The Whys Have It

My friend Amy Matayo has a new book coming out June 20th. It’s titled The Whys Have It. A few days ago, I had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy in return for a review. Friday night, I was up until 2am finishing it. I like to post my thoughts as soon as I read it or I will forget to do so because you know, life is so chaotic and my brain usually stays on data dump mode. But upon finishing, words refused to come to mind. I’ve spent all day trying to come up with words and sort my thoughts and just determine how I truly feel about the book.

Before I proceed with my thoughts, I want to point out that this is Amy’s BEST WORK YET! She always finds a way for her readers to love her more (or hate her because she’s just so darn amazing- it’s disgusting). I admire her writing in countless ways. She doesn’t shy away from edgy topics or deep character flaws or romance. She pushes the boundaries, but always in a tasteful manner. Anyway, enough of my babble about Amy because it could go on and on and on and on and then you would likely stop reading this post. Ha!

Amy has a way of making her readers feel things; not just feel, but feel deeply. In The End of the World, I ugly cried as I journeyed through Shaye and Cameron’s dark and abusive life. With The Thirteenth Chance, I swooned and drooled and hated (from a past experience) Will and Olivia’s relationship. That one will forever stand as one of my favorite books. Besides the ugly cries, the drooling, and the swooning, Amy has a mad skill for making the reader laugh. The sarcasm and borderline crude humor always have me snorting or laughing out loud (no joke). I can always count on a good laugh with her stories. Those are qualities of hers that I strive to become better at in my own writing.

But with The Whys Have It, I didn’t experience any of that. No drooling. No swooning. No laughing. I assume this is why the words refused to come to me last night when I wanted to write about it. I was stunned that for once in her writing, she made me feel something totally unexpected: grief, anger, and resentment. Not at her, but towards different characters throughout the story. I frowned a lot while reading. I forced tears from spilling out of my eyes. I choked back emotions that crept up my throat. It was a completely different experience. And that is NOT a bad thing. That is NOT to be taken in the sense that I didn’t like the book because I did. I just wasn’t ready for the whirlwind of emotions that came with it.

When I closed the book last night, I sat in a brightly lit room, hugging my knees to my chest and staring off into the distance. I was mad at Amy for making me feel anything other than pain in my stomach because I laughed so hard or that sappy romantic happiness we all crave.  And don’t act like ya’ll have never been mad at a writer before because ya have! LOL! I was also so proud of her (and slightly envious of her creativity). Only a great writer can somehow manage to pull and tug at every heart string, stab you with a dagger while slowly twisting it, and yanking out your heart to stomp on it a thousands times causing you to feel a broad range of emotions before finally providing the happy ending you set out to find in the first place. Amy is that great writer and I applaud and look up to her.

With that said, The Whys Have It was a dissimilar and unexpected experience for me. The story crept off the pages and played out right in front of me in three dimensional form. That’s how vivid the story was. That’s how raw my emotions were. It’s also a story that plays out every day in someone’s life. Maybe in the life of the person reading this post right now or the person that will sit down in two weeks and open the first page of this book. Amy doesn’t shy away from showing how deep we are capable of grieving or how low we can emotionally sink in life while realistically living on top of the world or how we pretend to remain strong as our world crumbles around us when we simply just need that hand to hold or that embrace of a tight hug to let us know that it’s going to be okay.

So, Amy, kudos on another phenomenal book. Thank you for being an example to other writers (authors, bloggers, and those not yet brave enough to share their work with the world) and raising the bar of creativity and embracing the stories that we can walk away from having learned a valuable life lesson. As a reader and friend, I am so proud of you. The Whys Have It is your BEST WORK YET!

XO, Rachel

TWHICOVER

Available on Amazon June 20, 2017

Pre-Order Now

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Confessions from the Sidelines

It’s been two months since my last blog post. Actually, it’s been two months since I’ve written anything. My last blog post kind of backfired on me (and while that’s all behind me and good now) it started my boycott on writing. My writing has always been a sacred part of me and other than writing fictional stories, I never let anyone read my personal writing until I started blogging at the beginning of the year. Blogging is beyond scary, intimidating, and vulnerable, but I felt brave enough to put myself out there. And then when my last blog backfired on me, I immediately went back in my shell. Attention had been drawn to my vulnerability and I didn’t like it.

