Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dreams Deferred No More

My mom was of the belief that you didn't play until the house was spotless. What this translated to for her, in a house with three kids, was that she never pursued her hobbies. I watched oil paints and canvases languish in a closet for years. The entire time I was growing up, she got them out twice that I can recall, and then you know what happened… The house got messy. Supper had to be cooked and her palette got put away.

A very wise man said, “Dreams deferred make the heart sick.” My mom died of massive heart failure five years ago. That was a lesson learned. We have to pursue our dreams, whether it is writing, painting, singing or…pole-dancing, bungee jumping or sky-diving.

I hate high school reunions. Every time one rolls around, my husband promises me I’ll have a great time. It’s the same every time, including the most recent 25th reunion. The same preppy, social butterflies were flitting around being socially acceptable. The rednecks still hung together on the periphery enjoying their beer and conversation. The geeks had their table, from which they watched all the others having fun while plotting the demise of the cheerleaders and jocks for still teasing them twenty five years later. The same wench flirted with my husband that flirts with him at every reunion. The drinkers were all boogeying on the dance floor to “Play That Funky Music, White Boy” and “Get Down Tonight." (Can we pause for just a moment to admire KC and the Sunshine band in their threads!)

My husband and I graduated the same year, though we didn’t know each other back then. This makes high school reunions slightly easier because my husband was one of those guys who fit in no matter what group he was with. For some reason we always seem to hover in no man’s land with the other grown-ups who have embraced age and mild infirmity and moved on. The movie “Gross Pointe Blank” came to both our minds and we laughed over our favorite classic line, when Joan Cusack the administrative assistant tries to convince her employer, John Cusack, to attend his reunion. (I’m paraphrasing here) “I went to my high school reunion. It was as though everyone had swelled.” I looked around the gathering and grinned. And then took a good, hard look at myself.

I was one of the shy kids who was never comfortable in any social group. How I looked, acted, dressed, and who I hung out with was a constant source of worry to me in my middle and high school years. Ultimately, their opinion of me was more important than my own. Or at least that’s the ugly realization I came to that night. The resulting resolution changed my life. That winter I started writing.

That evening, with that life-altering realization behind me, me and my handsome redneck husband joined all the other rednecks on the edge of the room, had a beer and the time of our lives. Have you ever deferred becoming the person you were meant to be because of somebody else's opinion? What brought you to that realization?

Heather Rainier writes erotic romance Siren Publishing. Summer's Indiscretion, the eighth book in the Divine Creek Ranch Collection will be released on September 30th. Visit her website and interact with her on Facebook and Twitter.


Misa said...

Oh gosh, this resonates so deeply!

Yes, yes I have. I was the person that everyone else expected me to be for a long time. I think I'm still "coming out" as the real me.

Changing my name was a huge step, but it's helped so much in reclaiming my identity. I've stopped defining myself as a wife, mother and daughter. I am still those things, but more than that.

I'm embracing the more now.

MsKendra said...

I find fate to be a funny thing. I woke up this morning realizing that things for me had to change, so I can grow as person. Your post fit that to a T and it was the first post in my reader this morning.

Thanks so much heather for the perfect post I needed to read this morning. :-)

MiaAshlinn said...

Heather, Heather, Heather. :) Your post was right on the money. I think all of us waste too damn much time trying to make everyone else happy. We fret constantly about what this person or that person thinks. We push back our own dreams and desires.

It took me years to go for my dreams because I was afraid of what others would think. What if they hated what I wrote? What if they hated me? What if I got made fun of? What if no one would ever even consider publishing me? Even worse, what if no one would buy my stories? Then, when I realized that it was Erotic Romances that I wanted to write, it was "OMG, what if they think I am pervert?!?" LOL.

In high school, I was that kid who everyone liked because I was nice and sweet. None of them knew the real me. I was so busy making everyone happy that I forgot to make me happy.

A few months ago, I decided to hell with it (and them)! Now, I am doing what I love, being what (and who) I love. I am finally just me. :)


p.s. MsKendra fate tends to do that - at least to me.

p.s.s. I got long-winded again. Surprise, surprise. LOL. Sorry.

Heather Rainier said...

Thank you, Misa. You and I are on the same journey. Sometimes it seems like a daily decision to continue on in that mind set, especially when so many people depend on you...your presence in their lives, your help, or yeah, even the little compartment in their lives that they've assigned you too. I love the wife, mother and daughter labels that are attributed to my life and wouldn't change those parts of my life for anything, but "Heather" makes life so much richer for me...and them even if they don't recognize it as anything other than the same old me. Here's to the two of us making it just a little farther down that road of discovery today.

Heather Rainier said...

You honor me, MsKendra. I firmly believe the moment of realization that I had that night "shook loose" in me the conviction that I, too, had to make some big changes. That effected my storytelling as well. For those who may not be aware of it, all of my books have concept titles as well as the actual title the book was published under. These were the original, non-sexy,(pre-publisher) titles. Every book I write has a message that I wanted to communicate to readers. Maybe I'll blog about each one some time, but I'll share the first one with you. Divine Grace's original title was Seize The Day (*yawn* I know:) But that was the point of the story. Grace Stuart had to either stay in her current rut or finally seize the day in her life. I believed a lot of women feel as I did, in that we go through our lives making do with the status quo because it's easier and it doesn't make waves. I wanted to write a book that satisfied the reader's desire for a hotter, more sexually graphic romance but I also hoped they might take a look in the mirror and think, "I could make some changes too." Grand dreams for erotic romance, but that's me;-) MsKendra, whether your changes are big or small today, I wish you great success! *\O/*

Heather Rainier said...

