master key which opens the gates of happiness.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Somtimes, we open our gates and invite others in to visit. We let the gate creak back and forth. We don’t wish destruction upon ourselves, but we also don’t want to be isolated. We have a healthy sense of security. We are responsible gatekeepers.

Sometimes, we only let others step inside the gate for a glimpse. We are weary of how well others know us. We refuse to let them reach our hearts or souls. We guard them and only the select receive the key to pass through the corridors.

Sometimes, our gates are fortified. They’re tall and heavy. They come with instructions and warnings. Should others not heed our signs, our gates are  ready to swing shut and be bolted on a moment’s notice. Our gates are solid enough to protect what is inside and keep out intruders. We need to be careful not to suffocate ourselves by shutting out the world.

Sometimes, our defenses are down. Our gates are decrepit. People slide through. We might experience pain, disappointment, embarrassment, or anger; but we might also experience pleasure, satisfaction, pride, and joy. We’ll never know if we don’t take that chance.

Sometimes, we build a stronger gate than the actual structure. We even add a chain and lock. We’ve been hurt, cheated, or used. We won’t take any chances of being hurt again. We might miss out on growing and evolving. Life just might pass us by.

Sometimes, we leave the gate wide open to the experiences of life. We’re open for communication. We are open to truth. We are emotional and vulnerable. We love and let ourselved be loved. We truly live. Sometimes, we are a gateway to the rest of the world.

The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Segment Of Sometimes Series

Summer Storm Serenade

tree limbs hummed and strummed

a forgotten melody

while leaves jitterbugged to and fro

 ever fresh scent of reckoning

clouds clapped and tapped

begging for more

encore encore

a rumble and the sun hid behind

the power of clouds as

lightening zapped midair

and a chill prickled my arms

pitter patter splat splat

rain joined the symphony of wind

lightening struck a final chord

no encore tonight

dancers bowed and bid goodnight

drip drop the curtain fell

all drifted into the lull of dark

flowered and empowered

they slept til morn

This is my entry for One Stop Poetry.

Her Ever Last Nerve!

 

KPC prompt is “something overheard”.

As we were eating at a restaurant one Friday night, I could hear the conversation at the booth behind me. I am generally not one to eavesdrop, but the dynamics of the relationship caught my attention.

“She done get on my ever last nerve. That woman she has.” This was a statement of exasperation made by a woman about thirty-five, maybe forty, years old. I am guessing she was a healthcare worker, maybe a nurse’s aid, at a nursing home. I detected this by the colorful scrub top and white pants.

“Why she always so mean?” This was asked by the much older and frail woman sitting with her.

“I don’t know. She just be like that. But today I tell you she got on my ever last nerve!”

I surmised they were daughter and mother. The younger woman was concerned with the older woman’s health and pointing out the older woman’s favorite foods on the menu. It was clear that she knew the woman well and cared for her.

“Well, she always be like that? How about Mrs. (name inaudible)? She hateful like that?”

“No ma’am. She be nice as she can be. She pleased as punch ‘bout everything I do. But that other woman in that room, she done get on my ever last nerve everyday. Today she done did it though. My ever last nerve I tell you!”

“So, what she do?”

“She be complainin” ‘bout everything! She want the blinds open. Then she want ‘em closed. The food ain’t good enough. I can’t do nothin’ right for her. That old lady just be gettin’ on my ever last nerve!”

Most of the conversation continued this way. We were leaving the restaurant at the same time. I watched her help her mother to her feet and hold onto her elbow as they walked to the car. The older woman stopped and took a deep breath.

“Are you ok, Mama? Are you lightheaded? Is your stomach hurting?” Her concern was overwhelming.

“I just need to rest. My stomach feels a little funny.”

“Let me help you in the car. I’ll get you home in no time.”

I listened to this loving exchange between these two women, and I couldn’t help but think that the daughter was a caretaker in every sense of the word. She was caring and attentive. I have every reason to believe she is like that at work as well as home. I couldn’t help but wonder about this “old lady who got on her ever last nerve”. I wondered if this woman was lonely or in pain and took it out on those around her. I also wonder if she was just one of those negative people that tries to bring everyone around her down.

I hoped for the healthcare worker’s sake that the positive sunny patients far surpassed the number of negative ones. This woman had such a good disposition and soft heart, I hoped that the old woman didn’t push it to REALLY get on her “ever last nerve”.

I always say that if you have a negative person in your life, it’s better to keep your distance and not let them rub off on you. I have limited contact with joy suckers. Many of us have family members who suck the life right out of us, and we can’t really cut off family the way we drop friends. But what if our profession requires us to deal with them, what can we do? There is no use changing jobs or career paths because there are joy suckers everywhere in life. We can’t just hold our breath and wait for it to pass. Usually, our attitudes have little bearing on the attitudes of joy suckers. Maybe, we do have the choice of whether or not we will let them affect us negatively. Yeah right, I know that is much easier said than done. My Mama always said to just kill them with kindness.

