Wednesday, August 31, 2011

MEET A LOST LITTLE GIRL!


Have you ever wondered who you really are deep down inside where even you can’t see? Priscilla wondered this about herself most of her adult life, until she finally reached the infamous “end of herself”. That’s when she made a promise that she would continue to search until she found the lost little girl hiding in her broken, dysfunctional spirit. Although this quest to find her “authentic self” would take many years, it was well worth the huge effort required to complete her mission.
Last week we discussed how Priscilla came to that notable “end of herself” first. Then she took the difficult first-step in the healing process taking full responsibility for herself. Before we progress further let’s expound upon this first-step a bit.

None of us are “responsible” for the things that happened to us when we were powerless little children who were wholly dependent on the adults in our world. However, we are wholly responsible for the choices we made in our lives, even though childhood events may have and probably did greatly influence those choices.

The next step in the healing process is to unpack and examine all the “baggage” we carry along with us into every single relationship we choose to embark upon. While we were children, we didn’t yet possess the “adult tools” to properly process painful events that occurred in our childhood.  Consequently, we all tend to bury these memories through our “denial”. We assume, out of sight out of mind. We pretend these little kinks in our psyche just don’t really exist as we attempt to get on with our lives. But they are quite prominent in your sub-conscious mind. Others close to you will see the evidence of their existence by the way these unresolved-issues control and negatively influence your actions as well as your emotions. Of this, you can be sure!

These unresolved-childhood issues take many forms. For instance, a child is forced to feel insecure, guilty and ashamed every time the child witnesses his or her parents fighting. The immature little child will always assume, “It’s all my fault. If I had been good, Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t be fighting.” These feelings of insecurity, guilt and shame are captured on mental tapes which will play in that child’s sub-conscious over and over again. These same tapes will continue to play even in the sub-conscious mind of the adult-child until the adult learns of their existence and then takes the necessary steps to change the tapes. These faulty tapes can’t be erased but they can be taped over with positive, emotionally-healthy information.

Once the individual revists these unhealthy memories with “adult skills” at his/her disposal, the individual realizes their parents problems were not really caused by the child’s behavior. Rather, Mom and Dad had their own set of unresolved-issues from their childhood. As the lies get replaced with truth, the incorrect, childish assumptions can be taped over using adult reasoning levels. Thus, the individual can find release from the power of those sub-conscious recordings.


Look closely at this picture which represents a five-year-old rendition of Priscilla. What do you see? Since you can only see the outside, you’d probably say something like, “Well, I see a pretty, well-groomed little girl who looks a little bit sad.” On a slightly humorous note, when I showed this picture to my husband he said, “Or a pretty, well-groomed little girl who looks a little bit like a doll. What’s with the bow and arrow?” Dear reader, try not to be distracted from the specific message intended in using these particular pictures okay?

When Priscilla looks at this picture through the eyes of her childhood memories she sees not a pretty little girl but rather one who is pathetic, bad, hopelessly selfish, self-centered I could go on but I believe you’ve gotten my point already. This little girl was wholly convinced that she had to please everyone around her in order to simply earn the right to live, since she sincerely believed that she was intrinsically worthless.

She had to look pretty and feminine all the time. Otherwise, the only person in her childhood home who seemed to at least notice her Daddy would not be pleased. Priscilla felt as though she was invisible to her mother, who only “saw” her older sister, Dotty. And Dotty actually hated her. (This was not her childish imagination. Dotty admitted to Priscilla how much she always hated her once they were adults.) Since her mother didn’t really see her, and her sister truly hated her, the only way she could earn the right to live was by being Daddy’s pretty, little girl who was to be “seen but not heard”. He told her that all the time.


After considering the above, it’s not hard to understand how Priscilla came to be like the young woman in this third picture. A woman who always tried to look good on the outside, but who carried along a black soul into every relationship she attempted to cultivate.


Let’s close our discussion until next time. In summary, thus far we’ve learned the first and second step in the healing process of our damaged emotions.
    Be willing to consciously take full responsibility for each and every choice you’ve made in your life.
    Be willing to learn how to examine the “excess baggage” you’ve carried along in your soul.
                                                      Hope to see you again next week!
 

Reflective Questions:

Has any long-forgotten childhood memories surfaced in your mind? If the answer is yes, why not begin to keep a journal of some sort where you can record the things you are about to learn about yourself. As these memories surface, record in your journal what “impression” each memory left on your soul.


Who were you trying to please in childhood? Your daddy? Your mother? Or someone else?
 
 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

MEET A DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY!

