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My daughter knows I am always entering writing contests. I want my children to believe that whatever they put their mind to they can achieve. Rejections for me are notches under my belt, proof that I have been putting myself out there. Sometimes even the most optimistic person can become discouraged. Last night, my daughter asked me if I won the contest. She was referring to a small contest I entered about embarrassing moments in motherhood.

“No, I don’t think I won,” I responded. I always try to portray myself as having a large amount of confidence, because I think children become self-reliant when they have parents that exude confidence. Last night, I slipped and gave her a glimpse of me lacking belief in myself.

“Mommy will probably never really get anywhere with her writing,” I said. The answer she gave me opened my eyes and snapped me out of the self-pity party I was throwing.

“How do you know? Your life has not ended yet!” Her words made me rethink, regroup, and refocus.  Life is not predictable, sometimes when we think nothing will happen something happens. Thanks to the wise words of my seven-year-old, her confidence renewed my thoughts and slapped me back into reality. Nothing in life worth obtaining should be that easy. Giving up will only make it certain that whatever you wanted to happen, won’t.

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Each month The Writer’s Digest holds a short story contest. They give you a prompt and a 750 word count, and then the rest, is yours to write. Last month’s prompt was to write a short story about the Strong Man and Bearded Lady, experiencing life as a newly married couple.

I thought I would try my hand at a sci-fi type/mystery short story. After I realized I did not win the contest I tried submitting it to the Alfred Hitchcock magazine and it was rejected. I have decided to post it on my blog because I’m not sure where else it would fit in. Its’ title is SHAVING MY PURPOSE.

       

                                                           

 I really believed Sam when he told me married life would be different. It was something about his chocolate browns that made me trust every word that came out of his mouth.     “Del,” he would say, “Once we’re married you can shave that silly beard and I can stop weight lifting so much.” I had visions of us walking into a restaurant like a normal husband and wife. There would be no awkward glances or long disgusted stares. My facial hair would be gone. Maybe I would see myself as he did, pretty. I was excited when I bought my first pack of disposable razors. I was shaving the ugly beard for my man, the man who looked past my beastly features. The man who told me I was beautiful and that together we could do anything.      No more freak shows, no more annoying kids, and best of all, no more traveling. I believed this man. I married this man. I loved everything about him. His muscles were rippled and his smile was captivating. I couldn’t wait for the night we shaved my beard. He promised it would be unforgettable.      I wanted to make sure the night would be just as perfect as our wedding. More perfect, I should say, we got hitched at a Vegas chapel. It wasn’t the wedding I always dreamed of. Beard shaving night would be better than my dreams. I purchased all sorts of romantic scents. I spent too much money on body oils and even splurged on a very expensive edible shaving cream.      He walked through the front door and called out my name. I adjusted the belt of my silk robe, making sure it wasn’t too tight. I ran a quick brush through my hair, squirted his favorite perfume on the back of my neck, cleared my throat and called out seductively “I’m upstairs, waiting for you.” My heart skipped with each step he took. I still couldn’t believe that I, the bearded lady was married to the most handsome man on earth. I was like a school girl waiting for the cute boy to come onto the playground.The only exception was the boy was coming to see me. In school that never happened. The cute boys made fun of me. They were the first one’s to call me a freak.     My mother told me she saw stubble within days of my birth. Her crazy witchdoctor advised her that if she was to shave it I would lose my purpose in life. My mother wasn’t all there. She believed that I was born with a beard for a reason. She scared me and told me never to shave it. As crazy as she was, I should have listened. Sam walked in the bathroom holding a half dozen of roses. He greeted me with a long kiss. “Last kiss before we shave that circus hair.”     I started to feel like something wasn’t right. I couldn’t understand then, but now I know, it was intuition. My stomach flipped and my hands dripped with sweat.      “Trust me,” he whispered. I handed him the razor and edible shaving cream took a deep breath and closed my eyes. He gently lathered the cream over my cheeks and chin. He licked a bit off of my lip and commented on how good it tasted. I expected him to take his time but instead he was rushing. It was not how I pictured the evening to be. If I had any sense I would have got up and ran. A sinister look spread through his chocolate browns. It wasn’t my Sam. A mad chuckle released from his lips the moment he finished the last stroke. “I did it!” He screamed.     I became paralyzed with fear as I watched his muscles expand bigger and his chest pump up two sizes. I grabbed onto my head. It was shrinking. The witchdoctor’s words barreled through my mind. I was losing my purpose. He stole my purpose to strengthen his strength. I’m back at the carnival freak show, where I will stay for the remainder of my life as the Tiny Head Woman. The last I heard he married The Fat Lady. I wonder what he wants with her voice.     

