Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I Hate This Picture of Pauly Shore and Me

I probably watched Encino Man about forty-seven times when I was fourteen. My best friend, Ashleigh, and I watched every movie that Pauly Shore was in over the next four years. He had his very own goofy style of humor that we both loved. Then he just sort of disappeared after Bio-Dome in 1996.

When we found out that Pauly Shore was coming to Regina to do a live show, we were all about that. We got seats in the first row of the balcony. How exciting it was for us to get to see someone live that we’d both been fans of throughout our teenage years. The live show was definitely more vulgar than in the movies, but still very Pauly.

At the end of the show he said that he’d be signing autographs in the lobby.  Ashleigh is always very indifferent about stuff like that, but I get very giddy and star struck. As he was signing my Pauly Shore glossy photo I kept looking at him with a big goofy smile. Then he looked at me and suddenly shot that Pauly Shore smile at me. (If you’ve seen Pauly Shore movies, you know the one.) When I asked if I could get a photo with him, he was very gracious and Ashleigh snapped the picture.

I just couldn’t wait until I got home to see the photo, so in the car I turned the camera on and took a gander at it. “Gah!”

Ashleigh! You’re supposed to let a person know if they look horrid before you snap a picture. This is the only photo I have of me with Pauly Shore, and I can’t post it on Facebook. You can tell how old I am by counting my chins!”

I was upset about the picture, but not so much at Ashleigh for snapping it without telling me that it was an unflattering angle as at myself for being at a weight that it was even possible to look like that in a picture.

I decided that it would make a great Before photo. Which means that once I’ve reached my goal weight I need to hunt Pauly Shore down so I can get another photo taken with him. If he’s in the Before photo, he should be in the After photo. Naturally.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Listened to People Who Scared Me to Death and from My Heart

I think that everyone should have a job that they like (and if they love their job, even better). A person’s job takes up such a significant part of a person’s life that they really should be able to enjoy it. How a person feels about how they make a living really affects the life that person is living. I have yet to find that job which really fulfills me. And I know that I am really the only one to blame for that.

I knew from the time I was seven-years-old what I would be happiest doing. That is when I sat down in front of my Mom’s typewriter and hunted and pecked out a stage play on multi-coloured paper. I don’t remember the name of the play or what it was about; just that I loved the process of creating characters and situations in my mind and letting them escape out onto the paper. In the years that followed, I filled boxes with books and books with poetry and stories in many forms. There was nothing I could ever really see myself doing other than writing. All through my childhood and teen years I dreamed of a future of being a published writer. It’s the only thing I was ever really good at and the only thing I ever really loved to do.

There were always people in my life who showed interest in reading my writing and who told me I had talent. But there was never a person in my life who knew how to support me in realizing my dream. As I got older I began listening to the people who told me that there was no future in writing. A part of me began to believe that I couldn’t make a living with writing. I was scared of wasting my time doing something that would make me poor. When I was twenty I became a single mother. I needed to support my daughter and myself. I needed to do something "realistic".

I’ve had many different jobs, but I always found myself looking at myself in the mirror in the ladies room thinking, “This is a temporary job--just until I find the one that suits me.”

Two years ago I had the opportunity to go to school to be educated for a "realistic" career. It was a Quick Start program, which meant that they crammed a whole lot of information into our heads in a small amount of time, so that we could quickly get out into the work force.

Early Childhood Education is an area that I feel is important, so I knew that I was sure to love it. To begin with, I did. I did very well in school, and I adored every minute of my job placement in a preschool class. But when I was done school, I couldn’t find a job. I applied everywhere in my city, but everyone was hiring people with more experience. Really? How exactly does one get experience then?

I decided instead to open a home day care. I was somewhat hesitant, but the pros seemed to outweigh the cons. I kept hearing that there was a huge demand for child care. I’d be my own boss. I like children. I’d be doing something worthwhile.

The hesitation came from my severe case of Youngest Child Syndrome. They will probably write “Don’t TOUCH that! It‘s MINE!” on my grave stone. I’m not greedy by any means, but my stuff is my stuff and keep your grubby hands off of it. Did you think I wouldn’t notice that you put my Spider-Man DVD back in the wrong spot? Gosh, people. Youngest Child Syndrome stems from us getting all the crap handed down to us from our older siblings and never really having anything of our own. So the thought of a bunch of kids coming into my house and grabbing at all of my stuff caused me some anxiety. I love kids. I just don’t love the idea of their mitts all over my stuff.