First, let me be honest! I’ve never watched The Family Guy program on TV. It just so happened that when I was looking for a picture to depict a “dysfunctional family”, this one jumped out of the pile and demanded my attention. Having said that, we’ll move on to the point of this post.

Let’s begin our journey of overcoming “childhood wounds” by defining two terms we’ll be using throughout our discussions.

What are childhood wounds? This term refers to those areas of our psychological development that were hindered from developing properly during our childhood years. Often, this hindrance is caused by “dysfunctional parenting”.

What is dysfunction? This term denotes anything that does not function in the way it was meant to perform. The “job description” for parenting is to create an environment where the child feels “safe an environment that meets both the physical and psychological needs of the child in order that he or she may develop into a responsible, independent adult.

Most dysfunctional parenting is caused by a simple “reversal of roles” meaning the parents mistakenly feel the child is supposed to meet their needs, rather than the other way around. For example, an unfulfilled parent may hope the child will meet his/her need to experience unconditional love. Or possibly the parent endeavors to feel better about her/him self once the child meets the parent’s performance expectations. Perhaps the mother or father believes the child will bring stability to a shaky relationship. Maybe a parent hopes to have one of their unfulfilled dreams or desires fulfilled in the life of the child.

Are you getting the picture? In dysfunctional parenting, pressure is subtly, or not so subtly, placed squarely on the child’s shoulders to meet the parent’s needs. However, in order for the child’s psyche to develop in a healthy way, the focus must be directed solely to meeting the needs of the child not the other way around.

That old cliché You teach what you live. is undeniably accurate. If you were reared by dysfunctional parents, you will unknowingly, as well as unintentionally, wound your children in the same way that you were wounded. And the beat goes on until an individual (like Priscilla) finds her/him self in enough emotional pain whereby that person will search within to find the internal willingness to first acknowledge this premise. Then this person must be willing to embrace the necessary healing process to overcome the power these emotional wounds wield over our adult lives. And take it from Priscilla, the emotional influence from these unknown, unhealed wounds over our daily lives is very, very powerful!

When Priscilla reached an “end of herself” as described in an earlier post, she finally arrived at that pivotal point where she was eager to do whatever would be required of her to begin the difficult journey to a better place a place where she could finally put an end to the continuous cycle of one failure after another in her personal relationships. Simply taking one step at a time completes this journey. The first step is the hardest. But, Priscilla did it and so can you.

This surprisingly difficult first step is to take full responsibility for where ever you find yourself right now. As Priscilla would tell you if she were sitting face-to-face with you, the truth is you got into your current troubling circumstances by the choices you’ve made all along the way. Once you’ve torn down the unhealthy wall of denial that’s prevented you for seeing the truth about your circumstances, you’re finally ready to move on.

Most wounded people have lost their “heart” along the way and don’t know how or where to search for it. Since Priscilla had lost her heart many years earlier, she had come to see herself merely as a “pathetic failure”. She had completely lost touch with her gifts, as well as her passions. Once she rediscovered her “authentic self”, she was able to reach out to others with renewed passion and bold confidence in her newly revealed gifts. This is how she became what she likes to refer to as a “healed helper”.

Each post of this mini-series will conclude with a few thought-provoking questions. These questions are meant to stimulate your private thoughts in a meaningful direction. They are not to be answered publicly in the comments section. Hopefully, as you reflect upon your personal response to a particular question, a light will suddenly turn on in a dark, forgotten recess of your soul.

Hope to see you next week as we continue our journey!
 
  1. All of us have “snapshot memories” from our childhood. Are the majority of your memories happy? Or sad? 
  2. In these snapshots, are you usually laughing and giggling? Or pouting and sulking?
  3. Do you remember feeling loved, approved of, treasured? Or criticized, unworthy, ashamed?
  4. Are most of your snapshot memories ones of a happy family environment in which the parents and children enjoyed doing things together as a family? Or do you remember your parents fighting a lot?
  5. Can you describe in vivid detail your happiest memory from childhood?
  6.  
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

MEET PRISCILLA!

Hi! Welcome back to my Kreative Korner.

Today I’m announcing the beginning of a “mini-series” I plan to produce here on my website. If this is your first visit to the Kreative Korner, may I suggest that you go back and read the two previous posts on my site, Meet the Author and Meet the Leading Ladies. By doing that, you’ll be all caught up and ready to proceed with this series.

First, I introduced you to myself, the author of Murder on Murder Creek Road, which should be released sometime around May of 2012. Next, I introduced you to the real-life leading ladies of that same novel. Now, I’d like you to meet the main female character of my new book Priscilla.

