Tuesdays with Ana: Saying Goodbye to Superwoman

First, a few items of business.

It’s not too late to contribute to Ana’s Advent Calendar 2013! I’ve been adding new books and prizes to the list almost every day since the announcement. The sign-up sheet for participants will go up soon. Even if you donate a prize, you can still play! The first official post (when your comments count as entries to the prize drawings) will go up bright and early on December 1st.

Second, I am not the elf.

Third, please say thank you to Tara Finnegan, Emily Tilton, Penelope Hasler, and Kathryn Blake. They’ve offered to serve as helper elves for the Advent Calendar to make sure everything runs smoothly. With nearly 70 contributors, 120 books, $160 in gift certificates, and $400 in prizes (including a Kindle Fire/Nook HD donated by Blushing), it will be huge!

Psst. Mrs. Claus likes helper elves. Just saying. πŸ˜‰

Fourth, Quiet Sara chose Becoming Clissine as her book prize for Donor Sabbath, so I’ve sent it off to her. Hope you like it, Sara!

There! These days, I’m running around trying to take care of business, interpersonal things, work, and (ahem) writing. Word on the street is that I’m due a spanking for not finishing the Soris and Karielle short story yet.

Harumph.

In the midst of all the craziness, a few events in the past days have made me sit down, take a moment, and reflect on all my activity.

How much of what I do is necessary?

How much is keeping busy for the sake of being busy?

How does my perpetual busy-ness keep me from taking care of what I need most?

How much of my clutter/chatter is just an attempt at distraction?

I’ve dealt with a surprising issue recently:

I don’t want to write.

Or, maybe more accurately, I can’t write.

In the past, my fingers would fly over the keyboard faster than I could think. Stories poured out from me as if some alien force possessed my body, leaving me exhausted but satisfied.

Now that writing means publication and editing deadlines, it’s become a work obligation instead of a labor of love.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being an author. I love publishing, and I love meeting readers I wouldn’t get to talk to otherwise. But one of the most rewarding writing endeavors of the past few weeks was writing a new Kat and Natalie story for their blog. The responses delighted me, right down to Cat’s detailed anti-cockroach advice.

However, I’ve found each time I sit down to write that the thoughts crowd into my brain.

  • You haven’t done this promo yet!
  • Don’t forget this article!
  • You should check out this marketing site first!
  • You missed the deadline to submit a pitch!
  • Don’t forget to get some groceries!
  • Where did I put that check?
  • I can’t forget that upcoming day-job deadline!
  • My friend’s new baby is growing up faster than I can visit him. When can I go over next?
  • Where is my roadside assistance card?
  • How can I get that stain off my kitchen floor?
  • Isn’t it time to take down the Halloween tree decorations?
  • Will the neighbors hate me if I put up my Christmas lights now?
  • Wait! One more person to add to the Advent Calendar list.
  • Just exactly what skills would Kat practice for her CNA exams?

And so on.

I’ve done a few things in the last day or two.

I’ve taken the time to re-connect with friends both on and offline. Online, I’ve visited some blogs I hadn’t seen in a long time, gone back to some new blogs I found on LOL Day, and sent an email or two.

It’s for me, really. I like feeling connected, enjoy knowing what’s happening in the corners of our blogosphere, and think of Bas each time I meet someone new. He wanted us to welcome each new member and to encourage him/her to blog. When I say hello, not always sure whether I’m welcome (it’s always a bit scary to say hi to someone we don’t know very well, isn’t it?), I look upward and send a silent message. If you were here, I think you’d do this. Since you’re not, I will. You’ve left some awfully big shoes to fill.

It’s funny. For so long I’ve been “too busy” to catch up online, but I miss the connections. If you find my comments on your blog and don’t want me to intrude, just tell me nicely. I’ll go away. But I keep remembering how nice it felt when new people found my blog, and I hope I can pass that feeling along.

I’ve also taken time to sort out the people in my life. Seems as if the people who deserve most of my attention get the least, and vice versa.

A long time ago, an older woman took me aside for some advice. She’d watched me spinning trying to keep everyone happy, and she’d had enough.

“People try to make you do what they want,” she said. “And it’s the people who are unhappiest who have the most power over you.”

