Dream or Prophesy?

On September 13th I had a dream.  (Yes, I know, I hate hearing about other people’s dreams too.  There’s a point.  I’ll be quick.)  I’m holding in my hands a book, well, not quite a book.  It’s papers with book-like organization and book like shape and it has my story in it and pictures of me.  Not quite my story, there are differences, but my story and weird pictures I don’t ever remember being taken, but they are of me.  I flip through the unbound pages to the cover.  Glimmer Train.  “Oh,” a woman’s voice says, “You aren’t supposed to see that yet.”  The story is The Fisherman, which I submit to Glimmer Train for their Short Story Award for New Writers award the end of August.  In my dream I saw my story in the magazine.

I have read countless articles and books on writing.  Get it out there, they all say.  Just keep submitting, they all say.  Then they always say, “I didn’t even remember I had such-and-such story out there, when I found out I got published.”  Okay, I know I’m a newbie, and I know this is my first submission but WHAT?!?!  I’m going crazy here.  I have a full time job, I’m a mom, I’m fostering two kittens from the animal shelter, I’m coaching my daughter’s soccer team and I still check my e-mail several times a day to see if I’ve heard from Glimmer Train yet.  Are these other writers beings with hearts and souls of stone, or am I just nuts?

It’s kind of fun.  The site says, “Winners will be contacted directly the week before the public announcement in our bulletins” and the bulletin is due out November 1st so the longer I don’t hear something the more giddy and butterfly-stomachy I feel.  Sixteen days….but if I don’t hear in nine days is that good news by default?  *flutter flutter*  Then I tell myself, “They just moved to a new computer system.  You know how that goes.  It’s what you do for a living.  They are probably just doing a batch update in the old system and that’s why you don’t know yet.”  *flutter flutter*

I’m trying to keep my rose colored glasses on.  I know the odds are slim.  I know they get tons of submissions.  I know no one gets published on their first submission.  Why did I have to be the one who submit a story when they got a new computer system?  But I haven’t heard anything yet so the excitement builds.

They probably just lost it.  It’s stuck in some bit or byte and they don’t even know it’s there.  November 1st will come and go and I won’t hear anything, and I’ll miss my chance to submit to the Writer’s Digest competition I’m eyeing.  I’ll be that awkward whiny person who e-mails them, “Uh, did you ever read my story?”

Gasp.  Maybe they like it.  Maybe I’ll get published.  Maybe it really is good.  I think it’s good….sometimes.

It’s like a writer’s Christmas Eve, but this time Santa really might not come, or he might bring me coal.  Do you hear the reindeer’s hooves?

I just checked.  Still no e-mail.  Still no update on my submission status.  I’m still In Process – Your work has been received and is in the review process. Check guidelines for response times.  Of course the guidelines are gone, because of the new system.  This is like every user I’ve ever programmed for paying me back for moving stuff they want to find on a website.  When will I move to Complete or *flutter flutter* Accepted for Publication?

Nine more days, or sixteen….

*flutter flutter*

Rose Colored Glasses

My friends and family who know me best know that I have two really big fears in life: broken glass, and my lack of self awareness.  The glass fear is just a normal fear, but the lack of self awareness fear impacts every aspect of my life.

We all know someone who thinks they are the most important person on every project they are on, while everyone else is cleaning up the messes they leave behind.  We all know people who think that everyone likes them because they are always the center of every social situation, when really they just push themselves to the center and refuse to give up the position even if others roll their eyes behind their back.

I am terrified of being that person.  I am terrified of not seeing the world as it truly is.  I am terrified of thinking I am smart, talented, attractive, funny, good at my job, a good writer, whatever, when everyone around me exchanges knowing glances.  I am not an extrinsically motivated person.  I do not need others to tell me my worth.  I am an intrinsically motivated person who is afraid that her internal compass is completely out of whack.  Every time I hear someone confidently exclaim their talent I cringe a little.  Not because I don’t agree with them, but because I would never be so bold.

Two things have happened recently that have made me doubt my fears: a mirror at work and some new sunglasses.

There is a mirror in the women’s bathroom at work.  It is a large mirror, almost floor to ceiling, and it is wide.  I think the proportions may have something to do with it’s magic.  I, like most people, am not getting more attractive as I age.  My middle is getting thicker.  My face is getting wrinkles and rounder.  My posture is stooping a bit.  I dress to hide my flaws, but I am not the woman I was twenty years ago, or ten, or five.  However, I am always amazed by my image in this magical mirror.  I don’t look skinny, but I don’t look fat.  I don’t look young, but I don’t look old.  I really look like the best version of me in that mirror.  It might be the light, it might be the mirror or…maybe I really look like that?  Is it bad to think that I really look like that?  Is it bad to think that maybe the mean mirror in my bedroom is the flawed one and what other’s see when I walk around is the work bathroom mirror lady?

My new sunglasses have a rose tint.  They are cute sunglasses, and I do love wearing sunglasses.  My contacts stay dirt free, my sensitive eyes don’t squint, and I have a face that works in sunglasses.  (Oh, that last part was so bold.  Someone is saying, I’ve seen you in sunglasses and…well….I hate to tell you…)  That said, these new sunglasses are extra special because they make the world more beautiful.  They have a rose tint, and when I wear these sunglasses the sky is a blue I’ve never seen before.  It’s darker and deeper than the normal sky and the contrast of the clouds is beautiful.  Any orange or red colored flower or leaf pops with a brightness that is dazzling.  The world is bright and different when I wear these sunglasses.  It’s not how the world really looks, but it is pretty and it makes me happy.  Rose colored glasses really do make the world better.

It’s a slippery slope this false attractive version of the world.  Pretty soon I’ll be waltzing into meetings in too-small hot pants and my sunglasses and proclaiming that I am the smartest person in the room.  If I appreciate the work mirror me and the brilliant orange flowers offset by the deep blue sky, where does it stop?  Or, am I building self awareness appreciating the beauty of the sunglass mirror world, but not accepting it as truth?

Wait a second.  I’ve never looked at myself in the work mirror with my sunglasses on!  Gasp!  What a vision I will be.  I need to go plan my outfit appropriately.  I need something red or orange….and something sky blue.  Maybe hot pants?