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Daily Archives: June 27, 2017

Love At First Sight

I was never a person who believed in love at first sight. Even as a man who admired film and romance, I thought the idea was preposterous. I mean, how could you love someone you knew nothing about? Maybe I was just jaded from being alone for far too long.

I spent my free time trying different dating sites hoping to find something worthwhile but even I knew those chances were slim. Each interaction was as empty as an old town mall. Conversations always began and ended with pillow talk or sexual innuendos. I told my friends I was looking for something but truth was, the dating apps were my excuse to not go out and actually search for love.

The past few relationships I had been apart of left me scarred with a bitter taste in my mouth. To be fair, it was partially my fault. I knew I was born in a generation of people who were far too “cool” to show love and affection and yet I still held on for hope. Friends with benefits was the new fad and no one was ready to commit. When those few people did commit, they didn’t hesitate to throw you by the waste side when times got tough. I knew in my heart, eventually the day would come when I would go out looking again but I didn’t realize that day would come so soon.

It was a cold winters day when I decided to get out of the house because I couldn’t stand another minute alone and just drove. I went a few cities over and cruised downtown until I found somewhere that caught my eye. The streets were packed, which made me quickly realize it was market night. People covered every street corner, searching for unique and creative things to buy.

I parked my 95 Nissan Altima in the farthest parking spot available. Not because I was a fan of walking but because my car had seen better days and I didn’t want to be spotted with it.  I noticed this back alley that had a beautiful archway. The surrounding area was covered with plants, including these vibrant sunflowers. I saw a few old fashioned style tables outside and above them was a sign reading “The Red Cafe”.

barbeque-live-grills-goa-restaurant

I entered the desolate cafe and ordered myself a hot chocolate. I know, what person orders a hot chocolate at a cafe but I did. I’ve never been the biggest fan of coffee. I thought of sitting inside but it was such a beautiful day, so I made my way to the outside tables. As I sat at my table, I took a quick glance around to see if I was blessed with some solitude and as my head began to turn back toward my drink, my eye was caught by this woman sitting just a few feet from me. She, just like me, was also drinking a hot chocolate.

I had completely lost myself in her eyes. They seemed so infinitely beautiful, like the stars in our endless galaxy. I walked over to her and thought of a million smooth things to say but ended up with “That’s a hell of a hot chocolate isn’t it?”

She smiled, quickly remarking with “Why yes it is but I bet it’s better with company. I’m Kanika  and you are?”

“Ajay Vyas , but I go by my pet name Aj.”

And so, our conversation started and furthermore, our night began.

She had such an unorthodox way about her. She didn’t try too hard to be funny and yet I caught myself smiling as she finished every sentence. Her brown hair, smooth like silk, floated in front of her face. It was honestly my only complaint, as it hid parts of her face and something as beautiful as her should be shown in her entirety. I caught her joking a few times about being a little bit on the thick side but my eyes were so focused on hers, that I could care less about thickness or a lack of it. I just wanted to freeze that moment. Every second of it because it felt so perfect. It felt so right to be outside that cafe sharing a hot chocolate with her.

Our night came to a close and as I walked her to her car, I asked for her number. Our eyes met one last time and then I began to walk back to my car. I hoped she would get in her car and leave without seeing my old beaten ride but she waited. As I opened my car door, I heard her yell something from across the parking lot.

“If I would have known you drove a ’95 Nissan Altima, I would have invited you over to my place!”

I laughed, responding with “Do you believe love at first sight?”

“Not until I met you,” she said faintly.

I couldn’t hear her but I read her lips as if I was reading her mind. I quickly smiled and yelled back, “You’re perfect!”

And she was perfect. I realized that it wasn’t about fitting the definition of perfect that society has given us but rather, seeing that she is perfect in every way for me. I always wondered what love at first sight would be like and it was much more simple than I imagined. It was a woman holding a hot chocolate outside a cafe on a winters day.

