‘Going Backwards’

 

My name is Jessica and it’s been two weeks since I last ate a doner kebab pizza.   I have one finished historical romance, (with a ghost story), out for formal editing.   I’ve written a dystopian romance (it doesn’t have any sci-fi or space element to it). I will get to that in the autumn.  I’m currently writing vampire stories in preparation for a Halloween release.

It’s summer break. I stand on the verge of over a month of upended routine. This means writing will be sporadic.  Not nonexistent but…sporadic. There will be time for reading, and I plan on filling my head with as much vampire, fantasy, paranormal, historical and romantic stuff as possible whilst negotiating…summer.  Forget you, reality.

Yet all that aside, I would like to take a moment out there to talk about a few things.

Namely, jealousy, insecurity and loathing.

I will give an example. When I walk into a book store and see successful, best selling books by well known actors or artists.   I am jealous.

It strikes me as unfair that these people are allowed the pleasure of writing and getting published like…bam.  Never mind that said folks are actually producing quality children’s books as well as staring in well known programs and they entertain me or make me laugh, the fact that they get to enjoy instant success with another artistic medium due to not only their talent but their already established name really grates on me.  I tried to convince my son not to buy ‘Billionaire Boy’.  It didn’t work.  Little bugger read it right in front of me.   This success in literature grates on me.

I am ashamed to say so but dear God it does.

*cue glaring green emoji*.   I’m sorry David Walliams and Bear Grylls.  Forgive me, I wish I was a better person.

Whenever I see crappy reality television celebrities bringing out memoirs I honestly feel sorry for the people who buy them. Not jealous or spiteful, just a bit sad.

I loathe marketing people. Folks who think of nothing but sell sell sell….they fill me with disgust for the human condition. I feel these people should be on an old fashioned market stall, smiling and bowing and scraping for every penny because they don’t care about a damn thing apart from making money. If they want to worship money they should wind up in a lonely ‘heaven’ of heavy coins to swim in.  Like in that treasure room in Gringotts bank in Harry Potter or Smaug’s lair in the Hobbit.

They don’t deserve to earn millions and talk about targets and set about looking at website traffic and stalking people on social media to find out what’s #trending.  Perhaps there was a time when people sold products they genuinely believed in….but now I think too many folks think sell first and product quality or validity later.

I desire their happiness and dignity on a pike before the city gates.

Ever heard the song ‘Going Backwards’ by Depeche Mode?

It makes me think of ‘cookies’ and market researchers and opportunistic sales people. Maybe that’s not what Depeche Mode meant with the song but that’s what it conjures for me.

I read about a blogger selling five star reviews to struggling authors. That is both pathetic and disturbing.  I officially loathe that blogger. But that ruthless woman makes money off of people desperate to be seen in the exceptionally competitive world of books and literature available online.

There are people selling ‘wellness’ and ‘truth’ and ‘self confidence’ and ‘success’ and ‘inner peace’ just like there are people selling sexual imagery and war. They mostly have orange faces and whitened teeth.  I trust very few people with orange faces and whitened teeth.

My point is, we are supposed to be moving forward in society. We are supposed to rise above jealousy and bitterness and animosity against our fellow human being. We are supposed to ACTUALLY help one another. Not pretend to help people so as to benefit and line our pockets.

So….why am I so filled with loathing, insecurity and jealousy towards my fellow human being?   Because the lack of balance in this world upsets me and I blame salespeople. I blame those who have sacrificed their morality on the sacred slab dedicated to lost souls and butt kissers so that they can go on holiday in Thailand.

I don’t blame David Walliams or Bear Grylls.  I might be jealous of them…but I don’t blame them.

To a certain extent I blame a lack of education and poor life choices of the hoards who love crap like reality television, celebrity gossip and the memoires of reality television stars.

So if I see anyone sat around a pool this weekend reading a book with some orange faced, bleach white toothed person on its shiny, overpriced cover….

I am going to make sure they are engrossed in their book so that I can discreetly roll my eyes as I walk past them.

They won’t notice me.

No danger there.

Happy Summer.

 

By jmnauthor3000

Doner Kebab Pizzas, Yoga and my Conscience

 

The other day I was stuffing a piece of doner kebab pizza into my mouth whilst ordering a well known fitness application for my phone. Already my stomach signaled that it was time to stop eating.

