About Me · Random

Happiness is in the eye of the beholder

Today was rough. (Warning: Personal Blog Post Ahead)

I needed to talk to someone in my family. This being Mother’s Day, I decided not to burden my mom with my problems. My sister and I have spoken… maybe twice since Christmas? So, she’s out.

I was left with Dad. Now, my dad has, in recent months, begun to tell me that he is one-hundred-percent supportive of my writing career. He’s allowed me to bounce some ideas of off him, and together, we’ve come up with some good strategies. In the past, my father has helped me out financially, but it’s been years since I’ve asked my parents for money. I’ve survived on credit cards and creatively paying bills for quite some time. I survive paycheck to paycheck. No kid wants to ask their parents for money. I know I certainly don’t. I don’t ever intend to again, and it certainly wasn’t the conversation I wanted to have with my father today, but I had to let him know that I was in debt and working to get out. (Why? I’m not sure. I’m 38, and you’d think I’d stop needing my parents’ approval at some point, but I haven’t.)

I was trying to tell him about my need to write. We’ve talked about it before, and I can say and write a million things that really connect with readers, but I cannot convince my father that writing is not a hobby. It is a physiological need. It’s the only thing I’ve found in life that makes me truly happy. I love my friends, and I love the time I spend with them, but it’s not the same. I know I’m different. My friends know I’m different (which makes me love them more), but I can’t get my dad to understand what writing is to me.

Thirty minutes into the conversation – which was essentially, “Dad, I can’t keep this up, I’m dying under the weight of real job, marketing, selling, writing, sleeping, etc.” – and he asks me, “What if you gave up writing for a year to focus on your real job, just to make enough money to pay off the debt?”

Shocked. I was absolutely shocked that that was his solution.

It’s not that he’s not listening. He just doesn’t understand the way my brain works, because it’s not the way his brain works. He explained, “I worked for forty years in a job I didn’t really like. You do it because you have to.” He just doesn’t get it. This isn’t about me not wanting to do my real job anymore. In truth, my real job is not a bad job. I might even say it’s a good job. But it takes away so many hours from the one thing I love to do, the one thing that clears my head, and the one thing that brings me happiness, and for that, I don’t like the job. I resent it, and I resent the people there, and I shouldn’t. It’s not their fault.

Somewhere a little further into the conversation, I realized that by confessing to my dad that I have debt (again), he thought I was asking him for money. I assured him repeatedly that I wasn’t, and that I fully support him and my mother living out their retirement years comfortably. They deserve that, and they’ve worked hard to make that a reality. Once I realized that the debt thing was the only thing my dad had really heard, I realized it was a waste of my time to continue the conversation.

The message I’d wanted him to get was this: I may make a decision sooner rather than later that may make no sense logically, or financially, but it might be the thing I have to do to keep myself sane and alive. I don’t mean to be overly dramatic, but there are days – and I had one last week – when I see that things aren’t going well in sales, when I haven’t had time to write, and when I feel like this passion to write is wasted on someone who will never be able to commit to that passion. There are days when I feel so desperate that I don’t think I can continue at this pace and with this heavy load.

I’m not suicidal, but I do fear for my own life sometimes. I see the need for a way out, and my brain churns and churns for that way out. I know that I am not happy where I’m at, and I know things have to change… and I know it’s within my power to do so, but I also know I have no ones’s total support in making that decision. Of my friends, there is literally only one friend that I’ve met in real life who has read all of my work. One. There is a second friend that I met online who’s read them all. And then there are the readers (some have become friends in the process), who beg for more… but no one in my family or my close circle of friends would consider themselves a “fan” of my work. I guess most of my friends got bored with the storyline, or the characters, or my writing. Admittedly, they’ve been subjected to many, many, many conversations about the Holland family and the other cast of characters in my books. It’s not a requirement for my closest friends to be “fans,” but hell, it sure would be nice if they were. Why?

Because the fact that they haven’t read everything puts doubt in my head. It makes me think that I’m not good enough. That I can’t sustain a story. That I can’t keep up the pace. That I can’t keep people interested. It makes me think they don’t believe in me, so how can I believe in myself?

It’s difficult, but I thank the readers for balancing me out. The fact that I make them happy motivates me.

Anyway, I feel I got very little accomplished with my father, who I’d hoped would understand and be an ally. When I left their house, I felt like they wouldn’t support me (emotionally) if I was to quit my job tomorrow, as crazy as the idea is to me, to them, to everyone. I needed to feel like they would, because if they would, it would have meant that they finally understood my brain. It would have made me feel that my happiness is important to them, too. Instead, I feel like they just don’t want me to be a burden to them, and that I need to do whatever I possibly have to do to ensure that doesn’t happen.

