Archive of ‘Erin’ category

How to Heal a Cold if You’re a Perfectionist

…in 10 easy steps.

  1. Begin by complaining you don’t feel well so other people around you know that you are definitely sick.
  2. Go home early and post pictures of yourself on Facebook being sick so people know that you are definitely sick.
  3. Start to feel guilty about the fact that you went home early (even though you are definitely sick).
  4. Begin thinking about all of the things you could do if you just got up for a few minutes.
  5. Get up for a few minutes.
  6. Realize you’re definitely still feel sick and go back to bed.
  7. Begin thinking about all of the things you have left to do and wonder if any of them could be done from a laptop in bed.
  8. Get up and get your laptop and bring it back to bed.
  9. Try working from bed but remember you’re definitely sick.
  10. Take cold medication and try to go to sleep, but lay in bed feeling guilty about how much work you didn’t get done.

Go Where You Are Wanted

Recently, I was listening to an audio class taught by my sweet Kundalini yoga teacher and she said to her students, “Go where you are wanted.” It stopped me in my tracks. Folding my husband’s boxers on the bed in our room I stopped, set the boxers down, pressed pause on my phone, and repeated that phrase to myself.

“Go where you are wanted.”

It’s been 5 years since I’ve been separated and divorced from my first husband. We have done a stellar job rebuilding a new relationship, a co-parenting relationship, that I believe could win awards. (And I do believe there should be awards for co-parenting.)
What I lost in my divorce was my best friend, Karen. She was my blonde twin, my sister from another mister, the truest and most authentic friend I’d had in my life to date. Karen felt very torn between my ex-husband and me during our divorce, and in the end it seemed that she chose him.

This was more devastating than my divorce.

I spent a long time wishing and praying for Karen to come back into my life. So nearly 2 years after our divorce, I reached out to her. It was just a text message but it took courage summoned from my toes to send it. I didn’t know if she hated me or if she missed me or if she even really thought about me anymore. To my utter relief, she replied.
Our exchange was brief and kind. She even used one of our old “just us” jokes and I felt so close to her.

I waited 6 months to hear from her again…

When she did get back in touch, it was to tell me that she was sorry my dog had run away. I guess someone told her what happened. My dog was back by this point so I told her thank you and filled her in. That was it. There was no more after that.

I missed her so much. I missed my friend. I thought about her almost everyday.

A year later, my gynecologist found a lump in my left breast. I was completely terrified. Several friends took me out to dinner to hold me and feed me beer while I panicked and cried. I texted her after a few of those beers, somehow hoping my fear of having breast cancer would inspire her to be my friend again…

By this point I had a new husband. Kind, handsome, and supportive Ryan was there for me throughout the process of mammograms, ultrasounds, and an ultimate “all clear” diagnosis. He held my hand and wiped my tears. I was covered, surrounded, and loved.

But I still missed my friend.

It was almost another year later when she reached out to me. Karen reached out to me. I was overjoyed. I couldn’t wait to catch up with her. We had an hour-long conversation and it was just like old times. She told me she loved me and I told her I loved her back. We were getting this friendship back on track and it was all that I wished for.

The next day I texted her pictures of my wedding. She sent me pictures of her new dog. We were making jokes and giggling and everything felt amazing. “My friend is back,” I told my husband.

That was 2 years ago, and it was the last time I heard from her. I feel a stinging pang of sadness every time I think of the last text message I sent her that received no reply.

Until I heard the words, “Go where you are wanted.” It stung me for years until this moment. Until the day I was folding my husband’s boxers on the bed and I heard the antidote to the sting. “Go where you are wanted.”

How often, I suddenly realized, I have spent time knocking on the doors of those who don’t want me, trying to convince them I’m worth it. Years I’ve spent worried, wondering what I might be able to do to make myself valuable enough for their attention.
Family members.
Friends from high school.
People at work.
Holy cow, I’ve never been a person lacking friends and love. And yet those people who love me have gently stood in the wings waiting for me to finish standing onstage before those who don’t love me, tapping dancing my ass off in hopes that one of them might clap.

It is perfectly ok for people to not like you, to not want to be friends with you. There’s no need to be angry at them for not liking you. It’s just their opinion. But for some reason, our human-selves find it important to prove that everyone can and will like us instead of something far easier – letting those who already love us LOVE us!