So, like I said, I boycotted writing. It lasted a good 4 or 5 days. I began to miss it because it’s so therapeutic. So, I avoided blogging (despite much temptation) and kept working on my next book. I had a deadline with my editor set for the end of March. I wrote and wrote and wrote until my brain exploded. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t iron out my characters. I couldn’t sleep because that deadline loomed. I felt if I just wrote fast enough, I could keep up with my other published writer friends. I just had to stay current. Unfortunately, a week before that deadline, I had to back out and because of this I’m not guaranteed another slot with my editor throughout the remainder of the year. It crushed me. I let myself down. I let my book down. I let my editor down. I hated my inability to spill out another story on time. I hated my failure. My other writer friends were moving forward with their stories (some using the same editor) and there I was feeling behind and alone.

It’s just feelings you say. She’s making too much out of this you say. Well, writing is an isolated journey. Some writers are self-absorbed. Some writers are open. Some writers are closed off. Some writers can’t carry on a conversation unless it’s about writing or books or publishing. I’ve been told this by many people. And I fall in a category too. Writers are just different, myself included. Don’t get me wrong, different can be good. Moving on, I found myself sitting on the sidelines watching and feeling like none of my writing family cared, so I decided a writing boycott break was exactly what I needed. It’s been almost two months since I’ve touched my book or blog. I’ve opened word document or my site to start writing and nothing comes out. It’s like the words are gone. It’s relieving and scary and upsetting all in one. I stopped attending weekly writing chats. I stopped talking books and publishing. I avoided questions about when my next book would be out. I pushed writing so far out of my mind.

Looking back, I think I just wanted someone in this family of writing to care; someone to ask why I had suddenly fallen off Planet Writing. I wanted someone to care that my writing had stopped, that my words had stopped freely flowing, and to notice that I was struggling. It sounds pitiful and if you’re reading this and you’re not a writer, you probably wouldn’t understand and that’s okay. Truthfully, I just wanted to know that I truly belonged in this family.

Eight weeks later, I can count three times that someone had asked me about my current state. The first one was my first ever writer friend from Texas. She saw a Facebook post and sent me a private message encouraging me to keep going, to keep my chin up. Someone cared. The second was from a new writer friend from Ohio who is currently working on her debut novel. She has messaged me at some point every day asking me if  I was writing. Someone cared. And the third was from my aunt. She asked me last night if I was done with my writing break. While that might not seem like a big deal, it was to me. Someone cared.

There has been a few other things (unrelated to writing) that has rocked my boat over the past two months and it has added to current state of the blues. Some things have made me spit-fire mad. Some things have made me yell and scream. Somethings have made me cry. Some things have prompted me to open my laptop and write away, but then halt. We’re all human and sometimes life gets the best of us. But I’m still here and I’m trying to keep my head above water.

I’m leaving for a vacation soon; out of the country. I’ve never been more ready to unplug and disconnect from the world. While I even battled whether or not to write this blog tonight, I think I needed to get it off my chest.

With all of that said, if you’re reading this: You’re important. You’re special. You’re valued. And you belong. Keep your head up, things will get better. Keep smiling, the right people will come into your life at the right time. Keep doing what you love because it makes you who you are.

My lesson through all of this? Breathe. You got this. I got this. We got this.

X,

Rachel

Happy V-Day!

Valentine’s Day? A day composed of chocolate, cards, flowers, jewelry, lingerie, ect. A day to express one’s love for another; basically a day to express love for your lover. And on the 14th of February, that’s all we see on social media. A picture of a couple kissing on the beach at sunset or the two dozen roses that the baby daddy sent with a mushy gushy note or the one hot friend we all want to be who posted a pic of the lingerie her hubby bought for her or the daughter that gushes over daddy sending her chocolate covered strawberries. My Facebook and Instagram were flooded with endless pictures and posts about this and it’s gross, right? Okay, no, it’s not gross; it’s sweet and cute and I’m slightly jealous. I’m a romantic, to an extent, but the problem is that this year, I don’t have a Valentine. Although, on a funny, yet slightly weird note, someone did tell me yesterday that God was my Valentine and that I could go find a pretty meadow and pick flowers for myself from him (Ummm, okay?!).

