Down the Rabbit Hole

Vamp RabbitI was in New Orleans this weekend and of course my imagination was lit on fire by all that surrounded me. The visuals, the smells, the sounds, the food… I was on a creative high the entire time.  One night, perusing the French Quarter, we happened upon this little art gallery and this picture caught my attention.

One look and YES, I had to have it.

My friend gave me a questioning, but supportive, look and asked “Are you going to get that?” in “that” tone. You know the tone when someone is trying to talk you out of something you may regret.  Like, “Are you sure jumping off that bridge is the right thing to do right now?” or “So… you wearing that?”  🙂

My answer was a resounding yes and I happily took, what I now call my “Bad Trip Rabbit”, out the door with me.

I connected with this pic for a couple of reasons, one I will NEVER own up to because it’s too embarrassing.  (And no, I will not tell you what it is no matter how many times you ask me.)

As a writer, I often find myself going down rabbit holes.  Occasionally it’s a good trip, and I come back no worse for the wear. These are the days when I actually find when I’m looking for on internet within 5 minutes or so without getting sucked into the net void, or  I’m able to perfectly channel my mood and  finish up that scene I’ve been grueling through, or I manage to magically pull together some random plot points with a genius that even astounds me.  Like I said, this happens only occasionally…. 😉

But most times, I take those bad trips down the rabbit hole.  Writers know the ones I’m talking about.   Like while researching, I come across one carrot and leads to another carrot, that leads to yet another carrot. And by the time I’m done (an hour or so later), I have no clue how I ended up where I ended up or what my initial reason for even starting the search was. Like that time I specifically went in search of the properties of amber and ended up on Jean Claude Van Damme’s Wikipedia page. Really, who does that?  And to be honest, Jean Claude’s page was probably the tamest end of one of my research trips.  I’ve seen stuff that simply cannot be unseen… (And no, please don’t ask.)

Or  I go down the rabbit hole and come back with dark information I was not expecting for a story or character I’m working on. This is when I find out someone doesn’t make it after all or some sort of bad fate befalls a character that has already had so much bad happen in their fictional lives. OR–my personal fav– when I find out the story I’ve invested about 50,000+  words into is now a pile of junk as something has changed and the plot, theme, or characters, as they currently stand, no longer work.  I just LOVE IT when that happens…. ~sarcasm~

So that’s why when I saw this rabbit, who’s obviously had a bad trip down the rabbit hole this time around and came back much worse for the wear– I mean come on, the dude is now a vamp bunny; that screams of a bad trip– I had to have him.  I can sooo  identify with my new little bunny dude on those days.

 

 

Just Try

SnoopySinger Colbie Caillat recently released the music video for “Try” {posted below}.  The song, and it’s message, struck a chord immediately.

The opening lyrics to “Try” are:

Put your make-up on
Get your nails done
Curl your hair
Run the extra mile
Keep it slim so they like you, do they like you?

And here is part of the chorus:

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

The song is about women in general, who try so hard, either through dieting, make up, spending money, etc.,  to get people to like and accept them; to get society to like and accept them. This song, and it’s video, beautifully expresses the theme of the  Seven Dress Sizes collection. While watching this video, my mind went immediately to this particular collection of short stories.

No, not just because I have a story included in this anthology, but because I think we (regardless of age or sex) need more stories like this in the world and in circulation.  They need to be read, to be discussed, and most importantly, they are needed as a counterbalance to all the “standard of beauty” none sense that our girls and boys are being indoctrinated with.  Seven Dress Sizes takes you into the lives of seven different modern women.  All struggling, in a full scope of shapes and sizes, to find the keys to unlocking their confidence, self worth, and acceptance of their individual brands of beauty.

My grandma use to tell me all the time: “Don’t eat anything prepared by a cook that won’t eat their own cooking.”   This is a creative paraphrase as I can’t remember exactly what she said, but you get the idea.  Why would you eat anything (no matter how desirable it sounds, looks, or smells)  if the person who made it won’t eat it?  There are so many people out there in the world that are willing to hurt, maim, starve, nearly kill, or bankrupt themselves all to get other people to like and accept them, when they can’t even like and accept themselves.

We face so many societal pressures, and not just women, members of all minority groups (be them based on sex, race, or privilege).  There has been a time when we’ve all been caught up on trying to be something we’re not, just for the sake of fitting in, or not being ridiculed, or gaining something we think we want/need.  As a mom of 3, I am hyperaware of the many negative images and pressures that exist in our world. I wore myself out trying to keep all these negative influences away from my children. I then took a different approach.  Yes, I still teach my kids right from wrong, but I also place a high priority on allowing them to develop their own personalities, their own interests, and their own quirks.  But giving them this freedom to grow is not enough, I make them to own up and accept themselves for what they are: the things that make them unique, special, and beautiful.

Most of the time, this is involves lots of jokes and laughter. You should SEE some of the outfits my youngest puts together, but as long as it is age and weather appropriate and doesn’t clash too horribly, I let her roll with it.  I can’t tell you the number of times I joke with my son about his love of all things camping and outdoor survival related (seriously, I’ve NO CLUE where he got that from, because it most certainly didn’t come from me).  But hey, he’s not harming anyone and he’s learning valuable skills.  So even though it’s not my thing, or most people’s thing,  it’s perfectly okay that it’s his thing.