It is not selfish to go where you are wanted, either. It is self-love and self-care to allow the people who love you to love you hard, and to gently release those who don’t without sewing their feelings about you to your Girl Scout Sash on the way out.

I have not reached out to my friend again and, at this point, I never will. She is not a friend anymore, anyway. My friends are here. My husband is here. I can see where I am wanted with more and more clarity everyday. And I have less and less interest in those who do not want me.

Go where you are wanted, my friend. Take a look around and starting noticing who is really rooting for you and go there. It is the juice of life. It is the sweetness of life. And it is where you were meant to be: square in the middle of love.

(Thank you, Sat Siri, for being the inspiration behind this.)

 

 

 

 

 

When I Move, You Move

Something new has clicked.

It all started when I decided to gently walk away from my job.
Well, no, it all actually started when I tried to buy a gym.
No, really it all started at the Writers’ Conference I attended in October.
Well, no it all started over the summer when I found out about the Writers’ Conference.
Eh. It actually all started when I decided to start blogging more regularly last year.
Actually, maybe it all started when I figured I would chase after my own dreams when the 2017 ball dropped…

(Spoiler alert – It started then and even before all that.)

What’s clicked for me over the past year is while setting every last domino up for a spectacular display of gravity and momentum is necessary, it is not the final step. The final step is moving.
Pushing the first domino.
But the real clicky moment for me was when I realized that I need both – The set up and the push.

I spent so much time last year journaling, listening to podcasts, watching The Secret over and over again, praying, focusing on gratitude, and sometimes full-on tantrumming about what I want. And what I want is not so hard: tons of money, a fulfilling career, plenty of freedom, and an adventurous, healthy, loving family. (Easy peasy, right?!) But with all that intentional focus, I didn’t see a single thing moving me in the direction of what I wanted. I saw that I was still working for other people making just enough money to cover our bills while my husband built his business with no way out to get to what I wanted.
I did try to take action. I applied for jobs, of which I was awarded none. I tried to start my own copywriting business, which fizzled before it started. I tried to start about 3 other businesses, none of which it appeared I could commit to. What I figured out (in hindsight, not at the time) was that all my action was based in fear and in force. I began by moving from a place of fear that I would never have the things I want, and continued the momentum of moving by forcing things into place in order to get what I want.

It turns out, that didn’t work.

What did work was all that intentional focus. That work I did at the beginning of the year was my set up, my perfectly squared dominos. My desires, my wants, my wishes were all stacking up in a perfect line in front of me; I just couldn’t see the results yet. Like Mike Dooley explains, when you enter a final destination into your GPS, you follow the instructions it gives you. Sometimes you get re-routed. Sometimes there’s a slow asshole in front of you in the fast lane that really pisses you off. Sometimes you have to stop to pee or your mom calls or you need some beef jerky. And if you continue following the directions, you LITERALLY won’t know if they worked until you arrive at your final destination. You’ll have ZERO PROOF that you’re going to get to where you want to go until you arrive. But before you do any driving, you must first set up (enter your final destination) and then you must turn your car on and put it in drive.
What’s important is you move. That’s when you push the first domino.

So all that thought and prayer and journaling led to some blogging because it felt good, and 2017 was the year of feeling good. Soon after I committed to more blogging, an email from Hay House Publishing inviting me to a Writers Workshop. At the time, it looked more like an obstacle than like the perfect next step. It cost big bucks, the hotel was expensive, and I didn’t know if I’d even learn anything new. But I moved because it felt more right than wrong.
Being at the actual Writers Workshop felt SO right and stirred up SO much excitement that I was unstoppable!!! Until I realized that my day-to-day work and life would probably keep me from ever finishing my book. That’s when I was offered the chance to buy a gym.
I got SO excited at the idea of owning my own gym that I threw caution to the wind and went in full throttle. I hired a really expensive business lawyer and educated myself and gathered information and was SO ready to start this new part of my life!!! In fact, I quit my job because I was positive this was going to be THE THING!!!
Turns out, it was not the thing. Ha! And I was left without the income I relied upon and without the dream gym and without a book and without a reason to go on living, etc etc etc, and other dramatic phrasing as well.

