Monday, July 2, 2012

Keepin' it Real

I love people! I love them so much it may come off as stalkerish at times. I could people watch all day in an attempt to guess what has happened in their lives to make them who they are.

Observing others this way doesn't always lead to good results. There are soooo many wonderful, strong individuals out there who, if they don't know who they are, sure act like they do. Especially in the writing world! With so much talent everywhere I look, I begin to wonder what gives me the right to think I'm good enough to work/write alongside them. I don't have a college degree. I'm not on-the-spot-hilarious like so many of my twitter friends (you know who you are:). I don't have unending knowledge about the classics. And I sure can't name drop or flash around my credentials. I have to be honest, comparing myself over the past couple of weeks to some of these people has left me feeling a bit inadequate.

Fast forward to today. My eight-year-old daughter has a cousin sleeping over and they got into a disagreement about something. My daughter is the kind of girl who wears her emotions on her sleeve, so when one thing bothers her, her whole world if off kilter. Well, this argument of theirs led her into telling me how she tries so hard to please people and no one ever likes her ideas so she just goes along with what others want.

Of course being the mom who loves my daughter for who she is (drama and all), I tell her that not everyone is going to like her ideas or want to do what she wants or believe what she believes, but it doesn't mean she has to conform. She has to be who she is and be proud of it. The rest will fall into place.

Umm...big lightbulb! Here I am telling my daughter the exact thing I need to do for myself.

This got me thinking. What is so wrong with being inadequate? Why can't my signature mark be that I am an underdog who refuses to lay down? I may not have a college degree, but I have a degree in living. I know what it feels like to be on the other end of addiction and make it out alive. I can say I've actually lived in a hotel room and caught the school bus from a three man tent in a campground. I've been made fun of for being the chubby girl in school and  know what its like to be sent into the supermarket by an embarrassed father with a bag full of pennies just so my family can eat dinner. Being on the downside of life has taught me that sometimes it isn't your experiences that define you, but how you choose to process those experiences. 

I may not be schooled in all the classics, or even pop culture for that matter, but I can still appreciate the beauty in the knowledge that I do have. I am just as capable as a fully educated person to read the words in a book and have them bring me to tears from the mere beauty of how they were placed on the paper. And yeah, I may not be able to name drop, but I sure have met amazing people who aren't "somebody" in today's society, but whose stories have made an impression on my life forever.

I didn't mean for this post to be all about me, but I guess I needed to keep it real. For myself. Maybe sometimes we need to reassess who we are and where we come from in order to make the next best step to where we're going.

If I can bring anything to this world and to others, I want it to be encouragement to the underdogs, that the sky is the limit. Just because you may not seem accepted in this crazy world we live in, your place is just as significant as the next persons. Your story matters! You matter!

For those of you that don't know Lisa Chickos, you should get to know her. She is one of those people that my mouth falls open for. She lives her life to the fullest in every way possible and it shows. She actually, also just landed an agent and you talk about going through ups and downs to get there. I love her story of determination. You should totally read it if you haven't.

Anyway, when Lisa was beginning her new wip she blogged about picking three words to describe the person you want to be. And that even if you aren't that person yet, you will strive to be more like those words if you can only identify them. Needless to say, with all of these thoughts of who am I floating around in my head, I began to wonder, what are my three words?

Here is what I came up with:

Lover - not just a Marvin Gaye kind of lover, but a lover of people and what makes them unique. A lover of opinions, change, diversity, of LIFE!
Willing - The day I allow myself to set my heels in the dirt and stay the same is the day I'll be ready to die.
Optimistic - My dad used to tell me when I was little (and still does) that things have a way of working themselves out. And you know what? As pissed off as that makes me sometimes, it's the truth. No matter how sucky life can be, it's always changing and as long I can stay optimistic I will continue to believe everything that happens in my life will be for my good.

What about you? Do you believe your story matters? What are the three words you want to live your life by? 


Rachel said...

Awesome post. I enjoy meeting people who have a degree in life, like myself. :) And as far as the three words? I'm going to have to give that some thought. I can tell you one of the words though: free. I often find that the fears and hurts of the past sneak up and tangle me in their viney clutches. I'd like to be free of that. :)

Thanks for the post!

LisaAnn said...

Oh my gosh, I am so moved to be mentioned in your post! Thank you soo much for taking the time to shout me out, and I love your story of determination and overcoming obstacles.

Isn't it funny? I think we all secretly feel like frauds sometimes. I certainly do, and I often question if I actually have any idea what I'm doing.

I'm glad my post has inspired you to come up with your own three words, and your words are incredible. It has taken a lot of guts to get where you are, and it's clear your words have already served you well.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, and I definitely believe your story matters!

ilima said...

Wow, Deana. Just, wow. I love this post. You get more and more amazing the more I learn about you. Funny thing is, I think you are one of the most loveable, willing, and optimistic people I've ever met. So I say you are doing fantastic job becoming that person you want to be.

My three words? Probably--grateful, hopeful, happy. I want to be grateful for how far I've come, hopeful I've further to travel in making my own story, and not forget to be happy and enjoy every step of the way.

Tara Tyler said...

i have a son who is the same way with his bros. i told him to find friends that share his interests rather than try to force his brothers to play with him or give in to them. he's working on it & had a great week so far!

your 3 words are very positive! i want to be more...
optimistic, energetic, and selfless, things i need to work on!

inspirational post!

Brinda said...

Great post, Deanna. Your life experiences have given you a degree in common sense, sensitivity, productivity, and willpower. Sometimes our kids can teach us to look within...definitely.

Unknown said...