Priscilla is a real-life person who plays a role in a fictional story, just as the other leading ladies do. In my first novel, All Rise, the main female character was named Deborah. Priscilla and Deborah both share the personality and real-life experiences of the same person me, the author.

I recall reading something pertaining to being a good writer that quoted Mark Twain as saying, “Write what you know.” That’s what I set out to do years ago when I first picked up the pen to try my hand at creative writing. What I “know” is how it feels to arrive at a place in life that you never would have set out to go to where you have no desire to remain but don’t know how to move away from that intensely painful spot to a better place. Since the above is what I really “know“, it will always play a part in each one of my novels. Murder on Murder Creek Road opens to find Priscilla standing squarely on this spot, as if there had been an “X” marking the place where she should stand.

Since production of my new novel won’t actually get underway until November, I’m planning to spend the interim time sharing “what I know” from Priscilla’s perspective. The purpose of exposing some of her real-life experiences is to allow the reader (male or female) to draw parallels from her life to your own.

Priscilla appeared to have a lot going for her. She was smart, sensitive, disciplined and most of all passionate! When she cared about something, she would usually become fanatical about it. Due to this passionate-fanatic characteristic of hers, she frequently found herself labeled as some sort of “weird crusader” by a few critical onlookers who were not particularly fond of her or her fanaticism. Unfortunately, Priscilla’s passions were being driven by forces powers, if you will completely unknown to her. She didn’t know why she found herself facing one personal failure after another. She wanted to be right do right live right. Yet, time and time again, she found herself deeply perplexed as she sat sobbing, surrounded by more and more ugly rubble that represented continual failure in her life.

Fortunately, the day finally dawned when Priscilla came to an utter “end of herself”. At this point she realized that the only common denominator in all the ugly drama in her midst was “her”. While the people and the circumstances kept changing, she remained standing in the center of it all. Finally, she could not escape the realization that the real problem was with her. That’s when she desperately cried out to the empty space around her, “How do I get it right when I learned to do it all wrong?”

Priscilla had been deeply psychologically wounded in her childhood. Whether we are ever willing to acknowledge it or not, most of us were emotionally wounded in childhood some more deeply than others. Many will never realize that these unrecognized wounds from childhood are actually shaping and controlling our lives today. By influencing the choices we make on a daily basis, our childhood unknowingly takes charge of our day-to-day adult lives. Sadly, many of us will wake up one day asking, “What happened? How did I get here? What made me do that? How could I have done that? How do I stop? How can I learn to live a better, more fulfilling life?”

Most of us did not grow up in the perfect little family we see on Hallmark cards and Norman Rockwell paintings. And, since most of us will never come to understand how we were wounded by our families-of-origin, we will unknowingly and unintentionally wound our children in the same way. Remember earlier I said that the purpose of sharing Priscilla’s real-life experiences is to allow the reader to draw parallels from her life to your own. With this purpose foremost in my mind, I’d like to begin a series that outlines the journey Priscilla embarked upon to find the answers to her agonizing questions regarding the preponderance of personal failure in her life. While she is no authority on matters of psychology, this will simply be an account of her personal experiences, the realizations she derived from her own self-analysis and how these self-taught principles led her down the road to recovery.

My fervent hope is that you’ll join me each week as we follow this mysterious journey together. And that perhaps you’ll find some sparkling little “jewel of enlightenment” to help you, the reader, in discovering your own way to a more fulfilling life.

Hope to see you next time!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

MEET THE LEADING LADIES !

As I explained in my earlier post, Meet the Author, I like to borrow the personality of real people from my life and apply their individual uniqueness to the characters I have created in my novels. I must emphasize that the characterization of the “real” individual is from my perspective only how I see this person as I’ve interacted with the particular individual in a personal relationship. Also, I always receive permission before I create the fictional character that bears their first name, as well as their personality traits.

Having made this disclaimer, I’d like to introduce to you, dear reader, to the real-life leading ladies from my second novel, Murder on Murder Creek Road. I’ll begin with the lady I’ve known the longest and work down to the “newest” one on my list of female friends.


Please allow me to introduce you to my dear friend, Linda. She and I met when we were 12 years-old at a local skating rink in our home town of New Orleans. Soon after that first encounter we quickly became best-friends. We lived within walking distance of each other’s home and attended the same schools.

Unfortunately, we both came from extremely dysfunctional families. Some family-of-origin similarities we shared was that both Linda and myself had only one sibling an older sister. And, our parents divorced each other around the same time in our early teen-age years. There was lots of dysfunctional drama to bind us together. In a very real sense, we clung to one another as an ever-present support system in order to survive all the trauma of our earlier years.