This week I did something I have never done before. I participated in a Mommy and Me class. I had my first two children within thirteen months of each other. Shortly after my second child was born I started watching my sisters’ daughter. Within another year I was watching my other sisters’ son. Needless to say I didn’t have the luxury of attending the Mommy and Me classes. In a blink of an eye I went from having no children to caring for five. I had my third child a little over two years ago so my plate definitely became full. Leaving my house during the day wasn’t an option. Life flew by. Three of the five children are now in school all day and my nephew is in pre-school three days a week. For the first time in seven years I am home with one child. A friend of mine suggested I start Mommy and Me. She assured me my daughter would love it. I wasn’t so sure, I would. Not because I wouldn’t enjoy some mother/daughter bonding time with my youngest child, because, I would. The thing holding me back was the fact that I would be going alone. I didn’t have a sidekick friend accompanying me. What if there were cliques and I didn’t fit in. What if I was underdressed, or overdressed, would they be whispering as I walked by? I think all women have an insecurity complex hiding inside of them. I make friends easily, I am not shy, but I still know how it is to feel out of place. This, is what I was hoping would not happen. I threw on a pair of khakis, put some makeup on, ran a brush through my hair, strapped the baby in her car seat and drove to the hall. I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by smiling mothers. I felt comfortable in the outfit I chose to wear. I wasn’t overdressed or underdressed. The first part of the session was puzzles. My daughter and I grabbed a few out of the storage bin, brought them to a table and put them together. It was exciting to see her enthusiastically putting the color coordinated puzzle together. I was beaming when she called out the colors correctly. After the puzzles we sat on the floor for music time. We swayed back and forth, snapping our fingers and clapping our hands, to kid friendly music. We walked around in a circle banging tambourines against our thighs while The Mickey Mouse Club song blared. I even engaged in small talk with other mothers. I felt good, my daughter was having fun and I was having a blast watching her having fun. The smile was still on my face when I got home. I felt a little blue knowing my other kids missed out on Mommy and Me. My smile quickly faded when I looked downward. The zipper of my khakis was down. Being the analyzer I am, I spent the rest of the day wondering when the zipper became unzipped. Was it down when I walked in? What about when I was walking in the circle banging the tambourine. Did I look like a complete idiot dancing about with my two year old while my fly was down? Did any of the other mother’s notice and were they waiting for me to leave to burst out laughing? It could have happened on the drive home which is what I am making myself believe. I will definitely be going back but this time I think I will opt for a piece of clothing that doesn’t have a zipper. But knowing my luck, I will decide to wear light colored pants, sit on a squashed candy bar, dance around to M-I-C-K-E-Y and only find out when another mother pulls me aside to quietly tell me.  

Thirteen Things about Maribeth

I love to dream. When I remember my dreams I love to look up the symbolisms and see what they represent. Most of the time, I find their meanings directly relate to situations currently happening in my life. I also love colors; in the past I have said that Midnight Blue is my favorite color. But, the truth is I love all colors, I really don’t have one favorite. I think my color of choice depends on my mood. A great site I love is called DreamMoods.com. For this week’s Thursday Thirteen I have decided to list thirteen colors and what they mean if you dream of them according to DreamMoods.Com. I hope you find it interesting. (Another great site to check out if you love colors and feel they can represent a mood is colorgenics.com)

Sweet Dreams, I hope your dreams are full of color!

