Empowerment through Writing (A #10Thankful Post)

Posted: May 24, 2015 in Achieving Aspirations, Defeating Depression, Human Connections
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Ah. Writing. I feel better when I do it. . . I feel conflicted when I don’t. . . It requires a certain amount of mental clarity to accomplish anything satisfying. . . Yet, when I do write, it is the best way to gain the mental clarity I need. It’s such a “Catch 22,” really. Ugh.

Overall, though, I am thankful for my ability to write. (Thankful #1) I am not great writer or author, but at least I don’t completely suck at it. . . It seems, more often than not, when I seek to get a point across through written word, my objective is met. Whether academic, therapeutic, or recreational, writing comes relatively easy to me. . . (Thankful #2) I can only imagine what I could do with it if I actually put forth a tremendous effort, ya know?

Empowerment through Writing

So, earlier this week, the handsome husband & I broke down & got new cell phones. (Thankful #3) It’s been well over two years since I bought him his last phone (a Samsung Galaxy S3) & I acquired my last (a Samsung Galaxy S2) nearly a year before that. We’ve been out-of-contract & biding our time for quite some time. But, lately, both of our phones have been more frustrating than anything else, bogging down when they should be lightning quick. You know, when you pay so much for a service, you kind of need to have a device that is capable of giving you the full effects of the service you’re paying for. . . So, we upgraded to Samsung Galaxy S6s. While I am a little sickened at how expensive a damn cell phone is, overall, I am relieved to have it.  We do rely on our cell phones for a lot of things & I have kept my phone number local for my grandmother, who still only has a land-line that will charge her extra for long-distance calls. It makes me happy to be able to do that. (Thankful #4)

While fiddling around with my new cell phone, I took a few “selfies,” trying out a new feature on the S6 that makes it easier to take a forward-facing photo. On a whim, I posted this photo on my personal Facebook page with a caption that read:

So, I am not usually one for “selfies” (& I am sure I do not have to go into the specifics of why), but the handsome husband & I broke down & got new phones the other day. Isn’t there some unwritten rule that you must post the result of getting acquainted with your new camera functions? Oh. There isn’t? Could’ve fooled me… 😉 LOL

(But seriously, this camera IS kinda neat.)

FB Selfie May2015

I really cannot stand taking photos of myself, so I am not certain why I went ahead & actually posted this one. . . (I just feel fat & gross & worn out & assume I must look that way too, I guess?) But, I do have to admit, despite the wild hair & cosmetics-free chubby face, I was pleasantly surprised to get a good handful of “likes” & positive comments from my Facebook friends. (Thankful #5) They were surprisingly comforting & empowering, I guess? I don’t know. It felt good. . .

One comment stood out the most, though. It simply said, “Miss you. You always have a way of putting a smile on every face. You should be a writer…seriously.”

Insta-smile. Activate feel-goods.

LOL. But, seriously.

I know it’s just one person’s opinion. . . But, it’s an awfully nice opinion & I am glad it was shared. (Thankful #6) It is amazing how such a simple gesture can be such a HUGE reminder that how we view ourselves is not necessarily how others view us. It confirms that I am my own worst critic. I am not sure anyone else could be as nasty towards me as I can be. The Bitch is debilitating. I need to work on that.

“You should be a writer…seriously.”

Also a tremendous compliment, to which, all I could say was, “if I knew I couldn’t fail, being a writer would be one of my aspirations. . .” It is true. But, writing well requires a certain amount of creativity & vulnerability that I find difficult. I know I already write a lot about very personal things on this blog. . . .But, it is done in a very casual way. . . There is a reason I model most of my posts like journal or diary entries — it makes it easier to talk about some of the “heavier” (or sillier) stuff.

BUT, if it were anyone but me, I would respond to my comment by saying that I should pursue it anyway. So what if you fail? So what if the results aren’t as fabulous as you could hope? If it brings you joy, why is it not a higher priority in your life? Life is too short to cower in fear.

The statement, “if I knew I couldn’t fail, being a writer would be one of my aspirations” might as well say “I don’t write more because I am afraid I would fail at it.” Epiphany. Damn. It hit me pretty hard. Such a simple thing. . . but so powerful. . . & I doubt the person that made that seemingly innocent Facebook comment even realizes the impact it had. I am grateful, though. Seriously, I am. (Thankful #7) It is pretty cool how that works sometimes. . .

So, I felt empowered. I pulled up my fiction work-in-progress & did a bit of research & pre-writing. It dawned on me that I was so frustrated with it, not just because of my fears of failure & of being too vulnerable through my writing, but also because I was approaching it wrong for me. (Thankful #8)

In the fiction-writing world, there are what some call “planners” or “pantsers.” Planners outline their stories & line up each scene in the proper sequences. Some are more detailed than others, but the general idea is there. “Pantsers” fly by the seats of their pants. . . They take an idea & just run with it. They start writing & see where they end up. I thought I was a “pantser,” but, as it turns out, I think I am more of a planner. I found the writing process so stressful, I think, because I didn’t have a clear-cut plan — just a vague inkling of where it would lead. I need more than that. Huh. So now I know. (Thankful #9)