After we both married very young and started our families, we did drift apart a little. However, the lengthy break in our friendship came when Linda’s marriage ended after almost two decades and four children later. My first marriage had already ended much earlier. My only child a son was still a toddler when his father and I divorced. I was on my second marriage and we had moved from the New Orleans area to the backwoods of Mississippi.

Neither Linda nor myself is very clear on what caused the lengthy interruption in our friendship. But almost 20 years passed before we were reunited and reconnected. Since we have such a long history together, we easily became the best of friends all over again.

As the picture reflects, Linda is a bosomy, attractive redhead. Her nature naturally leans towards generously giving of herself through her talents and time. Her current passions are her grandkids and cooking. She adeptly demonstrates her love for the people in her life by keeping them well fed with delicious gourmet meals.

Linda is intelligent, efficient, and quite capable of taking the lead when necessary. She can be surprisingly spunky. She doesn’t like complainers and rarely does so herself. If you are her friend and you need help, she will jump through hoops of fire to assist you in any way she is able.

Oh, one last quality about my friend that is abundantly obvious in my new book is that she genuinely spoils the man in her life to a fault. Linda appears in both All Rise and Murder on Murder Creek Road.


I met Maureen when I married her brother, my second and current husband. She was in her late teens at the time and I was in my early twenties. She’s been in my life ever since.

It’s hard not to like my little sister-in-law (she’s only 4”10” tall). Probably the first thing anyone would notice after meeting her is how she exudes sweetness. She’s soft-spoken, loves to laugh, and has an adventuresome spirit. She’s been an entrepreneur, running her own marketing business for the past 25 years. Her diminutive size can be deceptive. It tends to camouflage her genuine spunkiness. In the past she’s been known to regularly ride motorcycles, dirt-bikes, and jet-skis.

Over the years, our relationship grew into more than just in-laws We became good friends. We have similar personality styles, causing us to be able to relate to one another on the same level.

In my opinion, Maureen was born to be the submissive wife. She is faithful, loyal and deeply devoted to the man in her life.

I met Donna when we both worked at a large transportation company in New Orleans. While on the job, I worked very closely with my blonde friend. During that time we got to know each other quite well. Donna was in her early twenties when we met and I was in my late twenties.

Once we no longer worked together, we drifted apart several times. But we always seemed to get reconnected over the intervening years. This last time our paths crossed, I had written  All Rise and it was just being released by the publisher. I began to write Murder on Murder Creek Road as soon as I had sent out my All Rise manuscript for consideration. Even though I hadn’t seen Donna in years, I made her one of the leading characters in my new novel because her vivid, vivacious personality was ever so easy to work with in my story. She and my husband experienced a chance encounter in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Picayune, Ms. He told her about my first novel about to be released and that I had made her a leading lady in the second novel I was currently writing. That’s how we reconnected again.

Donna is a live-wire! I sometimes refer to her as the “blonde diva” because she makes her presence known where ever she goes with her effervescent personality. While I tend to avoid the spotlight, Donna loves being the center of attention. Don’t let the blonde hair and the party-girl image fool you. She’s smart, savvy, and unpredictably dynamic.

My dear friend, Patty, and I met through divine intervention. At a particularly painful point in my life, I had gone to a counselor for help with my emotional issues. Through a long string of circumstances, Patty heard about me and decided to reach out to me. My doorbell rang, I answered the door, and found a total stranger who put her arms around me and told me she loved me. Even though I was shocked, I invited her in to talk. There began a deep, abiding friendship with a woman who would become a true heroine in my life, as she is accurately portrayed in my yet to be released newest novel.

Patty and I are a lot alike yet very different at the same time. She is forceful, but in a completely loving way. She is a “right fighter” to be sure. She’s out to correct the wrongs in our world by loving one wounded woman at a time. While she’s a devoted wife, mother, and now grandmother, she always makes room in her busy schedule to help any hurting woman who appears on her radar screen. She truly is my heroine!

I’ve known Tanya the least amount of time from all the other leading ladies in my book. However, she has a way of getting into one’s heart rather quickly. Like Linda, she appears in both novels.

I met Tanya just days after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast areas of Louisiana and Mississippi. Since my husband and I had lost our electricity for well over a month due to the storm, we would go to Ryan’s Restaurant in Picayune to enjoy a good meal as we basked in the air-conditioned environment. Tanya had begun working as a server immediately after electricity was restored in parts of the city.

