Renew perspective through my mom’s eyes

Last I finished typing the rough draft of my book.  i hit the work count button and was quite proud of the 90,000+ words that had poured from me.  This whole book has been not just a labor of love, to sound cliche, but also a challenge to myself.  I wanted to see if I had it within myself to finish writing a book.  I am a 50 hour (if not more) a week working mom who tries to fit in time for her friends.  There isn’t much free time.  It would have been really easy for me to get distracted from finishing it.  I finished writing it though.  I cried when I wrote “the end.”

Last night I started the arduous task of editing.  The oh-so-exciting part of writing.  I love reading.  I hate proofreading.  I made it through a few pages by the time my eyes got tired and my contacts started to feel like sandpaper.  I shut down the laptop, peeled the contacts from my eyes and went to bed.  That’s when self-doubt started setting in.

I’m a terribly insecure person.  The thought of people reading what I write scares the hell out of me.  The only reason I can do it here is because I have no idea who you are, reader.  I have nothing to lose, there is nothing at risk, by posting a short story or poem here for you to read.  My friends and family that know I took on this book writing goal, though, are a completely different story.  They are all soooooo excited to read my book.  They are looking forward to it’s completion as if it were the next Stephen King book.  So there is absolutely no pressure.  Can you hear the sarcasm?

I laid in bed last night fearing that everyone would hate my book.  I knew that it was terrible and amaturish.  I could hear everyone laughing and whispering as they struggled to make it past page 1.  I was ready to throw in the towel.  I was discouraging myself from completing the goal I had set back in June.  I posted a status on Facebook about my fear of what if . . .   Friends hurriedly commented back that I could finish it, they wanted to read it, blah blah blah.  Then my mom said this . . .

“So, quitting now is the “safe” way. Giving up is easy. Let the book die and no one can say “boy, that sucked… she has no writing talent”. Right??  You have to decide what you want your future to be like. Do you want it filled with self doubt and what-if’s and regret and remorse and all the negative self-recordingshaunting you forever… “see, I knew you wouldn’t follow through. You start projects and don’t finish them”. Or do you want your future filled with satisfaction, closure, confidence, pride. This isn’t about whether your book is a literary hit and people adore you and you make money and you can call yourself an author. Its about teaching your children to set goals and to do the work necessary to meet them. Its about finishing a project. Its about how you will feel about yourself later if you give up so close to being finished. Its about finally giving birth at the end of the 9 months. If your book sucks, if your writing & editing are amateurish your friends will still love you. Even if its great some people online that you’ve never met will say bad things about. Thats life – not everyone will say nice things about your work. But you will have followed your heart. Decide once and finally WHY you chose to start this project. Decide what your goal was. Is not publishing consistent with that goal? Can you live with this?  Its your baby – your choice. Your friends don’t care if your book is good. Your friends will judge that you did what felt right and that you were true to yourself. And your friends will respect that you trusted them.   To publish or not to publish, that is the question.  I love you either way. Follow Your Heart!!”

Mom always knows how to put my perspective back into place.  I have lived my life so far with no regrets.  I will allow myself to fail in my goal.  I will finish my book.  I will reach my goal.  I will do it not for money, or to make my friends happy, but for me. No regrets . . .

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Take The Chance (poem)

Willing to take the chance
Willing to risk being hurt
Your smile, your eyes, your laugh
Outweigh what protecting my heart is worth
From you I won’t hide
I will give you all I am
I will risk a broken heart
When I, to you, reach out my hand
I know there will be tears
There will be anger, we will fight
But I can’t give in to the fear of pain
When everything about you seems so right
We were brought together for a reason
A future yet to be seen
I will risk a broken heart
To find out why you were brought to me
Setting myself up for failure
A risk that is always in the cards
But to see your tender eyes on mine
Takes all the fear from my heart
I’m willing to take the chance
I’m willing to give you my heart to break
Because from what can hurt us come greatness
A risk, a possibility, a chance for you I’ll take

By:  Carrie Leigh
11.25.13

Temper tantrum to peace

Call me a sucker for punishment or just one to overreact but there is something to be said for having a good old fashioned melting down temper tantrum.

