4 Ways to Console Yourself After Being Dumped (By a Reader)

I ventured out with my sis and 4 girlfriends to my first concert in over a decade. We braved 3 hours of (round trip) traffic and 5 hours on our feet to see Pentatonix live. (Note to self: Even when the tickets have seat numbers, if it says General Admission Standing, it means NO SEATS!) But boy, was it worth it! 🙂

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The only downside was that their part of the concert was way too short because there were three other artists who performed before them. I didn’t mind seeing the other artists since I had heard their songs before and liked most of them. But several of my girlfriends hadn’t, along with many of the other attendees. As soon as the first act came on stage, I heard the gal behind me ask her friend, “Do you know who he is?”

Aw, poor guy. I felt so bad for him, although I probably shouldn’t have considering he’s currently #1 on the charts in the U.K. and, as he gleefully pointed out, ahead of Ed Sheeran (who signed him onto his record label). But here in the U.S., he’s a newbie and still opening for other people. (BTW, his name is Jamie Lawson and you should check out his song, “Wasn’t Expecting That”.)

As a newbie author, I totally understand what it’s like to be in that guy’s shoes, to be unknown. I’m the gal behind the computer screen who desperately wants to get my books into the hands of readers. I love what I do and hope others do, too. But it’s a big humongous ocean we authors are swimming in, and it’s hard to get noticed. The chances of someone discovering your book among the hundreds of thousands on Amazon.com is about as easy as finding the car rental keys your hubby may have dropped in the Pacific while on vacation (#truestory). But with prayer and patience and perseverance, you can witness the miracle of a sale (and find those keys!). 🙂

I am always so thankful when someone buys my books. I’m even more thankful when they leave a nice detailed review. Of course positive reviews are preferred, but I also welcome ones with constructive criticism. What I dread however is the 2 star rating with no explanation of why. Especially when the reviewer just created an account on Goodreads last month and the only book she has listed there is mine. It kinda makes me wonder if she got an account just to diss my book! (How’s that for thinking the world revolves around me, haha!) It’s not my first 2 star rating, but it’s the first one for what I believe is my best work so far. With no explanation of why. 🙁

So, here I am in the aftermath of being dumped by a reader, and learning four ways to console myself. 😉

1. Commiserate and cry. Misery loves company, right? Especially the company of other down and out writers. After getting the review, I immediately went to my Facebook writers group to share my frustrations, and was so encouraged by their comments. I heard from one gal who had the exact same situation (though with a 1 star rating) happen to her. How awesome is that? Not that we were in the same boat, but the fact that I knew I wasn’t alone.

2. Compare (in a good way). One of the group members told me whenever she gets a negative review she’ll go read the negative reviews of her favorite authors. Huh … now why didn’t I think of that?! I admit I got kind of excited that a bestselling, successful author could have something in common with lil ‘ole me. And amazingly enough, one of my favorite authors (Francine Rivers) who has the most poetically beautiful writing style has gotten some 1 and 2 star reviews.

3. Count my blessings. I took a walk around the neighborhood and listened to some soothing instrumental music. Once I got out of my head, I was able to calm down and count my blessings instead. And there are a lot of them, thank God. 🙂 Like the 5 star review I just got yesterday for the same book!

4. Cut loose! Lastly, I just gotta remember that there will always be people who like and dislike my work, and that’s life. So whenever I cross paths with the latter, I’m gonna face it, accept it and move on. As T-Swift says, “The haters gonna hate, hate, hate; Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake; Shake it off!”

And that’s the song we’ll end with today. 🙂

How do you console yourself after a rejection?

Modern Day Princes & Princesses

The munchkins and I visit the library every week to stock up on (free!) books. During a recent trip there, a book’s title jumped out at me from the shelf and I picked up the graphic novel (that’s fancy for comic book) to take a closer look. The title read “Princeless” with a motto of “Save Yourself” underneath it. I wondered what this series was about so I Googled it at home later that day. I found out it’s about a girl who is trapped in a castle and gets tired of waiting for a prince to rescue her (after many failed attempts apparently) and decides to save herself, along with her 5 or 6 sisters who are also trapped (I take it that none of the girls thought about growing out their hair, haha).

Image courtesy of wikipedia

Image courtesy of wikipedia

I’m not sure why, but the idea behind this comic bothered and intrigued me at the same time. Hubby and I had a brief talk about it and he surmised the author of the series was likely a female who had been jaded by relationships and being let down by guys who didn’t fulfill their manly role. Quite possible. So I did a little more Googling about the author and was surprised to find out it’s not a woman, but a man! Hmm! (This got the psychology-lovin’ gears in my brain to start turning.)