I'm totally touched, Deana. And yeah, LisaAnn's story rocks. A lesson I learned years ago is that if you're going to compare yourself to someone, let it be yourself. Who I am today compared to who I was five years ago makes me feel good. Trying to come up with three words would make my brain hurt way too much, but thanks for asking.

Akoss said...

Well I'm a lurker. Came here through a link on twitter. I read EVERYTHING. And I just wanted to say thank you for being so real.

Jaye Robin Brown said...

You are my hero today, Deana. Seriously. Gosh, I'm going to have to get my emotions in check here.

But the thing is, don't we ALL feel the way you described from time to time, regardless of life experience? Yes. I say, yes we do.

So my three words. Positive. Tenacious. Forthright.

They may change tomorrow but that's how I feel tonight.

S. T. Lakata said...

I really enjoy this post! I think you have a good grasp on what you want. I definitely liked how your conversation with your daughter related to your own "inadequate" feelings and helped to calm or understand those feelings.

Also, I think it's great for you to be so honest about something like this, because it is difficult for some (like me) to just say how they're feeling at any given moment.

And the three words thing is always a fun way to think about describing yourself. My three words: hopeful, determined, happy.

I hope you continue to push through and process your experiences in a way that leaves you satisfied.

Alleged Author said...

I believe my story matters to me. If it matters to someone else, then great! If not, oh well. But we all have something to say that is important and a part of the greater fabric whether it is recognized or not. Great post, girlie!

Leslie S. Rose said...

This post is pure heart. I agree with you that life is the real school. Three words: joyful, curious, loving

Ink in the Book said...

This is certainly something everyone should red. Especially those needing some inspiration. I/m telling my friends to come read it!

Lynn Proctor said...

you really touched my heart today--with this beautiful honest heartfelt post---love it :)

Loree Huebner said...

Loved your post, Deana.

I too, am an underdog of sorts. I think it makes me all the more determined to fully accomplish whatever that I set my mind to.


Anonymous said...

I think all our stories matter. Deana, you have such a way with words . . . you could totally write an inspirational daily devotional or something:-) Hmm, I'll hafta think about those 3 words for myself. Happy 4th to ya tomorrow!!!!

Kathryn Purdie said...

You're so wonderful, Deana. I can totally see myself giving that same advice to my daughter, and then slapping myself in the face with the same realization.

I do believe my story matters, and I'm slowly learning to believe I have other stories inside me that matter, too.

My three words are strong, determined and happy.

Thanks for such an inspiring post!

Carrie-Anne said...

Very inspirational, thoughtful post! None of my grandparents went to college either, but I never considered them inadequate. I don't think my late paternal grandpap even graduated high school, but he did a lot with his life (including serving in two wars and the CCC during the Depression) and was a very interesting, loving person.

My three words:

Accepting (which is what everyone should strive to be, not merely "tolerant" of differences)

E.B. Black said...

Don't worry. A lot of us feel like frauds and like we are just "faking it".

None of my books are published yet and I don't have an agent, yet I am trying to get people to take me seriously as an author online. Do you know that no one does in person except my boyfriend and family (who get sometimes neglected by the amount of writing I do)? "Friends" ask about my books, sometimes and then tell me how I'm doing things wrong and how I should do it their way if I want to be successful at publishing (even though none of them have ever queried or written a book ever.) I've been told I need to get a real job and asked what's taking so long with my writing. And it's humiliating.

My boyfriend and I make next to no money. We've lived on eating just bread and butter for awhile. Gotten a card rejected at a dollar store in front of a long line of people. Shivered in the cold and were unable to take showers because we had no gas in our house.

I have a college degree, but no one takes it seriously either. It's just a two year liberal arts degree and I might as well just have a high school degree in everyone's eyes.

And other things that I am too ashamed to talk about. We are all in the same position as you. We are all "frauds" and frustrated over the fact that we put our whole heart and mind into our writing and it still seems to suck.

But it's that struggling in life we've done that makes us strong enough to be in this profession. Because it's not easy with the amount of criticism and rejection we receive in response to large amounts of work.

Hope Collier said...

Good stuff! What an awesome post. Thanks, chica!

alexia said...

Great post! You and your story definitely matter! I like your 3 words. I'd have to think a bit longer about my 3... maybe I'll do a blogpost about it later.

BTW, thanks for the birthday wishes on Twitter!

Juliana L. Brandt said...

Holy crap, Deana, you amaze me and you always have. I can't tell you how much you inspire me. This post is definitely what I needed to read tonight :)

I'm going to have to think about those three words. That might just have to be my next blog post subject...

Emily R. King said...

Girl, you're no underdog in my books. You've got what it takes, and I can't wait to see where all your umph takes you!

amy kennedy said...

Reading this today was like a gift. And I agree with Emily -- I don't see you as an underdog either, except for the fact that you just saved my day!

Love the three words -- haven't figured mine out yet -- but I love yours.

Nancy Thompson said...

This is one of the best posts I've ever read. I got it in my email days ago but haven't been able to visit 'til now.

I'll probably never think of myself as adequate enough. I'll always want to be better somehow. And it's not that I don't think I'm good enough. I just know I can be better. I've never been the popular girl or had the cool stuff or anything that would brand me a social success. But when I occasionally did have that "thing" that somehow made me more acceptable, I wasn't any happier. Now I know it's what I do & achieve that makes me better than I was previously. But it has to be about what I want to be, not what others need me to be, to be more likeable or acceptable.

As for the 3 words I want to be: I want to be fair, transparent, and authentic.

Christa Desir said...

I adore you. That is all. This is awesome. You are lovely and amazing.