My behavior that afternoon just wasn’t right.

My conscience wasn’t speaking to me, I’d made it sick. I shouted to the children through a mouth stuffed with processed, over seasoned meat, salty sauce, dough and cheese to cease scrolling through Netflix, searching for films I knew were too scary for them.

At that point my conscience crawled out of its sick bed and said in a gruff voice that shouldn’t belong to any lady’s conscience,

‘You are actually going to have to go in there and stop them from putting on a horror movie.   You know it’s going to give them nightmares.   Let’s be honest you don’t want the not-so-little anymore buggers to be clinging to you at midnight, while you are struggling to sleep due to a bloated stomach and heavily put upon digestive system. Do something with yourself! You horrible, horrible person.’ My conscience then slammed the door, grumbling about what a jerk I am and how tragic my first world problem obsessions are and stumbled back into its lair.

My conscience, by the way is a really disillusioned washed up old drunk.

It might not be the most gorgeous, sparkling conscience in the world, but it does know what’s wrong and what’s right.

Monday meant premiering my fitness app. This well known fitness app involves message notifications, exercise goals and a pre-set timer and requests to connect to my camera and all my other apps. This makes me uncomfortable even though I see the point in using it for social media and sweaty selfies, etc.  Promotion.  Convenience.  Surveillance and money laundering.  Whatever.

I could say I’m disappointed with it, but in truth it motivates me.

To my shame, seeing images of beautiful young, fit, likely wealthy and successful women doing exercises motivates me. It’s not that I want to compete with them. I will never be a beautiful fitness guru.  They just look so friendly! I like them. My conscience thinks I’m pathetic but God help me, I actually like the fitness ladies who now live in my phone.

Surely, they are re-inventing the stereotypes surrounding attractive go getter type women. They aren’t all cruel, tan, toned creatures seeking to crush me. It’s okay not to hate them. It’s okay to buy an app like that. It doesn’t make me a dork/sheep. Right?   I won’t wake up one day to a world where I am a starving beggar in their empire of pretty, young, tech savvy and healthy.

This whole affair makes me feel quite pathetic yet…I know it’s doing me good? Conspiracy theories of ebusiness and app tycoons seeking to run our daily lives aside, what harm could it be doing?

I did yoga this morning via said app.   I even listened to the music score that went along with it. I didn’t hate all of it.   When it came time to do the ‘balance’ moves I struggled. I kept keeling over and needing to grasp onto a chair.   I’m not particularly balanced physically. Or emotionally.

I ate vegan sausages on whole wheat pasta with roasted tomatoes and garlic for dinner this evening. There is no wine in the house. This is on purpose.  I am physically incapable of ladylike drinking.

As I said, my conscience is already a drunk. There is no hope for me.

I’m trying to save money. I’m trying to lose weight. I’m trying to be a good parent.   I’m trying to do the right thing. I’m trying to succeed with my writing.

*Conscience pipes up from its lair* ‘You are talking about yourself like ALL the time!’

Yes, thank you conscience.   This is a blog and blogs are very often exercises in admittedly self centered ramblings and personal opinions so why should mine be any different?

That aside, I keep seeing tweets and articles about how talent is not exactly rare. There are many creative types around with the ability to write something interesting.  What makes them succeed is their tenacity. The moves they make and the work they put in to succeed. To get your work seen, you have to complete all manner of research. You have to know who would want to help you get your work out there. You have to source dozens of these people. Then you have to present something impressive.

So, you’d better have it.

Even then, chances are the ones in positions to help you will be incredibly busy, dealing with the thousands of other creative types trying to make a living from their art. FYI, if any ‘agents’ ever ask you for money after getting you all excited, telling you that you have a strong voice, etc., do NOT engage with them or send them money.

*Sound of creaking bed springs as my Conscience sits up slightly*

Conscience: ‘F-wording vultures.’

Anyway….

Writer’s write. Talent is common. Tenacity is what makes or breaks you….etc. etc. etc. Eye Roll. Yawn.