We happened to be at Ryan’s on Tanya’s first day on the job. We couldn’t help but notice her. While she is a very pretty, tall blonde formerly a model it’s her sweet personality that really makes her stand out from the crowd. Although she’s very attractive, she seems totally unaware of this fact as she interacts with the people around her.

Tanya is a dear, kind, unique individual. She’s quite sexy but in a most wholesome way. To know her is to like her. To know her better is to love her as a kind and nurturing friend.
 
 
 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Meet The Author !!!

This post will be the first installment in a series of topics I’m planning to cover while I’m pregnant, waiting for the arrival of my new novel. Once you’ve had the opportunity to get to know me a little better, I plan to switch the spot-light from me to you the reader. One of my passionate desires that truly motivates me to write is to be able to offer some assistance to my readers in getting to know the real “you”. Would you like to meet yourself in a very real and meaningful way? I believe knowing the “authentic you” is absolutely essential to living a peaceful, productive life. Just climb onboard and let’s see what happens okay?

Now that production has begun on publishing my second novel, Murder on Murder Creek Road, I’d like to share some insider information concerning the way I’ve learned to write fiction.

Since the release of my first novel, All Rise, several individuals have asked me, “How did you learn to write?” I told them, “I learned to write by reading a lot.”

That’s the simple truth. I was an avid reader as a child. I used to look forward to Saturdays when I could walk to the local library and check out as many books as they allowed. During the week I would read all of them and return to the library the next Saturday to check out more.

As an adult, I continued to read as often as time allowed. I can remember sitting on the sofa beside my husband. As he watched football, I’d bury my face in a novel. He’d look over at me and shake his head with a disapproving expression on his face. I’d look back at him and say, “What? You know I don’t care about football.” He’d shake his head again and return to watching the game.

I always loved mysteries. I relish the opportunity of trying to figure out who committed the crime and how the perpetrator did it before the author reveals the answer to the mystery.

A little later in my adulthood, I began to realize that I had some serious emotional issues from childhood that I had never learned to deal with in a healthy way. This “unfinished business” from childhood had caused serious cracks in the foundation of my adult psyche. As a result of this revelation, I stopped reading fiction for entertainment and began to read psychological self-help books. I devoured these enlightening books with the same vigor as I had previously displayed for fiction.

After many years of voracious reading to learn how to help myself with my emotional “demons”, I began to reach out to other hurting people around me with what I had learned. I began to write letters to a small circle of friends. Through their encouragement, these letters originally directed to intimate friends turned into a series of “newsletters” that were mailed out once a month to a distribution list of about twenty-five individuals. This series continued for approximately two years.

During this time, I often used symbolic stories that I had made up to try to emphasize the point of that particular issue. While the story was fictional, the emotional issue being addressed and the characters were real. Usually, the primary character of the symbolic fictional story was myself. Naturally, I felt free to tell tales on myself, but not on others.

Many recipients of these newsletters began to tell me that I should consider writing a book. Once my husband adamantly encouraged me to write a novel, I began to take the suggestion quite seriously. After careful consideration, the decision was made fairly quickly. Why not?, I thought. I would give it a try!

Almost immediately after making the decision, I felt inspired with specific ideas for the details of the plot. As I began to put my thoughts on paper, my two passions fictional crime mysteries and self-help tips seemed to seamlessly merge together to become my writing style. My crime-mystery storyline was purely fictional. But, with expressed permission from the individuals involved, most of my characters were real people in my life. I used their first name and applied their personalities to the fictional character in the story. The female main character bears lots of emotional baggage, which is dealt with throughout the plot. Thus enabling me to share some useful information regarding “childhood wounds” with the reader.

Poof! My style was born.

As my husband was reading my manuscript recently for Murder on Murder Creek Road, I jokingly told him that I was hoping to create a new genre. “What kind of new genre?”, he asked. I told him, “Self-help Fiction!” His reaction reminded me of the old days sitting next to him on the sofa while he watched football and I read a mystery novel. He shook his head a little and returned his attention to the manuscript.

While I love a good mystery, I can’t seem to stop myself from adding a little extra value, if you will, to the story I create. While I was visiting an author’s website recently, I came across a checklist for good fiction writing from a famous 20th Century American Novelist, Kurt Vonnegut. His checklist was titled “8 Rules for Writing Fiction”. The first rule was, “Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.”

I instantly felt vindicated when I read Vonnegut’s first rule because that’s exactly what I hope to do. I’d like nothing better than for my mystery-lovers to be thoroughly entertained by a good ole “who dun it”. And, perhaps they may take away a little something that might prove to be helpful to the reader or to someone close to them.

Is that such a bad idea? I sure hope not. I look forward to meeting you here again real soon.