Anyway, tomorrow, life will be back to normal. Husbands and wives will go back to arguing, baby daddy won’t say those mushy gushy things again until next year, the picture of the couple kissing on the beach was probably really shot on their honeymoon when they could actually tolerate each other, and you’ll probably discover that the lingerie was for his girl on the side…he just shipped it to the wrong address, and daddy really didn’t send those chocolate covered strawberries; mom just wanted you to think he cared. LOL!

So, why do people go above and beyond on Valentine’s Day? Who knows! Will I stop buying chocolate because I currently dread this holiday? Ummm, no! And will I be a future crazy, mushy, gushy freak when I’m in another relationship? Heck to the yeah! But for now, Happy Yuck Day to all my fellow single gals!

I’ve never been one for mushy-gushy love stuff which is weird because that’s what I typically write about in my books. I’m not one to take a compliment well; it feels awkward. And when my mom or stepdad or friends says that I look beautiful today, I just kinda reply, “Meh, thanks.” I’m not a hugger, even with family and anyone close to me that is reading this is probably laughing because they know it’s true. To me, Valentine’s Day was always just another normal day made better because of CHOCOLATE!

In all seriousness, the holiday didn’t mean anything until last year. I was talking to this guy and while doing so, I was crossing my fingers and toes and whispering prayers throughout the day that he would be my Valentine. I even made him homemade chocolate chip cookies. Well, maybe not homemade, but I baked them. And honestly, I’m really surprised he didn’t die because I can bake and cook NOTHING…NADA…ZILCH. I really liked this one and wanted to get to know him more. Have you ever met that one person that your soul just connects with? Not your heart per say, but your soul. You look at them and you just know; know that if given the chance, you could love them fiercely forever? Well, that was what happened to me. So, Valentine’s Day was creeping up and still nothing. I was getting bummed. But I just knew deep down this was going to go the way I had hoped.

But does life ever go the way we plan and hope?! HAHAHAHAHAHA, no it doesn’t! Needless to say, I spent Valentine’s Day of 2016 locked in my bathroom sobbing my eyes out as Celine Dion sang My Heart Will Go On. Go ahead and laugh, it sounds pathetic now, but my heart was crushed. Ripped out and stomped on. And the worst part, no one knew. I kept it all bottled up. That will be a Valentine’s Day that I will never forget. Hmmm, maybe those cookies should have been laced with something?! Chill out, just kidding. It’s been a year and I have moved on (50/50) so-to-speak. I still get teary eyed when I see a picture of him or duck and cover when I hear his name or would be lying if I said I don’t think of him. And even though it didn’t work out and we apparently aren’t meant to be and the chemistry isn’t there and blah blah blah, my soul is still connected to his. I hate that it is, but it is. “That’s what the heart does when it’s wounded; it bleeds, it ebbs, it stops. But still it’s in pain. And though heart pain almost always subsides, it never goes away entirely.” (A.M.)

My sweet friend, Amy Matayo, is big on soul mates. Recently, we had a discussion about this very topic. She didn’t judge or condemn my feelings or viewpoint, but understood them. She told/agreed with me that soul mates don’t necessarily have to be a person you end up with just someone that you connect with somehow on a universal level.

Why did I open up to her about this private topic? Well, last September her book The Thirteenth Chance released. I was honored to be able to read it before it was released. Like all of her books, it rocked and she hit it out of the park. No pun intended. The book is about a jock baseball player and a quirky teacher. Two unlikely hearts. She becomes his lucky charm and he becomes her heart’s desire. What the heck, Amy? For real?! Did you write this just to torture me? It’s all your fault.

Just kidding. She knows I love her. She didn’t write it to torture me and it wasn’t inspired by my story. In fact, it was almost completely written when we first met. But when I read it, I cried and I hated it and I loved it and I hated it some more and then I reread it. In a weird sense, it gave me hope. “Sometimes people throw you. Sometimes they do the unexpected. Sometimes the pre-conceived notions are not only way off base but completely unfounded and laced with judgement. For someone like me, that’s an especially painful thing to admit.”  (A.M.- The Thirteenth Chance)

So, if you are in the same boat that I was in last year, just know that you’re not alone. Your heart will mend. It will heal. It will love again. But don’t let it forget the bad entirely. Like Amy reassured, it’s okay to let your soul be connected with someone, even if you’re not in each others world. Love them. Pray for them. Wish them the best in life. As for yourself, look at love through a different set of eyes. Love yourself first. Embrace your confidence and always, always know that you are valued and important. “Sometimes it takes just the right set of eyes to begin to see things differently.” (A.M.- The Thirteenth Chance)

With that said, grab a box of chocolate and turn on some sappy movies and enjoy the night!

