A Writer’s Plight: Get Writing!

A Writer’s Plight: Get Writing!

“SOMETHING WORTH DOING IS WORTH DOING BADLY”

The Plight of Perfectionism

Yes, you read that right: “Something WORTH doing is worth doing BADLY.” When I first read that sentence in an email from one of my mentors, I thought that he had made a typo. Surely anything worth doing is worth doing WELL I thought. In his email, he went on to explain that people like us (perfectionists) tend to put off doing something—or don’t attempt it at all—due to our fear of not doing it WELL enough. 

That really hit home for me. I have a very large number of examples from my own life of when I have done just that. The one I am sharing with you is something that has been stuck in my craw for most of my life. 

Get Going!

Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to write a book. Since then, I have spent more money than I care to admit on writing courses and programs like Scrivener. I have started (and abandoned) numerous manuscripts. I let my personal blog die from neglect. I have made friends with a lot of people who have had books published (some of whom are probably reading this with some compassion…. at least I hope it’s compassion!). I read and watch everything I can about how to become a published author. I am doing everything… except actually writing! I am doing everything EXCEPT the only thing that truly matters, if I genuinely want to achieve my goal. 

It’s Ok if it’s Not Perfect

I wanted to share this to encourage you NOT to be like me. DO the thing that you want to do because, odds are, people will admire your courage for trying, and NOBODY will judge you as harshly as you judge yourself. 

This advice is as much for me as it is for you. A couple of years ago I attempted NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) which takes place annually in November. Of course I sabotaged myself and didn’t finish. Last time I told everyone that I was writing a nove, because I thought that it would keep me from chickening out but it didn’t. I don’t know if this is the year that I finally will get it done. What I do know is that nothing and nobody (apart from my own inner critic) is stopping me from doing it.

What is the one thing that you have always wanted to do but haven’t done out of fear of failure? What do you think would have to change in order for you to go for it? 

This is an original post to World Moms Network from our contributor in Spain (formerly from South Africa), Mama Simona. The image used in this post is credited to Rebecca and used with permission from Creative Commons by Flickr.

Mamma Simona (South Africa)

Mamma Simona was born in Rome (Italy) but has lived in Cape Town (South Africa) since she was 8 years old. She studied French at school but says she’s forgotten most of it! She speaks Italian, English and Afrikaans. Even though Italian is the first language she learned, she considers English her "home" language as it's the language she's most comfortable in. She is happily married and the proud mother of 2 terrific teenagers! She also shares her home with 2 cats and 2 dogs ... all rescues. Mamma Simona has worked in such diverse fields as Childcare, Tourism, Library Services, Optometry, Sales and Admin! (With stints of SAHM in-between). She’s really looking forward to the day she can give up her current Admin job and devote herself entirely to blogging and (eventually) being a full-time grandmother!

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Sustainable Development Goal #3: Let’s Keep HUMANITY Alive

Sustainable Development Goal #3: Let’s Keep HUMANITY Alive

I underwent breast surgery last Monday and, as a mother of four, aged 12 to 2, I was terrified. Terrified not to be able to make it, terrified to be left with terrible injuries, terrified of being left with a disability. This terror was because I live in one of the poorest countries of the world, Madagascar. Healthcare is not a priority here. I was maybe supposing that the surgeon and his team would not be as skilled as expected, or that we will have a power cut during the intervention (which is so frequent here), or that we will lack drugs and treatment after the surgery, or whatever challenges linked to a poor health sector.

But everything went well, and here I am to testify it.

I feel shameful for all these fears and feel grateful for the miracle of being alive. I had the chance to be in a private hospital. An old hospital where everyone is full of respect for the patients and where old machines are being maintained alive. Nonetheless, I feel lucky because I could afford the surgery and the treatment. I feel privileged to have a job even if I don’t have medical insurance, to pay for my healthcare. This is not the case for everyone and I bet this health scarcity also strikes elsewhere in the world. Every day, I hear a lot of horrible stories of mothers, who couldn’t give birth to their children safely. It was because they were located far from a medical center. I also hear stories of death, because they had no money at all.

