Monday, April 21, 2014

Emphatically Embracing

 by Shannon Baker

Oh, that Gwyneth Paltrow. Bless  her heart. She’s been credited with some interesting quotes. Things like:
"Well, you know, beauty fades! I just turned 29, so I probably don't have that many good years left in me. So there will be a down side eventually."
And this:
"I'd rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin.
"I would rather die than let my kid eat Cup-a-Soup."
One of my favorites:
"I am who I am. I can't pretend to be somebody who makes $25,000 a year."
If I wanted to be fair (and really, what fun is fair?) I’d have to say that if someone followed me around they’d catch some pretty self-absorbed and silly quotes. I think at aged 29, I probably thought my best years were behind me, too. And though I don’t eat squeezy cheese, it was always a staple in the finals week care packages I sent to my daughter. According to Gwyneth, that probably means I ought to kill myself and smoke crack.

However, she did come up with a phrase that resonates with me.
Consciously uncoupling.
Granted, she used this phrase to describe the end of her marriage and I didn’t so much consciously uncouple as I divorced my first husband. I have no intention of uncoupling from my guy now, consciously or subliminally. But there are a few things I’d do well to uncouple from.
I need to uncouple from Facebook. Maybe not entirely, but it would be good to back off from seeing which celebrities have twins or finding out what element I am. (Air, by the way.) I live in relative isolation so, as a writer, it’s good to hang out on FB from time to time to study contemporary culture and to catch up with friends. But I need to uncouple from spending too much time there at the detriment of getting my own words down.
I need to uncouple from comparing myself to others. For those of us who know what the term “flower child” means, you might remember the Desiderata being a very popular poem. I would do well to keep this gem in my head:

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

I’m not a NY Times Bestseller and I’m not the person who will write her novel as soon as she has the time. It does me no good to stress or gloat about where I am in comparison to others. Maybe this is what Gwyneth meant when she said she couldn’t pretend to be someone who makes $25K a year.

I need to uncouple from my negativity. Again, from the Desiderata (I like these quotes better than Gwyneth’s words of wisdom.)

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Instead of wasting my time worrying about the next book or the next series and what will happen if I never score another book contract or sell another copy, I need to feel good about what I’ve done. And get excited about what I’m writing now.

Even though consciously uncoupling is meant to be a positive thing, it’s couched in negative verbiage. So, with due respect to Gwyneth, I’m going to turn it around. Instead of consciously uncoupling, I’m going to Emphatically Embrace.

I’ll embrace focused writing time, embrace my own journey, embrace the feeling of accomplishment and working toward the next goal.

How about you? What do you Emphatically Embrace?

1 comment:

Deborah Sharp said...

I ''emphatically embrace'' this post! Very funny, Shannon . . .