Lisa Manifold

Writing From the Top of the Street

Tag: growing up

Post Turkey Day Reflections

This is not going to be my usual type of post. I want to talk about barriers. Hang on. This is a long one.

When we get older, we are imbued with fear. Well, I have been. I think it just happens. I was fearless when I was younger. My attitude was, ‘Well, why not?’ This applied to what I could do, couldn’t do, wanted to try, thought I might like, everything. The world was my oyster.

As I got older, I learned more of life. We all know how that goes. It shows you, first gently, and then with a hard bitch slap, that everyone has limitations. Or at least, Life wants you to think that way.

For someone who was only limited by what I felt were limits (and I just didn’t have any when I was younger, because I was convinced of my own fabulousness and ability to conquer whatever Life or anyone else put in my way) learning that someone or something else set limits and would let you hit up against them hard was an ugly revelation. I stumbled, then fell. Having done so spectacularly, I became cautious. Perhaps even fearfully so. I don’t know. I look back, and see where my fearful caution held me back. I think, Why? I know it seemed important at the time.

Living in any sort of state inspired by fear is an awful thing. You do it long enough, you don’t even notice it. It’s always there, part of the landscape.

fear of failure

I’m 45 now, and letting go of some of the fear. Why? Because I like me, and getting to this point has been a journey from that younger me who loved herself, and felt no fear. So fuck it. I like me. I’m not backing down or apologizing for that. Not anymore.

But an adulthood of fear of some sort or another is a hard habit to kick. That hit home with me this past weekend. I just started skiing again in the past several years with the family after…oh…twenty years since my last foray into trying to ski.

What I’ve learned is that I am afraid. Of falling. Of breaking something. Of something I can’t even articulate. We planned to go out on Friday, when everyone else was fighting over a TV at Best Buy or some other Black Friday thing. Everyone got up late. No one made the push for going – and I finally did, even though I was dragging my feet.

So on the drive up, I mulled over why I dragged my feet. I hate the walk to the slopes. Getting the kids ready. All the circus-like atmosphere to get a family out for the day.

On the ride up, I forced myself to shift my attitude. It was a beautiful day. Sunny, and the wind wasn’t kicking. Since I ski near the Continental Divide, no wind and sun is a gift. (Note: It didn’t go over 20 degrees all day, but we weren’t cold. It was too sunny.)

You know what? Getting the kids suited up and ready wasn’t as bad. My boots fit amazingly this year, so the trek to the lift wasn’t so bad. No whining from the aforementioned kids. It was nice.

On to the lift we go. First run down, and it’s not so bad. Little icy, which makes me nervous. Then I think, wait. Last year in spring snow I fell face first ass over teakettle, and I was fine. Thank god for helmets! So I fall. So what?

I spent that first run watching my kids and making sure I hadn’t forgotten everything. Then we go down the second time, and holy hell. It was better. I watched my kid (the one I was assigned to), and I leaned forward, and forced my shoulders to drop.

That run was fantastic. I got some speed, which I normally am not comfortable with. I’m always afraid I’ll lose control. One more aspect of the fear issue.

What’s so bad about losing control? Well, for me, and this will be different for everyone, when I lost control, I totally dropped my basket and my life went to hell. So I am negatively conditioned to hang onto control like my life depended on it.

Even to the point where I won’t go fast skiing. I changed that on Friday. I let go, and I went fast. Guess what? I didn’t lose control. When things got dicey, and I am sure they still will, I managed it.

I managed it. Take that, Fear.

docmeme

Which led, because my kids love the lift that takes an eternity, to more reflection. Look how much I enjoyed the day that wasn’t a full day, nor was it the most challenging day we’ve ever done. I had a fantastic day. I took more risks (no moguls or anything like that) than I usually do, and I did it skiing faster than I normally would.

Because what the hell? I’m not a crazy risk taker, but ANY step out of my normal is a risk for me.

And since then, I’ve had a weight lifted off me. Some of that weight is still there. I’ve spent too long keeping control and worrying and making sure that “something” doesn’t happen. My wariness and cautious nerves won’t ease up overnight.

But something left. And it’s not a bad thing. All because I took a deep breath, and said ‘What the hell?’ on the first day out of ski season.

