Wednesday, August 20, 2014

putting on my perspectacles

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As a blogger, I am really slack. I haven't written a post since August 6. Today is August 20. That is slack.

As a writer, I am really slack. After publishing my first memoir, in January the day before I turned 50 (nothing like waiting until the last minute), I have been "working" on a novel. So far that consists of an outline, a synopsis, and a bajillion pages of notes. It's an important story. My synopsis moves people to tears. I need to finish it. It scares me to death. Slack.

As a mentor, I am really slack. I mentor a young girl at a local elementary school. My meetings with her don't start until September, so I'm not slack with her. Yet. But I also mentor a writing colleague and friend. I love her but I haven't seen in nearly a month. That's slack.
I have another friend from high school I should be communicating with about her book series. I love her too but haven't talk to since before summer. Slack again. I was invited by a prestigious high school creative writing program to be a senior thesis mentor. A great opportunity to learn to not be so slack? Yeah, I hope so.

My mom has this thing she says when we start talking negative: "Don't even put that out there in the universe."

That translates into: Stop talking smack. If you say bad things, you'll believe bad things. If you don't like something, change the something or change how you look at it. For the love of God, if you can't say something nice - especially about yourself - then don't say anything at all!

I know she's right. It's why I try to be encouraging with the things I write. We can speak things into being. We believe what we tell ourselves, what others tell us over and over. Like it or lump it, it's a fact jack.

Instead of focusing on the slack, on the busy, I need to focus on the thankful that people want my input, that they think I have something worth saying, that I have something to give.

Gratitude is a powerful thing. I was reminded of that today when I read this blog post by Glennon Doyle Melton over at Momastery. I happen to love this blogger. She's had an amazing journey. She's a woman of both strong faith and strong language. Somehow she makes it work, makes me think, makes me laugh. She has a way of helping me put things in perspective.

Recently I posted a picture of myself in my kitchen, and I immediately started receiving generous messages from people wanting to help me “update” it.
I’ve always loved my kitchen, but after seeing those pictures I found myself looking at it through new, critical eyes. I stood and stared and suddenly my kitchen looked shabby and lazy to me. I wondered if that meant I was shabby and lazy, too. 
But as I lay down to sleep, I remembered this passage from Thoreau’s Walden: “I say beware of all enterprises that require new clothes and not a new wearer of the clothes.”
Walden reminds me that when I feel lacking- I don’t need new things, I need new eyes with which to see the things I already have. So when I woke up this morning, I walked into my kitchen wearing fresh...
Perspectacles. God, I love that imagery!

Glennon goes on to recognize how AWESOME her dated kitchen is. It has a magical box that keeps food COLD! It has another box that transforms food from UNCOOKED to COOKED in a few seconds a la the Jetsons! It has a magical tube from which springs CLEAN WATER....any time of day! And most importantly, it contains her BEAUTIFUL FAMILY!

Those are some powerful perspectacles.

I'm not a perfect blogger or writer or mentor. There are ways I can improve pretty easily. Like actually having and keeping a schedule, for one.

But blucky am I (blessed+lucky) to have all these roles? How long have I wanted to have a forum like this blog? How many years did I long to be a writer? How awesome is it to have gifts others want to share? To be wanted and needed? To have love just spilling over in the form of hugs and words and encouragement?

Perspectacles. It's all in how you see it.

Thinking of perspective - and of the Thoreau quote about wearing new clothes - reminds me of a story told during Listen To Your Mother Charleston by my friend Jennifer Asnip Quattlebaum about a mother's expectations of two small boys in seersucker suits and the sucker punch that follows. She went from pride to a fall, then back to pride again after she put on her own pair of perspectacles. She tells it with her own brand of Lowcountry charm. She makes me LMAO. I think she'll make you laugh (and think) too...and maybe consider putting on your own set of perspectacles...

(Can't see Jennifer's video? Go here!  To order my memoir Leaving The Shallows: Stories from a Life Lived Deeply, go here...and leave a review! )

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