Let’s Talk About Passion.

It’s important to write about what you’re passionate about.

This may sound cheesy, but if you don’t write about something that you’re not even remotely interested in, it’ll show in you’re writing. If you’re writing about something because you think it’ll bring you a lot of traffic to your website, then you’re not doing it right. You’re only writing it for views and not necessarily writing to make yourself happy and contributing to Internet world/society.

When I decided to be serious about my blog writing, I tried to be sophisticated. I read a lot of posts that were Freshly Pressed (nowadays it’s “Discovered”) and then I tried to copy how they wrote because I wanted to be freshly pressed. As time went on, I got extremely discouraged. Why isn’t there more people following my blog? Why aren’t I getting my posts freshly pressed?

And then it dawned on me:

I wasn’t sounding like myself. I was sounding like someone who was trying too hard. I was too busy trying to sound like someone else and too little time just writing about what I like and don’t like.

I’m not saying that we can’t emulate those we admire because that’s what we all do when we write. We can’t help it. If you like to read Stephen King and other authors like Stephen King, then you’re probably going to sound a little bit like Stephen King. And you’ll probably sound like Stephen King until you become more confident in your writing and with that genre and branch out. You might still have a few elements but that’s usually how it goes from what I’ve learned.

So, I’m trying to be myself more. I’m trying let my own voice shine through and let my thoughts become my own and not because I read it on another blog and it was successful on that blog.

It’s really hard to do, mainly because I want my blog to be successful to some extent and I want people to enjoy what I’ve written. But as I’m going along, I’m trying to write more for myself and not for anybody else. I stated a blog because I enjoy writing and wanted a place to write. I’ve forgotten that in the attempts to try and look more professional, garner an image.

I need to get back to being myself. I need to get back to enjoying my writing. I need to get back to seeing why I loved the writing in the first place. I need to get back to my passion. Everything else will fall into place in its own time.

Let’s Talk About Bathrooms.

If you know me well, you will know that I don’t like arguments and confrontation. This is why I don’t talk about politics and hot topics very often. There’s always going to be that one person who will be contrary and want to pick a fight with you.

But today I want to address the topic of bathrooms. And not just any kind of bathrooms, but public bathrooms in particular. They’ve been in the news lately and it’s been both good and bad, I think. But I want to talk about the bad aspects for just a second.

There’s been some anger about Target allowing people who identify as a different gender to use the restroom that they identify with. Some people are feeling threatened and believe that this is the gateway to allowing the creeps in the world to go into the restroom and hurt the women and children.

I’m empathetic towards these people who are afraid for their women and children. I’m also a woman who has to look at every strange man I pass and wonder if he’s going to hurt me or not. And yes, when I think about it, a creepy man coming to get me in the bathroom is a scary thought. But quite frankly, I don’t care. Rules about which bathroom to go in never stopped someone from going into another sex’s bathroom and hurting that person. Having a rule that allows transgenders to go into the bathroom of their identified gender isn’t going to make it any “easier” for these other creepers because they were going to go in whether or not there were laws against it. Creepers don’t care about rules, they just do it because they need to fulfill their strange fetishes and needs.

And anyway, why are people so up in arms about “men” being in the restroom? You’re going in stalls. You’re not watching each other use the restroom. That’s the whole point of being in the bathroom, isn’t it? There have even been some stores and restaurants that have only had one bathroom for both men and women to use and no one has complained about those. And what about men who want to take care of their young children but can’t because people have some freaky rules about which restroom people need to go in?

I want transgender people to feel safe. I want transgender people to feel like they’re part of the society, that they’re the Americans that they are and not be marginalized. I want us all to be and feel safe and not let others get in the way of what we’re supposed to be. Even if I have beliefs that offend both sides of the political spectrum, I want this for everybody. Nobody should feel non-human and un-American.

I want to end the post with a short video that I saw online with Stephen Colbert. I don’t watch him but I saw this clip and thought he hit the nail on the head.

A Stairway to Heaven.

I’m a writer.

Like most dreams and career goals, there are many obstacles that I face when I place down each word. For starters, it’s the idea. What should I write about? Is this idea worthy of focus? Do I have the thoughts, the words, the mindset to write about the topic I’m focusing on?

I pick the idea, and then I start writing. It starts off brilliantly, and then my mind starts drifting to other things. Maybe I should just read a book, make my bed, go for a walk. Actually, the way I started isn’t how I wanted to begin. I highlight, delete, begin again. I get halfway through and realize that wasn’t what I wanted, either. The first way was better than what I’m trying to write now.

But now I can’t remember what that first way was. I remember the first line, so I begin there and I start again. This time (or maybe several times after this), I get to where I’m going. I’m on a roll.

