OK I’m a Nerd

Today I went to the newly renovated library in Westport. I had heard it was amazing, but I was not prepared for what I saw.

The main floor that used to house books was transformed into an open theater. It’s a beautiful space for community, the arts, creation, learning, and exploring.

I was moved to tears. I thought of my late dad, who loved the library. I felt his presence and something else powerful. Something almost magical.

“But where are the books?” I asked someone after realizing I didn’t see very many.

“Downstairs.”

I went down and browsed the stacks. I selected three books to take out. I was so happy. The library had been closed and I hadn’t been able to check out books for almost a month.

Maybe I’m a nerd, but happiness for me is walking out of the library with a stack of books piled high. I love the abundance. I can read what I like and return what I don’t.

Walking out, I remembered a time in my life when I was searching for moments of joy. Walking out of the library with my hands full of books was one of them. Today I relished the feeling once again.

Feeling the eternal in that new space and having new books to read felt so right. I had missed it.

“I’m a nerd,” I thought. “But who cares? I can be true to my joy. I love to read and I’m happy to have my library open.”

Afterwards I got a tour of the library. I couldn’t believe what’s offered: games to check out, computers to check out, rooms to reserve, a podcast room, a sound room, and a 3-D printer. It was incredible.

And I’m happy to have re-found a place that makes me so happy. And a new place to create community.

I can’t wait to go back.

Advertisements

Fear and Creativity

Ever wonder why when you start doing something new and exciting all of a sudden you get afraid?

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve started something enthusiastically and unabashedly, only to forget about it a short time later. Like I had amnesia.

When I went to set up my last web site, I found 3 other ones that I had already started and forgotten about. I couldn’t believe it. They were totally out of my memory bank. Didn’t even remember that I had started them. But I can now remember why I stopped them. Fear. Fear of what someone would think, fear of what someone had told me, fear of being stalked, fear, fear fear,…………..

I was reading “Big Magic” today, by Elizabeth Gilbert. Thank you, Willa for recommending it. It’s been fascinating. It’s a little book, but power packed.

According to “Liz,” fear and creativity come together. You can’t have one without the other. If you let fear stop you, you also lose creativity. I can tell you a bunch of places where I let fear stop me:

  • fear that I “really” couldn’t sing, had me stop singing
  • fear that I wasn’t “good enough” at my piano and flute had me stop playing
  • fear that I was put on make-up in high school in the school play because I sucked had me give up acting
  • fear that I shouldn’t write about my “real self” has had me stop and start three different blogs and web sites
  • fear that I would make the same mistake in picking a “man” has had me stop dating all together (is this creative, I don’t know, I’m throwing it in anyway since this is MY BLOG and I can do whatever I want)
  • fear that my poems of acknowledgement are only appreciated because they say wonderful things about the person I wrote them for has me not write other kinds of poems
  • ………

Do I need to continue?

But, as “Liz” says, if you just expect fear, tell it to come for the ride but it can’t drive the car, then you can still keep your creative juices rolling. It doesn’t have to stop you.

I’m excited because I am in the process of looking for an agent for my book. I realized today that I don’t really want to have to “kiss the ass” of potential agents. Fuck them. I don’t want to play their game. They are stuck in the existing paradigm. Who wants to sell out and join them…………..

What’s the real fear? That I won’t find one. That they will ALL reject me.

I decided to take a different tact. I AM going to play their game. I am going to come up with a compelling statement that makes them FIGHT over my book. I almost want to try these ideas out on you, but my FEAR is that you won’t like them or even steal them. So I won’t because FEAR is winning here.

Instead of being defensive, I am going to create excitement. What’s the worst case? They all say no and I self-publish.

And the best case? I find a great agent who sells me to a great publisher. Everyone believes in my story and it becomes a best-seller along with my next 25 books. Not because I’m a genius, as Liz says, but because I was open to the genius (or something like that). Why not go for it?

Instead of my “little dog, too,” it will be and my “big fear, too.”

Thanks for listening. Not sure this all went together but whatever. I’m not going to let FEAR stop me from pressing PUBLISH.

PS The play where I got put on make-up that ended my acting dream was The Wizard of Oz. And my best friend got the part of Dorothy as a sophomore!!!! Despite my personal embarrassment, I was very very proud of her. She was great!!! (In case you didn’t recognize the wicked witch saying “and your little dog, too.” I didn’t know if I had to explain that).

….Then I’ll Be Calm

“I’ve just felt so crazy lately. When I get my act together I’ll be calm,” I said.

The people on my web call just looked at me from their Hollywood Square boxes. “What?” I asked. “What am I missing?”

“When you get your act together, you’ll be dead,” one gentleman said.

“What?” I asked stunned.

“When that finally happens, it will be because you are dead. There’s nothing left to do.”

“Really?” I asked, still trying to take it in.

Everyone else on our call agreed. Like it was obvious. Wow!

“I’ve been feeling so anxious. Nervous. Uncomfortable.” I added.

“That’s because you are trying new things.”

“You mean, going out of my comfort zone?” I asked.

“Yes. If you only did what you knew, you’d be in a safe little box. Just doing what you already know. Does that sound like fun?” another person asked.