 

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28 Comments

Posted by on June 27, 2017 in random thoughts

 

How do you deal with feelings of writer jealousy?

We’ve all been there.

Your classmate’s story is praised in workshop, while yours is torn apart.

“Poorly written” romances dominate best-seller lists, while your science fiction novel languishes in Amazon’s 2,000,000 ranking spot.

The author you follow on Instagram posts their third cover reveal this year, while you struggle to finish your manuscript.

There’s a thousand ways that we writers experience jealousy of other authors. We constantly compare ourselves to our peers in writing groups, our Internet friends, or the hallowed greats like Stephen King. We long for the secret to their success. How do they write a first draft so quickly? How do they have so many Pinterest followers? Where do they find time to publish and write a daily blog?

We take other writers’ successes as inherent failures in ourselves as creatives.

Let me get personal for a minute. Throughout graduation and post graduation , I longed to be a writer, but I hardly ever wrote. I seethed with self-loathing and jealousy in equal amounts. As I became more entwined in the literary community, I saw myself in competition with other aspiring writers. With each person’s success, I thought one more seat on the bus to authordom had been snatched from me. Around senior year of college, I finally wised up.

But others I know didn’t. I’ve lost friends over jealousy and unnecessary feelings of competition. I’ve had close friends flat-out ignore my writing career. I’ve had acquaintances insult or downplay my abilities in order to praise their own. It sucks. It hurts. And I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.

Why do we feel jealousy?

Easy: because other writers have what we want. Be it a publishing contract, a movie deal, or even just a finished manuscript, if you want it, some writer has already accomplished it. When I used to see a more successful writer, I would instantly translate that into: “Well, shit. I’m so far behind. I’m never going to amount to anything.” OR “They don’t deserve X. They just got lucky. Why can’t anyone see what a talentless hack they are?”

The good news? I don’t ride either of those thought trains anymore. In fact, the moment I feel a twinge of jealousy, I actually get really excited. Why?

Because when channeled properly, jealousy can be a force for good.

The positive side of jealousy

Jealousy and competition are natural human feelings. If you acknowledge them and channel their energy into something positive, it can be motivating for you. The next time you feel jealous, take a moment to deconstruct your emotions and get down to what’s really bothering you. But don’t stop there: make a plan to fix the real issue so that this doesn’t happen again.

Here is how my jealous moments play out now:

  1. Address the feeling: Okay, Kate. You’re feeling jealous.
  2. Forgive yourself: That’s okay! You’re human. It happens.
  3. Find the “what:” Let’s see. I’m jealous that this author started writing a book after me, but is publishing it before I publish mine.
  4. Find the “why:” I wish my book were ready to publish.
  5. Take responsibility and make a plan: Well, what can you do to make that happen? How about we turn off Netflix and do some revising? Let’s eat out one less night a week so we can afford an editor. Let’s stop being nervous and contact the cover designer.
  6. Ride the high: Awesome, I know exactly what to do! I just have to be patient and work hard. I’m going to write right now.

Ways to handle jealousy

Notice this section is not titled “ways to quit being jealous.” That’s probably never going to happen. There will always be someone more successful than you. There will always be something you want that someone else has already achieved. But, there are ways to handle your jealousy in a healthy manner.

Act in opposition to your feelings. A writer friend on Facebook posts that they’ve signed with an agent? Like the post or write a supportive comment. At first, you can console yourself with the smug satisfaction that you were “the bigger person” in the competition your mind constructed. Eventually, your gut reaction will change to genuine excitement for them. I promise.

Figure out how they did it. I want to be Joanna Penn so bad it hurts. She writes kick-ass fiction books, super-helpful nonfiction books, and is a beloved authority figure in the self-publishing community. But instead of hating her and avoiding her, I follow her progress. I read her books. I read the articles she posts. And you know what? I’m learning how to create a career like hers, one step at a time.