Then. One day shortly after losing the gym and leaving my job, it clicked.
I moved, and it worked.
I took risks that felt REALLY right, and despite the outcome not APPEARING to be what I thought it should be, I suddenly realized it was everything I prayed for.
Being an author allows me the chance to make tons of money, be fulfilled in my career, feel free, and have an adventurous, loving, healthy family. I moved and it resulted in a string of events that has led me here: it’s January, my husband’s business is doing so well that he can cover our bills and then some, and I now have the time and freedom to finish my book, publish it, and start the next one. I’m on the journey RIGHT NOW and it’s leading me toward the perfect life (as far as I define a “perfect life”). I’m in the middle of the route and it’s WORKING! I feel perfectly led to exactly where I’m supposed to be with absolutely no idea what “where I’m supposed to be” is or how it will all turn out.
What a delightful, horrifying concept.

But as Brene Brown says, “The opposite of faith is certainty.” I have complete faith that this path will continue to lead me to all the places I want to go, despite the fact that I have no proof it will work until I arrive. And in the everlasting words of the theologian Ludacris, “When I move, you move.”

Just like that.

Your New Year’s Resolution

Dear Friend,

Hiya.

You might call me God. Or maybe the Universe. I might be your Higher Power or The Mother. Maybe, to you, I’m a Goddess or The Creator or The Source.
If you don’t call me by any of those names, then you likely know me as “a coincidence.”
Either way, there’s no judgement here. I just wanted to say hi.

I wanted to mention that you’re here to enjoy yourself. You’ve got the chance to seriously love life, if you want to take that chance. (And it is a chance.) It all feels very risky; I know. It feels like it’s all or nothing, or maybe like it could possibly go wrong. It feels like you might be labelled a “sell-out” or a dreamer or a loser. For the short time you’re here, those things are a big deal. That’s why it’s really, really, really hard to believe that taking that risk that feels so right (but, if it isn’t, could potentially ruin your entire life) is worth it. Easier to just stay still. Fewer projectiles at risk of hitting you when you stay still.
Good news, though. This isn’t a “jump and everything will work out” message. You can jump, but everything might not work out. Not at first. You could jump and everything could fall apart and take a year to put back together. (That’s a skin-your-knee lesson.) Still, though. Jump.
You could also spend some time preparing yourself for the jump. Get a nice parachute, a delightful instructor with years of experience, and plenty of back-up plans. Did you know that preparing to jump is totally ok, too? (It doesn’t actually man that you didn’t “really want” it. It means you decided to limit your chances of failure first. Kinda smart.)

But the point of all of it is to love your life. And you can. You can literally love everything about it. Whether you prepare your brain and spirit for all of that loving first, or you just jump and deal with the fact that you’ll probably hit a few rocks on the way down, you can love it.

So lets get detailed:
Hate your job? That’s ok. Find a job you know you’d hate even more and you might like this one a little better. And while you’re in the business of learning to like your job a little bit better, you should look for another job and ask some friends about where they work and watch movies about people who do things differently from you and decide which parts of those movies you like. You won’t hate your job forever if you don’t keep it forever.
Hate your relationship? That’s ok. Watch a little Maury Povich and then find some things you can plainly see work well in your relationship (like maybe your partner doesn’t have any illegitimate children with other people?). Open a door for him/her. Pull out a chair. Cook a meal or pack a lunch. You might find out you don’t actually hate your relationship…you just hate the way it’s been lately. Or, maybe you do hate it. In that case, feel free to leave it. Or go on Maury.
Hate your dwelling? Definitely move. Don’t listen to them when they tell you it’s a “bad market” or “not good timing.” They don’t get to decide when it is good for you. If you can’t find another place, keep looking. You’ll know it when you see it.

It doesn’t matter what you aren’t loving about life right now. It can all change. Just decide to change it and then don’t panic when it doesn’t change tomorrow. (It probably won’t.)

One last thing – 2018 isn’t “your year.” It’s not the turning point or the new beginning or the perfect time. You get to pick all that stuff whenever you want. But picking it now would be the best time ever.

Resolve to believe you can and should be your version of happy all the time. Best resolution I can think of.

