TJ Maxx Jewelry Maxim

I bought this necklace easily over 7 years ago in TJ Maxx.

My mother has told me: “Racism is terrible.” I too have a strong aversion to hate.

As an Author and Advocate I seek to promote healing and recovery. I believe that a person can recover from whatever obstacle they face.

They could be a victim of a microaggression or actual racism. They could have an illness mental or physical. They could have been born on the wrong side of the tracks. They could be not the brightest bulb in the lamp.

Whatever challenge a person faces–whatever obstacle either internal or external stands in their way–I believe a person can rise up and change their life for the better.

The way to fight stigma of any kind is to dare to act true to yourself. To show up as [insert your name here] in every interaction you have with another person.

My M.O. is to show others by acting true to myself that you have the right to be who you are without being hated or judged for who you are.

I ask you:

Why can’t a person decide to love others in the face of being told not to?

Why can’t we refrain from hating and judging people we haven’t met?

My intent is for this blog to be a respite from the real world.

To be a place where followers can take joy in what I write.

Where what I write contributes to making life on earth better.

I’ve decided to take this blog in a more positive direction.

Choosing carefully what I write to send a message of hope and optimism.

Though the year has just begun I believe each of us can overcome whatever struggle we might be facing.

You do you. And I will do who I am. Together we can change the world.

Hello 2021

A woman with an L.C.S.W. told me:

“The way you live your life is the way you should live your life.”

I was talking about how I’m an artist that doesn’t live my life in a straight-and-narrow way.

She said:

“It’s restricting living in the straight-and-narrow because you’d lose your personality and wouldn’t be happy.”

I have famously titled my first book Left of the Dial. This way of life has become my trademark.

The goal as I see it is for each of us to achieve PTG–post-traumatic growth–after the events of 2020.

In 2021 we should live fearlessly and love whoever we love freely.

My aim is true:

to empower readers to reach for the twinkling stars

to encourage you to dare express yourself as the one and only you

to inspire you to think for yourself about what’s possible to achieve.

The straight-and-narrow? I never believed in it.

New Ad-Free Blog

At long last I’ve removed the advertisements from this blog that WordPress inserts into every free account.

I’ve paid to remove the ads and create a URL for the blog.

Years ago I read the Kim Gordon memoir Girl in a Band. She was the bassist and vocalist for Sonic Youth while the band performed.

They are my favorite band of all time. Dating from when I played them on the radio when I was a disc jockey in the 1980s.

To get readers to go out and buy Gordon’s memoir I want to quote from the book.

Kim Gordon wrote:

“I believe the radical is more interesting when it appears ordinary and benign on the outside.”

Reading that sentence and thinking about this for a long time I was inspired to want to publish a second memoir.

In keeping with the title Girl in a Band I thought about talking in the new book about what it’s like to be a Girl on the Left.

A person asked me if the title Left of the Dial referred to politics.

It refers to doing your own thing–my literary agent understood the theme was “Enjoy your quirkiness.”

In the last week I have been thinking about this some more. And thinking about it again: how I always wanted to live an artist’s life in the city.

It can be a challenge when as a woman you rebel the role you’re expected to play:

Suburban breeder with two kids two dogs a Land Rover and white picket fence house with a porch.

Though hey if you want to raise a family and bake brownies for your kids that’s okay too.

I’m fascinated by everyone’s personality.

There’s a reference in my memoir to where I’m riding the subway and wondering about the inner lives of my fellow straphangers–the other riders.

Those of us who are ordinary and benign–I say watch out for us!

February 2020 Allure

billy porter

I took home a free copy of the February 2020 Allure magazine as seen above. It’s the Art of Beauty issue.

Michelle Lee the editor-in-chief wrote in her art appreciation editor’s letter:

“Having the freedom to express yourself is art we can all appreciate.”

On the cover is Billy Porter who starred in and won a Tony for his role as Lola in the Broadway production of Kinky Boots.

His audacity to be his authentic self has empowered me.

In the interview with Porter in the magazine he is quoted:

“The very thing that everybody’s telling you is wrong is exactly what you have to be.”

On the last page Porter is asked to Please finish this sentence: I feel most attractive when I’m…

“Living in the fullness of my authenticity.”

From watching an Oprah Winfrey episode he learned “the importance of shifting your mind-set toward service to others.”

Porter has done an inimitable service to readers simply by acting true to himself.

He was the first openly gay man to win an Emmy as a leading actor in a drama for his role on Pose.

Elsewhere in the February 2020 issue in a Modern Wellness feature a writer chronicles her own odyssey with making art:

“The truth is, medication can often help artists better access their creativity and express their emotions more readily.”

A fashion designer was quoted in this article:

“My creative output has never been higher than when I’m on medication.”

I identify as an Author Artist and Athlete.

The premise of my memoir Left of the Dial was “enjoy your quirkiness.”

Reading the articles in the February 2020 issue of Allure gave me a shot in the arm of confidence to continue blogging and speaking out.

My goal is to be part of the solution. My mantra is this:

I stand up for individuality in all its guises in everyone living on earth.

I’ll end here with a curious feature on page 36. Activist and art curator Kimberly Drew was asked to tout the products she loves the most.

When she gets a moment alone in her hotel room she usually ends up dancing. To do this only her Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1 speaker will do for listening to music.

Imagine that: an activist touting a high-end speaker that most likely costs $100 or more.

The idea that you can be an activist on your own terms cheers me.

Crank up the tunes I say. Contribute something positive to the dialog.

In honor of Martin Luther King Day coming up this Monday I’m going to post a blog entry about how each of us can make a difference in our own way.

I believe in the transformative beauty of creating art to make the world a better place.

 

 

 

Art and Soul

crescentmoon lovers

This is my “Love You to the Moon” painting.

It’s the fourth painting I’ve created in the last seven years.

You cannot give up on yourself after you have a setback.

It could take one year. It could take five years or ten years. It could take longer.

Yet the point is you can recover yourself along with your mental health.

Our lives aren’t over by a long shot when we have a hurdle (or two or three) to clear in life.

My goal is to continue to go to the painting events.

I recommend you try one out in your city or town. The cost hovers around thirty-five to fifty dollars. You get one free glass of wine. Sometimes you can buy a personal pizza to have if you get there earlier.

The artists are friendly. It’s a happy place.

I believe everyone can be creative. That giving form to beauty via the creation of art and music and fashion is what gives us joy in life.

We could use more light love and laughter in the world.

At the Paint-n-Sip events the music is upbeat, everyone’s friendly, and the instructor gives positive constructive feedback.

You can click on my art work category to view my Golden Goddess painting too.

The Health Harmony Happiness Tour

The other day I got one hell of an idea: that this year in 2019 I want to act like a rock star and go on tour.

The Health Harmony Happiness Tour will take place around the globe via my excursions writing in the blog to fellow travelers.

It hit me that at its core my Left of the Dial life ethic is predicated on living in Health Harmony and Happiness.

Thus I changed the words in the subtitle at the top of this blog.

Loyal followers will remember I used to be a disc jockey on FM radio in the 1980s.
Thus the title of my memoir Left of the Dial.

As a disc jockey, you measured the intensity of the sound of the music via a VU meter. On the red in the right the sound was chaotic. On the left the sound is in balance.

As I started to think about this I realized the expression “living life in balance” is a trite overused cliche.

It hit me that the true goal should be to live in harmony.

The word harmony is rarely used and refers to a pleasing arrangement of parts or internal calm.

Thus harmony vividly describes the elements that help a person live life well.

When there’s congruence between who you are and what you do and other aspects of your life that is the key to being able to heal.

Hence living in harmony could allow a person to heal.

Living in health harmony and happiness makes sense as a viable goal in recovery.

In coming blog entries I would like to talk about this more.

I have some ideas about adopting healing habits.

There’s a lot of illness in society–all kinds not just physical–that I strive to provide a healthy place in the blog to talk about living life whole and well.

 

Christmas Rapping

Venus Williams was right in advocating that you ask yourself: “Do I feel good?”

I made myself miserable trying to work in corporate office jobs and have a so-called normal life.

The title of my memoir Left of the Dial was intended to sum up my manifesto for having a healthy lifestyle doing what you love and acting true to yourself.

If you don’t feel good, it’s hard to be happy and your mental health suffers. Trying to be someone you’re not will backfire every time.

Venus Williams alludes to allowing yourself to fail, rise up, and try again. Doing this you can gain equal footing with men who think they’re hot shit simply because they exist.

My goal is that by reading Left of the Dial you’re empowered to dare dream of having a life defined on your own terms.

First of all, I wanted to tell a good story people would enjoy reading. Then I wanted to create a character readers could root for.

Left of the Dial chronicles all the failures I experienced along the way.

Speaking your truth can be scary because there’s a lot at stake. Only I had no fear because I believed in my vision of Recovery for Everyone.

This might be an impossible goal yet it’s the one I shoot for.

The secret to having a successful recovery is choosing to be happy even when the circumstances of your life are less than ideal.

Success lies in liking yourself even when it seems no one else does.

These elements flow in the Left of the Dial narrative.

With time and (for most of us) a consistent daily medication routine, it’s possible to have a better life and to achieve goals.

I”m committed to telling my story to help the very people who need to hear my message of hope, healing, and recovery.

If you want to feel good and if you want to transmute your pain, there is no better tonic than service to others.

You will get the things you want that you’re supposed to have when they’re supposed to arrive. Not a minute sooner or later.

It’s the journey that counts not the destination.

So I tell you at whatever age you are now (20? 32? 45? Older?) to ask yourself if you feel good. What can you do to give yourself joy and to give others joy?

That is the secret to feeling good.

That is the ultimate definition of success: feeling good about yourself and having empathy for others.

 

Becoming Who You Are

An enduring quote tells us:

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

Post-illness you can recover yourself along with your mental health.

My persistent belief at mid-life is that you shouldn’t stop doing new things until you’re carried out on your last day.

Make every day a celebration.

I wanted to talk about the necklace in the photo in the last blog entry. The woman took it out of the counter to show me. The tag read Murano.

“I’ll take it,” I snapped because Murano is a famous glass maker from Venice, Italy.

I had bought a Murano millefiore glass bead necklace on a tour of their factory.

The point of this blog entry being that you should not hesitate to give yourself little perks to feel better.

“The Road to You” should be paved with kindness and compassion.

Be not afraid to act and dress a little bolder to make a statement:

“I’m here. I have breasts. Get over it.”

You owe it to yourself to be happy. By expressing yourself through how you style yourself in clothes you can also make others happy.

I’m the resident Fashionista at the poetry readings.

You can absolutely reclaim the good from your life before illness and discard the rest.

I’ve decided at 53 that I want to channel the time when I was a disc jockey on FM radio in the 1980s.

This reinvention started by wearing the outfit in the photo in the last blog entry.

In the coming blog entry I will talk about in more detail about reclaiming yourself after illness strikes.

I’ll talk about exerting your power to be who you are without fear of reprisal.

Tying this in to setting goals in mid-life to get more of what you want out of life.

You can absolutely use your personal history as the springboard for making changes at mid-life.

It truly is never too late to be what you might have been.

The Highway To You

At 53, I’ve become more obsessed with fashion than I ever have.

I’ve bought five fashion books either print copies or e-books.

I find myself at odds with the target market of forty and older women profiled in a book like The Women’s Wake-up.

That book should be titled Howdy, Dowdy.

I don’t think those drab-color clothes and suited attire are becoming. At least, I wouldn’t be caught dead in those outfits.

The women profiled in these kinds of books are Baby Boomers. I’m not dissing the women themselves. I’m simply astounded that there’s a dichotomy between how I dress and how most older women dress.

It’s most likely because I was born in 1965–the first year of the Generation X cohort.

What a difference one year makes. I align with the Gen X ethic.

This must be why I abhor acting, thinking, dressing, and living in a one-size-fits-all monochromatic fashion.

My kind of mid-life crisis has involved going shopping: for clothes and a man.

I browse the J.Crew and Banana Republic websites because they have Petite clothes. I look for coupon codes or items sold at a reduced price.

Each of us has the right to do what gives us joy. We shouldn’t be made to feel guilty or ashamed for liking whatever gives us joy.

Do men who blather on about their cars or gym routines get the kind of grief women are given for expressing our love of fashion?

At mid-life women shouldn’t give up on ourselves. We should embrace our individuality. We should live and think outside the book.

We should honor the unique facets of our personality, which experts now think isn’t fixed and can change over the years.

Lucinda Chambers is quoted in  Know Your Style:  “I think great style is individuality with confidence.” I recommend you buy this book. It’s a treasure trove of information.

In the next blog entry I’m going to give a list of beauty and fashion books that have been like bibles to me at this time in my older life.

I’m 53 and have become a rebel in my older years. A rebel who dresses in chic clothes.

Perhaps you understand what it’s like to live your life left of the dial?

Do you also fear living a monochromatic life?

Yes I say: wear an olive suit if that’s your thing. Wear beige if that would make you happy.

I simply need color. I don’t look alive out there in an ivory sweater.

I don’t follow rules that don’t make sense.

Women, start your engines: today is the day to live boldly.

The highway of life is calling.

Burn rubber, because the past has ended.

Listen to the Paula Cole song “The Road to Me” from the 1990s.

The open road beckons at mid-life.

Doing What Gives You Joy

In this blog I want to return to other more positive topics.

Today I lobby for doing what gives you joy. Every day or as often as possible we should do what gives us joy. This is the ultimate adjunct way to heal from an illness as well as using traditional medicine.

This claim I don’t make lightly.

The fact is that when you’re happy, it will upset other people. Those who are miserable about their own lives won’t like it that you have and express your joy.

Yet what is doing what you love if not an expression of joy, if not a life force that can help a person heal?

I think of this today as the season starts to roll into autumn. The late summer and early fall are a magical time in New York City. Street fairs abound. It’s the perfect weather to talk long walks in parks.

Finding what gives you happiness and going and doing that is the key to living well in recovery. The older I get I’m emboldened to shout louder about this and other things.

It matters to me that everyone has the equal opportunity to recover and do well after becoming ill. You should view recovery as the chance to change your life for the better.

Obviously something wasn’t working before you got sick. Post-illness each of us has the choice to continue the way things were before. Or to risk making changes to grow and get better.

We have a second chance to find joy and happiness in our lives.

What gets lost in the critical nature of a few reviews of Left of the Dial is that doing what gave me joy helped me recover. If this is a sin, let me be guilty.

When I set out to write the memoir I wanted it to be a different kind of narrative. I chose to focus on everything that happened after I recovered. My goal was to show how how I healed through creativity.

Music, art, fashion, writing, and exercise have long been in my life the five elements that gave me incredible joy.

I’m going to end here by telling readers that if anyone else tells you either subtly or outright that it’s wrong to focus on getting your needs met in terms of being happy you should question what their stance is all about.

Be happy. You have the right to be happy.

It’s precisely when you’re in pain that you should do what you love.