I was too young then to understand the wisdom of her words, but I’ve grown into them.

As small children, girls are socialized to delight adults with smiles, kisses, dances, pretty dresses, and doll-like behaviors. As school-age children, young girls learn to be pretty, neat, studious, and well-behaved in order to earn praise from teachers. As young adults, we are taught to keep the peace and make everyone happy. As adults, we are the constant negotiators in many of our relationships. Parents, partners, children, friends, in-laws, neighbors…women are taught to be the peace-keepers, and harmony comes at a price.

From the very beginning, I’ve always wanted Governing Ana to be a safe place where people can gather for discussion, support, and community. As I’m preparing for the wonderfully chaotic season of the Advent Calendar online and Advent offline, I’ve found myself remembering those wise words.

In preparing for Christmas, I will focus on the people I can make happy, rather than feeling bad about those I cannot.

For right now, that person is myself. When I am at peace with myself and truly secure in the decisions I have made, this peace radiates outward and touches those around me. But when I try to make others happy without coming to an inner resolution first, bad things happen. Energy clashes in unproductive ways and causes stress, hurt feelings, and resentment.

I’m learning to let go. To say goodbye to Superwoman, a mythical creature who can accomplish all tasks and keep everyone happy while doing so.

Instead, I’ll clear out the distractions and work on creating peace on earth, one heart at a time.

Starting with mine. How else can change happen in this world, if not first with me?

What will you do today to pass on the peace?

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46 thoughts on “Tuesdays with Ana: Saying Goodbye to Superwoman

  1. abby says:

    What a wonderful post…one we should all take to heart. We ….well most of us…start out trying to be superwoman and wonder why we are so tired and stressed. Good for you, and may we all remember your wise words.
    hugs abby

    Like

  2. terpsichore says:

    Words we should all keep close so as not to forget. It is so important to take care of oneself. Taking care of everyone but oneself, neglecting one’s own needs, feeling pressured to do the “have to’s” and ignoring the “want to’s” all adds up to stress. Take time, find the small joys, connect with people you care about and who care about you, and enjoy the things you love. The work will all get done eventually. Find your own inner contentment and peace. Only then can one’s own happiness shine into the world. I love this. Thank-you for sharing. And it has been nice to see you more around blogland. πŸ™‚ Hugs

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      We get all the more stressed when we make sacrifices and resent people taking those sacrifices for granted. The answer is not to make more sacrifices; the answer is to really take stock of what we must do versus what we make ourselves do.

      I love all of your advice. You said it very well.

      Thank you so much, and hugs back.

      Like

  3. Leigh Smith (aka Sunny Girl) says:

    This post is a labor of love and it is beautiful.

    One of the advantages of a certain level of maturity (better than older) is that you learn to take a good look at what is and isn’t important – good for you that you are doing it sooner rather than later.

    A lot of what I read in your post is what I feel about writing. I too am having difficulty lately and is seems more like an obligation than a delight. The creative juices seem to have dried up and I wonder if and when they will return. I’ve learned though that I am exactly where I should be so if it doesn’t then something else will come along.

    Enjoy your found wisdom and embrace whatever comes your way.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      It’s wise to take a break now and then. Sometimes we want to develop our passions, but in the process that means adding obligations and expectations. It’s such a hard balance!

      I think it’s good to take vacations, sabbaths, sabbaticals, whatever you want to call it. More often than not, I find my creative spirit comes back when I’m writing something I shouldn’t be…Kat and Natalie, for example, instead of Soris and Karielle.

      I love your down-to-earth attitude and your tendency to take everything in stride. You’re a good example for us young’uns. πŸ˜€

      Like

  4. SassyTwatter says:

    What a superb post. Life can to easily be filled with thighs to do they leave you feeling like a hamster on a wheel with your mind going in a million different directions. I am terribly guilty of this as the ultimate in multitask er it am often thinking and doing to many thugs at once that I feel as thought nothing is getting the proper attention. I have lists that seem to have the same things moved over from day to day as I fall behind. It is wonderful advice we all need tonsil act take stock and reevaluate. You still seem like wonder women to me with all that you do but glad you are taking out time just for you.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Things like logging in with the wrong account, eh? πŸ™‚

      Especially at this time of year, I am sure we all feel like the hamster on the wheel. What makes me sad is hearing when people don’t like this season, not because it reminds them of sad memories of lost loved ones, but because they feel drained at all of the expectations. It’s not about gifts or parties or anything like that…just about coming together as a community.

