Scarlette Letter – Weekend Edition September 13, 2015

Students of happiness agree that certain habits foster feelings of contentment, peace, and joy. These habits include:

Gratitude – I am grateful for the communities I belong to, physical and virtual

Affirmation – I am committed to my goals and dreams

Attitude – I feel empowered by my accomplishments

Activity – Just a little half marathon with a whole bunch of hills

Nurture – A lovely day Saturday with my love, strolling, enjoying the beautiful weather, a few new restaurants, and each other’s company. Sunday, after my race, a wonderful afternoon on the deck in the mild temps, reading, writing, resting, socializing (on social media)

Enrichment – “The future comes one day at a time”

Nourishment –

Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia Scarlette Begonia

Giving – Several organizations benefit from the proceeds of the race I ran, and, I donated by “Whole Foods bring your reusable grocery sack” nickel to a worthy cause fathering than having it deducted from my bill.

Connection – Spent time with my sweetie and we chatted with folks everywhere we went, on Saturday. Chit chatted a little, Sunday, with other runners and with a grandmother full of curious questions about running races and kids, with her grandson in mind

Simplifying – I made a new pile of clothes to go to charity this week, with intentions of adding a few more pieces from my closet

Journaling –

Ideas come to me at the oddest of times and usually when I am without pen and journal, or while driving and unable to tap my thoughts into Evernote or into a blank Word document on my phone.

I had a wonderful and rare Saturday with my guy, yesterday, and a busy and challenging half-marathon today. Several times, fabulously fantastic ideas came to me for stories to share with you, and, because I was enjoying my day, I did not record them, and, poof, they are, for now, gone.

Tragic, I know. But, there are times when we need to break away from the things we do to enjoy the moment at hand. Those special moments, special days, and special events that come so rarely should be unbastardized by work, or our other, usual tasks. Too often we squander the time we have with the really special people in our lives, or compromise it, by focusing on less important things. How often do you find yourself picking up your phone and addressing some seemingly important notification when you are in conversation with a loved one, a friend, a family member. Our attention is the most beloved thing we can share with those we love, they deserve as much of it as we have to give.

Yes, there are those unavoidable communications and tasks that must be dealt with, but, truly, those should be the exception and not the rule.

That’s my excuse, and I’m not one for excuses. I have no great story for you today, this weekend, but, rest assured, in my afternoon of rest and recuperation, I have jotted down a fair number of ideas I’ll play with for stories tomorrow, or the next day, and perhaps the day after. Today, yesterday, I had much more important things to do.

Social – Instagram (begoniascarlett), Facebook Page (Scarlette Begonia), Twitter (@BegoniaBegoniaS)

Swinging. Boogers. Toilets. Sex.

I have been writing my whole life. Practically. I was first “published” when I was seven years old, in my elementary school’s creative writing collection. For the record, NOT every child in school was published, there was, indeed, a selection process, of some sort. The publication wasn’t too fancy, several pages, mimeographed (that probably dates me), stapled together and sent home to all the parents to enjoy. I’m hoping Mom hasn’t shredded it along with all the family photos and important letters in her last spree. The piece I wrote was on being Amish. I’m not, but at that point in my life, I thought it would be really cool because you could have lanterns and candles instead of boring old electric lights and you’d have to have horse drawn carts instead of boring old cars. In high school, again, I had two short stories published in the school’s creative writing journal. One was about not liking peas. I can’t remember the other, but I think it was even better than the “peas” one. Who knows? It, too, probably got shredded. I’m beginning to think Mom’s shredding is a subtle statement she is trying to make about my desire to be a writer.

I also love to write letters and was an avid pen pal for many years with dozens of pen pals from all over the globe. This hobby I continued for a decade, or more, until all of my pen pals ended up on Facebook and we already knew each other’s news and saw each other’s pictures before the snail mail even got posted.

I did write a novel once, about ten years ago. It was a “romance” type story, with an element of suspense. About four hundred fifty pages worth. I based part of it on some plausible but not yet developed technologies. Before working up the nerve to do the final edits and submit it to anyone who might be interested, the technology came to fruition and is actually, now, very common, sort of making the story ordinary. It needs a serious revision. So, in the meantime, I’ve lost the computer “the book” was on, or, at least the hard-drive. And the password to open it. It was a masterpiece, however, I assure you.