In Madagascar, the ratio of physician to patient is one for thousands of people (if you are lucky).

In rural areas, you have to walk twenty kilometers (sometimes more) to reach the nearest health center. Here, a nurse, deprived of medical supplies and drugs will wait for you. You can lose your life for a small injury that can be treated in 10 minutes in developed countries. This is not fair, and I’m deeply introspecting about it while recovering from my wounds, in my privileged scarcity.

Then I remembered I had to write an article for the World Moms Network. I couldn’t do so in time, because of the above-mentioned reason. September 15th was International Democracy Day and I wanted to write about it. I also wanted to write about peace as September 21st was the International Day of Peace. But there won’t be any peace in the world as long as some men and women, of all ages, cannot afford decent healthcare. I feel that democracy is unreachable if you don’t have healthy bodies and minds able to claim for more justice, more accountability, and transparency. These big words will remain illusions if we don’t take care of the human part of the story first.

Therefore, I would like to dedicate this post to SDG #3.

To ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages is at the core of any struggle. I’m not only pledging for my country where only less than 15% of the national budget is dedicated to healthcare, even during the pandemic. I would love to see a worldwide move towards better healthcare for all. Let us build a world where we take care of everyone, no matter his/her age, origin, or finances. Among others, this dream implies providing access to medicines and vaccines for all. It means supporting the R&D of vaccines and medicines for all; increasing health financing and health workforce in developing countries. It needs political will and commitment and it needs the support of all stakeholders, at all levels.

But SDGs are also dependent on one another. And the attainment of SDG #3 also requests the achievement of all the 16 other ones. Abolish gender discrimination; Improve the skills of health workers – and this means, equal access to education for all and provide energy for hospitals to function properly. Make the 2030 agenda a top priority everywhere in the world and achieve it by all means. I’m surely not the one who thought of this in the first place. I don’t have any pretension to being the one who will unlock hearts and minds for better progress regarding SDGs. My personal situation is nothing compared to the world suffering, from wars, starvation, and all kinds of injustice. I’m just a worried mother who took conscience of the scarcity of life and who is wishing for the better.

Kudos to all health workers around the world; thank you for your commitment and dedication to serving humanity.

Kudos to all moms (and everyone) who are struggling somewhere. Hope lies in our hands, we all can act for things to improve. Heads up soldiers of good! 

Which SDG are you passionate about and why?

This is an original post for World Moms Network by our contributor in Madagascar, Ketakandriana Rafitoson.

Image credits: The Author and the #UNSDG website (used digitally based on their guidelines).

Wonder Basket: Sustainable Cooking From The Heart Of Africa

Wonder Basket: Sustainable Cooking From The Heart Of Africa

Food.

No matter what is going on all around us, we need food. Too often lack of food is what is going on in certain parts of the world, while where there is plenty, we might enjoy a morsel on our own or with our neighbors, family, or friends.

I would like to ask you: what tools do you use to cook? Is it a kerosene or gas stove? Charcoal or electricity? A combination? If there was a way to cook your food using less energy, would you want to know about it? This post is all about that, so you are in the right place!

Bibi Saleha (Sally) Qazi is a Tanzanian woman who came up with a brilliant idea. We call her Bibi, a title of respect that means “grandmother”. Bibi Sally is my mother, which might make one question whether I am biased, but once you read on I believe you will see that it makes good sense.

Bibi Sally
The author’s mother, Bibi Sally

The idea is the Wonder Basket.

So what is it?

The Wonder Basket is a cooking tool that is made with all* recycled materials. Use of the Wonder Basket helps with busy and lazy schedules, as you can use your stove of choice for a short time and turn it off (or use it for other foods). You then transfer your pot to the Wonder Basket to continue cooking without additional energy, using only the heat it has already gathered. The Wonder Basket saves energy, which is good for the planet, people, and the pocket.

Where may one find one of these amazing Baskets, and is the answer Africa? Well, as much as you are welcome to visit Tanzania (as you should) and attend a training session with Mama Sally, you can make a Wonder Basket on your own!