I have a tendency to keep everything bottled up inside.  I don’t want to dump my negativity on my friends.  I am the perky, smiley friend.  I’m the one who lifts them up when they are down.  Eventually though if a soda bottle is filled with enough pressure it explodes.  That’s what happened to me last night.  I went off.

After a rather ugly, passive-aggressive tantrum on Facebook Friday night that went unrecognized by the one it was aimed at I exploded last night.  Everything that had been building and growing came out in a fantastic flow of verbal volcanic lava.

It felt good!

I know that it would be healthier mentally to not let myself get to the point of explosion, and that is something I am constantly working on.  But think of all those times you’ve bitten your tongue and opted to be the bigger person in the situation.  It would have felt great to actually say what you wanted to, wouldn’t it have?  I felt like a weight had been lifted, like my pressure had been released, like I finally got the recipient to finally understand me.

I have a feeling that communication will be a lot better between that person and I, and I regret the emotional explosion that brought that around.  Sometimes, though, you just have to stomp your feet, scream, yell, curse, and empty yourself of the negativity building within you.  Otherwise it will eat you alive.  I was tired of being lunch for the negativity I was fostering within myself.

The Sunshine Blog Award

sunshine-award

It seems that my ramblings, poetry, and short stories have earned me a nomination for the Sunshine Blog Award.  Many thanks to Matthew Black for the nomination.  I don’t have a speech prepared or anything.  I’m a couple of days behind on this so please forgive me.  The way it works is I have to answer the questions given to me, tell you a few things about myself, create a few questions for the people I nominate, and then finally nominate a few people of my own.  What do you say we get this started . . . 

First, the interview . . .

1) Cats vs dogs?
I am absolutely a cat girl.  It’s not that I don’t like dogs.  It just that cats seem to share a similar “don’t care” attitude as me.
2) Favorite Harry Potter book?
I may be the ONLY person in the whole world who has never read any of the Harry Potter books.  Don’t laugh.  I’ve also never seen any of the Harry Potter movies.
3) Who is your favorite villain?
I adore Jules from Pulp Fiction.  Samuel L. Jackson played Jules perfectly.  He is just so bad ass, doesn’t take any crap from anyone, and completely owns every situation he is in.  Plus, he is just so darn quotable.  Jack Nicholson in The Shining would be a very  close 2nd for favorite.  Actually, now that I think about it . . . Jules and Jack might be tied for favorite.
4) What’s your least favorite book/movie that everyone else seems to love?
Wicked.  I have tried reading the book about 5 thousand times.  I just can not get into.  Then again, I am a purist when it comes to movies and books.  Sometimes a story just needs to be left alone.  Wizard Of Oz is one of those stories.  If L. Frank Baum had wanted that story told then he would have written it himself.
5) How are you doing?
I am feeling a little pessimistic today.  I had a bad day yesterday that still have me feeling a little out of sorts.  Thank you for asking.
6) Who is your favorite side-villain?
The Riddler to Two-Face in 1995’s Batman Forever.  It takes a strong and comfortable man to wear the bodysuit the way Jim Carrey did.  He rocked it!
7) Why do you blog?
When I was younger I was terribly introverted.  I didn’t know how to use my voice to express what I was feeling.  The thoughts were there, but they would get stuck.  I had to get them out somehow though.  I started to write.  I have since found my voice but still have a hard time fully expressing everything I want to say.  This outlet gives me a chance to do that and interact with other bloggers who share my love of writing.  As the only “writer” in my group of friends I sometimes feel like the weird one, the odd-girl-out.
8) Have you ever tried skiing?
No, I have not.  But I know that as soon as I did try it I would be on my butt.  I am so uncoordinated.
9) What Hogwarts house are you? I’m the only member in my family (besides Sirius) who made it into Gryffindor instead of Slytherin.
Refer to the answer to question #2.
10) Do you prefer 1st person POV or 3rd person POV?
I have always been more comfortable writing stories in the 3rd person, but my poetry generally is in 1st person.  My stories are fiction about characters.  My poetry is generally about me and my life.
11) What is your favorite Christmas Special (for any TV show)?
I settle in and watch the entire 24-Hours-Of-A-Christmas-Story marathon on TBS every year.