1…White
White represents purity, perfection, peace, innocence, dignity, cleanliness, awareness, and new beginnings. You may be experiencing a reawakening or have a fresh outlook on life. However, in Eastern cultures, white is associated with death and mourning.

2… Black
Black symbolizes the unknown, unconscious, danger, mystery, darkness, death, mourning, hate or malice.
If the feeling in the dream is one of joy, blackness could imply hidden spirituality and divine qualities.
To dream in black and white, suggests that you need to be more objective in formulating your decisions. You may be a little too unyielding in your thought process and thus need to find some sort of balance between two opposing views. Consider the views and opinions of others. Alternatively, black and white dreams is a sign of depression or sadness. You may feel that there is not enough excitement in your life.

3…Blue
Blue represents truth, wisdom, heaven, eternity, devotion, tranquility, loyalty and openness. The presence of this color in your dream, may symbolize your spiritual guide and your optimism of the future. You have clarity of mind.
Depending on the context of your dream, the color blue may also be a metaphor of “being blue” and feeling sad.

4…Gold
The golden color reflects your spiritual rewards, richness, refinement and enhancement of your surroundings.

5…Green
Green signifies a positive change, good health, growth, healing, hope, vigor, vitality, peace, and serenity. Green is also symbolic of your strive to gain recognition and establish your independence. Money, wealth and jealousy are often associated with this color.
Dark green indicates materialism, cheating, deceit, and/or difficulties with sharing. You need to balance between your masculine and feminine attributes.

6…Gray
Gray indicates fear, fright, depression, ill health, ambivalence and confusion. You may feel emotionally distant or detached.

7…Pink
Pink represents love, joy, sweetness, happiness, affection, kindness. Being in love or healing through love is also implied with this color.

8…Purple
Purple is indicative of devotion, healing abilities, loving, kindness, and compassion. It is also the color of royalty, high rank, and dignity.

9…Red
Red is an indication of raw energy, force, vigor, intense passion, aggression, power, courage and passion. The color red has deep emotional and spiritual connotations.
Red is also the color of danger, shame, sexual impulses and urges. Perhaps you need to stop and think about your actions.

10…Silver
Silver represents justice and purity. It is symbolic of some protective energy.

11…Yellow
The color yellow has both positive and negative connotations. If the dream is a pleasant one, then the color yellow is symbolic of intellect, energy, agility, happiness, harmony, and wisdom. On the other hand, if the dream is an unpleasant one, then the color represents cowardice and sickness. You may have a fear or an inability to make a decision or take action. As a result, you are experiencing many setbacks.

12…Brown
Brown denotes worldliness, practicality, domestic and physical comfort, conservatism, and a materialistic character. Brown also represents the ground and earth.

13…Orange
Orange denotes friendliness, courtesy, lively, sociability, and an out-going nature. You may want to expand your horizons and look into new interests.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

I listened to a song the other day and thought -this would be a good song to hear on a bad day. The kind of song that makes you feel like somewhere someone knew how you were feeling and they arranged for this combination of soul touching lyrics and spirit warming melody to be played for you. After concentrating on the words your mood begins to lighten and you find yourself feeling okay. Okay, because you were touched through music and it changed the way you were thinking. So, today I decided to send out a song that someone somewhere might need to hear.  

If life is hard today – wait for it to get better.

