My daughter’s favorite phrases lately are, “I’m not interested” and “I’m not impressed”. Different things, situations, and people evoke these different thoughts and sayings with her. If it’s something she doesn’t like, it doesn’t interest her. If it’s a person or something hyped up, she’s not interested.
She’s always been a go her own way type. Sure, there’ve been times she’s fallen in line with what popular, or what someone else likes it wants, but eventually, she makes her way back to being her own person.
I’ve always admired that about her. Yes, she’s been home schooled mostly, but she’s been in public schools too. She wasn’t impressed or interested in the cliques, in the sluts, in the users and posers, in the backbiting, in the drama. She had a few friends to choose from and she chose wrong, she paid the price, and she’s learned.
But being your own person is terribly lonely. There’s no fitting in, no following the trends, no popularity. It feels as though people forget you exist after a while. There’s a lot of silence and a lot of doubt that sinks in from time to time. You begin to wonder, “what’s wrong with me?”
In all actuality though, the answer is nothing. But it’s no easier for a near 20 year old to realize that, than it is for a near 43 year old to do so.
I mentioned on Twitter this morning that it’s like being on an island. You feel cut off when there are so many collaborations, so many outings, so many conversations going on and you’re not part of any of them. You’re alone in a sea of peers and strangers.
There’s not much to do in situations. Rejection is no fun when you try to mix and mingle. Being left behind is no picnic either. You miss friends but they’ve moved on or moved backward, and you just can’t go there. You miss laughter, conversation, connection, but what’s the price?
I love being an author and I’ve met some wonderful and outstanding people. And there are times I wish for popularity and being wanted in the mix of all that’s going on… But, there are other times I look around, watch the conversations, see where the mentality is and think to myself, “I’m not impressed. I’m not interested.” I’ve been hurt, I’ve done some hurting. Neither of which is a place of pride.
It’s nearly the end of 2013 and it’s the normal time for reflection and a time when we all try to figure out what we’re going to different in the coming year. In this reflection, I’ve thought of all the awesomeness authors I’ve witnessed too.
As as I’ve observed how people treat others, how open and welcoming they are to outsiders, listened to how ‘friends’ treat friends, watched and witnessed how success and bestseller lists change people… Those awesome few authors stand out and if I had to or could emulate and pattern my behavior after anyone, it would be them. Granted, I have a long way to go…
If you’re wondering who they are… Lori Foster, Amanda Usen, Samantha Kane, Delilah Devlin, Dakota Cassidy, Leah Braemel, Selena Illyria… They are their own people. They do their thing. They share about who they are, not just their books. They are open and willing and kind and there if someone needs them, needs advice, needs help, needs a friend. There are a handful of others, but these came to mind immediately… I see how they treat people, other authors, readers. I see how they conduct themselves.
As my daughter has found, there are levels to aspire to and levels to sink down to… It’s a hard lesson to learn at any age, especially when you want to fit in, when you want the friends, when you want the respect. It’s hard for a mom to stand by and watch, to not step in and protect, but these are valuable lessons to learn and that are needed in life.
So, the phone might not ring. Messenger may not chime. Email might not light up. Your name may not be on everyone’s lips. People may forget you or may never have given you the time of day because you don’t project shock and awe or run with the popular kids, authors, guys, jocks, etc… It may even be a very quiet life of home and doing things alone, but… Being you, being me, is interesting and impressive.
We all need someone to lean on once in a while. Some of us need to lean on someone a lot more than once in a while. And some of us try very hard NOT to lean on anyone at all EVER. I think that’s sad. There’s nothing wrong with needing some support, needing someone to help shoulder the burden, needing someone you can count on to be there for you. I truly value and treasure those people. Sometimes they are old friends and sometimes they’re new friends and you wonder how you ever got along without them…
There are even some friends who know us better than we know ourselves and make us lean on them, even when we don’t want to…
Bailey needed to bake, to play. It helped her forget, to cope through tough times.