Now, 11 little nuggets about me . . . 

01.  I am only 4-feet, 10-inches tall.  If I were two-inches shorter I would be considered a Little Person.
02.  I am a d.j. on a radio station, but I have an intense fear of speaking in front of people.  I can’t do it.  I feel safe in my studio where nobody can see me.
03.  I have a crazy bad temper.  It’s gotten me into trouble on more than one occasion.
04.  My favorite color is purple.
05.  I cried at Elvis Presley’s grave the first time I went to Graceland.
06.  I want to be a Wal-Mart greeter when I am done with my radio career.
07.  Blogging is the only way I feel comfortable having people read what I write.  Raging insecurity.
08.  My feet are so small that I can buy shoes in the kids section of a shoe store.
09.  I love love love Christmas lights.  The twinklier and sparklier the better.  I turn into a 5-year-old whenever I see twinkly lights.
10.  I regret absolutely nothing I have done in my life.  That’s not to say that I don’t wish I had done some things different.  But everything I have done has made me the person that I am today, and I am pretty alright with the woman I am right now.
11.  I have O-C-D and my “magic number” is 3.
 
 
Moving forward to my nominations.  The envelope please . . . 
 
01.  Vic Briggs
02.  Will I Make It Or Not?
03.  I’ve Become My Parents
04.  Biblioklept
05.  For My Frog
 
 
And last but not least, my questions the nominees . . . 
01.  What is your favorite color?
02.  What was your first vehicle?
03.  What is your favorite way to pass the time when not writing?
04.  I’m stealing this question from my interview because I liked it so much . . . Why do you blog?
05.  What is your favorite song and why?
06.  How old were you when you had your first kiss?
07.  Do you enjoy your job?
08.  What is your fast-food weakness?
09.  Favorite cartoon character?
10.  Best childhood memory?
11.  Elvis Presley or The Beatles?
 
Until next time . . . 

Fix my broken heart

According to Wikipedia this is the definition of a broken heart:  A broken heart (or heartbreak) is a common metaphor for the intense emotional pain or suffering one feels after losing a loved one, whether through death, divorce, breakup, physical separation, betrayal, or romantic rejection.

That definition doesn’t quite do justice to what it feels like to have a broken heart, does it?  But how do you put into words the feelings of anger and betrayal?  The sadness and need to cry and cry until there is no pain left?  The rage and disappointment in the other person and in yourself?  Yes, disappointment in yourself.  If you had done something differently would things have still come out the same?

Did you know that the heart doesn’t actually have any nerves in it, so it does not actually feel pain.  But for not being able to feel any pain a broken heart hurts worse than just about anything in the world, doesn’t it?

Nobody likes having a broken heart, but it is something that we have all been through.  My very first broken heart was when my cat died when I was 7 years old.  My first romantic broken heart was when I was 14 and his name was Bill.  My world began and ended with him, like many girls with their first love.  I can look back now and smile when thinking of him, but when we broke up in junior high I thought my entire life was over.

We learn a lot of lessons as we get older and those lessons make getting through life easier . . . sometimes.  The one thing that never gets easier though is a broken heart.  It still feels like someone ripped your heart out of your chest, threw it on the floor and stomped all over it.  It still makes you feel small and inadequate, question who you are and your part in the relationship, angry and in need of a long, loud cry.

No amount of kind words from even the best of friends about how wonderful and kind you are make the broken heart hurt any less.  Sending angry texts vents the anger but it just comes right back as soon as you hit send.  You don’t want to troll their Facebook page or beg your phone to ring with a call from them . . . but there you sit, brokenhearted, trolling their Facebook and begging the phone to ring.