Last week I wrote about how I didn’t win the Writer Mama’s writing contest. I was boo-hooing for a bit and feeling rejected. But today I am woo-hooing it and feeling excited. I just found out I won the September 4th give-away from commenting on the Writer Mama’s blog. I am super-super psyched. The books I won will be of great help and be put to good use, just in time for my birthday. So see, life has a way of turning bad days into good. And today is certainly a good one. Be sure to stop by her blog and maybe you will be the next winner. Let me know how it goes. Thank you to Peggy for commenting and letting me know I won. Keep on Writing, Reading, and doing whatever it is that brings a smile to your face. I will be walking around with my smile. I hear it’s the latest trend. :):):)

Hello everyone. Today I would like to direct anyone who loves to write over to the Writer Mama’s blog. You could get there simply by clicking her site from my blogroll. She is giving away great prizes for the month of September to some lucky Writer Mama’s/Papa’s. I am hoping to be one of the lucky few. I hope you all are too.

I would love to hear about what made you start writing. Whether it was a blog, journal,book,short story. I love to hear other people’s stories.  Please share it will be fun!

Make sure you visit the Writer Mama for some great tips on writing.

I hate yard sales. I don’t hate going to them I hate having them. Every time I have ever attempted to have a yard sale it has been a complete failure. I would go into it with high hopes. I’d count the money in my head long before the first quarter was made. Unfortunately I never made much more than a quarter. Albeit most of the stuff I was hoping to free myself from was clutter, to someone else I knew it could be a find. There was one time I stayed up the whole night organizing my rummage into neat little piles. I had fancy shoes, sporty shoes, hanging about shoes and even cute little comfy never before worn slippers. They were not cheap shoes. Most were bought on a whim to go with one outfit. I really took my time on deciding their prices. I knew if I was going to make a profit the shoes were my best chance. In my mind my prices were reasonable, maybe even a steal. I didn’t mark any of them for more than five bucks even though I paid much more myself. After hours of tagging my shoes, clothes and anything extra I found lying around the house I went to bed with a smile. I was proud of myself for taking the time to make everything presentable. I jumped out of bed in the morning with enthusiasm. The enthusiasm quickly faded when I looked out the window and saw it pouring out. I tried to remain optimistic. Instead of a yard sale I would have a porch sale. After all, my porch was big enough to fit everything I was selling. The second sign of doom was when my three year old nephew ran up onto the porch. He was frantically searching for something kid friendly. He bumped into my Hagar sculptures and broke the head off. It was the most expensive item I had out. I think a person would be a fool to spend fifteen dollars for a piece with a glued on head. The sun came out and I was beginning to get hopeful. Cars were starting to line up and down the street. This was going to be it. I smiled as the people entered through my gate. I politely waved as they exited empty handed. A few women gathered around the shoes but I knew immediately their small frames were more like a size six than my gigantic size nines. One woman seemed to be interested she tried on a few pair and walked around in a circle testing them out. She held up the box and asked, “How much for these.” They were a pair I purchased but never wore. “Five dollars,” I answered. When I saw the look of disgust sweep across her face I felt it necessary to explain they were never worn and still in the original box. I sold those shoes for… a quarter. Today my parents decided they were going to have their yearly yard sale. I had no plans on being a part of it and went over for a visit. It was chaos, visually and mentally. Between my brother and sisters we have seven children. All seven children were at the yard sale. They were shopping amongst the other patrons. That alone puts added stress to the day, try explaining to seven year olds and younger that the things lying across Noni and Nono’s yard are for others to buy not for them. Between hollers of “What will you take for this,” and shouts of “Mom I really want to buy this,” a sane person can easily lose their mind. Moods changed, bickering began and before I knew it there was a family feud. I was at the edge of insanity and then the most hysterical thing happened. A woman called out to my father and asked “How much for these shoes.” He yelled back “Five dollars,” explaining they had a steel toe. “There’s no steel toe”, she replied. He looked puzzled but continued to tell her he spent forty dollars on them and wanted at least five. She set the shoes down and went across to the other side of the yard. “Mar, I didn’t want to sell those shoes,” he whispered. Someone put his new shoes out amongst the sale items. “Do you want me to go get them?” I asked. “Wait until she leaves so it doesn’t look weird,” he replied. In the mean time I got distracted by my two-year old telling me she had to go potty. When I came back outside onto the porch I saw the lady paying my sister for the shoes my father didn’t want to sell. I looked over at him and watched as he watched her walk away with his brand new, pricey New Balance sneakers. He sold the shoes he didn’t want to sell for five dollars and at my yard sale I sold the shoes I had marked for five dollars for a quarter. Life has a funny way of putting a comical moment in at the right time to make the scene a bit lighter. Out of twenty pairs of nice looking shoes out on the lawn the only ones that sold were his.     