While I’m all for the idea that females can be strong and independent creatures without guys (personally, I believe we can survive without men, but not the other way around!), I think there’s also a desire in us to be pampered and adored and yes, to be treated like a princess. And I believe there’s a desire in the male species to be the ones to do the pampering and adoring and yes, to be the prince who saves the day.

If I could, I would tweak this “Princeless” story into one that goes something like this …

Girl who lives in a castle has set up an obstacle course in order to find a guy who has enough guts and passion to overcome those mental and physical challenges in order to “rescue” her. She waits patiently, knowing that not every guy will pass the test, but THE guy who does is worth her heart, mind and body. And meanwhile as she’s waiting for her prince to come along, she is pursuing her dreams and goals in life and having a grand time doing so. She may be princeless, but she does not require a prince to have fun. The reason she desires one is so she can have a companion who will join her on her lifetime adventure, one whom she can talk to, learn with and help out (cause we all know that’s why God created women). 🙂

So the moral of the story is this: For all the princesses out there, whether you are princeless or not on this overly-commercialized day of love, please know you are so very valuable and worth pampering and adoring this day and every day. And for all the princes out there, thank you for opening doors and slaying dragons and treating the women and girls in your life with care and respect. You give us hope that chivalry still exists.

On that note, here’s a modern song about an old-fangled tale, Taylor Swift’s “Love Song.”

How have you seen chivalry at work in your life?

From Strangers to Family

We’ve been doing some home renovations for the past few months. Most recently, the whole family was involved in painting the kitchen cabinets. Hubby and I painted the upper cabinet doors, while the kids did the lower ones. While we were working, I remarked to hubby that we (he and I) have done quite a lot of painting together, starting from when we were dating. He looked at me with an amused expression and said, “Yeah, you surprised me. I didn’t know you very well back then.” I grinned and replied, “I didn’t know you well back then either!”

Our first painting experience together took place almost fifteen years ago when I helped his family paint their house; since then we have come a verrry long way. We went from “Oh, I think he/she’s cute and I want to know him/her better” to getting married to showing our true selves to each other on a daily basis. It’s almost funny to think that as newlyweds, we were embarrassed to fart in front of the other person! That however has totally changed and we’ve seen, heard and smelled more of the other person than we ever imagined we would. HAHA

Isn’t it strange how two people go from being complete strangers to becoming family? It’s a comforting and scary thought all at the same time. Comforting because when you are able to be that comfortable with your spouse, you get to experience a deeper kind of love.

It’s the kind of love that drives someone to…
~ kiss you when you have morning breath
~ buy you chocolate for your next PMS attack
~ allow you to squeeze the life out of his hand during a contraction

It’s also the kind of love that motivates someone to…
~ not nag when you leave your socks in the middle of the floor
~ listen to you complain about your stressful day at work
~ let you buy that new electronic gadget you’ve been drooling over

However, when you are that close to your spouse, things can get a little scary, too. There are plenty of chances to rant and complain and blame and belittle. There are more than enough opportunities to show that side of you that you would never, EVER think of showing to your coworkers, friends or neighbors. But if you have a good foundation of that deeper kind of love to sustain you, you learn to apologize, forgive and try again.

Now, how do you keep the love flowing in your marriage so you not only don’t kill each other, but you actually like one another?

I don’t have any profound answers, but I think it helps to go back in time and think about what worked before. Back to a time when you and your spouse tried to impress one another with the things you said and did. Back to the days when that one Facebook message, text, email, phone call or snail mail letter (depending on how far back you need to go!) from your spouse made your whole day.

Image courtesy of stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net

When all else fails, you can always go back to these three timeless basics of a relationship:

1. Practice your manners. Smile at your spouse every day, so it looks like you’re happy to see him/her. 🙂 Say “please” and “thank you”, even for things you think he/she was supposed to do or should have done last week. It not only makes him/her feel treasured, it helps you to have a grateful attitude.

2. Be courteous. Treat your spouse like the person you once so desperately wanted to get to know. Make eye contact and ask about their day (and put your phone down). Listen attentively and nod once in a while (and resist the urge to peek at your phone). Make him/her feel like you care about their concerns – cause you do! Ask for their opinion when making decisions. Be a team player and make your partner feel needed and appreciated.