When Patience was little I looked forward to the time when I no longer had to keep everything out of her reach and I could decorate my home the way that I wanted to. Now that she is older, I didn’t want to have to put everything up high again to have a day care in my home. I don’t have a finished basement, which would have made a world of difference. If I did, I could have put aside that section of the house for the day care. Then there’d be a day care in my house, but if I had to child proof my living area then I’d be living in a day care. I don’t want to live in a day care. I found a way around it. I’d only accept older children. Preschool and up; children who are old enough to understand that the toys are for them and all of the other things are not for them. The problem is that most people need care for toddlers.

At the end of this month I will have been doing the home day care for a full year. I work eleven hours most days and I am not even making enough money to survive. I am tired all of the time and I am convinced that my sore back is a physical manifestation of stress. The kids are great; it’s the adults that are hard to deal with. Recently I had a few calls for people needing care for toddlers and I said I would meet with them. I started picturing myself pulling out my hair as adorable tiny people invaded my shelves, but I needed the money. I struggled with this, because I always said that people should never ever work with children simply for the money. However, neither of the people that I spoke to showed up when they said that they would, and I haven’t heard from either of them in almost two weeks now. I took that as a resounding sign. It really is time for me to move on. I’d rather be unhappy in a job in which I make more money and only have to work eight hours a day.

For the past few days I’ve been looking at job postings and trying to figure out what I’m going to do. What can I do that I’ll enjoy? What am I good at? What will fulfill me? I know with every ounce of my being that there is only one answer. There only ever has been one answer for me, and that is writing.

I realize that I need to do something while I’m working toward my goal. If it’s flipping burgers at McDonald’s, so be it, as long as it pays the bills and I still have something of myself left to give at the end of the day. But I have lost so much time to fear. I was so afraid of failing with my writing that I never even tried. I’m filled with great regret because of that. Not trying was my biggest failure of all.

In November I participated in NaNoWriMo (writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days). I put my all into it. I lost my sanity at times, and I never felt so good in my life. The experience of watching the characters and story evolve before my eyes was amazing. It showed me that I could do something that I wasn’t sure of for so long. And if I could do that, what else can I do? What else is just sitting there inside of me, waiting to be done?

I have said before that I was going to work toward being a writer and then I changed my mind. But I know things now that I didn’t know then. I know how it feels to write every day and create a great chunk of a novel. I also know that nothing else will ever make me as happy as writing. So I am going to work toward being a writer. Full-time. And if I fail, at least I’ll fail trying.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Here I Am

I had some very good reasons for not blogging for most of December. There were Christmas concerts, Christmas parties, Christmas shopping, Christmas baking and the a-few-days-before Christmas car accident which totaled off my car. No one was seriously injured in the latter, but it meant having to deal with the insurance company, trying to get what the car was actually worth and eventually simply asking, “How far would you like me to bend over?”

But December becomes January and good reasons fade into lame excuses; busy schedules are replaced by procrastination. I think often about blogging, but there’s always something less important to do. Weeks slip away without a word being blogged. Suddenly it’s been almost two months since I wrote last and I have to make a decision; either I consider my whole blog idea a failure and silently slink away, not having to admit to anyone my lack of self-discipline, or I come back, face that I effed up and decide how to do better.

I originally started this blog to hold myself accountable for procrastination. To do something each day to work toward reaching my goals and write about it at least once a week. Giving up on the blog I’m afraid would be the first step to giving up on those goals. Yeah, that’s not going to happen. So here I am.

I want to say thank you to my followers, especially for continuing to follow me when there was nothing here to follow for such a long time. You guys truly rock. I also have to say that my heart honestly dances a little every time I read your notes. Thank you so much.

I have decided that I can get rid of the I can do it tomorrows which so easily morph into weeks without blogging by giving myself a mandatory blogging day. Tuesday seems like a great day for a mandatory blog. So, see you next Wednesday. Ha, I’m kidding. I will be here on Tuesday.