Love you,
God/Universe/Higher Power/The Mother/Goddess/The Creator/The Source/A Coincidental Blog

A Deep Tuesday Blog

My husband told me the other day that we become completely different people every 5 years; meaning that if you look back at who you were 5 years ago, it’s almost not even recognizable as your life.
He’s totally right.
I got to thinking about who I was 5 years ago…

Blissfully ignorant.
People pleasing.
Kind of self-righteous.
Feeling a rumble of dissatisfaction and ignoring it.
Scrappy.
Confused.
Yearning.
Restless.

…to name a few.

We pride ourselves on being reliable and loyal without really being honest about what has to CHANGE in order to remain reliable and loyal. I desperately sought people who would remain loyal to me five years ago, assuming that once I’d “nabbed” them, they’d stay.
Hardly anyone stayed.
We love to be able to say, “This is who I am, take it or leave it.” Except that who we are inevitably gets different. We don’t mean to be different. I used to be proud to be me until I started realizing how often “me” changed, and then I got very nervous being me.
I even held “me” in place to try and maintain the illusion of sameness.
We love to stand for things and have opinions. I don’t know about you, but in the last 5 years my opinions about a LOT of things have changed. I mean, I COMPLETELY understand why don’t want to just let your child stay up late “just this once” now. The more I see, the more I understand the sheer number of facets that make up any one human being (and that I don’t have to like all of them to be their friend).
My opinions are more wishy-washy than every before. And I’m a lot more forgiving.
Like 1000% more.

I’m stronger, physically.
I’m stronger, emotionally.
I listen (a little bit) more.
I have a harder time relaxing.
I’m a way better mom.

I’m not going to sit here and say that I like everything about my 5-years-ago self because “she brought me to who I am today” and blah blah blah. There’s a lot about that woman that I am glad is gone. I never want to rely that heavily on other people for my own happiness again. I don’t allow people to use me or to tell me what’s right and wrong for me anymore, either. And I won’t give up so easily anymore, either. She ran and hid when things got hard and I’m not going to do that anymore.
I do miss some stuff about her. That blissful ignorance stuff was nice. And her skin was so much tighter around the jawline…

I like most of my differences. I’m not a fan of getting older and I don’t love how some of what I now know leaves me jaded. But I’m definitely growing in a better direction and with more clearly defined goals.

Think about you 5 years ago, the week before Thanksgiving. What were you doing? Were you happy? Happier than you are now? Were you living in pain or in fear?
What’s different? And are you happy about the differences?

That’s a deep Tuesday blog for ya…

No More Excuses

If you didn’t read last night’s blog, might I suggest you click here and read it…

I didn’t look over the email from Trina. I avoided it like the plague. Publishing my book now was too much, too fast. Unfortunately, though, I forgot to program Trina’s number into my phone, so when she called again a few days later, I accidentally picked up…

“Erin? Hey, It’s Trina! Did you get a chance to go over that email?”
“Yeah, hey Trina! I did!”

I hadn’t. I lied.

“Great! Are you ready to do this?”
“Welp, here’s the thing, Trina…” Somewhere between my fear and being completely uninformed (because I hadn’t read the email), I decided it would be a good idea to get really bitchy. “I understand you say you ‘want my book’, but I also understand you want me to pay to publish it. The whole point of the authors’ workshop was the opportunity to be given an advance and be PAID to write and publish my book. It’s feeling very sinister the fact that I paid all this money to go to a workshop and now you’re calling me and asking me for more money.”
It was quiet for almost 5 minutes, or possibly 7 seconds, before Trina replied…
“Listen, Erin. I’m from New York. You want me to shoot straight? I’ll shoot straight. If you send your book proposal to a publisher, it’ll get thrown away. If an agent sends your book to a publisher, you’ve got a 1 in 3,000 shot of getting published and a 1 in 1,000 of even landing that agent in the first place….
The writers’ workshop participants have the option to participate in a contest to get published without an agent. There were 300 people in the workshop. A third of them will actually finish their book proposals. So that’s a 1 in 100 shot next April, after which it will take 2 years before your book is even available and you have no creative control of any of it.
Publishing your own book through Hay House means we’ll edit and design your book the way you envisioned it. It means you own the rights forever and it means you get to decide when to publish. And, as you read in my email, I’m offering you a huge discount because I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I know a Hay House book when I see one.”