3. Go beyond yourself. Do something you used to do when you were trying to win your spouse over. Maybe you used to buy her that dessert she likes or leave work early just to surprise her? Or maybe you used to watch basketball with him or compliment him on how hard he works? Go above and beyond yourself and invest a little time and energy into making your spouse feel important.

Marriage is like our bodies. What goes into our body and how we treat it determines how healthy, strong and energetic we feel. Similarly, what we put into our marriages determines if our homes are happy and healthy sanctuaries… or if they feel like suffocating and depressing traps. The choice is up to you. The good news is that every little positive thought and action counts – you just need to start. You, your spouse and family are worth it.

To help you remember what it was like to date your spouse and why you wanted to marry him/her in the first place, listen to Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran’s song, “Everything Has Changed“.

What drew you to your spouse when you first met as strangers? What do you appreciate about him/her now that you are one family?

No Longer 22

I had a great girls’ night out with some dear old (not age-wise, but length of time!) friends recently. These are ladies I have known longer than my husband and one of whom I have known since we were in the single digits. Now that is a long time! We have had the privilege of going through all of life’s ups and downs together – adolescence, boy troubles, college, graduations, more boy troubles (haha), career changes, weddings, man troubles, births of kids, etc.

As we sat around eating ramen and sushi rolls, I was struck by how different our lives are now than from a decade and a half ago when we were in college. We used to be able to eat a whole order of combination crispy chow mein – by ourselves – at midnight! I am talking about grease, grease and more grease! And we didn’t get heartburn, food coma or muffin tops! We were also carefree, energetic and spontaneous, even at 2 in the morning.

Thank you Sun Hong Kong for staying open late to feed starving college kids!

Things have definitely changed… that evening, we could barely finish our meal and each of us took turns yawning by the time it was 8:30pm! Though I would love to go back in time for a day or two and just be young again, there’s a lot that I don’t miss about that other side of the hill:

~Not completely knowing who I was or where I was going
~Not being as comfortable in my own skin
~Thinking that disappointments (whether in relationships, school or work) were “end of the world as we know it” moments in life

I see now that…

Aging = Experience + Wrinkles + Gray hair + Sagging body parts(!) =

Wisdom + Confidence + Contentment

And being older and wiser is something that can’t be bought or taught, you just have to live life to get there.

This song by Taylor Swift, “22” is an ode to our younger selves and a reminder of how far we’ve come. 🙂

What do you like about being older and wiser? 

Growing Pains

The morning rush to school!

Hubby dropped off E at kindergarten yesterday.  They were a tad bit late (yes, we are Chinese), so instead of the usual goodbye kiss, E ran off to sit with his classmates for group time.  As hubby was hanging up E’s backpack and jacket, he heard the teacher speak.  

“Good morning, E.”

“Good morning, Mrs. C!”  A low, loud voice called out quickly.

Hubby said he looked up right away and wondered, Who was that?!  He had never heard E speak like that before, in such an assertive and confident way.  It both shocked and pleased him to realize that was our son.  When he shared this story with me, I was blown away, too (picture me with my eyebrows raised high).  

It was then that hubby realized our sensitive, particular and dependent high need kid is growing up.  He is becoming his own person and feeling comfortable in his own skin at school.  This is such a stark contrast to how he was when he first started preschool.  Those morning drop offs consisted of a lot of crying and clinging; hubby still cringes when he talks about it.  And when I picked E up from preschool, he would be sitting all alone on a little rocker toy just waiting for me to arrive.  Those were definitely sad days for him and for us.

But amazingly, things have changed.  E is perfectly fine without us at school now.  He has friends and he enjoys learning.  Get this, he even talks (hubby can testify to that!).  It took him about two years in preschool before he even said a word; it was always a nod or shake of the head.  Now he even goes on field trips with his class – without us.  He actually doesn’t want us to go.  

We understand now that it’s a good sign that he doesn’t want us to go.  He’s establishing his own identity and becoming more independent.  He has his own thing going on at school and doesn’t need us there.

This is all a good thing, right?  Then why does it all seem so bittersweet?  I suppose it’s because I never thought this day would come.  And now that it has, it’s a reminder that our job as parents is to help our kids need us less and less.  That’s a hard fact to swallow. Because even in all my complaining about how needy E is, I have to admit there’s a part of me that is so used to it and might even like it (don’t tell him that though!).

Growing up is hard to do for both the kids and parents, wouldn’t you agree?

Here’s Taylor Swift’s song, “Never Grow Up” that speaks about these growing pains we face.

In what ways have you noticed your kid(s) growing up?