Saying the Wrong Thing

Have you ever heard words coming out of your mouth and as they do, you wish you could reach up and grab them out of the air? As you feel them roll off of your tongue, take a deep breath to retrieve them back into your mouth, turning back time? I can’t even count how many times I’ve done that over my life. No one is perfect and sometimes shit comes out that is hurtful or just unnecessary.

I did it just recently and it’s been weighing heavily on me. I know that things get said and not everyone means every possible thing they say but it doesn’t change the fact that words are hurtful sometimes. I know that often, people don’t even realize they’re saying hurtful things. I’m one that is overly sensitive to things being said to me. I over analyze things and read way too much into conversations.

I fall victim to the feelings of needing to be accepted or to fit in and I lose my sense of judgment. I suppose it happens to everyone but it’s bugging me. How do you apologize to someone you’ve wronged without them knowing that you wronged them?

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First Signing Survived

I went to my first author signing yesterday.  I’d known about it (been contacted) several weeks before the actual event.  I ordered my books to bring, bought a new pen and loaded up my business cards.  Two days before I was to go, I got an email from the event coordinator that each author was to give a 5 minute presentation.  It should cover an introduction of myself, the book, the inspiration for it and then a reading.  I typed up a page and gave it a try.  I was at about the 5 minute mark but I had a lot of pauses trying to gather my thoughts.  I figured I’d be fine.  It was 5 minutes, not an hour long dissertation.  I had my partner review my write-up when she got home.  She made a couple tiny changes but they were so small that I thought it was almost knit picking.  I wasn’t going to read the paper, I just needed some guidelines.

By Saturday, I was beginning to obsess over the talk.  I used to be an instructor and have had many occasions to stand in front of a crowd and speak.  It’s never really bothered me before.  But it had been a long time since I’d done it.  I knew I’d be fine, however.  We had some errands to run and every so often as we did this or that, I’d have this wave of panic that would almost make me dizzy, give me a tingly feeling in my stomach.  I knew it was just nerves.  I practiced the speech on and off throughout the day, timing myself.  I’d gotten it down to 4 minutes allowing a minute to read a paragraph.  Then I had to pick out the paragraph.  I flipped, flipped, flipped through the book.  I knew I wanted to read about my Grandma.  It was one of the parts that I could read without falling apart or be in fear of reading something too overly personal, in person, but that many could still relate to.  I found just the paragraph and finally did the complete walk-through.  I finally got to the point narrowing down my speech to bullet points followed by the reading.  By Saturday evening, we decided to see a movie which was the best thing to get my mind off of such things that seem to camp out there.

Sunday, the morning of the Author Faire, I woke up to my mind reciting “Hi, my name is Michelle Stoner…”, the beginning of my speech running its’ course.  I got up and fixed myself some coffee.  The pains in my stomach were getting worse.  There was no more of the tingly feeling.  It was sharp pains.  I had coffee and when Chris got up, I fixed us breakfast.  I was watching some stupid movie I’d recorded.  It wasn’t working to get my mind off of the day.  After breakfast, well, let me just say that being nervous is a great system emptying tool.  But things finally calmed down, or more so, I just ignored it so that I could get ready.

I had to arrive at 1:00 but figured I could get there at 12:30 so that I could setup my books.  I knew that the first person would be presenting at 1:00 so it only made sense to get there a few minutes early.  Maybe I’d be able to meet some of the other authors at the faire.  Nope.  The place didn’t open until 1:00.  It just didn’t seem right to me.  I lugged the box of books over to a cafe and sat waiting for the doors to open.  When the doors open, I filed in along with many, many other people, all trying to get onto elevators and find their way to wherever they needed to go.  I found my name tag at one of the tables and began to setup my books.  I spread out my business cards (which were the most awesome things – no one else had them and several people took them so they remembered to download e-copies of the book) and waited.  I had one woman come over and take a card saying that she couldn’t wait for my presentation.

Then I sat and waited.  The presentations went in alpha order with 20 other authors.  It was neat to see the other authors, hear their experiences, all of them proud of their works.  I was perfectly fine until two people before me.  I felt my heart rate increasing by the minute.  When the guys next to me went, I could see my shirt moving from my heart pounding in my chest.  Chris, who had been seated in the audience the whole time, looked over at me and mouthed the words “breathe” to which I took a deep breath and eased it out.  I took another swallow of water and hoped that the fact that I had to pee so bad wouldn’t bite me in the ass.  I’d wanted to go but I couldn’t bring myself to move.  I’d downed almost an entire bottle of water so I really had to go.  The audience was clapping so I got up and made my way from behind the table.  I was introduced but the emcee didn’t see that I’d gotten up already so she called my name again.  I was rushing up but I’m short so she didn’t see me and called once again.  I raised my hand up to which everyone laughed.  I did my speech.  It was completely out of order of what I’d planned but I think it still flowed ok.  I only paused once to catch my thoughts.  I didn’t realize until much later that there was a clock on the wall but I didn’t get the warning so I think I was within the limits.  Some people had gone on for 15-20 minutes and were practically dragged off so I know I did fine time wise.  I saw Chris staring at the floor the whole time which I was thankful for.  While I’d been practicing at home, I told her I couldn’t concentrate if she looked at me.  I felt bad that she was staring at the floor but it was really for the best.  I made a conscious effort to look around and just before I started to read, I was introducing my book and realized that most people were leaning forward and many had their mouths hanging open.  I think I had them.  They were engaged.  I smiled and started reading.  It was short, just a paragraph but it was silent in the room as I did.  When I stopped.  I looked up and everyone was in the exact same position.  No one had moved.  I smiled and said “thank you”.  I left the podium to a round of applause.  I did it.