Giving What It Takes

“In a world full of givers and takers, winners give what it takes!” -Author Unknown

It’s not up to the World to take care of you, but up to you to take care of the World.

These words are from my heart to my mouth. I strongly believe this. These words can pertain to many different areas of life from relationships, recycling and saving natural resources to taking responsibility.

I find I say and believe many things, but sometimes feel like a fraud. I say that I am tolerant, nonjudgmental, and compassionate. Yet, I find myself contradicting my beliefs and statements. While I feel that the system should be there to help those in need, I get angry at those who abuse “or tweak” the system.

I can usually let these things roll off my back. Then, I find out someone that I know is doing it, and I am no longer tolerant, nonjudgmental, or compassionate. When there is a name attached to the abuse, it makes it real, and I am less tolerant. Throw in a familiar face, and my judgment kicks in and compassion disappears. Maybe, I wouldn’t be quite as harsh if I didn’t know people who take from me and not only ask for more but expect it.

I am shocked to find the extent of benefits provided to some people; and often to people who are perfectly able to perform these tasks on their own. Every non-needing person who receives unnecessary benefits takes a way from someone who actually needs them. There are elderly and physically impaired people who need and deserve benefits and can not receive them due to freeloaders. There are people who expect the world to do everything for them. They are sponges. It amazes me how some people slip right through the radar and are magically eligible for services, while people in much dire need are denied. Maybe sly skills on the part of the recipient? Maybe lack of training for the person who decides these things? Maybe just a flawed system?

And again, I repeat….I do not have a problem with those in need receiving services. Nor do I have a difficulty in assisting those in need. I have a problem with people who are takers and manipulators and expect all to be given to them. These are people not thankful for what is given them, but want to know when their next handout will be. Don’t think these people do not exist because yes, they do. Otherwise, I would not be annoyed enough to be up on my soapbox.

“My father said there were two kinds of people in the world: givers and takers. The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better.” ~ Marlo Thomas

It seems that much of society can be categorized into two groups, the givers and the takers. The key is balance. It feels good to give your time, energy, money, or services when you know the recipient is grateful or that you fulfilled a need. I enjoy helping others, but I dislike being used or manipulated.

I have an elderly friend that I often help, and she is ever so grateful. It warms my heart to do for her because she is appreciative and doesn’t expect me to do these things. Sometimes, she wants to do something in return like cook for me. I have learned to be a gracious acceptor. Her ability to give back to me is contingent on how much she will allow me to do for her. When I deny her the opportunity, I see the hurt in her eyes. In allowing her to reciprocate the kindness, it puts us on an even playing field. I know that sounds silly, but often the elderly are too proud to accept help when needed unless they can do something in return. While I feel I have always had a certain amount of compassion in my heart, I am only beginning to see with it.

I used to think that people were born to be either givers or takers, but that really isn’t the case. I was born the youngest of six children; therefore, I was born a taker. Everyone did for me most of my childhood. Somewhere in life, I was shaped into a giver. I honestly can’t pinpoint when it happened. I am guessing that motherhood turned me into a nurturer. I am much more comfortable giving than receiving, but when it’s necessary for me to take, I will accept graciously.

If those of us who are able will be responsible enough to take care of our own little corner of the world, maybe we’ll all sleep a little better at night.

Givers have to set limits because takers rarely do. ~ Irma Kurtz Cosmopolitan Magazine, September 2003

Wake Up Little Suzi!

Sleeping is no mean art:  for its sake one must stay awake all day.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

There is no denying that I am a person who loves to sleep. That is until recently. I still love to sleep; it just doesn’t like mingling with me these days. It tries its best to evade me. It seems that the older I’ve gotten, the less sleep I need. I find this a shame as I miss my days of slumber.

I was always the first person to fall asleep at slumber parties. I used to also be the first one up as I used to be a morning person. That was once upon a time, that is. I remember those days of nodding off and trying my best to hold my eyes open. Now, this only happens if I sit down to watch a movie. Even if it’s a good movie, I am sure to fall asleep before the ending. Now, if I got up and went to bed, I’d lay there awake for hours just waiting for the Sandman to sprinkle me.

My husband used to work out of town at times, and I hated night when he was gone. I used to fear every creak I heard. I envisioned kidnappers, burglars, and rapists. I just knew someone was coming after the kids and me. When he was home, it was everything I could do to outlast the kids.

Somewhere through the years that started to change.  As my kids got older and turned into night owls, the nosey and worrisome mother in me came out with a vengeance. However, they got to sleep in the next morning. My body clock changed and I started waking up early. I hate it that my body doesn’t want to sleep in because my mind really does!

At one point I was only getting a few hours of sleep a night. I thought my insomnia was due to hormones or other some physical ailment. My doctor attributed it to being the mother of teenagers. Eventually, I forced myself to come to peace and let go of control.