LOL, That was actually quite succinct and to the point for you, Mia.;-) I'm impressed.

Your points are all valid and those take time to express.

I think it takes so little to swing out of balance with the caregiver / people-pleaser mentality that many of us are brought up with.

There is nothing wrong with taking care of people but I think many women don't notice a problem until that aspect of their lives swings out of balance and they people-please at great cost to themselves.

Others think there is some form of nobility in being "self-sacrificing" and don't realize they have become martyrs unless some brave soul points it out to them.

I'm glad you came to the realization that it was time to start writing regardless of what other people thought and hellooo?...."what if" you're a pervert?? *snicker* Puh-lease!

I have a feeling your books will be crazy-hot, off the charts sexy. I'd be disappointed if they weren't. So what if you're a little perverted. ;-)

Karen O said...

I'm also one of the shy ones... Or at least I was. After suffering through things no child should have to, my self esteem was non existent, I held no value in my own eyes and no desire to be involved, I didn't allow my self to dream, I didn't expect things to get better.
(drum role please)
Then it happened. Lol, I met a great guy who loved me for me and helped to rebuild the foundation that still supports me today. I live my dream life now, traveling all over the country with my husband of 33 years spending my time reading all kinds of lovely erotic books (thanks to all my favorite authors) and just generally enjoying the hell out of life! My motto in life now is "do it till it feels right!"

Heather Rainier said...

Kudos Karen O!! Isn't it amazing the impact that one caring individual can make in a person's life? I love that you are able to travel and enjoy your life with your husband and hope to do that some myself once our kids are grown. Thank you so much for sharing!

MiaAshlinn said...

Karen - The love of a good man is all it takes sometimes. One man who loves unconditionally can change everything inside of your world. I have one, and I thank God for him every day of my life (even when he drives me completely nutzo!).

Heather - My, my. You are setting the bar awfully high for me. I might write the most tame sex scenes ever. What if I don't like to write dirty, sexy, gritty stuff. I mean how racy can an innocent-ole' menage get? *snorts* One of these days, I am going to pay for my sarcastic ways. But, hopefully, it will not be today. :)


p.s. I have grown quite fond of my perverted side. She knows how to have one helluva good time. LOL.

Renee Silvana said...

Yes, yes, yes! Good for you for taking that good, hard look and constructively moving on! I won't steal your thunder and write my long, woeful (not really) tale, but it's taken me many years to learn this about myself, and only now am I taking the steps to being who (make that an italicized, emphasized "I") I think I should be. Even if I'm starting out by doing it under a pen name!

Luna Wildwood said...

All I can say is I LOVE this blog and thank you for posting it Heather. :)

Pommawolf Emeraldwolfeyes said...

What a wonderful post on a topic that has been in my mind since this last December. What to do with with my life as our children are out on their own, and it's just my DH of 35 years.
I too was just like you in my school years quiet & shy. Through some health problem I ended missing a couple of months of school in the 10th grade, and eventually enrolled in one of the first alternative high school in the country so many years ago. It was wonderful experience and I graduated even though at the end I was married and 2 children by the time I was 19. I was a stay at home mom as my DH built a small business. I don't want to tell you my whole life story, but I was a professional caregiver for a long time after our kids were in high school, and we followed a dream of moving to Alaska, and have been adjusting to not having children in the home.
So here we are enjoying the beauty here, and I'm trying to figure out what's next....*S*
Thank you for the wonderful post, and sharing so much of yourself and your writing. You've given me a lot to think on, and appreciate it so very much...*S*
I love the experience of chatting with the authors who have shared so much of them selves and their writing....*S* I've enjoyed writing reviews and learning how the hard you all work to achieve all your dreams....*S*


Savanna Kougar said...

Heather, I can so relate. I was shy and that's what basically happened to me in Junior High [quit high school, a long story]. I didn't fit anywhere, but what was interesting is that, no matter the clique, whenever the other kids wanted someone to trust with whatever their problem was, they came to me.

Yeah, I watched the grownups around me always defer their dreams. I understand why now. I didn't then. However, I've tried my best to live my dreams, and that's why my house is not neaknik clean. And never will be.

Dawn Gore Meador said...

I am so proud to know the real you, Heather :) Time is too short to live for anyone but ourselves. I am so happy to have a friend like you that accepts herself and embraces everyone. Thanks for sharing this great story from your life.

Kayla Knight said...

Thanks, for a great post, Heather.

I too used to worry about what other people thought.....but the older I become the less it seems to matter.

Thanks for reminding me to live my way.

Kayla x

Heather Rainier said...

Dawn...exactly! Life is too short to live it solely for the opinions of others. It is good to BEknown Dawn. You are a gem!

Kayla...and that's as it should be. Wisdom comes with age, or at least it used to:) Happy Release Day for Her Long Hot Surrender!

Heather Rainier said...

Thank you to everyone that left a comment! I can tell that this particular blog post resonate with some of you and I appreciate you sharing your stories with me:)