A lot of you already know that I’m in the process of writing a book. I’m not good at explaining what it’s about but a generalization would be something akin to Eat, Pray, Love meets Basic Black. It’s a little bit memoir. It’s a little bit self-help (but in a very non-self-helpy way). In fact, the excerpt below is by far the most self-helpish of any part of the book.
I guess my friends back in the CL newsroom were right, I’m just a Pollyanna after all. Well, a punk rock, feminist, pro-choice, queer-friendly Pollyanna anyway. I really do want to just help people and make the world a better place. It’s time to own it.
It’s still in pretty early stages in the writing and revision process. But here’s a little taste (and I apologize that the formatting is messed up and has numbered each item No. 1. Sorry, I have bad tech skills. Bad tech skills bitterness):
My Humble Plan
As I said at the beginning, I’m no expert. All I know is what I’ve lived and what has worked (and not worked) for me. When I embarked on this journey to change my life, I didn’t have much in the way of a plan or guidance. As a woman who has tried and failed to diet, I was not only afraid of what I might discover on this journey but questioned whether I’d have the resolve to see it through any more than I could walk past doughnuts without taking one.
My plan was more of a set of general guidelines rather than a hard-fast plan with rules or outlines. Hell, I’m just a woman who has gone to therapy a time or two, read a self-help book or two and has seen her share of Oprah episodes.
Here’s what I started out with:
- Make the change(s) in your life that your gut, your heart and your soul are silently screaming for. There’s never going to be the “right time” to make a change. The stars are never going to magically align. Your weight, your finances, your crabby boss, your kids, the weather, your horoscope, your whatever-excuse-you-got isn’t going to get its shit together for you. You’ve got to get your own shit together. You ain’t getting any younger, richer, thinner, smarter or otherwise better equipped than Right Now. I say this to set you free.
- Changing your life is fucking hard. Period. It doesn’t matter if the change is your career, going back to school, losing weight for good, starting a family, getting a divorce, changing your religion, selling your house and moving to the place of your dreams, running your first 5K, etc. Accept that even the best things for your soul demand hard work and you’re half-way there. Seriously, accept it. Fighting it just wastes time.
- Changing your life for the better is going to make contact with things and that will, on occasion, make some friction. Hey, nobody is an island. We bump up against each other in this life. This is part of the process. And I promise the friction, both toxic and healthy varieties, doesn’t last forever. But it will come – from your loved ones, your friends, your colleagues, your Facebook friends and probably most surprisingly, from yourself. Sometimes the best you can do is smile and help those around you accept that the changes are going to make you a better, more loving, more fulfilled, happier person, which in turn is going to make you a better friend, parent, spouse, daughter/son, co-worker, boss, etc. Sometimes the friction is there for a reason because it’s telling you that maybe the relationship or thing in your life is a source of pain or toxin that kills your happiness. And sometimes the friction is there to remind you that you are alive.
- Find a someone or, better yet, a group of someones who fill your cup, embrace your process and promote your change(s). Unconditional love is the best antidote to toxic friction I know. It’s also the best resource for the times you feel alone, lost, scared, worried, or otherwise insecure or unsure. Again, we are not islands.
- Start writing shit down. While I am not a constant journaler, I have at different times in my life found great comfort, truth and freedom from journaling. During the two years that I was most in-depth in my process, I journaled online because I didn’t want to just be talking to myself anymore. That worked for me. A regular yellow steno pad may work for you. The particulars are not important. The writing is an important piece if for no other reason than you can mark your progress and see how far you’ve come.