One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to be true to who we are. Before we can do that, however, we have to find out who that is. This process often takes a season, a stretch of time, to become familiar. There is no set time frame for this powerful phenomenon, everyone has their own clock.

The Days of Being Like Everyone Else…Or At Least Trying…

Youth, for most of us, is a season in which we work hard to suppress our budding individuality. We study others to mimic or puppet what seems to be acceptable. We hide our angst by covering up our feelings and pushing them way down within ourselves: so that no one can see. We don’t even realize that we are hiding the best of ourselves, the rarest form of who we are, all for the fleeting pat on the back called social acceptance. We spend a great deal of our young years lost in this holding pattern, only to realize that we aren’t happy and we don’t know who we are.

The Weight of Inauthenticity…

Even an empty box can be heavy sometimes. Especially if you carry it long enough. Your hands get tired, your neck and back become rigid and tense, and your legs start to drag. Anything fraudulent becomes a burden if you are forced to uphold it for too long. It’s hard to stay in character after the curtain falls, but the person afraid to be himself or herself has to wear the masque long after the stage has gone dark.

When the Levy Breaks…

When the moth is ready, the true butterfly emerges. When you get tired of being tired, the floodgates open as you let go of the world of expectations and judgments that have been impressed upon you. After all the unnecessary layers have fallen away, you’re left with the truest version of yourself. This is the authentic self, unlike any other, the original blueprint. At this point, life truly starts from a pure and genuine source. This confidence and authenticity are what fuels independent political party beliefs. When there is no mainstream candidate that reflects your feelings and beliefs, the authentic individual can stand alone.

Having the courage and self-love to be yourself is priceless. Without it, we’re ill-equipped to handle the many changing faces of the world. The authentic self should be everyone’s goal and destination.

An Excerpt from my New Book “Blood on the Vine”

Blood on the Vine

The following excerpt is taken from an all-audiences portion of my book. If you’d like a peek at the steamier scenes, head over to Racy Reads Blog: “Blood on the Vine” Sample for an R-rated excerpt.

The excerpt is below, but here’s a brief synopsis so you can get a feel for this story:

Miranda Knight has returned to her picturesque childhood home on Seneca Lake. The estate-turned-inn is every bit as haunting and beautiful as she remembers, but is home to more secrets than ever before. As Miranda investigates the disappearance of a former owner, she meets Aldo, a rich Mediterranean vintner. Their whirlwind romance is nothing like she’d imagined, but she can’t help falling in love with him despite his penchants for rough sex and playing hard to get. The other man in Miranda’s life is Ashton, who may or may not have murdered his wife, but who has the most beautiful blue eyes Miranda has ever gazed into. Miranda feels an attraction to both men, but only one is sincere. The wrong man is harboring a dark heart that threatens Miranda’s life and the future of her childhood home, The Molly Grange Inn.

This book is an erotic thriller with strong sexual scenes. Mature readers 18+ only.

Chapter 5 – Miranda hears a knock at the door…

I drew my satin robe around my arms and shoulders and cinched it at my waist, and slipped my feet into my slippers. I felt adequately covered to open the door.

“Besides,” I whispered. “If they’re knocking on my door passed midnight what do they expect me to be wearing?”

It dawned on me that if they could hear me crying, perhaps whoever was beyond the door could also hear me criticizing their late night visit. I took a moment and a deep breath before reaching for the door. As I went for the handle, I jumped because whoever was on the other side knocked three more times.

“I said just a second.” I shouted.

There was no one there. It didn’t seem possible, but there was no one there. The final three knocks had happened mere seconds before I pulled open the door, but the hallway was empty as far as I could tell. It was dark, but I felt certain I’d know if someone was there. I stepped a couple feet beyond my doorway and looked up and Continue reading

Here’s What I’ve Learned as a REAL Ambassador for Planned Parenthood

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It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since the infamous anti-abortion organization The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released their so-called secret recordings, which have since been debunked and proven to be fraudulent and altered. Each of the video’s creators have been indicted for their actions, but continue to be martyrs for the ultra-conservative-right, which feeds on the ignorance of its constituents. And, it pisses me off because Planned Parenthood is single-handedly responsible for my sexual safety.

I stand with Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood stood with me through HPV and two pregnancies. I can rest assured I don’t have cervical cancer because Planned Parenthood diagnosed my HPV and provided me with a cervical cancer screening. Today I am both HPV and cervical cancer free thanks to Planned Parenthood, who provides services to low-income people without medical insurance. Thanks also to Planned Parenthood for confirming my pregnancies and providing me with local prenatal care options.

Despite the facts, 12 states initiated investigations against Planned Parenthood in a witch hunt that agitated my liberal sensibilities and inspired me to take action. Without much forethought or planning, I created the Facebook group, We Stand with Western NY Planned Parenthood. I planned a peaceful and supportive demonstration and myself, my friend Olivia, and my husband Robert held signs in support of an organization I believed in. There had been an influx in anti-abortion protestors (those people who cherry pick their beliefs from the Bible. I like to call them Bible Dippers, such as the characters in Augustin Burroughs’s beloved memoir, “Running with Scissors”).

