End of 2015
I had a good face and hair day. There was a party and I made myself up. I looked great! It was a lot of work, but still, I was happy with the outcome. You see, I don’t have anyone to take pictures of me. So, I take my own. I figure I must document my beauty before it is lost. I’m quickly getting to the point where I won’t want to take selfies. So I got a great picture. After a few dozen tries and some very un-attractive angles, I got the perfect one.
I posted it and although I often post new profile pics, (OFTEN!), this one was a doozy. The friend requests began to pour in. Dozens and dozens daily continue to appear. I’m fully aware we are a visual/superficial society. I get it. I am attracted to beauty just as much as the next person.
All I can say is, thank you for seeing me and appreciating. I however am not defined by my looks. I never have been. And, contrary to popular belief, I don’t need attention from anyone, for any reason. I’m perfectly happy all by myself. Same sentiment for validation. I don’t need it from anyone but myself.
But, once again, thank you for the compliments. It is nice to know others notice me, and what girl doesn’t want to be called beautiful? I am not trying to diminish the compliments, and I’m not faking humility. Yes, I’m attractive and worthy, but what I wish people knew about me is simply—
“I’m so much more than just the skin I wear around my soul.”
So after this influx of new people and the inevitable messages, (and of course the Arab men love me and all of them offer to fly me to the homeland—cue eye roll), then I declared I was a shitty friend and not to expect anything in return for their newly found ardor simply because I have a pretty face. I also stated, I only answered messages from my inner circle, and even then I am slow to respond. I figured that would pretty much explain why I won’t be responding to this plethora of new friends. I didn’t give it much of a thought after that, but then, the next morning, I had a message in my inbox from one of these new friends. It was so simple, yet touched me deeply.
“What does it take to get into your inner circle?”
At first I was humbled and a bit self-deprecating. Then I remembered I have a voice, and I’m quite proud of my message and how I’m delivering it. I’m not arrogant about it; it’s more like I’m just certain of my worth. I am fully aware I am different from the horde and I’d certainly follow and friend someone like me. And of course, if I felt that way about another person, I’d make it known I would love to be/become their friend.
Not just as in a friend on Facebook, but one of those rare few who break the tragedy of superficial social media and truly become friends. They make a connection. They make themselves memorable. They unwaveringly support you, even if you’re wrong. Sometimes these connections can lead to future relationships, but mostly it’s about finding that connection and then maintaining it—even if it’s just a little bit one sided because the other is not playing the social game, (me), but instead focusing on living a real life.
So, all this got me thinking about the friends I’ve gained and lost over the past year. I should be writing my year end blog, but I think this will be it. It’s a good place to put a period and end where I am now in my life, just a few days before 2016 hits.
I started the year, (2015), with a thought that I would give the self-promotional social-media-machine-thing, a real solid try. I was going to promote the hell out of myself for the first six months and see where my stats sat and how much I’d spent on all that promotion. I recruited for a street team and others helped by sending helpers. For a short while I even tried having a PA.
I learned as I went, like I do with everything. Learn by doing, change what isn’t working, never repeat patterns that are fruitless and labor intensive, don’t waste time on anything or anyone other than your goal. Maybe just a bit of writing or editing along the way, but I now have up ten titles, (four of which are also audio books), so there wasn’t much writing to be done. It was time to be read by others. Oh, I also had to work, you know, so I can eat.
So I began. The friends poured in. The followers too. Some were honest fans and truly loved what I’d been producing over the past four years. Some never read my work, and for them, it was just a social thing. Whatever, I didn’t care, I was accumulating numbers. Unfortunately, many never became more than just a number. I don’t consider that my fault. Once again, it relates to the above question. I feel it was/is up to them to remain loyal and stay in touch with me. They after all have a few, I have numerous!