Blogging. I never imagined myself enjoying blogging nearly as much as I do. I didn’t think the shorter, less formal form was really my style. I was wrong, I find it liberating! I can use slang, and cuss, and employ all the quirky little run-ons and conjunction overuse I so enjoy in speech. I can write like I speak, with emphasis in unusual places, to add interest. I can use as many commas as I like! And exclamation points! I fucking love punctuation! I have a lot of ideas I want to write about, mostly on topics of “importance”; self-esteem, self-confidence, health, nutrition, success, fulfillment, spirituality, fitness, and relationships. I have learned a great deal about myself, about people, about personal growth and life in the past several years and I feel like I have information and methods that may help others overcome their personal struggles. I am passionate about these ideas. I like to add a little humor for levity and to prove that life really shouldn’t be all that serious. We should laugh. We should laugh everyday. We should laugh really hard, everyday. Life is too short to be so damned serious all the time. For these reasons, I will categorize my articles as “Life is Funny” and/or “Life is Serious”. I love it when life is seriously funny! That’s just the best.

The more articles I post, the more I learn about what people seem to enjoy, to prefer. When I write about more serious topics I usually get a few “likes” and maybe a “follow”, but no real “searches”. When I write something shocking I get a whole bunch of “likes” and several “follows”. When I look at the stats, the article that has more searches by keyword than any other ever I’ve written, is an article titled “Upside Down Pineapple”, which explores rumors revolving around swingers.  The longest comment I ever received was in response to an article on going commando. The most likes and follows I’ve had in response to any article, recently, were after I posted the one about boogers and toilets. It’s like we’re all a bunch of grade schoolers, laughing and snickering at dirty stories and potty talk. But, hey, whatever works.

I used to read posts on a blog called “Girl With a One Track Mind“. She wrote about her experiences with rather indiscriminate sex. She wrote fairly well and her content was quite interesting, but she got busy with other stuff and pretty much stopped posting to her blog. She was shocking, usually, but highly entertaining. I also follow certain YouTube channels, Jenna Marbles being one. She is funny and yet, often, has a worthy message. I think it is entirely possible to be funny, a little shocking and still relevant and worthwhile. This is something Scarlett strives for. I love to entertain people, I love to make people laugh, with my unique style of quirky humor and dorkiness. And yet, I really seek to be understood. I have a message, I have learned some very important lessons in life and want to share my experiences that others may benefit. To mix these into a medium is very challenging.

I do have a message I want to get out to the world. I really want to make a difference, in a serious way. And I still want to laugh, and make people laugh, too. There is a balance between silly, shocking and serious, and I feel like I am the epitome of that. I believe that is probably my message to the world above and beyond any other. Be silly, a little shocking, be serious, be everything, not one without the others, not one more than the others. Be seriously silly, be funny and fierce, have fun and be focused. So, what I’ve learned from the feedback and activity on my posts thus far is that I need to write serious shit and include references to sex, drinking, toilets, boogers and swinging in order to attract the largest audience, and to hopefully, make the positive mark on the world I seek to make.

 

 

Museum of Sex, NYC
Museum of Sex, NYC
Museum of Sex, NYC
Museum of Sex, NYC
Museum of Sex, NYC
Museum of Sex, NYC
Museum of Sex, NYC
Museum of Sex, NYC

Numbers or Words

I have always sucked at math.

For as long as I can remember, I have sucked at math. I have always been sort of an over achiever and a wee bit competitive. And I have always loved school, the idea of school and of learning. I’d still be in school, if I could, but at some point I had to stop, and get a job, so my kids could go to school, and love it too.

I remember way back before kindergarten, driving by the school down the street and looking at the building with the weird curvy roof, the multipurpose room, and thinking, since it was the room at the far end, that must be where kindergarten was. All I wanted in the whole wide world was to be in kindergarten so I could learn to read. I was four years old. When I finally turned five, you remember, I’m sure, the eternity a year was when you were that age, I got to GO TO SCHOOL! I was only mildly disappointed that kindergarten wasn’t held in the big room on the far end with the curvy roof. Kindergarten totally rocked, except we didn’t get to read. First grade was way better because Mrs. Wells was our teacher and we got to learn to read! I remember learning to sound out the letters posted on the wall over the chalkboard. Game on! I was determined to finish the “Sullivan Reading Series” before anyone else at Browns Valley Elementary School, and I had until some time in second grade to do it. There were thirteen modules with stories about Sam and Ann and their cat Tab, how random is that?

I remember, by half way through first grade, I was way ahead of most of the other kids in the reading program, there were really only a couple of kids I was in competition with. Two girls and one boy. I was so going to finish the thirteenth module before the rest. Game on. I loved my first grade teacher and prospered under her compassionate instruction. I was definitely in the running entering second grade. My mom was one of those moms, much as I was, that requested one teacher over the other for her child’s special, accelerated, and extraordinary educational needs. And, being a woman of well chosen words, in both cases, always got what we asked for, the “best” teacher in that grade level. Unfortunately, the “best” second grade teacher at Browns Valley that year didn’t think I was the best student. Sad face.  For my super-human efforts in completing the Sullivan Reading program, I came in second, after the other girl, but before the boy. But, on the bright side, I was reading a few grade levels ahead of second grade.