I reached out to Planned Parenthood of Western NY to see if they would support our action. Being that Planned Parenthood is a helpful, quality, classy organization, they don’t encourage rallies even when they’re pro-abortion and pro-healthcare. Planned Parenthood puts patients first, and this means ensuring their privacy. They told us that like all protestors, we could utilize the public space along the sidewalk. This was a message delivered to me by Kate, who I won’t state her last name or position in the company for her safety and privacy, but who plays a significant role in the organization. Her position and professional demeanor and kindness immediately had an impact on me. I am impressed by her, and I admire her tenacity, service, and dedication.

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On a rainy afternoon in mid-fall, Olivia, Robert, and I held signs Continue reading

While tweeting is an integral part of social media, coming up with tweets on-the-fly is difficult. The best way to solve this problem is to create a twitter library on your cell phone’s notepad. In my quest to develop a fully stocked twitter library, I used the tools in this AdWeek SocialTimes article: Create a Twitter Library So You Never Run Out of Things to Tweet. The article has a lot of useful information. Below is some of what I learned and how I implement it.

Categories for a Twitter Library:

Tips and Tricks

Everyone loves a good shortcut or a tip that makes life easier and more efficient. In this category, I keep a list of tips that I’ve picked up throughout my career. I’ll add links to useful articles, tutorials, and just general advice for writers, authors, and entrepreneurs.

Ways to Engage the Audience

Followers want to feel like they’re part of a group. In this section, I include questions I can use to start a dialogue with followers. For example, around the New Year, I asked “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” It helps to tag a few people you know will retweet and respond.

Interesting Thoughts and Musings

This is a section, I get to put all my creative thoughts, witty comments, haikus, and more. If I have an interesting thought, I jot it down here for publishing later. This is the perfect place for on-the-go ideas.

Links to Blog Posts

Because one of the ultimate goals of social media is to drive readers to my sites, linking back to my blogs is an absolute must. I keep a running list of my favorite and most sharable posts and every once in a while, I send it to my twitter following.

Quotes and Images

To avoid the temptation to repost images, memes, and quotes I find on other social media sites, I’ve created a section of original pieces to have at my disposal.

Stocking the Library

The next step is to fill up each category with content. One of the easiest ways to start is to add some tweets to your library while the topic is fresh in your head. So, when I create a blog post, I take a little time to create a handful of tweets related to the topic. For this little amount of added time, my library grows exponentially.

Finally, there’s two Continue reading

Depression-loss of loved oneIt’s human nature to experience a wide range of emotions. I guess it all depends on what you’re going through. For the last two years, I have experienced significant happiness, but also sadness, regret, depression, etc. For me, most of my unhappiness stems from the sort of social drama that spreads like cancer through families and eventually destroys all meaningfulness and caring that once existed unconditionally. Unconditional love is not something that can be granted to bullies or narcissists, and you have to be willing to sever those ties and move on with your life; and, unfortunately, there’s no greater sadness than losing someone you love.

Once your happiness has been impeded, the slump sets in. If you’ve ever felt sad, and especially if you are or have been depressed, you’re familiar with the slump. It’s when you look at the clock and it reads 2:00 and then three hours later you look at the clock again and it’s only 2:15. The slump is when you struggle to get ready; it’s when you’re so burdened emotionally, all physical activity tends to feel like an uphill battle.

Pulling yourself out of a slump is difficult, but it’s not exactly your fault. It’s actually your brain that’s working against you. UCLA neuroscience researcher, Alex Korb, studied the brain for many years and ultimately determined that your brain can and will keep you in a state of funk…If you let it.

The emotions of pride, shame, and guilt can trigger the brain’s reward center. As crazy as it sounds, it’s true. Personally, I prefer to drown out the noise by blocking communication from my attackers, specifically, my mom; however, she’s a very reactionary person who is addicted to drama and she will post public status updates to Facebook that openly criticize me, which leads to our mutual friends screenshotting the updates and private messaging them to me. I have done due diligence and asked people to no longer engage in sharing this information with me, but ultimately someone always sends me a copy of the things she posts. You’d think my hurt feelings and stress would be negative, but my brain believes I’m doing something positive by reacting emotionally to my problems even if all I’m doing is dwelling on the unfortunate situation. Because my brain sees the whole negative experience as a positive, it begins to reward the slump…But, we all Continue reading

I’ve been using my Twitter to get Donald Drumpf (@realDonaldTrump) to block me. I’ve embedded some of my tweets here; sadly, he has yet to block me from tweeting him. Retweet me to help me achieve my dream of being blocked by Donald Drumpf. With your support, we can get Donald Drumpf to block me.