A year of transformation

This has been a hard year and I won’t be sad to see it go.

My sister died on March 29 at the age of 59 from complications related to her acquired brain injury and my mother died on April 25 at the age of 89 from complications from diabetes. Both were in long term care, so I wasn’t responsible for them day-to-day, but I did carry the emotional weight of helping them — my sister for the past 9 years and my mother for 4 years. I was tired and stressed and angry and resentful about the obligation. I was not a gracious caregiver a lot of the time, and I feel horrible about that. My family was very broken, very dysfunctional and filled with alcoholism, depression, and occasional violence. I did not grow up in a happy home, and to have the caregiving obligation weighing on my soul wasn’t good for me. I didn’t want it, but I also didn’t want to neglect the people who needed me. I shouldered the burden and buried my anger as much as I could until I erupted, spewing toxic emotions to my sweet husband who tried to make me feel better as best he could.

I grieved their deaths, saw a counselor for a few months, and started to feel good again. I was lighter emotionally, full of hope and joy. I finally had time just for me, without obligations to anyone else.

Now it was time for me to figure out what I wanted my life to look like.

My husband and I decided to move back to my home area, which is very surprising because I’ve griped about my home town for many years, but I want to snuggle into a life where I’m surrounded by people who love me. It was actually a very easy decision to make. Driving 3 hours each way to look at houses, listing our current house for sale, and getting ready to (hopefully) move has taken up most of my headspace these past few months. I haven’t worked on my fiction at all, but I’ll get there.

“Life’s too short to be miserable” has always been my mantra and I don’t want to waste any time doing things that aren’t meaningful to me. Next year will be a time for new beginnings, for joy, for peace of mind. I don’t make resolutions, but I like the idea of a theme word for the year and my word for 2020 is “meaning”. I will focus on creating a life that is meaningful for me, and this includes creativity, art, writing, helping others, beauty, and family because these are the things that make my heart soar. I have decided on a niche for my coaching business — which has been on hold for years — and I’ll be building this business from the ground up.

I recently purchased the rights to present the Life Purpose Boot Camp course created by Dr. Eric Maisel, which is based on his book by the same name, as well as his Deep Writing seminar, and I’ll be sharing this information through workshops and coaching. I can’t wait to get started!

I’ve been transformed this year, the proverbial Phoenix rising from the ashes. It’s been hard, of course, but I feel great.

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The Thing That Made You

I try to understand:

You grew up poor and the Depression shaped you, so all you had was what you didn’t have,

And you didn’t know how to get without taking.

How you thought life had failed you, leaving you with nothing but

Not enough hope to keep the bitterness from seeping out of your skin with

Yesterday’s alcohol.

How it clawed its way into your bones until all you were was anger,

And the thing that made you is what I need to forgive you for,

But can’t.

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This Is What You’ll Get

This is what you’ll get when you mess with us

Unmovable stubbornness no matter how hard you push

Turning away the more you grasp

Alone

Arms of branches, wisps of willow

Holding hope for a minute there

I lost myself back in time to when she needed me

Held me back held me dear

You can’t make her do anything she doesn’t want to do

I like to think she got that from me

It’s easy to see resemblance and imagine that’s all there is

Eyes

Bones

The shell of an ear

But more than just a body grows when it blooms inside the darkened spaces

Karma swims up in the soul tasting the salt

Of tears, red-faced and screaming until the miles stretch out and

Alone again

Pictures remind me of who she was when I knew her

I lost myself, I lost myself

This is what you’ll get when you mess with love

 

(With thanks to Radiohead)

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Destroy the Evidence

Last Saturday I went to a writing workshop in London, hosted by Brian Henry. During the workshop, we had 30 minutes to write a short story about a character named Stella, age 42. The theme  I chose was “destroy the evidence”. Here is what I wrote.

When Stella turned 40, her body fell apart. Now 42, she struggled with her weight, her hormones betraying her as she grew older. A ring of fat padded her around the middle, but she got good at finding clothes to disguise the weight.

Or she thought she had until Jason, her husband, slowly but surely stopped wanting to have sex with her.

“Come to the gym with me,” Jason always cajoled her, as he headed out the door looking slim and muscular in his Adidas shorts and T-shirt. “Or at least go for a walk, for God’s sake. All you do is sit on the couch and watch TV.”

But of course this aggressive encouragement didn’t help. It only reinforced how bad Stella felt about herself as her body grew softer month after month. Nagging didn’t help. Leaving fitness magazines next to the couch didn’t help. And filling the fridge with kale and red peppers and cucumber and beets certainly didn’t help.

Jason was a diligent juicer, concocting elaborate vegetable potions that gleamed almost phosphorescent green from all the kale. Fuck, she hated that stuff! Give her a caramel mocha frappuccino any day. “Mmm,” she hummed, imagining the hot, sweet drink as she choked down the glass of juice he had handed her.

“That’s it!” Jason said. “Doesn’t it taste wonderful?”

“Oh yes,” she lied.

She knew what she needed to do to lose weight. Eliminate sugar or whatever “they” were saying was the right way to eat this year. But screw it. She didn’t want to. Wasn’t she old enough, grown up enough, to do what she wanted? She was tired of having to look a certain way, to be skinny and attractive. She wanted to be known for more than her looks. Finally.

Stella had a secret bag of Chicago Mix popcorn open before Jason’s car had even left the driveway. She shovelled handfuls of the cheesy caramel sweet treat into her mouth as fast as she could, orange dust sticking to her fingers.

Chewing frantically, she pulled out a dish of President’s Choice Butter Chicken when the microwave dinged, and quickly scooped the sauce over the mound of white rice in the plastic tray. No sense dirtying up a plate. She would recycle the packaging later, and hide it beneath Jason’s empty cartons of quinoa and pea protein bars.

Stella froze when she heard the front door slam. Shit! What was he doing home already? She tossed the plastic tray and the cardboard box into the garbage and opened the patio doors, desperate to rid the house of the unmistakable scent of butter chicken. But he was too fast. Jason bounded into the kitchen and stopped when he saw her.

“Forgot my Fitbit,” he explained. “Sure you don’t want to come along? Last chance!”

Stella shoved her hands behind her back, certain he could see the lingering orange popcorn residue on each finger. “Nope, I’m good”, she said. “Have fun!”

 

 

 

 

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New article on Sparkpeople.com

Great news! I started writing again for Sparkpeople.com, a leading American health and fitness website.

My latest article is here: Motivational article

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Your story

I’m writing poetry again! It’s been years, but this one came to me in a rush. I love how productive poetry makes me feel–I can create something in only a short period of time. Someday I will tattoo this Isak Dinesen quotation on my wrist because it resonates with me.

Your story

Isak Dinesen said, “All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them.”

Is this an aphorism or a deeper truth? Say

He is lost in the map of his mind,

Drifting

Like leaves in November. Wet

With tears,

Gathering memories in his lungs to tell him who he was and still wants to be.

Each breath a gasping war between the body

And the soul,

The right thing can be the hardest.

Squeeze the hand and

Let go.

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Copywriting

Copywriting and Marketing

Source: Copywriting

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