The event was from 1-5.  The presentations went until 3:30 or so.  There was an audience that sat but several left before the end.  We had not quite a half an hour to meet with those that did stay for the whole thing and then we broke into groups to share ideas and things that worked or didn’t work for us.  But everyone had left so it was only authors talking with authors, which was ok but it meant that I didn’t sell one hard copy book.  I signed my mom’s book and it was my first signed book.  I’m hopeful that I’ll get a couple e-book sales but even though I didn’t sell any, I was happy that I made it through the day.  I did it.  I showed up, I did a speech and I met some really nice people.  I survived.

Celebrating the Good

Early on in my relationship with my partner, we decided that every good thing needed to be celebrated.  It actually started with monetary increases.  If we got a raise or a bonus at work, we celebrated, usually with dinner.  If we applied for a job and got a call back, we celebrated.  It got a bit complicated when going on an actual interview because if the interview went bad, we weren’t sure if we should celebrate or not.  It was awesome that we were picked out of many to be interviewed and we wanted to celebrate that but if it didn’t go well, we didn’t want to celebrate something bad.  It’s all about karma and noticing the little things that make life better.

After awhile of our newfound tradition, we noticed we were packing on the pounds from celebrating every little thing by eating out.  Cutting back meant meeting weight loss goals.  We couldn’t eat out for those so we did other things like going to an event or show, taking a mini vacation or buying something nice for ourselves.  It doesn’t have to be extravagant all of the time and we learned to match celebrations with events that were cause for celebration.

We don’t go overboard on celebrations either.  If our car passes an inspection, we don’t celebrate.  It’s more of a personal thing.  If we “survived” something, we would celebrate.  If we were rewarded, we in turn, rewarded ourselves.  If there was a life changing event, such as quitting my job to write a book, we celebrated.  It has worked so well for us over the years.

We just got back from our first trip to Disneyland.  It was the reward I chose for publishing my book.  At first I thought it was a little over the top but it really was a big deal.  Pouring my heart and soul onto pages and then letting the world read it, was not only terrifying but constricting in terms of feeling like I was having a panic attack at every moment of every day.

Disneyland was the perfect place to go to relieve myself of the stress and self-doubt that I’d been carrying around since publication.  I did the best I could on the book, it’s out there and I’m working on my next one.  That is definitely worthy of a celebration such as an extended weekend at the Happiest Place on Earth.

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Is it wasted when you try something new and don’t like it?

I’ve been working on a Pumpkin, Curry and Coconut Milk soup today.  I’ve been doing more chores in between the processes of simmering the onions, heating the stock, heating the pumpkin.  It smells awesome but doesn’t taste so much so.  It’s had me doctoring the dish for a few hours now.  I added more curry.  Added more salt.  Let it simmer for a bit.  Added some smoked, hot paprika.  Nope.  Just not doing it for me.  It’s not like I’ve made this dish before or even tried it at a restaurant and just can’t reproduce it.  This is a first time dish.  I’m kind of disappointed.  It took the remainder of my Halloween pumpkin meat to make the soup so I’ll have to wait until I disassemble and process the other one before being able to make more dishes.  But I don’t want to give up just yet.  However, I wonder if I’ll like the dish no matter what I do to it.  It has the consistency of potato soup, which I love, so I have hope that I can make it good but I don’t want to keep adding ingredients (like my prized sweet potato that I’ve been waiting to bake and eat with tons of butter, cinnamon and ginger that’s now diced and in the soup pot – my reasoning was just as I said, it resembles potato soup so why not chunks of potato, or better yet, sweet potato?) and up the amount of items I may ultimately throw in the trash.  It made me think on the question, is it better to try something and not like it, having wasted the money, time, energy, etc. on something rather than not having tried it at all.  It sucks, yes, but absolutely, it’s worth every bit of wasted everything!  I love trying new things.  Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.  When they work, they’re usually awesome and when they don’t, then I know better for next time.

At least tomorrow is trash day!

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How many things can you start in a day? Or not?

I had plans to get my chores done today and then start the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November).  As I’d done with my previous novel, I was excited to get into it, and to get off of my ass for a bit.  I’d gotten into the habit of walking on the treadmill while writing, averaging about 4 miles on a good writing day.  So, when I got home from doing my chores, I figured I should have lunch first.  That’s where it all went downhill.  I think the sofa and my butt have something going on.  As soon as I sit, I’m done for.  I try and tell myself that today will be different but it never is.

After lunch, I grabbed the computer and went to town…on everything but my writing.  Cleaned out my inbox from crap that I’d saved from over the weekend.  Wrote a blog post on my ingenious new pumpkin recipe.  Posted to Twitter which made me want to cruise Twitter for awhile.  It made me think that maybe I should just not start NaNoWriMo today and I should go for a bicycle ride to get some exercise.  Maybe I should just go to the treadmill and start writing.

There’s always yard work to do.  I got up because I heard the Rice Krispy Treats calling me.  I read through the note sent to me from NaNoWriMo that mentioned having a snack – like a Rice Krispy Treat.  Damn them!  I traded my neighbor for the treats over Halloween.  I have two left in the pantry.  I can hear them rustling.

Then I remembered I needed to get the guacamole made for dinner.  Taco Salad Monday.  I know, it doesn’t go together very well but it’s what we do on Monday so we have some sort of football food, that’s not too horrible, to counterbalance the weekend gorge-fest that we usually have.  While I was there, I decided to separate and freeze the multi-pack of boneless, skinless chicken breast I bought.

I thought what a great way to get started writing then to write a blog post.  Here I sit.  On the couch.  I wonder if it’s too late to get started writing.