Backstabbed & Betrayed

IMG_3710A few days ago my Facebook account got hacked. This is not the first stupid problem I’ve been losing sleep over this week. I keep wondering if I’m trying too hard to please others. Amy Morin certainly thinks I have that tendency, and she’s shown me ways to correct that weakness of character. I’m going to be better about screening my Facebook friends. And so it goes with writing friends. I am in a few wonderful writing groups, but one local organization has been in turmoil lately. Along with many other good people, I have been dragged into it.

Sometimes, no matter how I try to be helpful, no matter how good my intention, people still direct their disapproval and even anger toward me. In my head, that’s okay. Can’t please everyone, right? Not everyone is going to love me or see my good intentions no matter how much time and effort I expend on their behalf. But wow in my heart it hurts, particularly when  someone I once trusted backstabs and betrays me.

This is where I have to weigh it out. There are over a hundred people in this organization, and as far as I know only three or four are deliberately maligning me and my friends. I still have a role to play there. If I just quit, I will be betraying one of my key values, which is behaving ethically in all situations. Many good people are counting on me to finish out my commitments. It goes against my values to simply walk away because it’s the easy thing to do.

Amy Morin says people pleasers feel responsible for how other people feel. Check. People pleasers self-worth often depends on how others perceive them. Check. People pleasers thrive on praise and reassurances from others. Check. We would rather do things we dislike than risk conflict. Check.

IMG_3686

As I transition out of “people pleaser” mode, I have learned to refer to my list of core values and assess from there.  Sometimes that means being willing to tolerate uncomfortable emotions. Morin says being very clear on your values helps figure out if you are in people pleaser mode or if you are staying true to yourself. Do you know your values and their priority in your life? If not, make a list. Here’s mine.

Physical and mental health

Always behaving ethically

Strong marriage

Feeling connected to family and friends

Sense of purpose (writing)

Looking at my list with my core values in mind, I can clearly see my connection to friends and family through FB. I’ve formed strong connections and friendships in my writing groups, too. These connections also foster the sense of purpose writing gives my  life. It’s worth it to me to hang in there, despite the discomfort, at least for now. And there are things I can do starting now to stand up for my values with the few troublesome folks in my writing community. There are ways I can say NO to them without saying NO to the organization.

Morin says self-confidence increases once you begin making all decisions with your core values in mind. She also includes other perks like having more time to devote to the things that really matter to you, cultivating healthier relationships, and increasing will power. In my case this translates into having time to work on physical and mental health by doing things like walking, yoga, dancing and developing positive habits of mind, not to mention more time for writing. It means the friendships I make going forward will be stronger and less likely to come back and bite me, and, I hope it also means I will be sleeping soundly instead of spending the wee hours ruminating on a silly social media issue or a truly awful and unfair real life situation.

Consummation 1, 2, 3

tiger.love

Sex scenes used to scare me. I wrote kisses &  desire & closed the door. When my editor called me on it, I read my contract closely and sure enough there was the word: “consummation.”

 1. The Way In

I love a challenge and every once in awhile, I’d read a really well done love scene and wished I could do that.  I say love scene instead of sex scene because my characters who engage in sexual activities are falling in love, so for me it’s an emotional journey as well as a physical one.

That was my first way in. I thought about intercourse as not just about sex, but also about falling in love and discovering every inch of another person, inside and out.

2. What words?

So yeah, that word. Intercourse. Making love. Doing it. Scoring. Screwing. Fucking. Copulating. Having sex. Getting some.

Not just the act, but every body part has many name choices, from ridiculous to sublime. The proper biological designations are a bit sterile for my taste. Other words can seem sleazy or silly, depending on the readers’ moral compass. And metaphors can backfire or explode with unintended puns. Silly lily and sunken treasure will never measure up to the beast with two backs.

I solved this dilemma by figuring out that word choice in love scenes is deeply personal. I go with what works for me and my characters. I don’t want to offend readers (I think this stops so many of us) but those offended by my words are not my readers. Or won’t be for long.

3. Surrender

This one came late to me. I had to learn to slow down and enjoy the ride. That’s not a metaphor. I had to get comfortable enough in my own skin to enter into the mind and body of my POV character in those moments, to be her, to feel what she was feeling. I’m not a prude, and I’m not sure what took me so long to fully give myself over to love scenes, but once I did, I began to enjoy writing them.

How about you? Do you enjoy reading love scenes or are you someone who skims those pages?

*Photo courtesy of Flickr: chadh-flickr / Creative Commons