Once upon a time

I’m not sure I can write fiction.

Let me rephrase. I’m not sure I can write fiction anyone wants to read. I probably haven’t worked at it enough, and I won’t give up. My dialogue is unnatural. It doesn’t sound the way people talk. The characters don’t feel authentic.

Running through all of it is the doubt. Who am I to pretend to be a man? How can I possibly know how a man thinks or what he thinks about? Everyone will assume this is what I think. People will think these characters are them. My friends will be embarrassed for me. My sex scenes make even me blush. Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

This year, a student asked me if he had any talent and should he write? It doesn’t matter what I think, I told him. What matters is that you are compelled to write, and so you must. I can give you tips. I can teach you tricks. I can tell you what I would change, as your editor. But don’t ever let anyone tell you that you aren’t good enough or you shouldn’t.

I am unable to take my own advice. What kind of teacher can I be if I don’t live the advice I give?

Posted in Essays/Commentary | 7 Comments

You Gotta Work, B****

Today, I got called out for being narcissistic. The reason? Selfies on Facebook.

A year ago, I started a trend among my friends. I posted a selfie of myself, red-faced and sweating, after my workouts as a way of holding myself accountable and congratulating myself. Many friends followed my lead, posting their own #wethairselfies after workouts. It has become a way we encourage each other. And yes, brag a little. It’s an accomplishment to squeeze in a workout when you’re a busy professional with kids. At work on Thursday, a friend admitted to me that she’s been getting up at 5 a.m. to work out, and it’s because of me. She said, “I thought, if Mo can do it, then I have no excuse.”

My karmic path is electricity. I’m meant to be a catalyst for other people’s greatness. I’m sometimes uneasy in that role, but it’s an apt place to tackle my envy.

Maybe I am a narcissist, but not a textbook one. I’m generally in a relationship with a narcissist, pouring out narcissistic supply as fast as she or he (usually he) can lap it up. I’m not the one acting the vampire, sucking someone else’s attention and adulation.

After coloring my hair to cover up the gray, I put on a little make-up and went outside to take a selfie in the natural light. Better to see the red highlights in my hair color. I used a filter on it, but I didn’t go nuts. The response to the photo was over the top. I was embarrassed but flattered. Until my friend accused me of posting selfies for attention because I KNOW I’m pretty.

Why do we post selfies? Artists painted self portraits, actors direct themselves in films they’ve written, and everyone takes selfies. Women are particularly criticized for this. We are expected to be photographed and admired, but when we take the photos ourselves, we’re called “narcissistic,” “stuck up,” and “full of” ourselves.

I’m terribly insecure, but I like how I can make myself look in a selfie. High angle, chin down, slightly to one side, look into the camera like I’m seeing someone I love, and smile. Most of them look awful and I delete them right away. Some come out terrific and I save them. Sometimes, I post them. The photo in question was to show off my hair color. I’d mixed Clairol’s dark auburn with medium auburn for a slightly more copper look than my usual mahogany red. I didn’t mean it as, “Look how pretty I am.”

One friend joked #bluesteel. I appealed to him to tell all these fools that I don’t look like this and it was just a photo. He didn’t. “Stunning photo,” he replied. It’s so important in our culture to be pretty. Most of us are average. How has the selfie changed the way we see ourselves? I think in some ways, it has made us more accepting of the way we look. We see our faces more than we used to. I remember when it was rare to see a photo of myself.

My Instagram post today stated that I’m reinventing myself for the first time for the millionth time. It’s true. Inspired by Britney Spears’ immortal words: “You gotta work, bitch,” I am on a quest to lose the last of my pregnancy/newlywed weight. I want my body to look the way it’s supposed to. I still eat out of boredom, sadness, and insecurity. I still feed myself poorly. Yes, I want to go from a size 12/14 to an 8/10. I also want to feel good, have energy, sleep better, and stop thinking about it all the time.

I’ve got the exercise down. I workout 4 days a week, every week. I just need to add one more. My diet is a disaster. I eat like a college kid. It’s time to get real.

I can’t do Instagram much because of my anonymity, but if you want to follow me there, it’s mrs.odie.

I have laundry to wash and fold, and papers to mark. Because you gotta work, bitch.

Posted in Dieting/Fitness, Essays/Commentary, My Eating Disorder (EDNOS) | Tagged , , , , , , ,