Letting Go

November 18, 2017Inspiration

Last month at the Brattleboro Literary Festival a friend and I went to Joyce Maynard’s reading of her new book, The Best of Us: A Memoir.

I didn’t know much about Maynard with the exception that she had written for The New York Times,An 18-Year-Old Looks Back on Life”, during her first year at Yale. I also knew that essay inspired J. D. Salinger to correspond with her. After a series of letters, they met, and shortly thereafter she moved in with him. At the time, Salinger was 53.

At the reading, she mentioned At Home in the World: A Memoir and her relationship with J.D. Salinger. As much as I enjoyed reading The Catcher in the Rye, I don’t believe I would have liked Salinger. His comments—as if they were plucked from The Narcissist’s Handbook on How to be Cruel and Dismissive—were similar to what I was told by the men in my life.

Maynard’s relationship with Salinger only lasted about nine months. While vacationing in Daytona Beach, he told her to fly back to his house in Cornish, New Hampshire, to pack up her things, and be gone by the time he and his children returned.

It was a heavy blow for Maynard, but she managed to move on in spite of having Salinger on her mind and the desire to see him. After several years of not having any contact with Salinger, Maynard, who was writing At Home in the World at the time, decided to confront him on the eve of her forty-fourth birthday with the question, “What was my purpose in your life?”

His response was hostile; insulting her, saying she had an inflated notion of herself and her writing. He went on to tell her that her problem was that she loved the world too much, adding that he had known she would never amount to much. At the end, Maynard tells him good-bye and finally gets Jerry Salinger out of her system.

Critics and readers gutted Maynard for writing so openly about her relationship with Salinger, saying she didn’t respect his privacy. From my perspective, Maynard wrote with honesty. She finally was able to let go of a man who caused her more harm than good.

Maynard’s confrontation with Salinger inspired me to confront a former beau. Although I have no intention to travel cross-country and knock on his door as she did, I’m tempted to write a letter with the questions, “Why couldn’t you accept me as I was? Why did I have to change?”

While I mentally drafted the letter, I had an “aha” moment:  I didn’t care. His response no longer mattered because he didn’t matter.

At Home in the World helped me come to the realization that what men have said to me carries no weight and can’t hurt me. I’m free of the petty remarks and  I’ve finally let go because I have better things to do.

Hitting Reset

November 15, 2017Musings

I finally had to replace my reset button because I’ve hit it so many times this year that it broke.

I’m putting this out right now: 2017 hasn’t been the greatest. I  managed to get through it with a lot of angst that was triggered by the realization that I endured long-term emotional abuse. The good news is that I’ve learned coping techniques to keep my anxiety under control. The bad news is that one of my coping mechanisms is eating.

Yesterday, during a moment of restlessness and mad cravings to eat sweets, I broke down and made a pound cake. I then proceeded to eat half of it. That, in turn, induced a bout of fear—in essence that I am committing suicide by not eating healthy and paving the way to obesity and the comorbidities that accompany excess weight.

After my self-reprimands of potentially eating my way into an early grave, I decided to distract myself by looking at my Instagram feed. Of all the social media platforms, Instagram is my favorite. I get to look at gorgeous images, inspiring me to get back to drawing, crocheting, and taking photographs.

I follow several friends—from Facebook and in real life—but the individual who has recently caught my fancy is the Accidental Icon. Lyn Stander is a professor and quite the clothes horse. She recently posted about a reset in her life. Her words inspired me to get that damn button fixed.

Once I pushed reset, I wrote a necessary email, fixed up my messed up Statcounter app for this site, and reapplied for Amazon’s affiliate program. I also finished editing articles, wrote the email blast, and decided to attend a reading tonight at the library with a friend.

Do I feel better? Yes. Getting out of my own way always makes me feel like I’ve done something worthwhile. But there’s more I want to do, and that’s renovating this site. I’ve been wanting to turn it into a combination writing and lifestyle blog, but what stops me is the massive redesign. It’s a lot of work, but it needs a fresh look.

That being said, you might see different looks in the coming weeks as I experiment with different themes. In the meantime, I’ll be posting more often about writing, software, books, health and wellness, and those not-so-astute observations.

Organized and Productive

October 26, 2017Productivity

It’s been several months since I made any noise here. My silence had to do with being busy (good) but also dealing with the anxiety (bad).

The good news is that I seem to have the anxiety under control with exercise, meditation, not checking in with Dr. Google, and just accepting that when I get anxious to stop trying to analyze where it came from and why. In other words, get on with what I’m doing and not dwell on the angst.

Next month is National Novel Writing Month and I have my game plan down to spend the entire month reworking the dismal middle of Julius, and fine-tuning the ending. I am keeping my fingers crossed that by midnight on November 30th, I can officially say, “It’s done.”

To meet this goal of finally saying I’m done writing, reworking, and now I’m at the final edit, I need to be even more organized.

So what’s my game plan?

A little over a month ago, I recently decided to try a six week habit changing routine, which involved getting up earlier, exercising, meditating, and journaling before I start the day. I had some setbacks during week four, but I haven’t given up and now with NANOWRIMO in the horizon that will push me to reinforce these new habits, but also add new ones that will help me become more productive.

One of the tools I plan to use with dedication is the Planner Pad.  I’ve written often of how much I love planners. Unfortunately, I tend to abandon them after a couple of months and fall back on bad habits of jotting down tasks and appointments on stray pieces of paper.

The beauty of this planner is that it’s no nonsense. It’s for people who want to get all their tasks completed. If you like to doodle and get creative then you won’t be happy with it.

The concept behind the Planner Pad is simple. You write all your tasks that need to be completed by the entire week and funnel those down to each day of the week, and then block out time for each task. That’s it. Below is an example of my schedule for the week of October 30th.

As you can see, I color-coded my tasks and blocked out my tasks. The other page includes the rest of the week and two half columns for Notes/Calls and Expenses. The Planner Pad also includes three yearly calendars, a section to write your personal information, important names and phone numbers, and in the back pages for business and personal expenses, and blank ruled pages for notes. My only complaint with it is I wish the day started at 6:00 am and ended at 10:00 pm. Otherwise, I’m pretty satisfied with it.