Oh. Super-should have read that email.

“The book isn’t ready yet, Trina,” I said.
“That’s fine. But I’m not offering you this discount forever. If you wait until the contest in April and you aren’t chosen, I’m not offering you a discount to publish then. I’m offering it now. And if you win the contest in April? Then that’s just a cherry on top. You can still go that route because you still own your book.”

For those of you who don’t know, I used to work in the publishing world. I used to TELL people those stats and figures. I used to explain to them why it’s so important they own the rights to their books and how publishing on your own doesn’t mean selling your books out of your car. The irony is that I already knew everything Trina told me. Maybe I forgot. Maybe I didn’t want to know it. Maybe I was terrified that it’s finally time to apply everything I know.

Trina interrupted my train of thought. “Erin, I’m going to get your book into every book retailer in the world. I’m going to have press releases sent to over 70 outlets when your book is ready. I’m going to get you on radio shows and TV shows and while I can’t guarantee any of this will make a difference in your life, it sure could. Why don’t you take the weekend to think about it and I’ll call you on Monday?”
“Ok, Trina. Thanks.”

I hung up the phone feeling really stupid.

I’ve prayed to finish my book, get it published, and speak on the topics therein. I’ve prayed for years that my writing would finally be my job. The chance for all that to happen was just on the phone and I couldn’t possibly believe that it was really meant for me.

The weekend came and went really quickly and my anxiety chilled out quite a bit, especially once I finally read Trina’s email. She was offering me a really huge opportunity…she wasn’t lying. Bear, of course, said do it. “Do it!” he said. “Let’s do this! You were born for this!” Isn’t it funny how we can pray and pray for something, and when the path eventually reveals itself, we don’t immediately jump on it and run?! We’ve lived in the “it’ll never happen” for so long that it’s hard to believe it when it actually does.

That Monday morning, I called Trina before she could call me. In her fact-based tone, with a twinkle of a smile, she asked, “Erin? You ready to do this?”
“Yeah, Trina. I’m ready.”

On Tuesday I signed the contract. And on Wednesday I started writing my book again. A book I hope to have completed by the end of the year. I am officially an author with a publishing contract and a book about to be born. I’m pregnant, kinda.

I’ve been writing this blog for almost 10 years under various domain names. I’ve been writing since I was 15. I absolutely love nothing more than to sit down with a pen and paper or a laptop and write. I want it to be my work. I want it to be my career. And I want it to change my life the way I know it can.

I think it might be starting right now…

 

Excuses. And a phone call.

A little over a year ago, I got really tired of my own excuses. I decided to move. Literally.
I signed up for a HIIT gym membership and started attending 3-5 days per week. And within about 6 months, I felt great. BUT, my leg (the one I broke in 2014) started giving me trouble. So I told my trainers, “My leg is really bothering me.”
I posted on FB about it.
I went to see numerous doctors.
It was almost 3 months before I realized that my leg was the perfect opportunity for me to pick up my habit of excuse-making.

And it is a habit.

Once I started making excuses for my leg, other things got their very own excuses, too.
I can’t write a blog today because XYZ.
I can’t go out Saturday night because XYZ.
I can’t work on my book because XYZ.
They’re infectious little suckers…

So I stopped again. It’s not like my leg suddenly didn’t hurt anymore and I could do box jumps all day. It’s that I stopped speaking my excuses. If I couldn’t do a movement, I modified or I tried to do something else. My leg still hurts. It’s just not a conversation piece in my head as much anymore. No more excuses.

***

I was offered the opportunity to go to a Hay House Writers Conference (Hay House is a publisher) at the beginning of the summer, 2017. The conference was $450, which to me is a big chunk of change. My excuse habit came back in full force. $450 was too much money and I couldn’t afford it.
That’s when I was reminded I have a husband who busts excuses for a living, it seems.
“You’re going,” Bear said.

Oh. Ok.

I put the conference on my credit card and paid it off before the day even arrived (because the money was never really an excuse). And when the day did arrive, it was magical. I was reminded of how strongly I felt about finishing the book I started writing in 2012. It lit a fire.