And I will. Ultimately, I live my life for me. It’s one of the bonuses of being single with no children. I need to be able to make the choices necessary to keep me from going to those desperate places… and I need to make sure that, when I falter, I find the emotional strength within me to pull myself up again. Maybe some friends will be there to help, maybe they won’t. I hope they will, but in the end, we live and die alone… it’s sad, but true.

16 thoughts on “Happiness is in the eye of the beholder

  1. I don’t know who u are but i was reading what u wrote and i don’t agree especially with the end we don’
    t live life and die alone because when i was going to take my life two years ago i met someone i new about but did not know in person until that day i was depressed and wanted to die little by little i put my faith in him day by day thinking i was going to go crazy i asked and asked him help me and he kept shinning his light on me making me understand life and the way we have to live it eventually i saw that i was not alone he was next to me threw all my life walking at my side giving me shelter and opening the eyes to my heart just like u i love to write and think i can write a book and also love helping peaple but i learned u cannot give what u do t have and the only way to have the answers is threw god and his grace he nocked at my door until i finally opened it opened my heart to him and he helped me direct it to what it always wanted put your life in his hands and everything u have been looking for will be done only thing that it will be done threw goods will on your life like i read in the bible one day only the truth will set u free dont know if what i wrote makes any sense to you but i leave it in gods hands hope u have a nice christmas and may the light of god and the truth of his mercy and grace shine on your life god blees you as he has blessed me.

  2. I couldn’t have said it better myself than the others who posted their love for you here. We are here for you no matter what and will be in your corner and got your back. I admire you so much for not wanting to settle for anything less than what you know you need to and want to do.

  3. I am so thrilled to see all these lovely responses to this post. You listen to these people, Lori. And listen to your heart. You are the one who has to live your life, no-one else. Your parents choices are not the choices that work for you. You have people in your corner, and we are behind you 200 percent.

  4. Lori, someday I’ll give you the full story about what a blessing, what a gift your Emi was to me. I am so happy you wrote those books, and I do look forward to reading more. I can’t say it enough . . . you are an amazing writer!

    I identify with everything you said in this post. Here are a couple of links I love that I hope help in some way:

    Sending you love and light!
    Anita

    1. It took me awhile to get home and watch/listen to these, but what a beautiful message… and in a way, I think I’ve always had that in my head, but never was it said so clearly. I need to realign a bit… but this was very uplifting and very much what I need today. Thank you, love. 🙂

  5. Okay Little Trooper. I can completely and totally relate. I’ll even toss a husband and kids into the mix of the “you just don’t get it” camp. Don’t fret that fam and friends haven’t read your stuff. I’ve been told flat out that if something bad happens to the kid in my story, they (yes more than one person has said this) don’t want to read it. Really? My entire family still considers my brother, who is a clerk for a federal judge, to be the writer in the family.

    Anyway, point is, they aren’t your problem. Your problem is that you aren’t where you want to be in life. I know you’ve set a goal to be able to write full time. Where are you in meeting that goal? Do you need to make some other adjustments to make that happen?

    Parental approval isn’t what you seek. You are falling into old habits/sequences of behavior, because you’re frustrated with your situation. We all do it.

    Take a deep breath. Reevaluate your situation. Make a plan of attack. Take a proactive stance and hand yourself back some of the power you allowed to slip away.

    And here’s a giant hug! xx
    Machelle

  6. Your books should be bestsellers, and this shouldn’t be an issue. I gave the “Emi Lost & Found” trilogy & novella four 5-star ratings. I’ve never done that with a series. Any series. You are doing something very right as a writer, and I’m sorry you don’t have the freedom to do it full-time without worrying about bills & other grown-up crap.

    There is something neurologically wrong with writers. At work, I’m the unofficial “word bitch.” If we’re having a team party, or my manager needs something rewritten, I get the job. I love it. People don’t get it, though, when they see me editing some 600-word insane email invitation to an event or whatever (I’ll write our boss into Casablanca, involve yaks, etc). “I’m sure it’s fine.” No, damn you, it’s not right yet. Leave me alone!

    Sane people don’t get that obsession to make it right. What they would call my “good enough” is better than they could do spending a week on it, but it’s not “good enough” for me.

    I still have faith that the Emi series will get picked up by a publisher, and then you’ll have a team to market it and get it out there. It is seriously that damned good.

