Monthly Archives: April 2013

One Year Later

Andrea Freedman

I woke up today and immediately remembered that it was exactly one year ago that I walked away from my office job, hoping never to look back. Since that day I have embraced my new life as a writer and although I have had many ups and downs, one year later, I still feel that I am doing the right thing (no pun intended).

The days have actually never flown by faster and I can hardly believe where this past year has gone. One year is not nearly as long as I once thought it was.

Although I have been writing for several years, I have finally had the time necessary to really focus on it and everything that goes along with it. I do not recall one day when I have been bored and I actually feel younger than I did last year at this time, even though I am about to celebrate another birthday.

I wake up and see what the day brings, the hope of it being a good writing day always at the forefront of my mind. My new routine consists of sleeping until whenever I wake up naturally, relaxing with my coffee and writing while still in my pyjamas, going to the gym when it is not busy, long walks and one of my favourites, afternoon naps.

I no longer deal with rush hour, I have taken up activities like yoga and tai chi and I notice a significant decrease in my stress level. I feel freer than I ever have. Without the care of adhering to a strict schedule, sometimes I actually have to ask what day it is.
People have remarked to me that it must feel strange not going to work. On the contrary, I tell them. I love every minute of it. I now have balance in my life.

I have connected with so many interesting people from the stay-at-home crowd who I may never have otherwise met. The people I see these days are from a different world than what I was used to in the past. Also, social media, something I never dreamed I would participate in, has put me in touch with other writers from all over the world.

At first I was a little insulted when I discovered that anyone had the nerve to “un-follow” me but just as I have had to become strong enough to handle rejection and to write what I want whether or not others always agree with my opinions, I have also come to accept that there are times when I will not be “liked” on the Internet.

This past fall I launched my website but I really did not get the hang of it until about December. I had my doubts that anyone would even see my blog, but as it turns out, it has actually gotten many more views than I ever imagined it would.

The past year has not been without its challenges. Some days I can hardly put my pen down, while on other days I get down on myself and I wonder what I am doing, why I am doing this and why I am working so hard for something that I often do not even get paid for.

Then there are the days when I get an idea that makes me excited about writing all over again and I am reminded that it is worth it. Each and every time something I write is published, it never fails to give me the same exhilarated feeling as the time before. All of a sudden I can feel life and enthusiasm filling me up again and I remember why I wanted to do this in the first place.

Today, one year later, I would like to express my gratitude, especially to my husband, who is making it possible for me to pursue my dream, and to everyone else who has supported me, followed me, encouraged me, helped to lift my spirits when I doubted myself and reminded me of how much I have actually accomplished in only one year.

It is amazing how quickly a year goes by, and how much a person can figure out about his or herself in such a short time. As much knowledge as I have gained about myself and what I would like my future to hold, I still have so much more to learn and of course, so much more to write.

I hope you will continue to follow my journey. I thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on my posts and most of all for “liking” me.♥

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Guess What, I Own A Mirror

Andrea Freedman

For some of us, it is hard enough to put ourselves together every day and to take a deep breath and walk out the door with our heads held high, without having to listen to others emphasize our physical flaws.

Even the people who are envied and considered the most beautiful among us are not exempt from being stricken with occasional skin problems or worse. While nobody is perfect, the risk of hearing questions disguised as concern about a skin blemish or other physical defect is often enough for some folks to just stay home.

When one expresses hesitation about going to a party or anywhere in public sporting a cold sore and their friends say “Don’t worry, no one will say anything,” they are often mistaken. Yes, actually, there are people who will in fact say something and I can testify to that from personal experience.

I recall one incident that occurred a while back at the office where I was working at the time. It was winter time and the weather was particularly harsh on my sensitive skin. There was one woman in the office that made it her daily mission to ask me why my face was “so dry”. I let it go the first few times, but one day when she asked me yet again, I had had enough. I responded with “Guess what? I look just as good if not better than you, even on my worst day!” and watched with satisfaction as she stared back at me with her mouth hanging open.

Sometimes a person need not even step outside in order to be subjected to a comment about his or her appearance. On one occasion when I was at home recuperating from surgery, a male friend came to visit me and asked “Do you always have those bags under your eyes?” Needless to say, if I did not feel bad enough already, I certainly did after that.

I find it mind-boggling when someone does not grasp the idea that others are usually aware if they have a space between their teeth, unwanted facial hair, or if they are overweight or are looking exceptionally tired. Most people don’t need to be reminded of those things, nor do they need to hear unsolicited comments or recommendations about them.

One might think that it should be obvious if a person is wearing dark glasses, a hat and a scarf around their face, that they may already feel embarrassed about something without being asked about it.

When I developed a strange rash on my arm during an unusually hot summer and could not comfortably wear long sleeves, I tried to cover the mark up as well as I could with the help of make-up. I could have sworn I had noticed eyes moving to the rash in the middle of a conversation and I felt extremely self-conscious; that was awkward enough but not quite as bad as a well-meaning neighbour who not only made a horrified face when he saw it, but also went on to ask me in detail what the problem was.

The man was sincerely concerned but when I saw him the next day I cut my conversation with him short just the same, for fear that he was about to bring it up again.

Once when I was at a get-together at a friend’s house, I overheard another woman there actually have the audacity to ask another lady in attendance at the party if she was wearing a wig, and if so, why. I secretly applauded the poor woman when she let her have it for being so nosey and inappropriate.

The fact is people, including me, actually do notice things about other people’s physical features and imperfections. The difference lies with the people who are smart enough to keep their observations about such matters to themselves.

I myself, as I suspect most people do, actually look in the mirror every day and I do notice how I look on any given day. I am also well aware if I have bags under my eyes or a blemish on my skin.

Women are not the only ones concerned with how they present themselves. Men also feel self-conscious and take pride in their appearance, often just as much if not more so than some women do and, although they may try to hide it, they often feel equally badly when they hear an unwelcome remark about something they already feel sensitive about, such as, for example, if they are experiencing thinning hair.

One gentleman I know who was upset because of some deep wrinkles he had developed was not too happy when asked by someone “What happened to your face?”

Interestingly enough, one discovery I have made is that it is the people who would point out another’s flaws who are most self-conscious about their own. A couple of weeks after I had last seen the neighbour who commented in such detail about my skin disorder, I ran into him again and was secretly grateful that my rash had cleared up.

One of the first things the man did when he saw me was to ask if the pimple on his nose was noticeable. I could not bring myself to tell him how glaringly obvious the blemish was, and instead assured him that if he had not pointed it out to me, I might not have noticed it at all.

Whether it is as a result of an illness, age, stress, an allergic reaction or some other reason, we all feel self-conscious enough about our shortcomings without having them rubbed in our not-so-perfect faces by others. We’ve all got mirrors to do that for us.♦

Copyright © 2013 by Andrea Freedman