*Cue the sound of empty bottles falling and rolling on a wooden floor, shuffling feet and a groan.*

Okay, I’ll formally introduce you. Everyone? This is my Conscience. Conscience? These are like the two people who occasionally look at my blog…

Conscience: ‘Okay. I suppose getting your work seen is like getting fit or being a better person. You have to make the effort. You have to ‘get over yourself’ and just work at it.   Stop obsessing over your little insecurities and the many things you become paranoid about. Grow accustomed to rejection and the fact that higher ups might look at you and think ‘Wow, that sucks. Go away.’ Steel yourself against that because it doesn’t matter. What does matter is what you learn in the process and that you never EVER give up. And the fitness ladies in your phone are not your friends, okay? They are attractive fitness people who had an idea, pursued it and now they make money off of people like you. But that’s okay, because you do need to get healthier. And maybe….just maybe one day those ladies will buy your book and find it an emotionally enjoyable read and will get in touch about how much they liked your book. OMG you really want that don’t you? You’re so freaking sad and weird at the same time! You really, really need to get out more. Jeez…crazy obsessive woman hauls herself over the coals for buying a well known fitness app and there are people starving in the world.    Give money to charity or something. I need a drink….’ *cue the sound of a bottle uncorking and a body collapsing on a bed with broken springs*

Okay. So…I won’t order Doner Kebab Pizza next weekend.  Or any apps for that matter.

My name is Jessica and my conscience is a disillusioned, washed up old drunk.

Once upon a time, I imagine it was a glorious, bright eyed sort with the world of moral choices at its feet.

I’ll get back to work then….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By jmnauthor3000

Balance and #Health and #Wellness and Stuff.

 

Balance. Control. Discipline.

I like gorging myself on rich food and drinking wine over the weekend. Then I want to hit the gym, run and drink green smoothies all week. Mealtimes involve a healthy chicken and black bean burrito, with no cheese or sour cream. I’ll eat nuts and whole grains, dabble in yoga and meditation, etc.

Then Friday comes and an intense urge accompanied by euphoria hits as I start on a bottle of crisp, zesty chilled Sauvignon Blanc and salty rich snacks. The delirious deliciousness is so good, I become ecstatic with happiness. Everything makes sense on Friday night. The world is right. By Sunday I’m on ice creams and chocolate bars in a desperate attempt to pick myself up off the floor.

Lately, I’ve allowed myself to slip even further from my lifestyle standard. I’ll even eat a rich pasta dish and drink wine on a school night. Not to the point of being a hung over wretch the next day, but certainly not in a position to get up at 5:30am to go for a run.

I just sort of do my day, minus any significant exercise. I try and stick to lower fat lower sugar eating, but it doesn’t pack the same punch. It doesn’t have the heady feeling I get from eating lean protein style foods after sweating and panting, then exfoliating and moisturizing afterwards.

Eating a chicken sandwich on whole wheat knowing I barely managed to roll out of bed and wash myself just isn’t the same.

Then you hear words like moderation and balance. Yawn.

Yet here I am again. Sunday. I didn’t get out of bed until ten. I’ve eaten more chocolate than I care to admit. There are empty bottles in the recycling that I am responsible for. I’m staring down the barrel of another week.

I’m staring down the barrel of the rest of my life.

It’s not the vanity, it’s the mindset captured when I’m being a good girl. I love my indulgent weekends. But they can’t spill into my week. Not anymore. I honestly do have stuff to do.

And it’s not just about my expanding waistline. Or even the puffy eyes. Or a sluggish thought process and general state of confusion as to how exactly I got here.

My urge to nap during the day, a habit I find offensive in other situations, disgusts and compels me at the same time. It’s not those sort of things.

Okay well yes. It is those things. It’s also that I still want to be able to drink a glass or two of wine and not feel like a piece of crap who does this way too often. I want to drink that glass knowing that I earned it. Not panicking that I’m going to feel tired tomorrow, yet being unable to stop myself from swallowing yummy chilled Pinot Grigio.   Chardonnay sucks.

I want to eat a piece of cheese and a few olives and not feel disgusted with myself. I want to enjoy a piece of cake and not become immediately embroiled in a ferocious yet silent debate about whether to eat cake until I feel sick or whether to stop eating all together and just cope with my salivating, twitching and excessive drinking…I mean blinking… I mean I like cake. Shit.

