Recently, a bunch of us authors were chatting about reviews, especially the bad ones. You all know my disposition on them (especially the one that stated, with authority, that English was my second language and that I write like a high school student). After falling off the chair laughing (and still waiting for the return email as to where the reviewer got that information), I sobered up and sadly realized that she was probably a very lonely, miserable, and bitter person living in a pile of her own muck. Books, hence, were likely her only escape from her reality and mine, subsequently, took her somewhere she did NOT want to go.
I (Bree) have learned that, as an author, I can choose to look at things (i.e. negative reviews and nasty emails) as indicators that I got under someone’s skin. As a ‘bruise pusher’ (in my more sadistic mode, lol) that doesn’t particularly bother me anymore. I see it as an opportunity that perhaps in the attempt to extract my annoying words from their minds, they might eventually come to terms with the reason those words bothered them. I wrote Naked and Defiant to share what happens when someone gets under another person’s skin enough to force them to look at their life and make positive choices. Often, positive choices are uncomfortable, and the changes, painful. Trust me, Jade (the heroine) did not like, or appreciate, being forced to see the truth about herself. But then, who does?
Change can only happen when we see our flaws, accept them, and do something about it. Unfortunately, too many people are more comfortable in blaming others because it is easier than changing themselves. Even worse, too many people turn a blind eye to things they know are wrong for fear of being rejected by others. I both love, and hate, this quote:
“If you are afraid of being lonely, don’t try to be right.”
― Jules Renard
We have a lot of frightened, lonely people in this world. An awful lot…I am hoping this book will help people see that it is okay to be flawed and to ask for help. With positive change comes peace…and with peace, comes joy. We all want HEA, right? But we can only be responsible for our own change, not others. We can bring it to their attention and hope that they hear, but it ultimately up to them.
I must quote Jim Burke (Blushing): You can’t put lipstick on a pig. That means that no matter how much you try to cover the thing, it is still, and always will be, a pig. We can’t change the essence of what a person is inside by trying to justify their behaviors; especially if the reason we are doing so is to make ourselves more comfortable or to earn acceptance and approval. I mean-Why would any of us seek acceptance and approval from someone who only cares about themselves and their wants and desires? I have been at fault for doing that even in my writing career. There are people out there who we throw away our precious time, energy, and talents while trying to gain their attention, acceptance, praise, and approval. We do this for people who are neither capable of, nor worthy, to give it. And, for some stupid reason, we still pursue the relationship hoping something we say or do is going to give us what we need. Do I hear an Amen Sista? We will do almost anything, except leave the relationship. Why?
We are afraid of being lonely. So much so that we stay in unsafe, unhealthy, and unnecessary relationships. Unsafe people come in many shapes, sizes and mentalities. They could be predators, cyberbullies, gossips and newsmongers, bosses (anything to make a buck), jealous coworkers, indiscreet family members, or what one of my girls called ‘ostriches’. Those are the worst, in my opinion. Hiding your head in the sand will not make anything go away. Plus, it leaves your butt in full view to get kicked! What’s even worse than justifying the behavior, is trying to force them to change.
Mark Twain said, ‘never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you up with experience.’
This is a necessary lesson, I am afraid to say, for many of us. John pointed out to me how much time and energy I waste by trying to put lipstick on pigs. It is a useless endeavor that has cost me peace of mind and several nights sleep and, thus, an activity that I need to stop. Isn’t it glorious that we never stop screwing up and learning something about ourselves?! Yeah, I’m grumbling too….
Bottom line is that we must do what we can, as we feel is right, and not allow anyone to sway us from where we must go. Right and wrong are often a matter of perception. Perception is based on personal experience, ethics and values. Ultimately, we have to ask…Who or what is more important and why? Your answer will expose the true nature of your heart.
Think about these quotes…
“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.”
― Leo Tolstoy, A Confession
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
“So far, about morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.”
― Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon
“…Next time you’re faced with a choice, do the right thing. It hurts everyone less in the long run.”
― Wendelin Van Draanen, Flipped
“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.”
― Augustine of Hippo
“The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.”
― Abraham Lincoln
John and Bree