Xx,

Rachel

am AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON

Hideaway

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This morning, I woke up and followed my heart. It led me to the beach. I have always loved the beach. The salty smell of the water, the sand between my toes, and the warmth of the sun beaming down seems to cure all of life’s worries…if only for a short time. One of my favorite places is my secret hideaway at Vilano Beach. The tall dunes isolate it from the rest of the beach. This is probably why I love it so much because when I go there, I desire to be alone to think or write or read or pray, but most importantly to inhale and exhale.

I can’t explain why, but I have never felt farthest from God and myself than I did in 2016. There were times that I felt God didn’t care about me or the desires of my heart. I felt completely alone and an outcast more times than I can recount. I tried to please everyone and make myself someone I wasn’t meant to be. I tried to fit in and be loved by people who were never meant to love me in a way that I wanted. I lost track of who I am and what I am meant to do and be. I lost sight of His plan for me. And I hated myself for it.

I only visited our spot once the entire year. The drifting feeling is one that sickens you and one you try your best to ignore it. Until the realization hits that while I may have felt so far from Him, that’s when He was the closest to me. I may have not felt it or sensed it or accepted it, but He was there to hold my hand, dry my tears, and carry me when I was not strong enough to walk alone. I guess that’s why I like the beach so much because it reminds me of the poem Footprints in the Sand. There were two sets of footprints walking in the sand. One was God’s and one was man’s. And then man noticed that there was only one set of footprints trailing the sand. And he felt God had left him. But then God reminded him, when you only saw one set of footprints in the sand, it is then that I carried you. Powerful, right?!

Everyone feels God differently. We all feel closer to Him in different places or times of the day. I feel closest to Him at the beach. The view never fails to bring tears to my eyes. Why do I feel closest to Him there? Maybe it’s because He created something so breathtaking and because only He can tell the waves how far to come or because only He can provide the peace that is found there. The waves roar and crash violently on the shore. Similar to how the trials of life crash violently into our souls. But just like He does with the waves crashing onto the shore, He controls how far the waves of trials come into our souls and how much damage they will do. Some damage can ruin us and some damage will strengthen us. But past the waves, is a calm ocean. And past our trials is a calming peace we find in Him.

The ocean silences me, both verbally and mentally. The inner chaos of my mind and soul come to a screeching stop. And for a few minutes, I am at peace. I have no worries or cares. My spirit is lifted and all is well with my soul. It is a special place that God regroups me. He reassures me and comforts me and heals me and mends the broken pieces. It is the place that He reminds me of the one set of footprints because He is carrying me. I don’t have to face life by myself. I don’t have to feel alone. And I don’t have to stay broken.

So, when my heart led me to the beach this morning, I became vulnerable again. To accept His comfort and peace again. To set my eyes on Him and only Him. To no longer walk through life alone. To please Him first and then myself- no one else matters. To believe that He is my anchor, my hope, my strength. To inhale and exhale. To smell the sea and all of its saltiness and feel the sky and all of its warmth and to let my soul and spirit fly.

“Call to Me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things of which you do not know.”  Jeremiah 33:3

X,

Rachel

 

To A.M.

I can’t say that I have always wanted to be a writer. In fact, I wanted to be a meteorologist, a storm chaser. But that was a dream that never came true. I was meant to do something else. And I never thought it would be writing. Like any other little girl, I had journals and diaries with locks on them so that no one could read what I wrote. It was personal. I still have those journals and diaries. But other than that, I hated writing. It wasn’t until a high school assignment that my view on writing and its process changed. My article (on Prince Harry- LOL) was selected to be in the local newspaper. I was shocked and excited and scared and honored. And I remember thinking how cool it was that something I drafted and created in my own mind would resonate with people who read it. The reward of writing was an incredible feeling. So, I continued to submit articles to the local newspaper which allowed me to be selected for their ‘Round Table’- a chosen few that are asked to write opinion articles. And that is how I discovered my love of writing.