So take a chance this week. It doesn’t have to be big, or even anything that someone other than you notices. It just has to be a chance for you. Bite your lip, take a deep breath, and just go for something. Something just for you.

Because that’s what this is all about. In our own way, we are all

gif-cats-fabulous-538389

Organization!!!!

I’ve been so busy with writing that not having a looming deadline has left me sort of at odds.

I’ve caught up on sleep. My house (see previous posts, LOL) is now clean. Organized…not so much.

I am one of those people who gets overwhelmed with trying to get organized. Lord, the paper piles in my clutter ‘Hot Spots’. Like many of us, I look at the clutter, and go, “Well, dang. What am I gonna do with this mess?” I consider where to start, and then get depressed just thinking about it, and go and watch a Jane Austen. I feel marginally better, because Hey, at least I considered it, right?

This means I have what my Dear Husband calls the Corner of Hell in our kitchen. It’s where paperwork goes to die. The kids have a Corner of Hell with their things – because I don’t insist on getting rid of stuff (my poor kiddos – I already see some pack ratting in them). I cannot even begin to discuss my closet and dressers. Yes, I have three dressers. They’re not all the same size – but one really doesn’t need three of them.

I was bemoaning this earlier in the year to some of the ladies in my Tuesday critique group. I think clutter is a universal language. Recently, one of the ladies shared what has become a solution for her.  It’s this.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KK0PICK/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title

The whole idea is to only keep things that bring you joy.

That idea is thrilling to me. One of the things I’ve struggled with over the years is that the act of acquisition is fun for me. Particularly if I can get it for a bargain. Lord-a-mercy, I love a bargain. For a long time, I didn’t bother to look and see if I NEEDED it. I paid attention to the fact that I wanted it, or thought I did. That meant I ended up with a lot of STUFF.

Home decor is a prime example of this. I have specific things I like to have in my home. I search them out, and the hunt is as fun as having them in the home. But I don’t have enough wall or display space for all the things I have. So I have begun to pare down my decor. It’s really HARD. I also bought two more display cases, but I’m not going to chastise myself over that. It organizes things, right? And with more space, it will allow for the things I have to be more readily enjoyed, right? LOL. I am actually moving one case down into my office, thus freeing up space for enjoyment in more places in the home.

I digress. Back to the book, and the premise behind it. Several of the ladies in my group have started working through their clutter hell based on this book. They report a high level of success so far. They also report that they feel better. Lighter.

I have company coming in two weeks. I want my house to show to the best advantage. So I am going to be employing the techniques listed in the book, and working through my areas of embarrassment.

I will keep you all updated on how it goes.

Late Night Rambles

What. A. Week.

Kids are back in school, thank god! and oh, how I miss them! Seriously, trying to keep to my writing schedule with the shorties around is going to take some work once summer hits. And it’s not like I toss them bread and scare them off with evil glares and fist shakings.  We do stuff. This spring break, we skied. Oh my lord, the best snow hit just in the last week… and I am on a deadline. I MUST find a way to get a day up there….ah. Ehem. Sorry. Got distracted.

Anyway, scheduling for summer is something that will take some consideration. Right now, we’re considering camps, LOL. Can I be squeal-ly mom for a moment? My oldest wants to take the week long sailing camp! I am so excited! He and I got out in October and had a wonderful afternoon, and we saw kids his age heading out and he was instantly intrigued. I am thrilled that at least one of my kiddos is going to (hopefully) love the water as much as I do. The younger one wants to do roller hockey. I’m totally in favor of it, as long as there’s a mouthpiece. And drama. Whatever they are interested in. We’re still searching for the thing they really love to do. I didn’t find mine until my twenties. So if they don’t, it’s fine.

Okay, enough with the distractions. I dumped quinoa on my work space this week. An entire bowl. And I was all pleased with myself because I was going to finish reading something and eat and be ready for a conference call. Ha ha! Not quite how it went down. But the quinoa is gone.

Here’s the baddie – I lost 7,000 words this week. I don’t know what happened – it’s like I didn’t even work that particular day. Nothing I worked on saved. And I saved throughout the day. I searched for the lost work, but no joy. It’s a bit alarming. On a positive note, I rewrote everything that I lost, and it was tighter, and had a better flow (like how I’m doing that?) and I moved myself into the next piece of Exciting Plot much more easily than I expected to. So that’s good.