How do we heal a broken heart?  How do we stop the anger and tears?  How do we stop feeling so small?  When Bill and I broke up in junior high everybody said, “just give it time.”  I hate that phrase.  F**k time!  I want the hurt to stop now.  I don’t want to miss that person anymore.  I don’t want to sit here crying, knowing that the other person knows I am crying over them.  I don’t want to call or text and look pathetic and desperate.  I want to be happy again . . . but right now I hurt.

Right now I have a broken heart and I don’t know how to fix it.

Until next time . . .

Music to breathe

What is your favorite song?  Is it something fast or slow?  Something that you can pour your heart into when singing in the car, or something that makes you dance around your living room?

Why is it your favorite song?  Does it remind you of someone or something?  Does it make you happy whenever you hear it?  Does it help you get the house cleaning done?

Music is a huge part of my life.  I need music to function.  I have always been that way.  As a kid I was always listening to the radio and losing myself in the music.  The d.j.’s would always manage to play the songs that were perfect for my mood.  When I was a teenager and making mixtapes I would put hours of thought into the perfect songs and the order they needed to go into.  I was in ALL the bands at school . . . concert, jazz, pep, marching, pit orchestra.  Yes, I was the epitome of band geek.  I loved it.  Through my clarinet and saxophone I was exposed to music I may have never been interested in otherwise.  The first time I hear Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue and Pachelbel’s Canon In D I fell in love.

My dad was absent for many of my early years but when I was 9 years old he reappeared in my life.  Like so many children that are the product of a broken home I spent Saturdays with my dad.  He had no idea how to relate to a child so he did the only thing he knew.  He sat us down in his living room floor, turn on the turntable and pulled out the records.  Over the years, as I was growing up, that was the only way we could relate to each other.  We were always butting heads, but our love for music is what held us together.

My love, my need, for music has continued to this day.  No matter how I feel on any given day there is always a song that I turn to.  This morning I drove to work listening to Pearl Jam Radio on Sirius.  This afternoon, while working at my desk, I had Spotify playing in the background.  A co-worker joked that I was all over the place today because of the music coming from my computer speakers . . . Miranda Lambert, Linkin Park, Phantom Of The Opera, Korn, The Who, Pearl Jam, Leonard Cohen, Maroon 5, Rage Against The Machine.  Music says for me what I can’t always get out of my head and what I can’t always find the words to get down on paper.  When I am feeling down . . . Pearl Jam-Nothingman.  When I am feeling hopeful . . . The Who-Love, Reign O’er Me.  When I am feeling happy . . . Elvis Presley.  When I am angry . . . Linkin Park or Korn.

Despite my talkativeness and my love for writing I have a really hard time expressing myself.  I find it very difficult to put into words how I feel.  The words just get tied into knots and can’t find their way out of my mouth.  Music is my voice.  Music is my heart and soul.  Music is my breath.  Music is what can pull me down when I am too far up, and music is what can lift me back up when I can’t stop the tears.  I close my eyes and lose myself in the sweeping melodies, the driving guitar, the pounding drums and everything else disappears.

So, while I can not answer my own question about what my favorite song is, I can say that without music I would lose my voice, my heart, my soul.

Lost (poem)

I do not cry for who you were
But instead what you could have been
My tears fall for your lost hopes
For your unrealized dreams
Would you have been a doctor,
A fireman, mom or dad
Would you have been president or teacher
Or a soldier fighting all the bad
Will the world be different
Without your tomorrow
Will the world recover from your loss
And ever be able to get past our sorrow
You were so innocent and young
With so much life to still be lived
And in one horrible moment you were gone
Your bight future heartbreakingly dimmed
Were you scared when it happened
Did you scream and cry
Did you pray for divine protection
Di you go out with a fight
So many in the world didn’t know you
But mourn you with all our heart
You were part of the world’s future
And now it’s ripped apart
We will try to rebuild and move forward
We’ll try to continue to live
We’ll try not to see you everywhere
But will always mourn the lost kids
 
By:  Carrie Leigh
05.21.13
 
I wrote this after the tornado in Moore, OK in May, 2013.  I saw a story on the news about an elementary school that got hit while the children were still inside.  So many precious babies were lost.  I cried so hard as I imagined the heartbreak that those families had to suffer through.  I went home that night and hugged my son so tight.