And finally I’m at the end. I’m pleased with myself for actually starting a project. Sometimes I hit save and publish and let whatever happens, happens. If it’s a story and I’m in a word document, I take a break from it for several days, several weeks, several months, and then I look back at it again. Then I realize that this wasn’t what I had in mind. What my vision was in my mind isn’t what is shown on the page. So now I have to start all over again.

Of course the thoughts of procrastination stat again. I go to work, I come home. I’m tired, so I watch the television. Oh look, it’s Survivor. Dateline. The Amazing Race. These things take time. Or wait, look, my favorite blogger finally updated. Let’s read that instead.

They say it’s a stairway to heaven and a highway to hell. If this can be applied to being a writer (or any kind of career, to be honest), it would have the same effect. It’d be easier to take the highway to hell, because the distractions and obstacles of getting to where you want to be is much harder than trying to climb the ladder to your heaven (in my case, writing).

But the great thing about the stairway is that it’s made of steps. You don’t have to take them all at once, just baby steps. If you do a little bit each day, you’ll have a little bit finished. Then when you look down you’ll realize how far you’ve come. It’s that much harder, but isn’t that more satisfying?

What’s Been Keeping Me Busy This Week.

Some things that have been going on:

  • I considered doing a “Lessons” post this week in honor of my birthday. I’m sure you’ve seen these around the internet at some point or another: “22 Lessons for Turning 22” or 30 or whatever age the person is at the time of posting it. I decided that I didn’t want to do this because it seems a little cliche and redundant. We all learn things as we go along in our lives and we all learn the same (or even different things) at different points in our lives. What’s true for me may not be true for someone else, so why are these lessons even comparable to another’s? Just my thought. You are, of course, free to disagree.
  • Last week I submitted a short memoir piece to Chicken Soup for the Soul. They have a lot of calls for submissions this year and I decided to take advantage and submit one of my stories. I was hesitating to do so because they don’t really acknowledge one way or another about your story. If you’re rejected they don’t tell you and if they do accept it, you don’t find out until 60 days prior to the book being published. BUT you do get 200 bucks and a few free copies of the book that you’re story will appear in. It’ll be awesome if I get accepted, but if not, then oh well.
  • I’ve been writing a whole lot more. By writing a lot, I mean writing short stories and memoirs. I haven’t in a couple of days because I don’t want to burn out but I’m writing more than what I have been doing. Plus, I had one of my friends look at one of my stories for me and gave me some good thoughts on how to perhaps expand the story.
  • I’ve been reading a lot. I read about four books in the past two weeks. This hasn’t happened in several years as my reading levels has declined over the years, but I felt proud of myself to start reading again. I even started a brand new book blog to try and keep up with everything. As everyone knows, I had a book blog a couple years ago, but the domain wasn’t write and I just didn’t feel comfortable in my own little space that I created. So I started a new one and much to my happiness, it’s perfect for me. So, if you want to check out my new book blog, hop on over to Apt Reader. Read and share the love for me! I’d really like to gain some followers.
  • I’m bouncing between two themes for Ordinary Travels at the moment. I really love the Twenty Sixteen theme and I’ve been using it since November or December when they added to the canon of free WordPress themes. But they just added a new one called Affinity which I’m trying out at the moment. So far I like the big, prominent picture and how when you scroll down, my blog name and pages (the About Me, Blogroll, etc) scrolls down with you while not interfering with my posts. Plus the post font is pretty and the publish date and comment section is easily scene off to the side of the post. Both themes are nice, tho I enjoy the simplicity of Twenty Sixteen. So, if you see me flipping between the two, that’s probably why. Both are too pretty to choose.
  • Speaking of themes and such, I’ve been struggling with my very own tagline for my blog. I want one that shouts, “Hey, this is my blog!” without stepping on any other blogs but it’s so had. So as of right now I don’t have one (I had “an online journal” as my tagline for awhile but how boring and obvious is that?) soo, if you guys have any tips or suggestions, it’d be great!

That’s about all I’ve got. I decided to make a short bullet point list of things I wanted to talk about because all of these things I wanted to talk about but none of them were long enough to have their own stand alone blog post. Thanks for putting up with me! Any thoughts on any of these things please let me know! I appreciate it.

On Another Year Older.

My birthday’s on Sunday. Even though I’m tuning 29, I’m still looking foreword to it. For one, I don’t have to work, so I can enjoy the day and secondly, birthdays still have that magical allure for me. I like going out to eat. I like going to the bookstore or taking a walk if the weather’s nice.

I’ve noticed in the past couple years that a lot of people don’t enjoy their birthdays. Not outright depressed about it, but they act like it’s no longer important. And this saddens me, because I think birthdays are still important.

Why?

