COVID Report + 7 Things
It’s been a while since I’ve felt up to writing. First, I went through some “blues”, then I got COVID! COVID is no joke - I’m still very fatigued and coughing but the worst is behind me. The most annoying part of COVID, for me, was the brain fog. I literally felt like my head was in a dense fog!
“They” say a good newsletter or blog benefits the reader and doesn’t just talk about yourself. I agree with this. But I don’t feel like following rules today, so I'll just start writing and see what we get in the end. That's exactly how I wrote my book!
The point of a newsletter/blog is to provide something that the reader can take away in a quick 3 minutes or fewer. They’ll want to read it every time it pops up in their inbox or on social media. Great newsletters may even be recommended by others. This is another reason to write a newsletter or blog - to get an audience.
This is also something I agree with. Who would bother writing if they didn’t want anyone else to read it, right? Unless, of course, it’s in a private journal or personal communication. I’ve been journaling since I was a kid and write for myself as much as I do for you.
However, I hope you can take something away from my blog posts, maybe even "that’s how I feel!” or “wow, she’s weird too” or “good to know….”
Here’s what’s been brewing in my mind lately:
1. The world seems very dark when we read the headline news. Enough said.
2. It’s up to each of us to figure out how to make our own worlds, the small one we inhabit that comprise family, friends and community and the larger one that is the environment and humankind, a little brighter for ourselves and others. It all starts with taking care of us, being understanding and kind and not being a jerk.
3. I realized I want my world to feel peaceful, joyful, fulfilling, and free. I wasn’t feeling any of that during the first 2 months after “Keven’s Choice” was released because I had put such high expectations on myself to market the book, to make sales, to get the message out, damn it, Get It Out There if it kills you! It felt like it was going to. Marketing = self promoting which = yuk, gross, no fun, blah, you do it for me, ugh.
4. Book sales are terrible… like they almost stopped (less than 1 sale a week) after the book came out. And even though sales are not about money to me, it got me down. They’re the primary way I have to measure if people are reding the book. And guess what - even though book sales are crap, people are telling me they not only read the book, but passed it on! They are saying things like “Now my friend understands what I’ve been going through with my child all these years” or “for the first time, my mom “gets” my addiction.” WOW - that’s why I wrote it! Nothing could make me happier than to hear those types of comments.
5. Along with marketing, the book coming out multiplied my desire to help others. It’s always been my personality/gift/goal to be available, to make a difference, to use my God-given empathy and compassion to help the hurting.
But the book spiked that desire to where I felt it was my mission to “save the world” from the heartache and unfairness of stigma, drugs, mental illness, suicide - etc. So that’s when (see #3) I took a step back to remind myself it’s okay to focus only on my personal world right here, and as it grows, if it does, I can handle helping whoever crosses my path instead of being silly and arrogant and thinking I need to take on saving the world because I suddenly wrote a book and therefore need to do even more.
In fact, I actually heard Keven’s voice in my head one day see these exact words: “MOM! Come on, CHILL OUT, Bro!” We lovingly called each other Bro sometimes. He was rolling his eyes, wondering why I wasn’t taking care of myself and giving myself a break after accomplishing a huge goal and instead overwhelming myself with unnecessary pressure to do more. It seems “funny” now that I look back - but at the time I was seriously causing myself to be overwhelmed in an unhealthy way.
6. I lost a friend yesterday, Dottie. She died of “natural causes”. Dottie almost was 86 years old, which blows my mind because even though I’ve known her for years, she never aged and I met her when she was in her early 70s. She and her husband, Nick, were married 56 years.
Thankfully, I was able to say goodbye to her a few days before she passed and when I reminded her how much I loved her she said, “I know you do, Barbara, I know” and it was the perfect thing I needed to hear. She loved me, too. Dottie was Anthony's grandmother and when it came to him, we were each other's "person". I miss her already.
7. I’ll end with number seven because it’s one of my favorite numbers - not because it’s Lucky #7, but because Keven was born on the 7th and his name rhymes with seven. Missing him never ceases. The fact is - we just never know when we are going to lose a loved one. Let’s make today count.
Let’s be like my friend Clyde Taber who’s always been an example to me of someone who, when he says “how are you?” REALLY wants to know. Let’s think, “who can I reach out to today to say hi to even if there’s no reason for it?” Maybe it will brighten their day? Maybe you can share a funny memory from the past or just a simple reminder that they are in your thoughts.
If you don’t read my newsletter - there’s not much to it but it contains some info now and then on future speaking gigs I have (ha - yes, I used that term) etc. so please sign up for it below. It comes out one a week (if that often) and also lets you know I have a new blog post up.