Journey (poem)

The road I’ve traveled has taken me everywhere
The ups and downs, the love and hate
Searching and finding
In life’s journey of give and take
Everyone I’ve encountered left a piece with me
Adding to who I am
Some were beautiful, some mean and sad
Making up my heart, for the good and the bad
I have no regrets for the turns I’ve taken
You have to get lost to find your way
I’ve let go of the anger at those who tried to hurt me
Surviving you made me that much harder to break
I look back fondly on the hearts that were shared
In friendship and true love
Because of you I can give of myself
And have faith that I can rise above
My road has not been easy
But I’ve traveled it the best I could
I learned to take the bumps and curves
And to find the light out of the woods
 
By:  Carrie Leigh
05.17.13

Across the room (short story)

She saw him from across the room.  Her eyes, which had been merely scanning everyone, caught on him and couldn’t move.  She was captivated by him.  His warm and uninhibited smile.  His gentle eyes.  The comfort and ease with which he seemed to own the room.  She watched him throw his head back in laughter, so carefree.  His laughter rang like music in her ears, erasing the loneliness in her heart.  For so long she had lived her life alone.  She kept herself wrapped in a safe bubble that she didn’t allow anyone to breach.  But then she saw him.

She wanted to talk to him.  She wondered if his voice would make her heart race the same way his eyes did.  Then his eyes slowly slid to meet hers.  Every thought escaped her as she stood frozen by the intensity of his stare.  A smile curled his full lips.  She wondered if they were as soft as they looked and briefly imagined feeling them against hers.  She felt the blush rise in her cheeks.  Embarrassed, she cast her eyes tot the floor and turned to walk away.  She knew that he could see what she was thinking.

Throughout the rest of the night she found herself sneaking glimpses at him.  Every time her eyes moved toward him she was caught by his warm eyes and gentle smile.  She wondered what it would feel like to be wrapped in his arms, to lay her head against his chest.  She felt the heat rise in her cheeks again.  She wondered if he could see her desire for him, the beautiful and confident stranger, on her face.

She turned her back to him, hiding her face from him.  As she mentally scolded herself for allowing her attraction to be so apparent on her face she didn’t hear him come up behind her.  She nearly jumped out of her skin when she felt a hand on her arm.  She turned to look and it was him.  His beautiful brown eyes were holding hers and she wanted to fall into them.  He smiled at her and felt her bubble disappear.  She smiled back at him.  His hand slid down her arm to her hand and his fingers threaded through hers.  His hands were warm and strong and held hers confidently.  She felt safe.

She let him lead her to a table in the room.  He pulled out her chair for her so that she could sit.  He sat close to her, so close that their bodies were almost touching.  He introduced himself and his voice was just the way she imagined it.  They talked like nobody else was in the room, like they were the only people left in the world.  His eyes never left her and hers never left him.

When the evening was over and it came time to part ways he walked her to her car.  They made plans for dinner the next night and he opened his arms.  With no hesitation she allowed herself to be enveloped by his strong embrace.  Her head against his chest, his arms wrapped tightly around her.

Her heart felt at home.

My Pen (poem)

Heartbreak overflowing
A warm smile showing
New love growing
It all flows from my pen
Emotions into words
like a whisper barely heard
All the joy, sadness, hope and hurt,
It all flows from my pen
A timeline of my heart
Each sentence, an emotional part
of life, sometimes easy, sometimes hard
It all flows from my pen
All the tears held in
and the love there to give
Every smile and sin
It all flows from my pen
A journal to be read
As a highway to my head
Pieces of my heart, alive and dead,
It all flows from my pen
 
By:  Carrie Leigh
11.20.13