Most days, I stay up until eleven, midnight or later. However, if I am over stimulated, my system shuts down. A rush of adrenaline used to make me giddy. Now, it completely exhausts me, mind, body, and soul. I never realized I had a party pooper reputation outside of my family unit about eight years ago. I recall that on a retreat I went on some of the women were planning a late night beach walk, and one of them remarked that I’d never be able to stay awake that late. I was highly offended. It was true; I fell asleep before they left!

Nothing cures insomnia like the realization that it’s time to get up.  ~Author Unknown

Recently Dirt Man had to be out of town for a few days. I could not sleep. This time it was not due to fear of anyone getting in the house. I just can’t sleep alone now. I need his warm body and to be able to throw my leg over him. Hey, who needs a body pillow? Besides, I even tried that, but it didn’t work. And the dog wasn’t having any of it…she likes the whole bed to herself! I watched the clock all night long, hour after hour. Of course, I fell asleep just before I had to get up! I thought of so many things to write about and they all disappeared with the ringing alarm.

If a man had as many ideas during the day as he does when he has insomnia, he’d make a fortune.  ~Griff Niblack

My brothers and sisters used to sing “Wake Up Little Suzie” to me when I’d drift off at inappropriate times or if they just wanted me to get up in the mornings. They’re so used to me falling asleep early, to this day they’re weary of calling me after nine at night, though I assure them that I am always up well past then. Every once in a while, Dirt Man belts this out to me as well. What can I say? I really want sleep to be my friend; I sure miss him!

Out Of The Box

Life is not a spectator sport; win, lose or draw, the game is in progress whether we want it to be or not. So go ahead, argue with the refs, change the rules, cheat a little, take a break and tend to your wounds. But play hard, play fast, play loose and free; play as if there’s no tomorrow… It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game, right? ~Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey on Grey’s Anatomy

 

They say that life should not be a spectator sport, but I am often more comfortable living that way. I’d rather watch and listen than get actively involved. Now, don’t go thinking I’m a hermit. I’m not. Well, sometimes maybe I am. But it’s not like I’m not friendly or don’t associate with others or have friends. By all means, I do. I just don’t mind and often prefer to be alone. I also don’t like trying new things. I find comfort in routines. I suppose one could call me a creature of habit.

As of lately, I have been trying to force myself to step outside the box. I am not saying that I am performing irresponsible tasks or being extremely risky. I am merely stepping outside my comfort zone. Mind you, there are many things that I find stressful , mostly because I lack confidence in those areas. I tried (and loved) kayaking. I am even scheduled to fly (which I abhor) to go on a trip in a few months. However, I think my biggest progress has been in putting myself out there in the writing world.

I took my first baby step (which felt like a giant leap!) a year and a half ago by joining a local writers group. I enjoy writing, but I often agonize over it. I never felt I had the talent to produce works that people would actually enjoy or even want to read. Eight months later I opened my blog. I joined a writing community…Yes, I dared to call myself a writer! I even participated in a workshop and am scheduled to attend a writers conference.

Two nights ago, I took it upon myself to try another writers group. It was interesting. It was more of a critique group. They took turns reading their work. I did NOT get up enough nerve to read anything. The majority of the group were sci-fi/fantasy writers which I do not read, write, or even know much about. There was a mystery writer and a horror writer. I was impressed with both of their work. One woman arrived late, and she appeared to be the most intersting one of the group, but she didn’t read. I left before the last one read. The time had been monopolized by a guy who apparently loved his own work and thought he knew how to rewrite everyone elses’. OUCH! Not sure if I want to go back and get mine ripped apart. It doesn’t appear that any of them write the same type of material as I write. I went to a memoir group the next night and no one showed up. Though I was not successful, at least I attempted to step out of my box two more times.

There’s more. I have sent a couple of submissions out and even entered a couple of competitions. I have gotten one submission reply, and my essay/creative nonfiction was accepted. I also received the dreaded notification that I was NOT the winner of a contest. But I didn’t let it get me down. I sent out another submission anyway. The problem with submissions is that they are time consuming, not to mention most places will not accept work published anywhere including a personal blog. Still, I am continuing to put myself out there. I’m sure it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for me it’s tremendous. I don’t take rejection well. I wallow in it and beat myself to smithereens. I realize that generally we are our own worst critics. I am trying to stifle my inner critic.

I have some bigger projects in the works, and only hope I can keep the confidence to follow them through. The problem is that when I start something I am really excited. The whole idea sounds great…then I get started. I start to lack inspiration and lose confidence. And I drop the ball. I am trying to refocus and not let that happen this time.

So, I am back to life being a spectator sport. Many would call writing a spectator sport. I look and listen. Doesn’t sound as if I am engaged. But yet I am. I am engaged on the page. I live it as I write it, as I struggle for perfection amongst the jumble of ideas and words. I fight with myself. I cry. I love. I fear. I laugh. I live. I write.