Because I think a birthday signifies another year alive. You made it to your next birthday without the universe trying to kill you. You may be still fighting, but you are still alive to celebrate your next birthday. No one wants to be older and watch their body deteriorate but with age comes wisdom and that is something to be proud of. I’ve seen too much illness and death in my family and in the world in general in the last few months to not be thankful for aliveness, for being here, present.

And that’s all I’ve got to see about that.

On Finding the One: Myself.

I was a senior. The prom was coming up. I’d bought myself a ticket because I didn’t go the year before as I wanted it to be special for my last year of high school. The only thing was, I didn’t have a date.

I was (and still am) a romantic. I longed for someone to ask me out on a date. I wanted someone to buy me a rose from the student government on Valentine’s Day and pass it to me in between classes. I hoped for a love note slipped into my locker.

But none of these things happened. This was a devastating blow to me because I wanted all of this and more. I wanted to be popular. I wanted to be included.

Throughout my years in high school, I had a crush on one guy. To me, he was the epitome of what a date-able guy should look like. Plus he looked like Harry Potter. To me, that added a thousand points (to Gryffindor!) in hotness. The year before during prom time I really wanted him to be my date for prom. He never asked me and I finally decided that I needed to brave the storms and ask him out, with the encouragement of a couple friends of course.

The day I was going to ask him to prom, we had a two hour delay. I was frustrated. He was taking college courses as part of his high school curriculum and was only at the high school for an hour in the morning, so I didn’t get to see him that day. I will see him tomorrow in homeroom, I thought, it won’t be that bad.

It turned out that it could.

Later that day I was in anatomy class. Someone who was my so called friend was sitting behind me with a bunch of girls. All of a sudden I heard her say,

“I’m going to prom with Keith.” (named changed, for obvious reasons)

I stopped what I was doing. Did I just hear that right? I thought. But…she knows I like him. She knows that I was hoping we’d go to prom together.

I turned in my seat to look at her in shock. On cue, she turns to stare at me and smirks. “I know you were going to ask him, but I went ahead and got him right from under your nose just because I can.”

For the rest of the period, I endured the girls behind me gushing over how good looking he was and how good the two of them looked together and even into the minute details of what dress she was wearing on the night. I didn’t go to prom my junior year. I couldn’t face seeing the two of them together.

Fast foreword back to senior year. I didn’t have a date and I really wanted one. I hoped that Keith would be going to prom. One day, I saw him come into my work and I decided to take my break so I could sit and talk with him. After a few minutes of small talk, I decided to finally ask him the question:

“Are you going to prom this year?”

He gave a rueful smile. “No, not this year.”

This was disappointing. The one guy I wanted to go to prom with wasn’t going because he already went last year. This was disappointing. We talked for a few more minutes and all too soon it was time to go back to work.

I was in a panic. Now what was I going to do? I didn’t have a date when most of the people going that year had already made plans. One day I was sitting with my friend K. and we were talking about prom. I asked her if she was going and if she made plans. She said she was, but wasn’t planning on going with a date or anything. It was then decided that the two of us would go together as a friend/group date.

She came over early, went out to eat at a pizza place, and then came home to get ready. The night ended up being a blast. We socialized, ate little snacks, and danced. The highlight of my night was being that the foreign exchange student asked me to dance with him.

No, I didn’t get a date for my prom. I didn’t get a boyfriend in high school either, even though it was something I really wanted. Instead, I realized that love can be shared with friends and the people around you. It didn’t stop me from my longing, but being alone was fun too. All I had to do was be myself.

Lost in the Moment

He was supposed to go back to get the backpack, but he couldn’t move. Neither could I.

He looked at me. I looked at him.

Lost in his gaze, I felt frozen in time. The trees, the greenery, the slow moving river. Each was vibrant yet faded in the background, cocooning us in the moment of ourselves, forgetting where we were. He was beautiful, I thought. I don’t want him to leave.

“Um.” I pause. “I’ll just stay here.”

I turn, I reach my hand out to place my water on the weathered table.

Quicker than lightening, he was before me. His warm fingers curled around my wrist. Surprised, I take a step back. Gently, he tightens his grip and pulls me to him. His lips touch my forehead. I lean in, unable to breath. Can’t you hear my heart beating? I thought, it’s so fast.

He pulls away. I hover in the space between, not quiet touching, but forever attracted to each other’s space.

His face drops down, lips touching mine. Gentle, loving, complete. This is what a kiss is supposed to be like. No self consciousness. No awareness of anyone but him.

Can’t you hear my heart beating.

We pulled away. Gently. Reluctantly. No words said or needed.

He spun away and headed back up the trail. I stared after him immobile, his name lingering on my lips, unable to spill out. Come back, come back. He looked back, almost as unwilling to leave me as I was of him. He’d come back, but I’d never be able to recreate that feeling.

It was perfect. I never will forget.


 

Inspired by Memory.