Half a bag of powdered sugar later, along with half a pound of butter, some vanilla, and cream, she was feeling pretty good. Aidn hadn’t crossed her mind but three or four hundred times. Surely, that was some sort of improvement.
She didn’t hear the phone until she’d turned off the mixer. “Hello?” she said absently into the cell phone that she dug out of her pocket, spreading sugar dust everywhere on her jeans. Great.
“What are you doing Saturday night?”
“Hmmmm? And hello to you, too. Saturday night? Nothing that I know of, why?”
“Want to go to Abyss?”
“Oh, no. No, I don’t.” She ran her finger along the inside of the bowl, scooping up some frosting.
“Come on. You haven’t been out of the house in two weeks.”
“Of course I have. I’ve been in the bakery and it’s been really busy. Weddings and all that, you know.”
“That’s not all you’ve been doing. You’re moping over that guy and eating icing.”
Bailey wiped off the mound of icing on her finger. “I am not moping over anyone. I have been working. A lot.” And yes, eating icing. Lots and lots of it. And feeling guilty for it and feeling sad that he left and strangely motivated at the same time to work harder, create more. Anything at all really to keep from thinking about him. He touched what she’d always known was there, what she’d been hiding inside herself… Bailey stuck her tongue out at the phone in a defiant, childish gesture and refused to give him another thought…for at least the next five minutes.
“You’re going Saturday night.”
“No, really, Jen, I don’t want to go. Maybe next time.” In about ten years.
“No. I’m buying your ticket today and I’ll be by to get you at 8:30 on Saturday night.”
“I don’t want to go.”
“I don’t care. We’re going. You need to get over that. It was one day. And only for a few hours at that. Nothing to still be thinking about.”
“You don’t understand.” Her voice sounded weak and wimpy. She hated that.
“I do understand. I’ve had one-night stands before.
He was different. I know he was only a one-time thing. I knew that the moment he asked me to…but… God, Jen, he was different.”
“I know, B. Has he tried to see you again?”
Bailey laughed sardonically. “No, of course not?”
“We need to go out, have a few drinks, flirt a little.”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“I do. I’ll pick you up on Saturday night. Dress sexy. Gotta go.” And with that, Jen was gone. Bailey looked at the phone before hanging it up. So much for her objections, but Jen was just trying to help.
She put the cell phone back in her pocket and finished adding color to the frosting. Turning on the mixer, she watched the color shift and weave through the pure white buttercream, getting lost in the swirling of the paddle. Damn. She turned off the machine. The pink wasn’t the right shade. What she had in her head was pale, just a hint of color, but enough that one could tell it was pink and not white.
Oh well. She’d try again later. It was her personal project, to perfect the shade of the frosting. It would look incredible on her chocolate fudge cake. The consistency was perfect, not too sweet, not too heavy, but light and fluffy, whipped butter and cream.
I am on my way to replace a few things that were fried in the lightning strike last week. While I’m out, you should take in the snippets from the following authors:
I’ve been talking to a friend this morning and she’s been awesome. She’s been doing everything she can this week to talk me down off ledges, talk me around books, talk me into feeling something, talk me up about home offices and desks and which lamps to choose. We’ve discussed colors, walls, how to build a desk out of two sawhorses and a slab of wood. We’ve talked cream-filled cupcakes and milky way brownies. We’ve talked wasting money on services never used, bad reviews, book sales, opinions. We’ve talked about all kinds of things and I honestly can’t thank her enough for pushing… She deserves a medal, or at the very least, that Pottery Barn lamp she’s been coveting.
So, in honor of my friend Selena Blake and how she’s been selfless and let me cry, let me fuss, let me rant, and led me back around to just flat out feeling something…
Now, about that millionaire we were talking about, Se…grins.
The message is in the words, the lyrics, not the videos themselves. It’s about feeling down and picking yourself back up again, or throwing your hands up and walking away, or just simply thumbing your nose at all the bullshit. I really, really needed this.
Well, this and the ass kicking my Ellora’s Cave editor has threatened to give me if I don’t get to writing another book for her… Thank you, too, Mary.