But sometimes a serious conversation is needed to reinforce their values, morals, and norms, AND to reassure them they are fine the way they are. I tell them often they cannot, nor will not, ever please everyone all the time. Once my daughter came home in tears and wanted to cut her locs off–which are halfway down her back– because someone told her she “looked like a boy” with them. My response to her was “We can cut your hair if you want you, it’s 100% your decision.  You are beautiful with or without locs, with long or short hair.  However, we are NOT cutting your hair because of something stupid and idiotic some child said to you.”  It took her a couple of months to think on this, she decided she didn’t want to cut her hair after all. 🙂

This is my way of instilling a strong sense of self confidence, self worth, and self love  in them.  This is something that took me nearly 30 years to grown into and develop on my own.  I wanted to give them a leg up on the learning curve. I think it’s working and wish more adults would start living and loving for them, not some unobtainable society standard.

Hey, go be you!  Try loving and accepting you for exactly who and what you are. Try not downing those that are not like you or that don’t live up to your standard of beauty, whatever that is.  I’m not saying don’t strive to improve yourself, no one is perfect.  But try looking at yourself with an honest filter vs. the hypersensitive, harsh one.

Just try.

 


7 Dress Sizes

 

 

What is a woman’s worth ? What is beauty? Depending on culture, commercialism, family, or our peers, men and woman have allowed society to dictate a woman’s worth based on nothing more than the outer shell of her existence.

There is no perfect number. No measurement or shape is safe under the judgmental eyes of the world.

No eyes can judge a woman as harshly as her own.

 

 

**Music & lyrics are property and copyright of their owners; provided here for educational purposes and personal use only.

Tempering, an Addendum

Tempering

While reviewing some older notes I’d written myself, I decided to revisit this one on tempering and add a few new thoughts. [original post]

My collective essence (mind, body, spirit) is never as clear, grounded, and focused as it is at dawn’s first breath. This is when the answers I seek come, while my mind is still not 100% alert to what’s going on in the world, before the distractions of life –and living– establish their pecking order on my day’s To Do list.

I’m seek God for clarity in dealing with all situations in my life: those that bring joy, those that being pain; those that I am aware of, those I’m not, and those to come. Clarity is a good thing, but it can with a bite. Clarity can be truly a painful thing.

 

Temper [temp-per] v.- to impart strength and toughness to by heating and cooling.
~Dictionary.com 

…Imparting strength through the heating and cooling, through the pain and the reprieve, through sun and the shade.  There is something to learn in all situations, good or bad, that will bring you closer to the person you are meant to be, to the blessings you are meant to have.

Through the heating and the cooling.

Not everything I want is what I need
Not everything I think I need is good for me,  now… or ever
Not every smile is an invitation, nor every rejection a curse.
Not everyone that flows into my life is meant to remain: just as they arrived in on the morning tide, so they shall leave on the evening’s.

Yes, I find most times clarity comes with a bite. I could ignore the sting and proceed headfirst down the path of my own creation…into whatever lies beyond. But this usually increases the chance of encountering chaos, increasing the likelihood for missteps, increasing the likelihood for real discomfort vs. God’s gentle reproach.

Or I could pause to clean the tear, where ever it falls in my spirit, emotion, or psyche, and deal with the pain or discomfort that comes with the cleanse. I’ve learned  sometimes the “situational temporary” is all I’ll get.   This lesson must be well learned so I recognize when the “situational permanent” arrives.

Is it always easy? No
Is it always fun? No

But it is always educational & fortifying.  It always tempers my mettle.  It teaches me to appreciate my worth.

Being content is not a crime, settling for it is.

Death is a necessity: Insecurities, unhealthy desires, & recklessness must be culled and applied as mulch.  Use them to fertilize the positive growth and the true direction of your life.

Image

The First Step

deskIt’s nearly the end of another year, hence I always feel compelled to do my audit & recap of the current year, while working on my plan for the upcoming one.  2013 has been a year of more downs than ups, but that’s life for you.  On the positive tip, I’ve met and made connections with a new group of talented and successful authors, both published and unpublished.  And let’s not forget that 2013 saw the birth of La-Tessa Montgomery as a PUBLISHED AUTHOR!!! (Can I get a WOOT WOOT for that one 😉 ).

There will be rough spots and bumps in the road, without them you won’t be appreciative of the smooth patch when you hit it.  There has to be hard times and pain, because without them you wouldn’t fully enjoy and appreciate the good times.

All that said, I am happy with 2013, but I could have done much more.  It’s the end of the year, but I’m excited about what I have coming up.  I have a couple of irons in the fire that are ready to come out.  With that said, I challenge everyone reading this, myself included, to stop wallowing and get to doing. Regardless of what it is you are trying to accomplish, get up and make take some tangible action, no matter how small, towards getting it done.

I came across this quote a few years ago and woke up with it on my mind:

    The first step binds one to the second.  ~French Proverb

I woke up this morning energized and ready to go, a feeling that I’ve not had in a good 7 months or so.  What was the catalyst? In response to 2  upcoming opportunities, I sat down yesterday and developed my plan to accomplish them.  With this planning came To Do Lists.  And with To Do Lists comes the need for action on my part to accomplish these tasks. While doing this, new ideas and projects sparked to  life.  With no conscious effort, I have now have tangible leads to follow, on both the business and the creative side.

I said all that to say this, action begets action.  If you are content to be still, making absolutely no positive action towards your goal, you can’t be upset when you’re in the same spot days, months, or years later.  Authors are full of dreams regarding our works.  We want to hit all the best selling lists, we want to be on everyone’s To Read list, and we want to be included in every book club’s discussions.  Oh, and what if our book is optioned into a movie?  We can see ourselves on locations shooting scenes, the red carpets, being #1 at the box office…

We need these dreams, they help sustain us through the birthing process that is writing.  But in reality, sometimes we get caught up in too much dreaming, and not enough pushing.

I’ll leave with this:

“One cannot hope to publish the story that is not yet written.”
~La-Tessa Montgomery