Reminders

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The plan was to spend a good part of the day on my book. Having looked forward to this day off from work for a week, I mulled over phrases and thoughts from where I left off last time.

I woke up early, ready to take on the day. Sitting up to get out of bed, I took a deep breath and expanded my chest, startled to feel chest pressure and heaviness. Moving forward with usual morning things, I waited for the chest pressure to go away. And this is how the day went–waiting for chest pressure to go away.

Rarely do I have a full day like this anymore. I have figured out it seems to come during times of stress and, therefore, I try to avoid getting worked up or feeling stressed out. But, of course, in life this isn’t always possible.

Or, chest pressure comes when something really bad is going on with my heart. So my worries on Thursday were, Is it extreme pressure? Are my hands sweaty? Does my jaw hurt? Monitoring symptoms takes vigilant energy. My symptoms were relieved when I sat down and rested, so most of the day was spent resting. And being frustrated.

My brother called that evening and sensed something in my voice; he asked if I was okay. I told him I had felt crummy all day. He said he felt crummy the day before, like he was getting the flu. But with extra sleep and a new day, he felt better. “But,” he said, “I have the luxury of feeling sick and not worrying about it.”

This is the chronic part of my heart and vascular disease. Symptoms and extreme fatigue pop up, without regularity, as if to say, “Don’t forget, I’m still here.” I feel a bit sorry for myself, frustrated over the lack of energy and mental space to even work on my book. A day lost. A day sick.

These reminders come, always unwelcome, but usually with a lesson or a positive outcome. This day of rest reminded me of how grateful I am to feel well most days. More good days than bad is a good thing. And now I have plans to work on my book one day next week. Some of the thoughts and phrasing may be different, and just may be better.

Make is a good week!

 

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The Thin Line

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In the movie, “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” one of the lines goes like this: “It seems as if the space between my dreams and my fears is nothing more than the width of an eyelash.”

The woman who said this was referring to her deepening love for a new man in her life. The fear of love was keeping her emotionally distant from him. She did not want to risk opening herself up to the hurt that often comes with love, but, yet, it thrilled her to be with him.

I love the image of the width of an eyelash, a thin line between dreams and fear. It is a universal experience to which we can all relate.

Right now this sentiment is true for me about my book.

My memoir, for the past four years, is the thing in my mind, after which, my dreams will come true. I have given it the power, in my mind, of being the pivot point after which my world will change. I’ll be rich and famous, or healthy and totally together… or… perhaps nothing will change? Fear of success and lack of success are equally powerful.

Now that I am close to finished with the edits suggested by my editor, I realized recently I seem to be stalling. When I finish these edits and get one more official proof, the hard work of publishing, marketing, and getting it out into the world is on.

Realizing that I am stalling, though, has been freeing. It is up to me whether or not I finish the book, and I decided that the risk of my life changing or not changing is better than a future of what if? I am committing to pushing through, finishing the edits, and hiring the proofreader. I will open that new door and see what lies on the other side, no longer allowing fear to win. When it’s done, readers, you will be the first to know!

Make it a good week!

What’s Your Why?

imageYesterday I attended a writing conference and was inspired in many ways–to write consistently, to develop my online presence as a writer, and to believe in my writing. I’ve been working on my memoir for a few years off and on; lately I’m on, and have a deadline of May to give the second draft to a professional editor. Exciting!

One of the most powerful messages yesterday came in a memoir workshop led by Lee Blum, author of Table in the Darkness: A Healing Journey Through an Eating Disorder. Her moving story is about growing up in a family where she did not feel good enough, about her struggles with, and ultimate recovery from, anorexia. When beginning to write, she said yesterday, you must find your why. Why are you telling your story?

My why for my memoir, at first, was to tell people about having a strange heart attack when I was just 38. But I have figured out over time it really isn’t about that at all. My why is for those living with chronic health conditions, about living fully and completely, with faith and hope. If I can help one person with their process of healing, it will have been worth it.

Telling our stories to make money, or for the shock value, or to please others, will ring hollow. It won’t work. In life, as in writing, If we tell our stories for the wrong reasons, lack of authenticity will shine. I hope that my why for the memoir shows through in my life. I want to listen to people, and be empathetic to those going through difficult times. Perhaps one of the reasons why I live with a chronic health condition is to help others.

What is your why? Not just for writing or telling your story. But what motivates you as you go through your life? How has your why changed as you have aged, or as you have experienced new things?

The cute little white typewriter in the photo was a gift from my lovely aunt, Georgette. She said she thought of me when she saw it, and knew I needed it. I love this little typewriter and its simple but potent message. This post is my 50th since starting this blog a year and a half ago. Thank you for reading, for your feedback, and support!

Make it a good week!

 

Speakin’ My Mind

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In the past few years I have been working on a memoir. If you know me, you’ve most likely heard me talk about it. “I’m working on my book…” has been said thousands of times.

The title I have chosen is “Because I Lived”, also the impetus for this blog. It describes the journey of coming to terms with life after a near deadly health crisis. Because I lived I get to have a life full of more gratitude, purpose, and blessing than I ever had before when I was considered healthy.

I’ve realized in recent months that I’m stalling. The story is there, it’s done. There will likely be plenty of room for editing. But what I wanted to say is said. I have an editor (a real editor!) lined up. I’m at the point of asking a few close friends to read it, to gather general impressions and their thoughts.

But putting it out there is S-C-A-R-Y! What if everyone who reads it hates it? What if it isn’t interesting? What if it’s self-indulgent, whiny, or boring? And the biggest fear of all, what if publishers are not interested in publishing it? What if they do publish it?

So, I am trying to be brave, put the words out in the world, and trust that it will all work out. Although it is shaky, I am trying to use my voice.

What are you thinking about or working on that has you stalling? Are you shaky but trying to speak?

Make it a good week!