“No. But I never saw it that way. I kept thinking I shouldn’t be feeling so anxious. Like that means there’s something wrong with me. A therapist I went to 3 times wanted to medicate me because of it. Like it’s a problem to be fixed.”

“No. It’s normal when you are out of your box. It’s fine.”

“Holy shit. This is rearranging my molecules. Thank you so much for this conversation. I have a whole new world to explore. With my discomfort. Normally when I feel out of control and nervous, I want to run back into my little safety place. And not go forward. But if I lean into the discomfort, I can just keep going, knowing it’s normal and not because something’s wrong with me personally. Wow! This is so freeing.”

That conversation shed the light on something I had seen in California a month ago. I had taken on leaning into the discomfort then. It was fun and freeing. And then I forgot about it.

Instead of thinking I’m an idiot for forgetting, I can just say that this cut is deeper. It’s a great thing that I forgot so that I could have THIS conversation.

Because I seriously thought that one day I would be organized and comfortable and at peace. I’ve been waiting for that day and so FRUSTRATED that it hasn’t happened. Because then I’d be like I’m supposed to be – FINALLY. Calm and organized and not scattered and frenetic and ………CRAZY.

Because I had crazy as bad. I forgot that I’m GOOD CRAZY!!!!! A crazy genius my phone tells me at 6:45 and 7:00 AM every morning. I stopped paying attention to my structural way of reminding myself. And started thinking that crazy is bad AGAIN.

How funny it all is. Being human is so damn interesting.

Thanks for listening.

I Thought It Would Stop One Day

I’ve started about five blogs this week but never finished or posted them….

I’ve been feeling crazy, overwhelmed, anxious, not present…..and frustrated, annoyed, and irritated with myself for feeling that way. And the pressure in my head was unbearable.

My son was trying to help me “not suffer.”

My ex was trying to “give me some relief.”

I was looking for reasons “why I was this way in the hopes of figuring out how I could NOT be this way.”

When I was on the phone with my mom, I REALLY felt it all – I was impatient, annoyed, frustrated and irritated. I couldn’t stand myself. I had to get off the phone.

“I’ve got to take a shower,” I said. “I’ll talk to you later.” It was the middle of the day but I was hot and bothered with myself and thought I could rinse it all away.

After my shower I called her back.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’ve been this way all week. I can’t figure it out.” I started telling her why I thought I was……………..

“Well, I’ve known you for a long time,” she said, chuckling. “I just know this is how you get sometimes. You’ve always been this way.”

I started laughing. “Really? That’s pretty funny. I keep waiting for it to stop. I keep waiting to be fixed of this. I guess if I just accepted it, it might not last as long or be so stressful. The worst part is thinking it’s shameful, wrong and makes me someone that people try to fix. I really hate that part most of all. I guess if I’m trying to fix it, somehow other’s want to “help me, too.” It’s not fun.”

I took a breath. I felt calm for the first time in weeks. I was relaxed. I could just be how I was. The pressure in my head had disappeared.

The sad/funny part is that I think I’ve realized all this before. Not to this extent or about this particular thing, but when I’ve gotten other ways I don’t like. That all I have to do is accept myself however I am. No matter what.

It’s so great when I remember that.

And then I forget it.

And now I remembered it again.

I guess it’s all fine. Just another day in the neighborhood. Ho hum!!!!

Well, it’s time to go to bed. Have a great sleep!!!

Party Day!!

Why is having a party so freaking stressful?

For the last few weeks I’ve been a crazy nut case!

Not present.

Worrying about what else I need!

Going to the store at the last minute to buy more.

I don’t know what the fuck that is, but it’s a major adrenaline, head pounding, frenzied way to spend the day. IT’S STRESSFUL AND PHYSICALLY UNCOMFORTABLE!!!

And this is a party. I will be surrounded by people I love, who are coming to celebrate me, cooking for me, doing something nice for me!! Just like I asked. I’ve created the birthday I’ve always wanted. Why aren’t I celebrating instead of being so freaking stressed out?

I think, rather than get present to how great everything is, I get busy. Stay in my head. Worry.

Because if I really could get that people like and love me, I don’t know if I could handle it. It goes against my story, my identity, my bullshit.

What would I do?

Relax? Enjoy my life? Be my possibility of connection and peace? Wow!! What a freaking concept!

I could have fun today. I could let the whatever it is fall (can’t think of the word right now) and just enjoy people and this beautiful day. [I just googled it on my second pass through – let the CHIPS fall!!!!]

I think another of my things is to stay busy so I don’t have to think.

It’s exhausting!!

So, thanks for this. People will start coming to help in a half hour. I think it’s time to get ready!!!

Then, I’ll enjoy the day. I’ll ask for help putting up my beautiful balloons and decorations and whatever else I need. And accept people contributing to me.

I’m 60. Wow!! And so far, it’s a fun decade. Lots of growth opportunities. Lots of love. Lots of creating life to look forward to.

Thanks for listening. I wish ya’all could come.

Oh – here’s a birthday wish. I’m not sure if I asked you before. If you like this, share your favorite blog entry with at least one person. Let’s see if we can spread the creative word……..