Do something about it. If you have a moment of jealousy, then you know what you want. It frustrates you that your writer friend has a finished book and you don’t? Go write your damn book. That Twitter author has better sales than you? Read up on book marketing and business strategy, arrange advertising or book reviews, or publish more books. Outside circumstances may prevent you from achieving 100% of your goals, but if you’re not putting 100% of possible effort in, then you have no one to blame but yourself.

Remember that someone out there is jealous of you. If there is someone ahead of you, then there must be someone behind you. Maybe you don’t make enough money to write full-time yet, but there is a writer out there who has only one book published who envies your five-book series. Moreover, the person of whom you are jealous was once in your position. Keep it all in perspective.

Be kind to yourself. Often, jealousy goes hand-in-hand with feelings of inadequacy. If you are nicer to yourself throughout the entire creative process (keeping your inner critic quiet during drafting, forgiving yourself for missing your word count goal on a busy day, etc.), your self-respect will grow. When it is healthy and happy, you are less likely to be dragged down by bitterness.

And if all else fails? Step away from the situation and eat some ice cream. It really does make everything better.


How do you deal with feelings of writer jealousy? What do your moments of jealousy reveal about your goals? Share your experiences in the comments.

 
22 Comments

Posted by on June 27, 2017 in random thoughts

 

​What we should look for in our lover

It sounds beautiful, doesn’t it? Finding a lover. A person to kiss. A person to go on dates with. A person whose hand you squeeze during scary movies. A person to open your life to, give your heart to, who you can see yourself with, years and years down the road.

But finding that person is scary.
There’s so many rules and restrictions in today’s dating world. A ‘lover’ is supposed to be attractive and sexy and enticing and reliable and romantic and everything we’ve ever dreamed of, right? He/she’s supposed to be this perfect person. But perfection in love? That’s not real. And finding a flawless, completes-me type of person? Impossible. (Thank goodness, because none of us would make the cut.)
That’s why I don’t want something perfect. And why I don’t want a lover. I want a best friend.
I want someone I can be completely myself around. I want to wake up in the morning, hair all sleepy and messy around my face, makeup off, baggy t-shirt on, and not feel like I have to be anything I’m not.
I want someone to laugh with. To stay up late with and talk about dreams. To go on adventures with, big or small. To sip wine and make breakfast together, and feel like we know every little thing about each other’s lives.
I want someone I can talk to openly, fearlessly, about my biggest regrets and future plans. Someone who I can trust. Someone who will be there for me, no matter what, and I’ll return the favor. Someone I can chow down on family size Chex Mix with, someone I can just sit on the couch with and not say anything, but simply enjoy each other’s company.
See, I think the world has it all wrong. Love isn’t about finding the perfect person, about finding a lover. I think love is all about finding your best friend. Someone who you’re compatible with on so many levels, not just romantically.
I want a best friend. Someone I can tease, go out drinking with, or stay in and binge-watch Prison Break with. Someone who will give me a genuine compliment when I look my best, but will honestly tell me when I look like sh*t and need to get my butt off the couch.
I want someone who knows all my inner secrets, drama, and proudest moments. Who will go places with me, or take me to dinner and actually talk about things that matter. Who won’t always have to be in charge, have to pay, have to be the one to plan things. But will still do those things sometimes, just because.
I want someone who will make me laugh, drive me nuts, piss me off, but still be my best friend.
And I want to fall head over heels for this best friend.
See, I think the world has it all wrong. Love isn’t about finding the perfect person, about finding a lover. I think love is all about finding your best friend. Someone who you’re compatible with on so many levels, not just romantically. (Because that mushy-gushy, intimate stuff will come naturally. Don’t worry.)
I want a best friend—someone I love, yes, but more importantly, someone I can truly know. And someone who knows me, inside and out, flaws and quirks and all my weirdness, yet still chooses to be mine.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on June 27, 2017 in love

 
 
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