Posts Tagged With: control

Is Change a Loss of Control or an Opportunity to Take Control?

I don’t drink… much. I’ve only been ‘tipsy’ once in my life (yes it was underage drinking – I thought I was invincible at 17). I hated roller coasters (and still can’t handle the ones that go backwards) until I learned to understand force vs. momentum and the effects of gravitational pull… among other things. I’m also a terrible ‘back seat driver’ when it comes to being in a vehicle with someone (my husband for one) who is a more ‘aggressive’ driver than I am… the fast stops, the impatient lane changes, the waiting to see if that other idiot is actually going to see you before pulling out into the intersection before bothering to slow down only to hit the horn and curse at what you clearly saw coming… you get the idea.

If you hadn’t guessed, I’m a bit of a control freak – always have been.

Needless to say there have been times in my life (mostly as a child or young girl) when I felt severely out of control and lived with a nagging sense of dread that some people might even label as childhood depression. Now, I was not sexually or physically abused (though the psychological damage from playground bullying and my father’s lack of faith in me as a teen was difficult enough) but there was very little stability in my life growing up.

You see, my mother was a bit of a gypsy.

We rarely stayed in one home for more than a couple of years and she’s had her fair share of boyfriends (and side lovers) since she was still quite young herself as she raised me. At that time in my life my school, and by default my grandmother’s house, was my rock – my foundation. It never changed. I had my friends and my extended family (several of my cousins went to the same school though they were in different years) – I had a source of stability.

All that changed when an anomalous ‘boyfriend’ of my mother’s convinced her to stop driving me to my grandmother’s house on her way to work every day and sent me instead to ‘a perfectly good school across the street’ from where we were living at the time.

For an 11 year old, this shattered my world.

Now, my ‘home’ school (the one I’d attended since the age of 4) became a pillar or beacon in my life. I always felt that if I could just get back there again, I would feel whole. So every chance I got (Professional Development Days & the last day of school) I went back. I even went to my old class’ Confirmation at the local Church for goodness sake… but things were never the same.

Earlier that day, when I visited my old school, the boy who had been my absolute best friend – the one who played Thunder Cats (as an improvised drama game based on the cartoon) with me at recess – asked one of the guys, who I always knew but never hung out with, who I was…

I mean, how could he not know me?

And that’s when the bubble broke. I realized that I’d been holding on so tight to the past that my past had moved on without me even knowing.

Years later I learned from my grandmother that they tore my school down (they being the city planners). There was nothing particularly wrong with the building. It was perhaps a bit small but the biggest down point is that it was a Catholic School. The cultural and religious makeup of the area favoured the new immigrants who followed different faiths.

My school became obsolete and the last vestiges of the foundation I’d built myself upon crumbled away.

This is what my character Taya goes through in Cadence of Consequences, Book 2 of The Chronicles of Xannia series.

Her foundation is severely rocked and even begins to crumble in Book 1, but in book 2 this headstrong, self-confident and exceptional young woman no longer feels in control of her life. Hidden away from the world for ‘her own safety’ she becomes dependent on pills to cover up the fact that she’s falling apart on the inside – she’s too afraid to see the opportunities before her as she dwells on the life she wants back but can no longer have.

This is a particularly difficult journey toward self-realization for her, just as it was for me. It doesn’t matter that she is of an alien race living on another planet. Her humanity crosses boundaries and barriers as she finally learns who she is and what she’s capable of.

To this day I struggle with viewing change as an opportunity and not as a blow to my understanding of self. Hindsight is 20/20 but those rose-coloured glasses are hard to give up. In fact, I particularly dread the day my grandmother passes away (luckily she’s still quite robust @ 91) and the family sells her home… I just know that some small piece of me still clings to that false sense of security.

I hope you will join Taya, her absentee lover and the best friend who betrayed her as they find a way to heal themselves and their fracturing world.

Cadence of Consequences comes out later this Summer (2015).

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Book 1 – Time’s Tempest please send me a message as the 1st Edition is currently unavailable online. As of July 1st the 2nd Edition will be published with my new publisher and be available again through the regular channels.

All the best,

M.J.

Categories: Musings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dealing with Personal Faults

It is not easy for most people to admit they are wrong. I am a strange one when it comes to this concept. If I know nothing or almost nothing about what is being debated, I will hear someone out and then make a logical decision based on fact and proof. If what is being debated is something I am familiar with or know well, I will push to make my point heard and argue until I’ve convinced the other person that my point of view is the right one.

In that way, I’m a bit of a control freak.

at faultI have imbued my main character, Taya, with this trait in an attempt to view how I must be perceived by others – those who know me and expect this and those who don’t. She comes across as being kind of bitchy. At the same time, she convinces herself of the necessity of this trait in a world that tends to see her as “less than” the woman she is. She has had to fight tooth and nail to prove to the world that she matters and yet, the world is unable to see past her youthful exterior.

This was echoed in my own life when I moved in with my father at the age of 16. I didn’t know it at the time, but nothing I could have done would have pleased him, unless it was to treat his word as gospel and give up my independence. From the age of 6 I wanted to be a teacher (and the age of 9 an author). It stood to reason that I could write in the summer months and work during the school year. Just as I was filling out college application forms my father says to me, “Don’t expect me to pay for you to go to school to become a teacher. Find another profession.” My mother had no money to be able to help me, and I had saved very little working at a cafe that year. No self-respecting college was going to help me with a loan because my father made too much money (he was still a middle-income earner but in the upper bracket).

The only other thing I was interested in was writing. So I decided to try Broadcasting Journalism. Let’s just say that I found out fast that I could pass most of my classes with a mark in the low 80s with minimal effort, but I hated current events. I felt like a fraud surrounded by other students (my friends) who were desperate to have a career in Journalism and I was just going through the motions. This was not the right career for me.

My father’s response when I told him I wasn’t going to finish my diploma but go to university for teaching instead?

“You never finish anything you start.”

Then it dawned on me. He never attended any of my track meets in high school, he never supported my interest in archery (and I got a silver medal at a local competition), the only time he ever attended a theatrical production I was in was when I played a bit part in a musical in my final year (and he wondered why he even bothered coming)… are you seeing the pattern? I was. He knew nothing about me and yet he somehow got it in his head that I never finished anything I started.

When he looked at me, he saw my mother (not because I look like her, I actually have more of his features). I believe it had something to do with my mannerisms and my optimism because that’s where our similarities end. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother fiercely but the only role-model she played in my life was the “I’m never going to be like her” one. She never finished high school, she dated questionable men, she was a roamer, she wasn’t good with money… I learned how to live my life by being observant of her faults. One thing I could never fault her for though, was believing in me.

And that’s what my character, Taya, needed – someone to believe in her. For her it was an older-sister type character she met while working a job, but that kind of undeniable support does incredible thing for the spirit. No matter Taya’s need to be in control, her bitchy attitude, or the walls she’d built around her heart – someone finally understood her.

Don’t we all need that? Just one person to look past our faults and simply believe?

This I know and know well, and it is this driving force that I endowed Taya with to find out how both she, and I, might survive when that support disappears leaving us stranded.

Have you been there – when you’ve felt absolutely alone and yet you were supposedly surrounded by people who loved you?

Categories: Musings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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