Love you………….

Back Up Plan Required

I had been counting on my two veteran agents putting in a certain amount of premium this quarter. I have known what the rest of the team needs to do for me to hit FAME (an AFLAC achievement for people in my position).

Up until this week I was very confident.

Unfortunately, in our business, planned sales do not always materialize. It is a mistake to count on anything. Today, I found out that one of my agents had a cancellation to the tune of $15,000 and my confidence has been replaced with STRESS and PANIC.

That means, for me to hit my numbers, I have to make it up with the rest of the team. One is not picking up her phone, another has a second job she is working, and the rest are busy with their own stuff. No one is responding.

The good news is that I know ahead of time. I have hit my FAME bonus 15 out of the last 16 quarters. I can do this. The one that I missed was when I was counting on this same agent and didn’t have a backup plan when she got sick and then went to her vacation home in December. It wasn’t a happy time. But I learned my lesson. Don’t count on anyone and do what you have to do.

The bad news is that I am panicking because I don’t know where the rest of the business will come from and there are only two weeks to go after today.

Today we are sitting at a client and literally no one is coming to see us. It is a slow and painful way to spend 8 hours. Every time the door opens we get excited, but it’s just someone going through this room to the ladies room. A real tease.

What can I do? I can reach out again to my agents, get in touch with my clients, and see how many last minute meetings we can set up. I refuse to miss this. Too much money is at stake.

I am visualizing success. And, having faith.

(And freaking out when I forget the two prior sentences.)

I am uncomfortable when I don’t have a plan. So I will make one even if it ends up changing. The not knowing is very difficult for me today and I don’t want to spend the weekend in a state of flux.

Gotta go make my plan. Thanks for listening.

Trying to Think of Everything

This morning I woke up in my usual state – panicked and stressed.

What the fuck? I asked myself. The day hasn’t even started.

“I’m trying to think of everything” I realized. “Everything that could go wrong, everything I need to do,….

It’s so that I won’t have to get upset if I forget something, get something wrong, people don’t know something the way I think they should, things aren’t the way I want them to be, etc. Cause when something like that happens, I’m a goner.

I am right, victimized, I knew I couldn’t have what I wanted, I knew I couldn’t count on anybody, ………the whole 9 yards.

This party on Saturday has been kicking this mechanism into HIGH GEAR.

My son and ex have been working on this party. In my mind, I can’t have it the way I want, they’re not listening to me, they keep telling me not to suffer, la dee la dee dah…………..I’m already upset and the party hasn’t even happened yet.

Yesterday I realized something. They are trying to do something nice for me. They are working hard and trying to make me feel happy and special.

So then what is my fucking problem? Why can’t I just accept that they are doing something nice, stop trying to control things, and stop thinking it’s going to be a disaster?

Good question.

Maybe because I’ve been trying to ask for what I want. It’s new for me. And I’ve been thinking it’s not working. Wanting to be right about how I can’t.

But if I really stop and look, I think I’m wrong:

  • Yesterday was a stressful day of miscommunications. My daughter was supposed to be helping me with the decorations. I trust her design and aesthetic skills WAY more than mine, and I REALLY wanted her input. At 5:00 PM, we had not connected and she was on the road to go home. I was, of course, victimized.
  • I thought about it. I’m just disappointed. I don’t have to go down the tubes.
  • I called her: “I was looking forward to seeing you and for you to help me make the place look good.”
  • She stopped at my house on her way home and we went to the party store together. We had a ball.
  • We got bright pink “60” napkins, with a black and gold accent. Pink plates, bowls, and assorted decorations, with some black and gold accent items. I love it. It cost more than I thought, but as she said, “how many times will you turn 60?” I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do it myself.
  • It almost got ugly when she was in her car ready to leave. “I would rather have left earlier. I don’t like to drive the New Hampshire roads in the dark.”
  • I got defensive and sarcastic. Then I stopped, realizing she was just like me. She had a preference and she was just venting. She wasn’t saying she was sorry she helped me, she was simply acknowledging how she felt about driving so late.
  • I was really happy that she stayed and I told her so many times.

Then there’s the men. Busy doing their own thing. Not including me in the decisions. Just doing what THEY want to do.

My son told me that men want to think they don’t need help. So the fact that they aren’t including me is part of that. Also, they didn’t want me to HAVE to hire someone to help clean and organize. It made them think I didn’t trust them.

I kind of don’t trust them to clean, and I told my son that. Why not hire someone to do that? Why set myself up for an upset? Why not take the pressure off of them?

We talked it through. I hugged him and told him I was the luckiest mother in the whole world to have a son like him. And even my ex, who I often want to complain about, is doing a really great thing for me.

It’s hard for me to accept. But I will.

And instead of waiting to be disappointed and expecting a disaster this Saturday, I am feeling blessed to have people who are working so hard to do something nice for me. I think it’s the first time I have allowed myself to feel that way.

And it’s wonderful. Thanks for listening. Gotta go get my roots dyed so I look gorgeous for my party – SEXY SIXTY!!!!!! MY NEW MOTTO!!!!!