In April 2012, I self-published my first book. It was a children’s book and it was illustrated by a friend’s brother. I am very proud of that little book and hope to one day write more children’s books. Other than jotting down story ideas in my journals and writing about boys and friendships in my diaries, I didn’t “write” for three years. I wanted to get picked up by a publisher and sign a contract and be forced to write write write for three months until my bestseller was ready for the world. But that didn’t happen either. After submitting manuscripts and contacting agencies to no avail, I gave up. Months went by and writing took back burner in my mind. Well, that is until a friend and I decided to write a book together. To be honest, I kind of locked her into the deal. She said yes, so I quickly bought the self-publishing package, giving her no choice but to write it with me. It was six months of my life that I would not change for anything. We grew closer as friends, shared many laughable stories, and story plotted via text until the wee hours of the morning. It was a fun experience that I am honored to share with my friend. Therefore, in August of 2015, we self-published a young adult book. That book was personal to me in a lot of ways and a story that I don’t ever wish to revisit.

The book released and other than family and friends, not many copies were sold. And I was still not picked up by a publisher. After finishing that story, I immediately jumped into writing another story that had been racing through my brain. I didn’t intend to publish it, but I wanted to keep the creativity flowing…in case, you know, I got discovered. At this point in my journey, I had no writing friends. Yes, I followed dozens of my favorite writers on social media and occasionally talked to one or two through email, but nothing to help in my journey. That is until I met Amy Matayo.

You know how we never forget important events in our life like our first kiss or first crush or graduation or publishing a book or a marriage proposal or having a baby? Yeah well, I will never ever forget how I met Amy. And we didn’t exactly meet face to face. Amy is also a writer (like she has mad skills for writing) and every Monday night on Facebook she does ‘Mondays With Me’. This is an hour that she sets asides for Q&A with her readers. She is so personal and so sweet and oh so funny. Recently, she did her first Facebook Live and was twirling in her chair and knocked over her drink and table contents. It was quite funny. But that’s a story for another time. LOL! Anyway, I started following Amy on Facebook weeks before I actually attended one of her MWM. I remember asking a question about publishing and she told me to private message her. I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Maybe she would tell me to just keep writing and cross my fingers that someone would discover me. Or that she would tell me her story and be so self involved, like many writers tend to be, that she wouldn’t even answer my question. But I was SO wrong.

Amy responded to my message with tips on how to get started in this industry, contacts of people who would help me format, edit, design, and publish my book, and encouragement to not give up on my dreams. She ended the message with “let me know if you have anymore questions. I’m happy to help”. I was nervous to write back. She had just opened doors for me and I just knew she’d tell me to leave her alone and figure it out myself. Wrong again. She messaged me back. Again and again and again. I will never forget that night. It was the start of molding myself as a writer, building my platform, and never giving up.

That was almost one year ago and to be honest, there has only been a handful of days that Amy and I have not exchanged messages….multiple times a day…late into the night…and early in the morning when all she wants to do is drink coffee in silence. HAHA! I binge read all of Amy’s books and knew that I wanted to write like that. I wanted to have her colorful, dramatic, authentic, and often weird imagination. #GOALS.

The book that I truly never intended to publish (Sweet Surrenders available on Amazon) was released last month. And it would not have happened if I had never met Amy. She never failed to answer a question or walk me through something or share personal details of her writing experiences. She is the bright light at the end of a dark tunnel that keeps shining for me. She is a lighthouse when I would lose my way and want to give up. She is the voice inside my head that tells me to keep pressing on and moving forward. When I feel like I am the outcast in the writing community, she is the friend that reminds me, “Well, you’ve found me”. Amy inspires me on a daily basis. Amy is a writer I look up too. Amy is one of my favorite writers. Amy has a heart I strive to have. And Amy is my friend.

Amy Matayo is a true gift. God takes people out of our lives and shifts our directions so that He can then place others into our lives because He knows they will make a difference…they will change our lives.

Xx,

Rachel

Amy Matayo Books Available on Amazon:

The Wedding Game

Love Gone Wild

Sway

The End of the World

The Thirteenth Chance

In Tune With Love

A Painted Summer

Carrie Bradshaw, Really?!