My turn-it-in-or-you-get-banned date to Amazon is this Friday. I’m going to make it, and be in good shape, but Amazon is sending an email a day, and it makes me nervous. But I’m glad they send out the reminders. If I was still working outside the home, I’d need it.

Speaking of which, how did I get anything done when I was working? I am glued to a schedule now, and I don’t have to do anything other than shop, the errands, and some doctor appointments. All things I did when working. But I try and put in at least five hours a day on writing/writing related concerns, so I think I get edgy when I feel other non-writing things intrude on my work hours.

What else? Oh. I LURRRRVE my editor. She is a copy editor by trade, but as she reads the genre I’m writing, I asked for a reader POV. Her comments are hilarious. I scrolled through just the comments yesterday. At one point I was practically crying. And yet she swears she doesn’t like to write. But she’s so funny!

I joined another critique group. It has a different vibe than my original group – which is not bad. I really like it. It’s why I decided to keep going when they invited me to stay. I am so fortunate that I don’t have the words to express how fortunate I am. I have two groups of talented writers that I get to work with. I can tell you that even with the looming deadline this week, I’ll come home refreshed and stay up too late after each group. Because you leave there fizzling with ideas. It’s marvelous.

So I’m off. Just took a break because I can’t make my girl go where I want her to. I figured a break would be good for both of us. Maybe she’s a little less sulky. Maybe I am too.

writers block 2

Parental transitions

Like many of you, I’m a parent.  My kiddos are elementary school aged.  Thankfully, we’re beyond the kindergarten years.  They can tie their shoes, get themselves dressed, manage a lot.  Age appropriate things, but I am encouraging independence.

I didn’t always do that.  I did a large number of things for my kids because…why?  I don’t even know now.  I was – AM – somewhat of a control freak.  I like to do things my way, and get them done in a timely fashion. I don’t want people messing up my stuff – insert house, kitchen, laundry, whatever.  Even if I don’t like taking care of the chore, I like it done the way I like it.  Most of the time.  There are some things I do not care about.

But when it comes to my kids – I seem to care about a lot more than I ever thought.  Much to their and my dismay, LOL!

So last year, I went back to work outside the house.  I had worked from home prior.  It was very flexible, though, and my business partner and I always worked around our home schedules.  Then we found that our priorities had shifted, and dissolved our partnership.  All amiably.  She’s still my BFF.  (Tip – write a business plan and include in there how you plan to end the business.  How will assets be split, how will things be closed down.  Best advice we ever got, along with how to end a disagreement.  Ours was a coin toss.  My side was tails.)

So I stayed at home for a while, and then my spouse and I decided that we had plans for retirement that needed action now.  So I went back to work.  I’m glad that I have.  It’s afforded us a direction in life that we probably couldn’t have taken otherwise.  However, it has necessitated transitions.

The biggest one is as a parent.  As I said, my kids are much more independent than when we started our home business.  I’ve learned to step away from the cruise directing, as my family calls it.

Part of me misses it.  I worked a full day today, and had an event after work.  I didn’t get home until half an hour before the kids were going to bed.  Even though they weren’t totally interested, I made them come and sit with me, and snuggle, and tell me about their day.  I miss being the one who already knows how it went.  I worry that when they do stuff, they may do it wrong.  Or get hurt. Or have someone make fun of them. Or…or…or.  That list can go on forever, as my fellow parents know.

I always thought, when I was knee deep in stinky diapers, and multitudes of spit on clothes, and crying, and catching the wandering toddlers, that I couldn’t wait for them to get a little older.  It had to be easier, I thought.  I was right.  It is easier.

It’s also harder.  Letting your chicks venture out of the nest is scary.  I want to gather them to me and not let them go.  I know the world, and it’s not always the easiest or nicest place.

My kids are doing me proud.  They make mistakes, and when I see it happening, I nearly clench my fists to stop myself from jumping in to help.  I bite my tongue, and let things play out.  Kids get a great sense of achievement from navigating challenge on their own.  I have to remember that.

Some days, the mounds of diapers and spit on stuff was easier.  So go hug your kids a little extra tonight, while they’ll still let you.

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