“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’ve been working frantically over the past couple of weeks to salvage/improve my WIP. For those of you who read Oral Dilemma on Storytime Trysts, it is nothing like that anymore. For those who have read the snippets of what is tentatively titled Roxy Sings the Blues, it’s not like that either.
‘Roxanne Winters, student, MMA fighter. A woman barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild her. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic blues singer. Roxanne Winters will be that woman. Better than she was before. Better, stronger, smarter.’ Don’t deny it – you heard that in Oscar Goldman’s voice from the Six Million Dollar Man. OK, well I did even if you didn’t.
OK, don’t panic – breath. That is self-talk for me, not the readers.
I’m so close, yet so far away. There is always a giant obstacle before the goal is achieved, right? Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know but there always seems to be a few kinks to work out even when I have my basic plot and outline. I don’t know the exact story yet, I haven’t written it! As it unfolds, I’m going to touch base on something that has been asked more than a few times.
Is Julia Mathers in Red Wine & Roses based on you? I see a lot of similarities in her personality and yours.
NO! She is not me and I am not her. As to similarities, I have been wracking my brain to figure out what similarities that these readers see. We both have dark brown hair, brown eyes, but so do many men and women. When you think of a fashion model, what is the first image that comes to mind? Short, stocky, dark-haired beauty or tall thin blonde? (I have nothing against blondes, my sister is a blond and I love her dearly!)
Yea, me too. So, in essence, Julia is the antithesis of a fashion model. Before Tyra there was Christie. The symbol of beauty in the 80’s, every man wanted Christie, every woman wanted to look like Christie.
I can only speak from my experience, but I know thousands of women can relate, so here goes. From a very young age, I was expected to act a certain way, be a certain way, look a certain way. My mother was very strict. Even though I was a tomboy at home, barefoot more often than not, outside until after the cows came home (we lived in the country), unhindered by the dirt smeared across my face, arms, or legs, when it was time to go anywhere I had to clean up.
I remember so many times being assaulted roughly with a washcloth as she frantically worked to clean me up to a presentable child that could be seen in public. Maybe that’s part of my obsession with being presentable before leaving the house now. Freud would be happy with the mental connection! You might laugh at my choice of wordage there – being assaulted – but to a ten-year-old child that was more interested in playing ball or bike riding with the neighborhood kids, when I was called home to change clothes and clean up, it was akin to me asking my own kids to do their chores or bloodletting which are apparently the same in their eyes. (I had chores, they were done first thing in the morning before I was allowed to go play. I would need much more coffee and time to share about mental scars from gathering eggs. You know back in my day . . .)
This seems so insignificant, yet, it made a mark. It contributed to the greater idea that I was expected to be something I was not. I was not the shy little girl who would sit quietly on the church pew. I got spankings because of my fidgeting. I was not the pretty girl in the party dress. I was the one who still spills stuff on my clothes, still do! I was not the cool kid with the stylish new designer clothes. I got loads of hand me downs, it was a thrill to get brand new clothes in bright unfaded material! I was not the popular girl in high school. (Really, I knew practically everyone in my high school because it was a small school in a small town but knowing everyone isn’t what constituted popularity.) I was not the cheerleader, the pompom girl, or the beauty queen. There were so many things I was not. It always seemed to be about what I wasn’t, that we were expected to fit into the societal molds put on us and assimilate to the plastic army.
We were supposed to look like Christie Brinkley. We were supposed to be nurses, secretaries, or school teachers. We were supposed to . . . .. ugh. The list goes on and on and on until one day you either give in to depression and booze and think that you don’t measure up or you wise up and realize that you aren’t part of the plasticine dream mold and decide to live as who you really are. Are you following me?
I’m still working on accepting my own value. I am very well acquainted with the things I am not. What I am working on is finding value in who I AM.
In that regard, my life experience lends itself to my character Julia. She learns to value herself for who she is and overcomes her feelings of inferiority. I’d like to say that I was inspired by overcoming my own sense of inferiority but I haven’t. Perhaps I’m writing it prophetically. Yeah, instead of Chuck the prophet I am Ellie the Prophetess. Doesn’t quite have that ring, does it? Maybe Sam and Dean will show up to correct me. Shhh, don’t break the fantasy.
My inspiration for Julia is the average woman: Every woman who has ever felt inferior. Every woman who has felt less beautiful than the fashion industry standards. Every woman who has sold themselves short for the attention of a man who disrespected them. Every woman who struggles with their sense of self-worth. Which I believe includes every single woman on the face of the earth over the age of twelve. Did you know that even Christie Brinkley sees faults in herself? I don’t know what they are, but I know human nature. Trust me – she sees them.
I am still learning how to be me. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. There has always been these expectations put on us by our parents, society, our peers and by ourselves. As life plays out, we discover who we truly are and who we aren’t. I was never cut out to be a nurse, I accepted that early on. Trust me it’s best for all of us. I was never cut out to be an Olympic gymnast, my rendition would look more like a Carol Burnett rerun.
One thing I have always been gifted with is a vivid imagination. It got me into trouble – often. That same imagination fuels my mind with story ideas. Well, with the addition of coffee. Coffee is my catalyst. I think maybe today I’ll have a little Irish coffee.
Do you struggle with aspects of your self-image? Do dudes struggle with self-image or inferiority? How dull would it be if everyone conformed to the Stepford plan? Variety is the spice of life and some of us are a little spicier than others.
So why do I go back and rehash over my first book when I am in the trenches with Roxy And Devon?
Because my lovelies, I’m running a special deal over at Amazon.
For the next two days, you can get your copy at 60% off! What are you waiting for? Go get yours now while I get back to wrecking Roxy’s world. Errr, I mean, helping her discover who she is. Yeah, that’s it.
Go HERE to get your copy now!
Write on my friends, and be yourself!
Till next time – Ellie
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