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Two weeks ago, my debut novel released to the world (it’s available on Amazon, by the way) and it was a terrifying experience. Only people close to me knew that I was publishing a book. There are some people in your corner who root and cheer and encourage you and then there are some people who will believe it when they see it and finally, there are some people who just think it’s another dream a foolish girl is chasing in hopes to become rich and famous. It’s kind of like being an actor or singer…everyone wants to be one, but only few make it happen and actually become successful and famous. Anyway, very few people knew and believed in my dream to be published. I didn’t tell people at work or church or certain family and friends because I didn’t want to be discouraged when their lack of support or belief was evident. And also, because I was scared to let the world read my writing. Writing can be so personal and reveal many secrets about the author. What if I wasn’t any good? What if people hated it? What if my writing style annoyed the reader? And what if I offended someone?

So, I kept it quiet. Those were the people I wanted to prove myself too. And I did. At least, I think I did. In two weeks, my book has done fantastically well. It exceeded my expectations.

My co-workers were the first to discover my hidden hobby. And boy, was it embarrassing! They blogged it on the company web page, co-workers bought and took pictures of me signing it, and the chatter was non-stop. My secret was no longer a secret. Yes, I was and am so happy my book, my characters, my debut baby is getting so much attention, but I will admit that I’m still not used to the attention. It makes me feel weird. I’ve had people ask me what the book is about and while I wrote the 281 page book, I still draw a blank. It’s so weird to talk about my own writing. When people compliment the book or my writing, I blush and smile and pretty much lose all ability to talk. It’s so awkward. But, never doubt, that I am extremely appreciative and grateful and blessed.

Anyway, back to the topic of this post. One of my co-workers has started calling me Carrie Bradshaw. Say, what? I knew of Carrie Bradshaw and the award winning show her character was from. And because of this, I didn’t know if the new name for me was a compliment or an insult. I had seen episodes of Sex and the City, but not enough to know if this character had a good or bad reputation. Like any good writer, my curiosity got the best of me and I began to research this character. If I was going be a Carrie Bradshaw, then I wanted to know all I could about her. Therefore, I binge watched episodes of the show along with the movie. Surprisingly, I loved it.

In the episodes I watched, I never quite understood why the show was titled Sex and the City because it was about far more deep life events than sex. Now granted, I probably didn’t start at the beginning of the series and I probably didn’t watch the episodes in order. But still. The first thing I noticed about the show was that it was centered around the unbreakable friendship of four women, all with different lives and careers and personalities. I resonated with this because I have several girlfriends that would make up my circle. And each friend in mind, strangely enough, fits the characters of Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha. And strangely enough, I kind of- sort of fit Carrie’s character.

Carrie Bradshaw moved to New York in search of two L’s: labels and love. Wild, absurd, and yet stylish fashion was Carrie’s trademark. She had labels: Dior, Jimmy Choo, Chanel, and so many more. The L still missing, you ask? Love. She found that in several men over the course of the show, but the one her heart so fondly attached to was that of Mr. Big. From what I’ve seen of their love story, it is definitely one for the books.

Carrie was also a writer. She had this little desk placed in front of a window. It’s where she wrote out her feelings, her adventures with friends and fashion and love. The more I focused on Carrie, the more I realized how deeply she felt about her writing and friendships and love. The things that mattered most to her. She experienced heartache and disappointment from her friends and love. And that heartache and disappointment made her angry and sad and bitter. She would yell and slap and cry. All because she felt so deeply. Those friendships and love also made her feel emotions on the other end of the spectrum: happy, cherished, special, appreciated, wanted, needed, and loved. She would smile and glow and her stilettos would walk on cloud nine. All because she felt so deeply.

I must point out that not all of Carrie’s characteristics and traits are ones I strive to obtain (LOL!). But she was quite the character. She made people laugh with her sarcastic jokes and facial expressions and her talent with the written word. I am now proud and honored to be called Carrie Bradshaw. At first, I was reluctant and disapproving, but as we’re always told, don’t judge a book by its cover. Carrie Bradshaw was more than Sex in the City. She was more than clubs and drinking and partying. She was a young woman that felt so deeply about subjects and people and she expressed it through her love of writing. Those who feel deeply, typically have more love to give.

Here we are. It’s the last day of 2016. It’s been weird and stressful and awful and amazing all in one. It’s been a year of heartbreak, heartache, tears of happiness and sadness, and success. In 2017, I want to let my inner Carrie Bradshaw shine. I want to smile more. Laugh more. Cry more. Write more. Enjoy life more. Live more. And I want to forgive and love more.

In 2017, save yourself from the cruelness of the world. Be your own knight in shining armor. And remember, everything happens for a reason. Laugh at the confusion and live in the moment.

carrieHappy New Year!