I’m very knowledgeable about healthy eating. I’m not limited in my ability to comprehend what is good for me and what is not. I’m just exceptionally good at justifying bad health choices.

For example, my subconscious theory that if I consume a bag of nacho cheese flavored tortilla fast enough, it doesn’t count. I have processed fake cheese corn stuck in my teeth but hardly recall eating anything so anyway what’s for dinner?

Another example? I hold sugary soft drinks in high disdain. I do not see the point in sodas or artificial fruit drinks at all. Until I wake up with a hangover and find myself chugging lemonade like it’s going out of fashion.

I’ll go back to snubbing it on Monday.

No thanks, just water for me.

At least wine has a bit of integrity. Whatchamacallit Zero? Whatsit Light?   Bubbly Diet Whatever? Bah! My nose and I are going to go right up, thank you very much. Until we’re above a cold can of yourself because your carbonated caffeinated qualities accompany spicy fattening comfort food perfectly. When I drink you, I know I’m slumming it and possibly drinking cancer or dementia inducing chemicals yet I secretly fear the day you are no longer produced.

As for the ‘full fat’ soda brigade? You make me sick. Until I feel sick and drink you down like a ragged traveler who’s been lost in the desert for weeks. I love you ginger ale, don’t leave me!

I drink infused water now. My water has pieces of lemon, mint, cucumber, berries and ginger floating in it. I’m still gaining weight. It turns out my home grown kitchen herb infused H20 does not offset the doner kebab pizza I scoffed on Friday because I was freaking sick of cooking stuff involving home-made chicken stock and chopping up varying forms of bastard salad. F word I hate salad.

I’m really quite proud of my ability to resist chocolate and sweets.   My true weakness is salty stuff.   I’m also nauseatingly proud of my honesty.   I have a problem with consuming too many salty carbohydrates. Yet you come see me on a Sunday, or when Mother Nature tweaks my biological situation and I’m stood looking at an impressively sized American candy bar and wondering if it’s big enough.

I adore running. My knees remind me that I come from a long line of short, stout (yet really awesome) peasant laborer type women who were built for constant work, but not for the elegant, graceful art of running. Bend, stoop, stir, lift, push, pull, grunt, carry, hurry up, give birth, but don’t run for goodness sake your joints can’t take it. Really?

No…I will lose enough weight off my middle one day so that I can enjoy running and my knees will shut up.

I like the gym, the cross trainer and doing weights. I don’t talk to anyone there yet I love the feeling of unity in health. We aren’t all perfect, but we are here and let’s do this people!   I don’t resent the beautiful types who are there. The fact that I mentioned that shows how open minded I am. It does not betray any insecurity at all.   I welcome all my gym brothers and sisters with open arms.  Even the annoyingly attractive and fit ones.

I avoid eye contact like the plague and the thought of doing a group exercise class truly horrifies me on a level that needs its own blog post but…solidarity people! We can embrace health and find a better version of ourselves.

In all seriousness I love sweating. I also love eating. And drinking.

And green tea is really really boring.

So, what to do? How to find balance in health and habits? The thing is, I know I’m not alone. Lots of folks are struggling with weight and healthy lifestyle habits.

Lots of people freaking hate salad. Even with a nice dressing, extra chicken, or some alternative vegetable that isn’t lettuce. You are the bane of my existence lettuce!  I heard, that lettuce has chemicals in it that actually cause hunger. Who would have thought that a bit of produce can be so cruel as well as prone to becoming soggy and tasteless?

Then again, I do like using lettuce as an alternative ‘wrap’ to tortilla or buns. Burger meat in between fresh lettuce leaves is actually okay. So is taco meat.

Fine, maybe I can’t use lettuce as a scape goat for my poor lifestyle choices. I can’t blame the unappetizing bits of soggy green stuff on café sandwiches for making me choose the cheese toastie instead.

Maybe I have to actually swallow back down my urge to isolate myself with a huge piece of black forest gateau.

Maybe I should eat in public more often. And slowly enough that I remember what I’ve consumed. But control doesn’t come easy. It doesn’t grace you with any benefits unless you make the effort and practice good old, agonizingly boring self control.

Sometimes, that means acknowledging your own madness.

Hello. My name is Jessica and I’m not entirely balanced.

 

By jmnauthor3000