Math, on the other hand, not so good. I got addition. I got subtraction. Multiplication and division were a bit harder, but with concerted effort, I memorized the tables sufficiently. Word problems were the devil. And anything that even resembled solving for “x’” was an automatic “huh?’ “X” was a letter, it belonged in words, and only a few words, at that, it had no place in arithmetic!

Junior high is a dark memory. Actually, academically, other than English, French, Physical Education and Band, I remember nothing; math and science, to be exact, were a black hole. By the time high school rolled around, and college was on the horizon, my parents employed mathematically gifted family acquaintances to try to nurture me through Algebra and Geometry. It was a dismal attempt. When I applied for college, way back when, for a “state” college, all you needed for “guaranteed” admission was a 3.25 GPA. I had all A’s in my English, foreign language, physical education, arts and other electives. My perfect 4.0 was lowered to 3.27 by my consistent underachievement in mathematics, but, nonetheless, I had a red carpet entry into college.

In college, I was only required to take one math class for my chosen field of study. I had to successfully pass college algebra. Somehow, I totally lucked out and got a coke fiend for a teacher. I showed up for the first day of class and , tweaking, with a mustached encrusted with white powder, he explained his grading scheme; hand in homework, pass the tests and pass the class. Done. I think I showed up two more times all semester, to hand in homework (and the answers were in the back of the book) and to take the tests. He managed to show up for a few classes, and I showed up for even fewer. I got a C, an A on the homework portion and a strong D- on the tests. But, I passed, and never had to worry about math again.

Flash forward ten years and I, miraculously, unwittingly, graduated from college, because, if I had anything to say about it, I’d still be there! “Here’s your degree, now get out!”

I got a bachelors degree in criminal justice, but life is weird and somehow, I’m an accountant, which, you would think is all math. Luckily for me, Excel does the math and I just learned how to build a really wicked formula!

I’ve been in the accounting profession for twenty some years, and it has been good to me. My goal in life, for whatever reason, is to reach six figures by the time I’m fifty. Abstract, I know, and, additionally, I am well aware that money doesn’t buy happiness. It’s just a competitive thing. I will be fifty in July, this year. If I add up my salary and potential bonuses, etc., I will fall shy of my goal. I’m looking for things to sell, up to, but not including, my body, in order to meet my goal. I am extremely goal oriented and this is killing me, for whatever reason. I thought about adding a PayPal button to this post, but didn’t. Ugh.

So, what do I really want to do when I “grow up”, which, really, according to my personal philosophy is NEVER? I want to write. All I have ever wanted to do is write. I was first published in the second grade. I wrote a whole, well worded paragraph on being Amish and it was published in the Browns Valley School annual essay publication. I still have it, in case you doubt me. But, when my GPA was suffering in junior high and I almost got dismissed from the GAT (gifted and talented) program, I wrote an awesome, extra credit project and it cured the problem. In high school, I was published not once, but twice, in the annual essay collection. When I’d been in college for nine years and was still trying to finish up my general education requirements, I wrote an awesome plea to the dean and got the final twenty one units of general eduction requirements waived. Other than writing legendary Christmas family newsletters the kind most folks cringe to receive, and rarely read, and the occasional letter, blogging has been my only literary outlet since college. Sad face.

A way with words is a gift, and if you have it, you can rule the world, unless you’re really, really good at math, then you can rule the universe. At least that’s what I believe, and that’s what I’ve taught my kids. My son was born speaking in four syllable words. My daughter is an English major and a grammar nazi, bar none. I’m a little embarrassed to let her read what I write! From day one, I spoke to them as if they were adults, I never spoke baby talk to them, I spared no five dollar words. In our home, the dictionary was on the pedestal, the Bible was on the shelf. Sorry, God, at least the good book was in the house. I’ll be writing an admission essay to heaven, if necessary, and Saint Peter will cave at my eloquently worded plea for entry.

So, while numbers are currently what pay my bills, I endeavor to swap them for words. I know that none of us will ever be truly fulfilled until we are doing, in life, what we are truly passionate about. I have passion and respect for the job I do now, for the products I support, for the people I work with, and for, and for the company I am employed by. But, when all is said and done, I want to make my living as a wordsmith, not as a bean counter. Writing, and helping people evolve towards their own fulfillment, is what I am most passionate about. The progression is slow, but eventual, if for no other reason, because I am determined. And because I have bills to pay. And I have two kids in college. And even if writing is what I end up doing for a living for the last moments of my life, when I am too old and decrepit to do what I do now, I will still have succeeded in my goal. Simply this, I choose words over numbers. Count on it!