I’m going to publish my book.

A traditional publishing contract was up for grabs to all 300 writers who attended the conference and all I had to do was write a book proposal (the worst book report in the world) to enter. And I was going to enter. And I was going to WIN!
I got home from the conference and started getting my ducks in a row to enter the contest…when I got a phone call.
From Hay House publishing.


I didn’t know it was from Hay House publishing, though, and so I didn’t answer it. When I checked the message, the woman on the other end said, “Hey Erin! This is Trina from Hay House! I know you were at the Writers Conference and I know you’ve already got a book written. I want to hear a little bit about it and talk to you about your options.”
I didn’t call her back. Because excuses.
I don’t have the book COMPLETELY finished.
She’s probably calling everyone, I’m not special.
I’m definitely not ready to talk about “options.”
But the next day, the Nag Monster in my head wouldn’t leave me alone. I finally called her back. She didn’t answer…
I left a message:
“Hey Trina, it’s Erin Salem. I just wanted to call you back and tell you thank you for calling. I am very excited to enter the contest for a traditional Hay House publishing contract and I think I’m going to win it, so the next time we speak I will be on my way! Thanks again, Erin.”
Who says any of that?

About 5 minutes later, my phone rang again…
What is she calling to thank me for thanking her?!

“Hey Erin, it’s Trina!!”
Trina and I went on to talk for about 10 minutes. I shared my book topic with her and…she liked it. Like, really liked it. She told me she thought I would be a great fit for Hay House. I agreed but I couldn’t really understand what she was getting at.
“Listen, Erin, I work with the authors who publish their own books through Hay House. These are the people who already have a voice and want creative control over their work. Do you know most traditionally published Hay House authors started off by publishing their own books?”
“No, I didn’t know that…”
“Yeah! And you would be shocked what we can do for our self-published authors. I just got off the phone with a guy whose book is being turned into a screenplay!”
“Ok, but, I don’t have a platform or an audience. It’s just me.”
“That’s why you publish THROUGH us, Erin. We send you out all over the world with the Hay House name! We want you to do this. We think this makes more sense for you and we want your book. I’m going to send you some options and I want you to seriously consider taking the steps to publish now instead of waiting to find out if you win a contract next year.”
“Wait. Why? Why me, Trina? I don’t get it. I don’t understand why you’re calling me.”
“Because you’re ready, sweetie. You have the book, you have the voice, you have the ability, and you’ve got a story that we want to sell.”

I told Trina I felt like she was trying to sell me something. I told her I didn’t feel ready and I didn’t know why she felt like I was ready. I told Trina this wasn’t the path for me.
Trina is very smart and told me to just think about it, look over the email she was sending to me, and that she’d call me later in the week.

My excuses were as follows:
They didn’t choose me, they just think I can make them money.
I have no audience so this will never work.
My book isn’t even finished.
I’m not ready to finish it.
I don’t know how to finish it.
I’m too busy for this right now.

I didn’t look over the email from Trina. I avoided it like the plague. Publishing my book now was too much, too fast. Unfortunately, though, I forgot to program Trina’s number into my phone, so when she called again a few days later, I accidentally picked up…

Portion Control

Something happened when I turned 35.
The 5 pounds that could come and go as they pleased…came. And stayed.
The tricks I used like lowering my calories for a few days and drinking tons of water made no difference. Suddenly, I was stuck with the extra 5 pounds. And beyond diet pills (which I am NOT willing to try), I had no idea what to do toget rid of the poundage.

I joined a HIIT gym last year and started working out 4 or 5 days a week. I did begin to lose some weight and change my body shape, which was AWESOME, but there were parts of me that wouldn’t budge. (PARTS THAT ALWAYS BUDGED BEFORE.) So after I turned 36, my girlfriend suggested I pay closer attention to my diet.
I’d almost prefer be fat or take diet pills than pay closer attention to my diet.
I hate turning down cake or a martini, or a cake martini. I hate saying no to potato chips; it feels rude. I hate walking past the halloween candy over and over and over again like it’s NOT EVEN THERE. But I agreed that instead of my typical, “I’ll cut out carbs,” or “I’ll cut out fat,” or, “I’ll cut out eating,” diet plans, I would begin to spread my meals out over the course of the day and be more focused on portion control.