    I’m hardly one to give advice, since I’m in the middle of an epic writer’s block, but it will work out. I have faith in your talent, but more importantly, in your dedication and devotion to using that talent. Hell, I have talent. I lack discipline to do anything with it, and that’s a waste. (I write awesome blog posts and Goodreads reviews, but that doesn’t accomplish anything)

    I friended you on Goodreads. If you friend me back, you can get my email address. Or DM me. Whichever. Just if you need to commiserate.

    Again, you ARE that good. I’ve read a lot of self-published authors who lack polish. You’re shiny.

    Chin up. Take tonight off. Drink a few snifters of B&B. Take a hot bath, maybe (just don’t spill the B&B in the bath, or drop the snifter on the floor (the ability to drink in the bath is really why Faulkner won his Nobel Prize)).. Wake up tomorrow, go to work, then come home and write. It will pay off.

    And may the words be ever in your favor. 😉

    1. You do write the best reviews… it sucks that you have writer’s block. I hope it goes away soon.

      Maybe there’s something neurologically RIGHT with us. I’m certain we’re different.

      I’ll friend you on GR. You alone have done wonders for my self-esteem. Thank you for the reviews and thank you now (and extra thanks for calling me shiny)!

      Going to drink now and start fresh tomorrow. 🙂

    2. Hey there Tom- love love love your last line……..
      ” And may the words be ever in your favor”!!!!!! That is Awesome!

  7. Lori, you need a GREAT BIG (((((((((HUG)))))))))) in PERSON! I’m 56 and still feel the need to have my parents’ approval (more my dad’s approval, because I’ve rarely gotten it), too. So I can understand where you’re coming from.

    I think you are a terrific writer. And I can definitely see your need to have more time to write. What I’m having a problem with is you doubting yourself. I can only speak for myself (although I’m sure your fan base would agree), but I believe in you and know you have a great gift. The fact that you have this wonderful “creative process” whirling around in your head is beyond amazing to me. I wanted to write children’s stories at one time in my life…but DUH…I figured out it wasn’t something I could learn to do – it had to be something I had been BORN to do. You obviously were BORN to write.

    I’m sorry your parents and close circle of friends don’t see what I see. But you HAVE to believe in yourself, Lori. I believe in you…and so does your fan base. Yes, we’re out here in cyberspace, but we ARE here and we ARE buying your books. Come to us when you need that emotional bolster. We’ll lift you up. ❤ (((HUGS)))

    Heidi Hines

    1. Lori, Annie and Heidi… thank you all so much. I really do think my readers are amazing, and I’m blessed that the books have brought us together. I’m sorry I get so needy sometimes… I just appreciate your willingness to let me air it out. Again, thanks.

  8. Oh sweetie! I wish I could send you lots and lots of ((((((HUGS)))!
    It is so very hard when all you need is to know that you have the support of those most important to you, and it’s just not there! Writing, like any other art form, gives others a glimpse of what is in your heart…you are basically baring yourself to the world, and as a sensitive person it can be crushing when others don’t understand or appreciate it for what it is. As for still needing your parents approval at your age, well I am 44, (and yes I actually admitted that out loud!) and I still get upset if my parents don’t approve of what I do ( sad, but true!). I can tell that your writing not only rewards those of us who are fans , but it obviously also gives something to you. Things like peace of mind, serenity, a sense of accomplishment, and self worth are never to be underestimated. Being made to feel that you have to choose between something you love and something you have to do is never easy. The only advice I can offer ( which I often do not follow myself!) is to consider your options carefully, don’t make a decision while your emotions are high. You are a wonderfully talented writer and if you need to hold off between releasing your beautiful stories we, your loyal followers will understand. You created these unforgettable characters that we can not get enough of (hell my 6 year old knows that choisie means “chosen” in French!!). Stay strong – I don’t care how long it takes you to release Olivia and steven’s story- I’ll be the first one waiting to buy it- while wearing my Team Jack, I mean Nate, I mean Jack teeshirt!!!

  9. Lori
    I’m sorry to read about your struggle. I love your writing keep it up. I was sad to read awhile ago that the second book on the contessa series is not coming out for awhile. This means for me I can’t read the first one yet. I hate to be left wondering. That is what I love about the lost and found series. I could just continue on with their love story. Recently I read a story that reminded me of yours ( a girl version a boy version) but it didn’t even come close to as good as ur stories. I bought the book and then skipped all the way to the end of the book. I would have NEVER done that with yours. I will read anytime you like. I love your passion. Keep up the awesome work. It will work out for you !!

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