I began waking up to over thirty-plus messages in my inbox and hundreds of comments or tags, or invites, or you name it—all time consuming things that required I at least look, and often had to respond. Within a month and I had no time for anything else, let alone writing or editing. I instantly began dreading the day ahead full of dings and beeps in regards to nothing but the trivial. I started to balk at all the forced interactions. Everyone wanted attention, and truth be told, the mundane small talk and chatter of everyday existence gives me anxiety attacks.
If it had been about my work? Well then that would have been a different story. But it was rarely about my books or blogs or poetry. Most of the time it felt like some sort of popularity contest I didn’t want to participate in.
Flash forward to now. The short of it is this, it didn’t work. It was labor intensive to the point of mind numbing. None of my titles sold unless I priced them at .99c. I hate giving away a year’s worth of incredibly hard work. I hated the forced social interactions and I really detested begging for reviews. I quit the social media machine in September, and man what a relief. There were other factors that played into my demise on social media, but once again, none of it meant anything in the end, and almost all of the superficial friendships vanished like fog on a hot morning.
Facebook is much too much like high school for me. I hated high school, and even then I hated my peers. I tested out of that asylum of lunatics when I was sixteen and never once looked back. I don’t even have friends from my school days. I was pretty enough, and plenty smart enough. I surfed, and played varsity tennis as a freshman, so I was also plenty athletic enough to be one of the, “In crowd.”
Yuck. No. Kill me now just to save me from that kind of vapid need for attention, (yes I felt that way at age 16). And here I am, four months from my forty ninth birthday and I just escaped once again. Whew, that was a close one.
When I started writing and self-publishing, I knew my work wasn’t for everyone. In fact, I figured maybe I’d garner one or two readers. Whatever. I never wrote a word to seek acceptance or fame. Fame sucks. Fame requires all the crap I just said I was happy to have escaped. I wish I could figure out a way to earn a living from the writing, but that seems about impossible. So, I’ve slowed down and currently am not writing. The thing is this, none of it really matters to anyone apart from myself, and right now, I’m not feeling it. So, I’m not writing.
But, I still have a voice and although I am for the most part, a dissenter, I realize there are others who feel as I do. We are far and few between. You might recognize my energy through my words, or something I write might speak directly to your heart. I’ve never been academic or cerebral. I write from a place of feelings that are often impossible to put into words, but I try, and I will continue to try when the feelings hit me.
I have no idea what my 2016 might hold. Or the people I will interact with during the upcoming year. I also have no idea if I will continue to write, (Novels. I will always do some poetry and short fiction), or if a different way to spend my time will materialize. My life changes frequently, as do the people I engage with.
I live in my moment. I seek harmony and love and understanding. I am shame-free and un-judgmental in almost everything, and toward everyone. I practice sanity, and I purposely push myself out of my comfort zone as often as possible. I am on a soul-searching, spirit enlightening, self-improvement journey and I am open to the leadings of my invisible helpers. I concentrate on maintaining balance emotionally, mentally and physically. And, whenever possible, I attempt to make LOVE the most important ingredient in any endeavor or interaction. (I am not a sap or a pushover however!)
The only other thing I’ve learned during my life is that everything is transient. The good and the bad, it all passes. It’s fruitless to attempt re-creation and it’s destructive to wallow in the past. Some of my most memorable friendships lasted less than a month, at least in intensity. Some longer, some were just a few paragraphs, but we made a connection, we completed a circuit and in that moment we harmonized.
The feelings we generated between us, will last a lifetime.
I no longer expect those moments to continue on into infinity, or even the next day. It was a perfect moment and I enjoyed every second of it as it matured. Thank you to those of you who might be reading this and we found that connection. I always remember you, and I often think of you even though we might not talk or if we do, it’s infrequent.
If you want inside my circle, make yourself known. Don’t bore me with the mundane of everyday life. Give me vulnerability, truth, depth, honesty, transparency and don’t forget to add in a dash of weird. I crave realness above all else. Give me something to remember, and I promise I will.
Some of my poetry/quotes from this year: