To Copyright, or Not to Copyright; That Is the Question

I’ve been taking some online blogging courses through WordPress and some of the assignments ask you to go out and check out other people’s blogs. I started noticing that a lot of them had widgets with copyrights.

So I started wondering if I needed a copyright widget on my blog.

I asked the blogging community what they thought and got a whole bunch of feedback.

Ultimately, I decided to ask my lawyer friend, Steve, what were his thoughts on the subject.

Probably couldn’t hurt.

So I set out on the quest to come up with a copyright widget.

I’m not sure what’s more terrifying: Figuring out what to include in the copyright or figuring out how to make a widget.

But I’m all over it.

Where Do You Write?

What are your writing habits? Inconsistent, sporadic, haphazard but always with the best intentions. Sitting on my deck with a cup of coffee and determination seems to yield the best results.

What equipment/supplies do you use to write? Hands down, my preferred method of writing is in a composition book with a colored (typically pink) pen. Ultimately, my thoughts need to be transferred to the computer if they plan to go anywhere, but generally I begin with a pen in my hand. It is mightier than the sword, after all.

What do you need and want in a physical space? I don’t discriminate when it comes to writing. If I have an idea or thought I deem important, I write it down no matter where I am or what I’m doing. That may mean sending myself a text, or jotting it down on a napkin or writing it in my journal. If I had to choose the ideal writing atmosphere of course it would be a villa in Italy. But truth be told, I probably wouldn’t be able to come up with stuff to write about as easily as I do in the chaos of my daily life. When I’m knee deep in life, trying to figure it all out –that’s when the ideas come flooding in.

A Story in a Single Image

While frantically searching through my office for my missing insurance card, I came across this photograph that used to reside in my father’s office. For as long as I can remember, the frame has always been cracked, though I can’t say how that came about. My younger sister’s picture sat next to mine on the shelf, all of her adorableness shining through in her unbroken frame.

I’m not sure when I first noticed the crack or when it first started to bother me but it did.

For years.

After my dad retired, I came across the cracked frame in a box at his house and specifically asked if I could have it. I wanted proof I wasn’t my father’s favorite daughter.

I have a habit of harboring shit like that.

I don’t know what irked me more: the fact that my frame was ruined or that my dad didn’t bother to fix it. I entertained endless possibilities debating the two sides, convinced the entire time that had my sister’s frame been cracked, it would have been repaired immediately.

The frame could have fallen off the shelf. More probably, it simply tipped over and cracked and like so many other things in life, went unnoticed.

To everyone except to me.

Fast forward years later, when I too become a single parent like my father. In the hallway of our house, hung three frames displaying my children’s artwork.

Except, the thing is, one of the frames was empty.

For quite some time, one of the frames didn’t have a picture in it.

And I can’t remember why.

It could have been because I couldn’t find the picture I wanted. It could have been because the picture I wanted to use was too big for the frame. Whatever the reason, the frame hung empty on the wall.

I’d put it up with the best intentions, never planning for it to hang empty as long as it did. For the longest time, I would walk past the empty frame and remind myself it needed to be addressed.

But for some reason, it never did get addressed.

I could type out a million excuses, all of them probably valid, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that all these years I have been wagging my judgmental finger at my father for the exact same thing I did to my own child.

It seems my cracked frame compliments my glass house perfectly.

Did the son whose picture was missing wonder why his artwork wasn’t represented like I wondered why my cracked frame hadn’t been repaired?

I don’t know the answer to that question. All I know is that when a friend visiting me asked why I had an empty frame on the wall, I rectified the situation immediately with a drawing off the fridge.

Years later, I confronted my father and asked him point blank why he favored my sister over me. His response was simple and concise.

I didn’t. 

That sentence could have seriously changed my life if I’d heard it earlier. But I didn’t know how to ask it because I was too busy worrying about my cracked frame.

Misplaced Musings

So two things that I desperately need have gone missing: my dental insurance card (which I need for my 9 am appointment tomorrow) and my old cell phone that houses old photos and contact information I never bothered to back up. (There’s actually nothing specific I need my old cell phone for, it’s just that now that I’ve reminded myself it’s missing, it will do my head in until I find it.)

Because that’s the way I roll.

This dilemma sends me digging through piles of paperwork stacked on my desk at almost 11 o’clock at night. Paperwork that according to my desk calendar hasn’t been addressed since July.

I sigh, consider the possibility of a Plan B and realize there isn’t one.

Not quite at the hurling papers point but rapidly approaching it, I remind myself that I am behind on my Blogging 101 and Writing 101 assignments that a) were due last week and b) I promised myself I wouldn’t get behind on.

I quickly log onto my blog, eager to rectify this situation. But instead of starting on my assignments, I proceed to read the blogs of my fellow classmates. I gleefully discover that I am not the only one who is behind on their assignments! This evolves into pressing Like after Like and posting a series of clever comments to my partners in procrastination until…

Nearing midnight, I realize I must get serious about finding the insurance card. In the midst of convincing myself that I will eventually find my old cell phone and to just focus on finding the insurance card, several interesting things occur.

First, the drawer I’m certain will produce the misplaced card actually results in the discovery of the missing cell phone!

How do you like them apples?

Then, after digging through more paperwork piles in my office, I not only find a receipt with all my dental insurance information but also locate Stephen King’s On Writing (the book I thought I inadvertently sold to the bookstore) and a play I wrote several years ago that I have been in search of for ages.

But wait, there’s more.

I feel like I’ve just won the lottery when all of a sudden I come across the perfect inspiration for my next blog that will simultaneously complete both my Blogging 101 and Writing 101 assignments.

Can you believe it?

I’m thinking Shakespeare was right when he said “All’s well that ends well.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Dear Fear,

Dear Fear,

First of all, I want to thank your for your input. I appreciate your honesty. I can see how you believe I would be interested in subscribing to your philosophy considering this partnership has gone on between us for so long. But the thing is, you have been calling all the shots for a very long time. You have been determining what direction we will be going in, or more accurately, not be going in. I’ve listened to your doubt and embraced the insecurities you have imposed on me. I’ve been comforted by your presence because it has been a consistent part of my life. You are the familiar face I recognize in a world of uncertainty.

You have talked me out of making decisions, claiming to be looking out for my best interests when really I think it is your best interests we have been serving all this time. I have willingly empowered you to become a stronger force in my life. I have fed you the fuel you needed to become stronger and bigger. I’ve allowed you to dominate my life.

You’re the toxic friend I have to let go of in my life. You’re the one who reinforces my lack of confidence. You remind me on a regular basis that I am not good enough. I need someone to lift me up not drag me down into the abyss of self-doubt while pulling away the rope. I need someone who believes in me, not someone who believes in suppressing me.

You have filled my head with so many versions of “What if…” that I never even considered the possibility What if you are wrong? What if all the stuff you have been telling me isn’t the truth at all but devious fiction you’ve created to serve your own purpose?

You believe that I don’t matter, that my thoughts and opinions aren’t valid, that I will fail if I give it a try.

And maybe you’re right.

But maybe you’re not.

Maybe, just maybe, I do matter. Maybe my thoughts and opinions are valid to someone other than you. Maybe I’ll fail but maybe I’ll try again and succeed.

You’ll be missed like any bad habit one acquires and tries to give up. I imagine you will find a way to try to creep back in my life. But I want you to know YOU’RE NOT WELCOME HERE ANYMORE. I’m dissolving this partnership. I’m stepping out of this dance I have become so dependent on and accepted as truth. I’m finally looking you in the eye and seeing your for what you really are

An excuse.

An excuse not to try, not to create, not to live.

Goodbye, Fear. We may meet again, but next time I will be prepared for you. I will acknowledge you but I won’t embrace you and let you back into my life.

Ever again.

And that, you can count on.

Melle

Inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast Magic Lesson #9

Uncertainty

I didn’t see it coming. I really didn’t. Maybe in hindsight I may have had an inkling it was a possibility but for the most part, I was in complete denial.

Sometimes we rely on truths we believe will always exist in our lives and we take them for granted. But sometimes Life rips the carpet out from underneath us, snatches theses truths away and leaves us gasping for air.

I never expected in a million years that my children would go and live with their father. An entire year in court battling over custody, and never once did I entertain the thought that they might move 3 hours away from me.

I just didn’t believe it was a possibility.

So when it happened, I was completely unprepared. They were here one minute and gone the very next. I hadn’t had time to get used to the idea, to adjust to this major change. I found myself floundering in a sea of remorse not knowing what the hell had happened or how to deal with the feelings of loss I was experiencing.

Nine months later, I’m still adjusting to this new life I have acquired. For more than 20 years, my children have been the center of my life. They have gotten more from me than anyone else on the planet, including myself. I’m so grateful to have had them in my live for as long as I did. And, if I’m honest with myself, I’m grateful that their father has taken over the responsibility of parenting full-time because for a very long time I carried that responsibility all on my own.

My children wanted to try something different. They wanted to see what life was like living with their dad and his new family. My fear of change kept me clinging on to them which only made them want it more. I was afraid to let them go because so much of who I was was defined by having them in my life.

I didn’t know who I would be without them.

I still don’t know, really. I’m just trying to figure it all out. The good news is there’s a world of possibility standing in front of me and it’s pretty exciting. At 40 something, I finally have the opportunity to answer the question I’ve been asking myself my entire life:

What do I want to be when I grow up?

And then the excitement dissolves into fear and the world of possibility suddenly becomes shrouded in a veil of uncertainty.

What do I want to be when I grow up? I’ve spent so many years helping my children accomplish their goals while setting my own on the back burner that now that my time has come I’m….well, uncertain.

Uncertain which direction to go, uncertain which avenues to pursue, uncertain who I want to be.

I’m now faced with opportunities that have never been available to me before. I don’t have to worry about putting my oxygen mask on first so I can take care of others, I get to put my oxygen mask on first because I’m the only one here.

The Universe has opened its doors and set out the Welcome mat for me. I’m scared to death, terrified actually, but I’m not going to let this opportunity of a lifetime pass me by.

15 Things I’ve Recently Learned

  1. Laughter is often the best solution to any given problem but arguably not always the most appropriate one.
  2. Examining my role in certain situations and accepting personal responsibility for my actions takes more effort than assigning blame to someone else but it’s the right thing to do.
  3. Things generally do work out for the best even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. Often, what I believe would be the best outcome actually ends up being quite the opposite.
  4. The best intentions can have monumental consequences you never even considered.
  5. It is important to gather as much information as possible when making a decision. Equally important, is accepting only having access to the information available at the time of making that decision and not second guessing yourself later. There’s a reason hindsight trumps foresight.
  6. Allowing toxic people to remain in your life is a choice.
  7. Resources are essential to your well being. Resources give you options. Without resources, other people get to make decisions for you and they don’t always have your best interests in mind.
  8. Regret doesn’t change things. It just puts a damper on the present.
  9. Whatever I feel, when I feel it, is valid. There will always be people better off than I am and worse off but that doesn’t negate my feelings. They are my feelings and I am entitled to have them. Being compared to someone with a worse plight in life doesn’t make my feelings disappear.
  10. Hands down, doing something nice for someone else is the BEST feeling in the world.
  11. Opinions can change. Times can change. People can change. It’s crucial to accept these realities.
  12. Being judgmental is a nasty and very necessary habit to break.
  13. If you want something, you have to put in the time it takes to achieve it. There are no shortcuts. If you want to lose weight, you have to put the time in at the gym. If you want to be a writer, you have to invest time in writing. It’s that simple.
  14. Gratitude is EVERYTHING. Without it, we’re doomed.
  15. Despite our differences, we are all connected. Like it or not.