I am proud to say I am an optimist. I see my glass half full. If it’s half full, there is more to drink. Yeah life could be tough at times and certainly situations happen to all of us that we wish hadn’t. But in the big picture we are a lucky few. I once read that if you have spare change you are richer than most people in this world. Think about that for a second. More people than not have nothing or close to it. There are thousands maybe even millions that live in extreme poverty. My heart breaks every time I see a clip of a young child starving, standing in line for a cup of rice. They are not complaining that flies are circling their lips as they try to take a mouthful of mush. They are grateful to have something to eat. We all have bad days and there are times I myself can become pessimistic but on those days I try to remind myself just what I do have. I have a home to shelter me. My home is no mansion and can use a lot of work but it keeps me safe. I have choices when I open my refrigerator, sometimes the choices are less than the week before but still there is food. I have a cookie jar filled with loose coins that I can cash in on a rainy day. I have friends that I can call or write to when I need to vent. Even if the topic I am venting about is so silly I have people who will listen. I have a direct line with heaven and I call it everyday. Though I don’t get a verbal response there are many times I know my prayers were answered. I accept when the answer was not the one I was hoping for. I will not judge a person because I have not walked in their shoes. I give them the benefit of the doubt when they are miserable and hope there are valid reasons for them choosing that mood. I know there could be many reasons behind their behaviors including depression. I acknowledge this as a true sickness and sympathize with someone battling the terrible disease.  But for those of you that are crabby simply because you like to make other people miserable I plead with you to step outside of yourself and watch from a bystanders eye how you look.  If you see your glass as half empty, pour it out and fill it back up. There is but one life, at the end of the road you may look back and regret not recognizing the blessings you received. Call me a fool for seeing the bright side, but if living on the dark side is the alternative I will take it as a compliment. My cup is half full; there is room for much more. 

I am lazy. Why? I don’t know.

I am ambitious, although it doesn’t show.

My dreams differ from my reality, Can’t tell you why.

I see my vision before me, begging me to try.

I promise I will. I convince myself  it will be.

But here I am. Resting, sleeping, yeah that’s me.

One day I will wake up, my mind will run free.

Clarity will visit. It waits patiently. Hoping I will see.

Eventually I will resurface, emerging from the fog.

The dust of questions will settle and clear.

I will be energized, destiny is destiny, get rid of the fear.   

I did something the other day to help push me in the right direction. I took another writing class. This is an advanced course that will help with the completion of my novel. I want to be the person I envision myself to be. Not the person I am. Who is the person I envision? I see a go-getter, a girl who knows what she wants and then finds a way to get it. I know I am that girl, but I am also another girl, the daydreamer. The girl who looks out the window and fantasizes about what she wishes she could do. The older I become the clearer it is. Those hopes of a fool’s paradise are tangible if I utilize my time properly. I tend to waste time thinking about having a published novel rather than working hard to make sure my novel is published. I write everyday, probably a thousand words or more. If I took all the words I wrote for one month and added them to the novel I have started it might be finished. I stand in my way and I think it’s time I step aside. I fear failure but I fear success just as much. A wise person once said if you want something done do it yourself. I know there is no one out there that will walk up to me and say “Hey I heard you wanted to write a novel, tell me what you want it to be about and I will write it for you.” And if there was a person that offered to do that I would turn them down. It’s like stealing the answers from the kid next to you. You might get a good grade but you don’t get satisfaction or a sense of accomplishment. I want the good grade and know I studied very hard and earned it. I am who I am but it’s  I who could change me.