      Hugs to you and hopes that you are also taking time for yourself.

      Like

  5. Holla Dean says:

    Why is it that we feel the need to be Superwoman? I am so behind with getting my new blog the way I want it and I just can’t find the time to work on it. I want to write and the pressure is great since my goal was to get my current work in progress published by the 15th. It didn’t happen. Hmmm, do I have a spanking coming for that?
    It’s also our busiest time of the year at my husband’s shop which means I have to spend more time there so less time writing and blogging and catching up with other blogs and everything else. I’m making a sweater for my daughter for Christmas and it’s not looking like it’s going to get done.
    I guess instead of this long reply to your wonderful post, I should write something about this on my blog.
    We need to take time for ourselves. I’m off to write on my blog.
    Thanks Ana, for the great post!

    Like

  6. pao says:

    Wise words πŸ™‚ I do think that a lot of people get stressed out in trying to please too many people and then get pushed to the limit with others who try to use them. That does sound like an awful lot to think about… I hope you get to hold on to that new found peace and enjoy the festive season to come πŸ™‚

    Like

  7. chickie says:

    It is time for many of us to hang up our capes! Someone pointed this out to me recently and I argued that I can’t be selfish, that too many people need me. Nonsense he said… You can’t go through life perpetually giving away the best part of yourself. We need to hold close to that, embrace it and share it with others who are doing the same in return. Time and energy are so precious.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      The problem is that too often people think they are helping and giving away, but dishonesty hurts all of us. One of my friends constantly tries to say that things are fine and no problem. She will spread herself too thin trying to do everything, and then she loses her temper. Not in a nice way, either. It hurts her marriage and her child, and it also hurts her friendships. It’s so important for us to make sure we are in tune so we can then effectively help in the way we want to.

      Thank you for your thoughts and your visit, chickie. πŸ™‚

      Like

      • Nancy Levine says:

        Beautifully said…l’m always feeling guilty that l don’t do enough for my parents and friends. And it is hard sometimes to carry on without my husband, who’s been gone 10 years.

        lf it’s not too late, l’d like to contribute a free ebook of mine [readers choice] to the advent calendar…they are sweet contemp., is that okay…

        Like

        • Anastasia Vitsky says:

          Nancy, I’d love to have you part of the Advent Calendar! Do you have a blog or website? The only Nancy Levine I could find is the author of books about dog photography. That didn’t seem to fit sweet contemporary. πŸ™‚

          Please choose one or more titles (rather than “reader’s choice”), and I’ll add you to the announcement.

          I think women especially feel the responsibility to care for others and make sure people are happy and well. It’s too much responsibility, and it’s not always realistic. I hope you have friends and loved ones who nourish your soul, too. Hugs.

          Like

          • nancygoldberglevine says:

            Thanks, Anna, no l’m not a dog photographer [l’m a cat person]. Here’s the link for my blog…nancygoldberglevine.wordpress.com Choice of titles…Mr. Short, Dark…& Funny, Mr. Tall, Tan…& Tasteless, Sweeter Than W[h]ine or Three Strikes…You’re in Love [short story collection]/sorry about the changing fonts, l need a new keyboard and haven’t had time to buy one yet. Thanks for the kind words and hugs. Nancy

            Like

            • Anastasia Vitsky says:

              Hi Nancy,

              I found your blog, so thanks!

              Please tell me which titles you will donate. You can donate more than one, but you have to tell me which one(s). “Reader’s choice” doesn’t work well for this kind of event because it’s too many authors and too many books.

              When my keyboard stopped working last year, I got a $12 or $15 USB plug-in at Wal-Mart. It worked really well. Maybe something like that would work for you. πŸ™‚

              Like

              • Nancy Levine says:

                Will have to check Wal Mart … that’s the second recommendation l’ve gotten, but l’ll have to go this week before things get too crazy for the holidays. l will donate Mr. Short, Dark…& Funny and Three Strikes…You’re in Love … my faves, though l love them all

                Like

                • Anastasia Vitsky says:

                  Added you to the list, Nancy! I wasn’t really clear where your book titles divided, so you probably should check the announcement post (click on the Advent Calendar button on the right) to make sure they are correct.