God I wince just TYPING “portion control.” It’s like the saddest two words in the universe when you put them together.

I started yesterday morning with an eating schedule and a list of foods that fit into the portions I planned to eat – a protein, a vegetable, a carb, and a fat. Breakfast was at 8:30 with oatmeal, almond milk, a small side of spinach, and a scoop of protein powder. (BTW, did you know that you can order protein powder in a 5lb container? You can. It is the size of my coffee pot. I will be Hee Man by the end of the week. And if you don’t get that joke, then you don’t yet understand what I’m talking about when I say I turned 35 and things changed because you think I should just do a “cleanse.”)
Being an effective woman, I decided to put the protein powder into my oatmeal. It’s flavorless protein powder. What could possibly go wrong?
Glue. Glue is what could go wrong. My oatmeal turned to glue and was completely inedible. I tried covering it in Abe’s applesauce just so I could get it down, but no. It was awful. I went to the gym after breakfast with only about half my required calories for breakfast.

After the gym came my Shakeology shake, which I drink religiously and with fervor. It was the only part of my day that went right.

Lunch. I had to eat another meal, similar to breakfast. I opted for leftover steak, broccoli, and a little bit of macaroni. It’s cute to say you love broccoli and all that. Look, broc is great with butter and salt or cheese or hollandaise sauce. But straight broccoli is not your first choice and you know it. So I went ahead and added some salt.
Except that I added ALL of the salt.

All the salt.

My girlfriend told me portion control is not always like this.

I was starving by the time dinner rolled around, so I dove into an episode of Lazy Recipes Live and then scarfed down my food, Halloween candy just staring me in the face. Dinner? More leftover steak, butternut squash, rice, and salad.

Today is day 2 of portion control. This morning was much better with eggs and oatmeal instead of glue. But then when I got home from the gym in time to make my protein smoothie, I suddenly remembered why it was so imperative I go to the grocery store YESTERDAY – I’m out of spinach. Not such a big deal? Except that it meant I had to add raw broccoli slaw to my smoothie for the vegetable serving which, as you might guess, is not as easy to hide in a smoothie as spinach is.
Don’t do it. It’s awful.

If this portion control thing doesn’t work, I’m writing a very long blog about how this portion control thing doesn’t work.

 

Dance Like Someone is Definitely Watching

I am not one thing.
I shop at Whole Foods for some of my groceries. But I also drink pints of beer and eat hamburgers.
I love a good party with lots of food and alcohol. I also want to be left alone on the weekends in sweat pants on the couch.
I can’t stand going to the movies. I love live plays.
I sit down and talk to my kids about how they’re feeling and why they’re acting the way they’re acting. And I also bite their heads off when they leave their shoes in the kitchen.
I remember to take out the garbage every Wednesday night. And I also forget to drag the cans from the curb back to the house until early Saturday.
Some days I make to-do lists. Some days it’s all in my head.
I’m a careful, slow driver. But if my fave new jam comes on the radio, suddenly I’m speed racer.

“Dance like no one is watching?” You’ve heard that old cliche, right?

In the last 5 years, everyone is watching.
Everything.
If they’re not watching live, they’re watching a recording, a hidden camera, a camera phone. You can’t do anything without someone knowing about it…and judging it.
Hell, they’ll judge it before they even ask any questions about it.
Employers now Google potential employee’s names before they take an interview. I was warned at my writers’ conference to Google my own name before I attempt to get published, just in case! Which got me thinking…
I’ve done some crappy shit in my life. Stuff that would surprise you. Stuff that you would say, “No! Not sweet sweet Erin!” (Ok maybe not that last one.) But that’s because I’m not any one thing. And I’ll tell ya, I’d hate to be judged solely by some of those crappy choices.

Think about the worst thing you’ve done. The thing you wouldn’t ever tell ANYBODY except for MAYBE your best friend. And then think about it being documented and available for everyone who Googled to read…

As much as I want to tell my kids to dance like no one is watching, I feel like I should actually tell them to dance like EVERYONE is watching: their parents, grand parents, teachers, future children… Because you will very quickly be posted to SnapChat/Facebook/Instagram/Etc. Even though you shop at Whole Foods and take your kids to weekly music classes for their cognitive development, you’ll be judged on that one clip by a majority of people as being “who you are.”
And you’re not one thing, either.
Nobody is.