X,

Rachel

Fiction vs. Reality

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I write fiction, but I live in my own reality. Would I like to live in a fiction world where everyone was always happy and smiling and where true love existed for all? A world where we could all live out our dreams and come home to a magazine style home, two Stepford children, and a hunky, millionaire husband? Of course, we would. (Sigh) Okay, maybe the Stepford children and millionaire husband went a bit overboard because we all know that is no exciting life. Let’s rephrase it. What if we could live out our dreams, be anything we want to be, and have the most adorable children in the world along with a hunky husband that pursues you daily? That seems more romantic than the Stepford children and snobby millionaire husband. (Sighs again!)

But let’s face it. That life is not reality. It’s fictional. Something you would see in a movie or read in a good book. Yes, there are some who might read this and argue that their marriage or relationship is like a “fairy-tale” and if it is, great, but that’s not the point of this post. The point is that we often mistake fiction for reality.

I am 26 years old and I have had a lingering crush on one particular guy since I was in elementary school (almost 15 years…that’s insane, right?). I can’t exactly explain why or how that crush began, but it did and it took root deep in my heart. Maybe it was his smile. Maybe it was his eyes. Maybe it was his kind nature. And maybe it was because all of the other little school girls liked him. All through school, the girls he liked were never me. Albeit, I was crazy shy and quiet and not like the other girls. And that was okay because I just knew God loved me enough to one day let me marry him. So, I was okay that he didn’t like me or better yet even notice me then.

As I got older, there were more crushes and a few relationships, but this guy still held my heart. Maybe because he was my first true crush. And we all know, those type of love stories make for the best movies and reads. So, with age, I got bolder and made effort to talk to him and try to get to know him. And then, the BEST idea occurred. I would write out our love story and how I hoped it would unfold. Because as the above quote says, we make up stories to tell the truths we would love to say out loud. I just knew in my heart that if he read what I wrote that his eyes would be opened and BAM…hello happily ever after!

I wrote it. And I hoped. And I waited for his confession of love or marriage proposal (see, such a wild imagination). But it didn’t happen. It backfired.

I let my imagination run wild with this romantic, fictional story of us. I mixed up fiction with reality. And I didn’t realize it until someone close to me pointed it out. “You’re a writer, he’s just a fictional character that you’ve created in your mind like in one of your books”, they said. “There’s more reality in him than you’ve imagined and I don’t think you realize that”, they continued. And finally, the part that cut me to the core and shattered my heart into a thousand pieces, “I don’t think you ever really had feelings for him, it was all something you created”.

Talk about a knife through the heart.

I cried and had Celine Dion’s song, My Heart Will Go On, on repeat as I cried even more. The truth hurts. The truth brings you back down to reality and off cloud nine of happily ever afters. The truth sucks. They say it will set you free. But I haven’t decided if it’s set my heart free yet.

This realization made me reflect a lot on my feelings. Did I really have true feelings for him? Was he really just a character I created in my mind? And if I didn’t have true feelings, then why do I feel like I’ve just been hit by a semi truck and left for dead on the side of the road?

I could have went the rest of my life not hearing those words, but I can’t erase them from memory. They will always be there and often come back to taunt me. I will admit that it made me lose hope in imagining, believing, and in hope itself. My light was extinguished. That may seem a bit dramatic, but how I felt after hearing this was no fiction, but indeed barefaced reality. And it cut deep. In the end, I’ve decided that no one can tell you what you feel or don’t feel. No one can take those feelings away from you. If you feel it, then you feel it. Simple as that.

I didn’t intend to write this for my first blog post, but as I sat pondering something good to write, this life experience kept coming to mind. Maybe it was because I saw him two weeks ago and left the event in tears, all sad and mopey. Maybe it is because what we read in fiction books and watch in fiction movies or create in our fictional minds are lives we so desire, but will never have.

Fiction is a belief that is false. Reality is the state of actual existence. As a writer, I like to dream and imagine. It makes me happy and keeps me in a creative realm to write my books. So keep those feelings (about anything or anyone) close; dream about them and imagine them coming true. Enjoy the feelings your heart gives you. Embrace the feelings. Or just toss them aside like I did and create new feelings for something or someone else. Life is too short to not dream and imagine and believe and hope and feel.

XOXO,

Rachel