Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Fighting the Urge to Rage

I was outside with Diesel tonight and I saw a woman drive past, wiping her eyes. I thought, "I wonder what she's upset about. A family member's illness or death? Did she get some bad news of her own?" It caused me to take pause and think about my own life.

See, I've been thinking about hellos and goodbyes a lot recently. This led me to think about the nights I would be driving to and from work on the highway. Some nights, the traffic was light. Others not so much. As a writer, my mind drifts to the people I'm sharing the road with. The couple who are arguing while driving somewhere with their kids. The gorgeous man who races past me on his motorcycle. The single woman with insane colors in her hair, dancing and singing in her truck. (Okay, that one is me, but I'm sure people think I'm nuts.)What are these people's stories?

We've all raged at the drivers who fly past us as if they're the only ones on the road. However, have you ever thought about why they're in a hurry? Maybe they are on the way to the hospital because a loved one was in an accident. Maybe there's been a death. Maybe they're on their way to the airport to greet a loved one who has been away. Even the slow drivers have a story. I'm not saying these are excuses for reckless driving, but how would you feel if your spouse or child was returning after being at war? Would you drive calmly with no hint of excitement? Or would you unconsciously lower the gas pedal to the floor in your haste to get them in your arms again? I know my answer.

I find myself doing the same thing in the store. Doesn't mean I don't get frustrated, just means I wonder about people's stories. What is in the text message that made that woman smile so brightly? What did that woman whisper to her man that has him walking off with a smirk on his face? What is so wrong with their relationship that a man is calling his wife names? I'm an odd duck that way.

My grandma used to take a drive into town (when she still drove) and she would park on Main Street to watch the people. I used to think she was nosy, but that wasn't it at all. She simply wondered about their stories.

So, the next time you get cut off in traffic or you see a frazzled person who is barely keeping it together, think for a moment: I wonder what is happening in their life. I'm not saying there aren't assholes everywhere, but not everyone is covered under that umbrella. That woman who is crying at the stoplight may have just kissed her husband/boyfriend/partner goodbye and she's not sure when/if she'll see them again...or she may have heard a sad song on the radio that triggered her emotions. And if you see that she has crazy colors in her hair AND you're in Wisconsin...roll your window down and say "Hi!" I'm not crazy, I promise...my mama had me tested!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What Do You See?

The other day I found a video on Facebook. They took Polaroids of women and asked the women what they saw. There were 63 women used on this project. I watched the video with tears in my eyes. So much beauty and strength was there, yet they sometimes missed it.

I'm on a college campus most days. While I realize that I'm not 18, I compare myself to the girls on campus. I'm not as skinny as that one. I'm not as pretty as another. My skin is flawed and not as fresh as a younger woman's. I'm heavier than most. I dress for comfort instead of style.

But I'm working on my self-image. I'm trying to be more positive about my appearance. For example: I love my hair! I work hard to make sure the color in my hair looks good. And my eyes...I love the color and shape of my eyes. Even in glasses, my eyes are my best feature.

So...I decided that maybe it was time I took a selfie and posted it for the world to see. I'm going to tell you what I see when I look at these pictures. I'm going to try to remain positive, but no promises there.

Ready? Okay, here we go:

Oh gods, this is harder than I thought it would be! *tears*

I see my dad's bone structure in my cheeks. I see my mom's complexion and her eyes. I see my grandmother's mouth. I see pain. I see strength. I see doubt. I see a woman who needs to learn to believe in herself and her abilities. I love her hair! I see someone who knows how to love everyone except herself. I see the introvert, the bookworm, the one who wants to blend in, the one who hopes everyone overlooks her. I see someone who has lost so much and is scared to death. I see the little girl who is scared of screwing up and is petrified to take a chance. I see the woman who has known what it is to be hurt at the hands of someone she trusted...enough so that she is scared to let people touch her...someone who flinches without realizing she's doing it. I see someone who thinks she is more overweight than she really is. I see a daughter. I see a friend. I see a small-town girl. I see someone with a very big heart that has been broken more times than she cares to admit. I see a farmer's daughter with a rebel streak a half mile wide.

I've been told that I have a beautiful smile. I just don't smile in photos because I'm very self-conscious of my teeth. For years, I've been told to "hide your smile" or "smile with your mouth closed". By not smiling, it doesn't mean that I'm not happy. I'm just...me. Mr. Charismatic Smile walked into class one day after having missed a class and said, "There's that beautiful smile. I missed it." He just about brought me to my knees with that comment. That one comment made my day so much brighter and I still smile when I remember that first day. However, old habits die hard.

So, there you go: Gemma finally shows you who she is physically. You all know me on a different level, but now, you see what I see.

I just want us to be more aware of ourselves, our bodies, and our view of those things. We shape our own views. Don't let anyone make you feel like you are less than you are! Because you are the best version of you...no one can tell you different!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Some News to Share...

Hello! I hope your New Year is going well so far. I have a few pieces of news:

1) My contract with Leap of Faith Publishing is coming to an end. What does this mean? Well, it means that I am getting the rights back to my books. Keeper of the Golden Dragon's Heart and Natural Born Enemies will be pulled from the sites they are currently on. I am going to re-edit them and fix the mistakes that were previously overlooked as well as create new covers for them. I'm not sure when they'll be available again, but I will be working hard to make them available to you as soon as possible!

2) To go with the new self-published versions of these books, I am also creating a new website. I want to be able to use pictures I've taken of the areas that inspired the Cedar River series and this affords me the option to bring that piece of the world to you in a more stream-lined fashion. What does this mean for this particular blog? I'm not sure at this point. I adore Blogger and may just keep the blog here.

3) As for the Gemma K. Murray name...I did consider a change to my author name, however, I chose this name for a reason. I have so many things that would have to change to accommodate a different name and I just don't think it is a reasonable thing to do. So, whenever the books are re-released, you will find them under the same author name. 

If I am not willing to do the work to make my dream come true, how can I trust someone else to do so? I can't. This is why I'm doing everything I can to put books out that I am proud of. From the covers to the words inside, they will be my creations. This means that I am stepping into different territories to make the products I give you the best they can be. I'm learning to edit photos and create covers. I'm building a website. I'm working very hard and I want you to be happy with the changes that are being made.

I'll still be blogging here and keeping you apprised of the situation as well as how I'm progressing on things. I only ask that you be patient with me.