We’re all these multidimensional people who get held to one single aspect, one dimension, and we’re expected to stay there! When we change or grow or show a different side, what do people say? “Oh, she’s changed.” Damn right, she changed! Good thing, too. Staying one thing all the time sucks.

So while you read a headline or watch a clip and make a judgement, think about a headline of the worst thing YOU’VE ever done, or even the second worst. Think about what strangers might think of you. And then consider whether or not you want to go on with your opinionated rants.
Yes. Some people are just shitty people. Consistently shitty. But most people have good parts and bad parts, including me, and I’d like to know that the people who matter are focused on my good parts and helping with my bad parts. And if they don’t matter, then the opinions don’t matter.

 

The Worst Book Report Ever

I started writing a book 5 years ago. My dear friend was my editor (she’s an actual editor, not like, “I dunno but I did real good in English class.”). I was planning to self-publish it.
As we finished the first draft, I got separated, divorced, and my life blew up.

It seems that now, 4 years later, life has put me back on the writing path. And I’m ready to finish the damn book.

As some top authors said in my writer’s workshop over the weekend, “Writing a book is fun, publishing it is not.” I had such a wonderful time writing this book, and going back through the pages and pages of what felt like old friends this week has been soooo very wonderful. And while I do need to focus on finishing the book…
…I actually have to focus on getting it published first.

You see, in order for a book to be published by a traditional publishing house, you don’t actually need to write the book.
You need to write the book proposal.
That book proposal either goes to a whole bunch of literary agents, one of whom you pray agrees to represent you and submit it on your behalf. OR. You send your book proposal straight to the publishing house if they accept unsolicited titles (most don’t). Once the proposal is accepted, the publishing house can assist in the actual writing of the book. It’s part of the “book deal.”
HOWEVER.
After attending the writer’s workshop this past weekend, I’m eligible to enter a contest. The winner of the contest wins a traditional publishing contract. That means I can send my book proposal WITHOUT a literary agent straight to a publisher who guarantees they’ll read it.

This is a once in a lifetime.

So. What is a book proposal?
It is essentially the single most boring book report you’ve ever written in your entire life. It contains information like your target market, comparable books, and a summary of the topic. It averages about 50 pages of OH MY GOD THIS IS SO BORING. I asked the CEO of the publishing house there at the writer’s workshop, “Are all book proposals this dry and boring?” Without saying yes, he essentially explained that they already have an idea of what kinds of books would fill the gaps within their library, and they’re looking for those books. If they were forced to READ every book that came across their desks, they’d never have time to publish one. When he asked me who my target market was, I answered, “Women who forget to put on a bra before carpool.”
He said, “So, in other words, women with children aged 5-15.”
Oh. Well, yeah. I guess that’s one way to say it. The most boringest way possible. 

While I could probably finish my book in about 3 weeks, and have another full round of editing done by the end of the year, I feel like it’s going to take 6 months to slog through a book proposal. It’s SOOOO not my kind of writing. I had the bright idea that perhaps I could call a professional book editor to see if they would write my book proposal for me! I did some research (googling) and ended up on the phone with an adorable woman named Aloha (name changed to protect the innocent) who is about my age and edits the hell out of everything like a total boss. I explained my project and that I’d really like to hand my book proposal over to a professional.
Guess what?
I CAN!!
For a mere $4,000.
<le sigh>

While I could take the leap and hire her today with a credit card, I’d like to give the Universe a second to organize itself into a path that might offer a better opportunity than credit card debt. I’m trusting that the money will make itself available to me so that I have the BEST possible chance of continuing to pursue this dream and GET PUBLISHED!!!

Either way, though? I’m going to do this. I’m going to submit and if this publishing house doesn’t choose me, I’ll continue submitting elsewhere. I’m 36 years old and I will NOT look back in 10 years and wish I would have started 10 years ago. It will not be for nothing. I might not become a published author, but it will lead me somewhere. I can’t wait to find out where.

Also, if you know a professional editor who loves writing book proposals for fun and for free, hook a girl up.

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