I am hoping this writing epiphany & confidence-builder leads to some actual consistent activity, especially since I have no academic responsibilities for a while, so I certainly have the time to devote. I’ve even looked ahead to another one of my favorite blog hops (Two Shoes Tuesday) & have a bit of an idea for a fictional piece to contribute. We’ll see if I can pull it together to be able to share. Regardless of what I do with this feeling, it is nice to be reminded that things do not have to be “perfect” to proceed. (Thankful #10)

There are plenty of other things I am thankful for this week, (for example, the handsome husband & I celebrated our second wedding anniversary on Tuesday & it was a pretty amazing day), but here are my ten for now. . . What are YOU thankful for? Tell me in the comments, hit me up on Facebook, or send me an email to retajayne@calculatedchaos.net. When you’re done, head over to this week’s Ten Things of Thankful blog hop to see what’s on the thankful list of others.

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Comments
  1. […] Empowerment through Writing (A #10Thankful Post) […]

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  2. Kristi says:

    Happy anniversary!
    Isn’t it great when you learn something new about yourself? I’m glad you got a boost of confidence regarding writing, and your abilities, and how “failure” really isn’t.
    I think often we view ourselves through carnival-like mirrors: what we see is not an accurate reflection. I do not see fat, gross, or worn out in your photo at all!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reta Jayne says:

      Thank you!!! “Carnival-like mirrors.” I like that! SO true. I am working on seeing myself through the eyes of others. I think, for many people that is not always a good thing, but it my case, it would probably be an improvement. 😉 I am not sure where along the line I gained such a negative view of myself…

      Like

  3. dyannedillon says:

    My phone is like Christine’s and won’t hold a charge. And the lock button only works about 95% of the time, so I butt dial a lot. Congratulations on your new phones! They are stinkin’ expensive toy/necessities.
    Your epiphany about writing and failing is spot on, and I’m glad it sparked something positive in you. Think of all the things we don’t try in life because we fear failure!
    Did you know you were a winner in our TToT 100th week anniversary contest?! I have a box for you, and I need to know where to send it. Email me with your mailing address and other particulars at yanneda@gmail.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reta Jayne says:

      Try replacing your battery. Seriously. I did that with my last phone & it lasted well over another year! I was shocked — & I felt a little silly I hadn’t thought of it sooner! LOL.

      Fear of failure is a big thing for me, I think… It is something I am trying to work on. I hope this little epiphany of mine actually causes some ACTION, rather than just a bunch more thought. . . Thought is good, but I get too lost in it too often. 😉

      I did not know! I am stoked! So awesome! 🙂 I will email you soon! Thank you.

      Like

  4. christine says:

    Happy anniversary! I’m glad you had such a good day.
    I am going to need to bite the bullet and get a new phone, too. It isn’t working right and loses charge within 5 hours, even if I never use it in those 5 hours. We’ve had them for 4 years (I think), so it is time. I’m hoping I can get away without paying an arm or a leg or both.
    I do like that photo of you. The expression on your face makes the photo.
    We always have to keep in mind that one small, kind act can have a huge impact on someone. I’m glad you were on the receiving end of some small kindness this week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reta Jayne says:

      About a year-&-a-half ago, my phone did the same thing. I was able to spend a very small fraction of the cost of a new phone & replace the battery. It, obviously, got me by for quite a bit longer; if you haven’t done that yet (& your phone is of the variety that will actually let you replace your own battery), I would highly recommend trying that first. 🙂

      Thank you for your compliments on the photo. I think you got exactly the point I was trying to make: Kind acts do come from unexpected places at unexpected times — & the one doing the kind act may not even be aware of the impact made… I felt blessed, for sure.

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  5. very excellent post! I could identify with a lot of what you say*… especially about how fear affects the perception of possibilities/potential. (I used to think it was simply, “I’m afraid of this” or “I fear that”, but, of late, I’m coming to believe it is more, as you imply here today, that fear is more subtle in how it affects my life. It now seems (to me) that it’s the role of ‘fear as a factor in the decisions I make’ that I need to contend with… yeah, seems like the same thing, but I’m getting a different vibe from the second way of framing the question on fear.

    I would like to write more, but I keep running out of commas and parenthesiseseses

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reta Jayne says:

      I think that is largely the case. . . Fear doesn’t have to be completely in-your-face; it can be quiet & nagging instead. . . I think learning to recognize it, regardless of the form it takes, could be extremely beneficial (if we actually do something about it once it is recognized, anyway).

      Like

  6. Vanessa D. says:

    The way you started your post makes me think you’re a bit like me. Sometimes there is so much garbage floating in my head it’s impossible to pick a topic and write something good. When I get like that I usually have to write a few garbage posts that never see the light of day to get going again.

    I like the picture – and I don’t see a chubby face at all. But beauty is always easier to see in others than our own mirror isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reta Jayne says:

      I am glad I am not the only one then, Vanessa! My problem is that I don’t want to write the garbage posts, so I wind up not writing at all. . . I am not sure that is the wise choice. LOL. I am working on it. 😉 . . . & thank you. You’re right; we see beauty in others much more readily than in ourselves. . .

      Like

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