                  Do you want your registered email listed (for prize winners to contact you), or would you like to create a specific email for the event? I’ll need to list your email on the blog so winners can contact you, but some authors are creating a new free email account to use publicly if they are worried about spam.

                  Like

  8. Spankedhortic II says:

    There is always too much to do. This post did remind of a quote from one of my favourite authors, Douglas Adams.

    β€œI love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

    I think that he was famous enough to get away with ignoring deadlines, when he wrote that though.

    Prefectdt

    Like

  9. quiet sara says:

    I’m terrible at saying no and often have way too much on my already busy plate. I need a NO coach! πŸ™‚

    Thank you again for the book! I am on page 27 πŸ™‚ So far I am enjoying it very much and was sad when SM said I had to stop reading last night to go to bed.

    Hugs,
    sara πŸ™‚

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Probably, Sara, you would say no like this:

      “No, Strongman! No, I won’t do what you say!”

      “No, I won’t be quiet!”

      Hehe.

      Yay! I’m so glad that you like Clissa. I can’t wait to hear what you think of the story, even if you don’t necessarily like it. Hearing from readers absolutely makes my day. I’m also delighted to be your very first spanking fiction author. πŸ˜€

      Like

  10. TL says:

    This so sounds like something I could have written. I think my problem has always been that I’ve worried so much about what people would think if I said no, I never worried enough about what I thought. It took me a lot of time and more money than I care to mention in therapy to learn that the way people react is almost always about them and not you. It’s okay to take care of you. I’m glad you are going to focus on just doing a little and letting superwoman fly away. πŸ™‚ Hopefully this will inspire more of us to do the same. I just wish I hadn’t spent all that money on the cape.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Gosh, I think it’s a common part of being who we are. Why do we torture ourselves this way? It doesn’t make anyone happy, and it’s such a waste of time and energy.

      Absolutely about people’s reactions. Many times we can learn things about ourselves and find ways to react better in the future, but we can’t jump to too much responsibility.

      LOL about the cape. Halloween will be here again soon. Thank you for the smile. πŸ˜€

      Like

  11. Irish Lucky says:

    Hi! This was a wonderful post, I got goose bumps! I am glad you are hanging up your cape, I need to do the same. I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Bas, but he sounds super special! You are so right about that warm and fuzzy feeling a comment can bring! Just knowing someone not only stopped by and read your blog, but could identify in some way, leave advice or just a simply hi…They mean the world. :0)

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Hi Irish Lucky, and thank you so much for visiting!

      How neat you got goosebumps. Maybe you can use your cape to keep warm. πŸ˜€

      I’ve gotten some of the most wonderful comments in the world and met great friends. We never know what will happen, but every once in a while a comment will make my entire day better. I hope we can do that for each other.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Like

  12. minellesbreath says:

    I am so glad you are doing what you love…not only your responsibilities! Doing too much can be draining!
    It is so interesting, if I do a piece of artwork as a gift for someone to show my love it is NEVER a chore….but make it an obligation….yikes creativity may dry-up.
    As to super woman…I cannot even touch that with a 10 foot pole….

    Like

  13. Roz says:

    Hi Ana, this is such a great post! I’m glad you are learning to let go. I think many of us take on too much in order to make other’s happy, but we really need to take care of ourselves first.

    I love what you said about this community and our dear friend Bas. You know, you were the first person to ever leave me a comment. I was so excited πŸ™‚

    Hugs,
    Roz

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Ooh, really? I don’t remember that! Thank you for reminding me so I can smile today. And look at you now, all grown up. πŸ™‚ You’ve become the one who leaves lovely comments everywhere.

      Hugs..always happy to see you.

      Like

  14. Paolo says:

    “I’m learning to let go” …..me to Anastasia …and this ‘letting go’ has been so rewarding of late that I am kicking myself now for not doing so a lot sooner πŸ™‚

    Paolo

    Like

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