Speaking of bias, I’ll be honest… as her daughter and a woman who has always wanted to be financially independent, the fact that my mom freely shares this information sometimes bothers me Why? Because through this knowledge she could provide for herself, which is something that is needed. However, as a human being I am so thankful, humbled, and proud that she does freely share, and I hope that this universe will continue to provide for her all that she needs and more. My mom rocks as a human, as a woman and as a mom!

How Bibi Sally makes the Wonder Basket

The Wonder Basket is made using ten items:
1) A basket or large wooden box
2) Nylon sheeting large enough for two linings
3) Thin sponge mattress for insulation or enough large wood shavings for lining
4) A piece of sturdy cotton cloth to cover the nylon
5) A nylon bag for a cushion lid
6) Sponge for the lid
7) A pillow slip for cushion lid
8) Some string and big needle
9) A pair of scissors
10) A small square of cardboard to put under the pot in the basket

How to make it

Take a large basket or box (around 50cm x 50cm x 50cm).
Line it with the nylon sheet to insulate it.
Create a base 3–4 cm wide at the bottom.
Apply the second sheet of nylon to cover the base , and fill in the space between two nylon sheets to create a wall inside the basket or box, either with wood shavings or the sponge mattress.
Seal the wall which is 3-4 cm wide by folding the nylon sheet overlap.
Cover with the strong cotton cloth. I used a large pair of skintight pants as the elastic waist band covers the nylon wall perfectly and the legs can be folded into the central well.
The cloth can be arranged to cover the inside of the basket and overlap over the basket walls.
Give it a shape with the scissors or tuck it in and stitch with the string to hold it all together.
The pillow must not be rigid.
Fill the nylon bag with wood shavings or sponge; give it a shape to fit snugly into the well in the basket.
Cover it with the pillow or cushion slip and stitch it shut.

How to use the Wonder Basket

All cereals/grains and most foods cooked in water can be cooked in the basket!

Measure and clean the cereal/grain to be used, soak it until saturated.
Put it in a pot without salt and with enough water to cover it completely with 1 cm of water above it.
Bring it to a boil and stir. Cover and boil for one minute. Then transfer the pot to the insulated basket and cover it immediately with the cushion lid.
Make sure no hot air comes out or cold air goes into the covered basket.
The cooking time is the same as when you use the stove.

Wonder Basket in use
The Wonder Basket in use

A note about rice

One cup of rice absorbs about two cups of water, sometimes a bit more for mature grains. Soak the clean rice for a few minutes. Then heat the necessary amount of water, salt it and bring to boil; you can put in some oil and spices if desired. When it boils, put in the strained rice, and stir. When it starts boiling properly, cover it and move the pan to the basket, and immediately put the cushion lid on.

Meat, potatoes, and cassava can be cut into inch-long pieces and cooked as desired. Then add a little boiling water, put the lidded pot in the basket, and cover instantly.

The basket will cook the food and keep it hot for a long time. You don’t need to watch it for fear that it may get burnt, as there is no flame or live fire. Don’t open the basket to check the food before passing the minimum cooking time has elapsed.

You cannot fry, grill or bake with this method. You can sterilize juice, food, and bottles in the basket. Take it on safari or picnic, or the office or the farm.

Food made in the Wonder Basket
Here is some delicious food, some of which was made in an original Wonder Basket made by Bibi Sally herself

Bibi Sally has been an advocate for nutrition and nutrition education in her community for decades. She has always been passionate about women’s rights, human rights, children in poverty, self-reliance, and having a good hearty laugh! She is also a phenomenal translator, having translated many of the Baha’i Holy Writings from English to Kiswahili, as well as other independent translation assignments.

If you have any questions about the Wonder Basket, please do ask.

*all recycled materials: Sometimes you might have to buy the basket, box, or other materials.

This is an original post for World Moms Network by ThinkSayBe. Photo credit to the author.

ThinkSayBe

I am a mom amongst some other titles life has fortunately given me. I love photography & the reward of someone being really happy about a photo I took of her/him. I work, I study, I try to pay attention to life. I like writing. I don't understand many things...especially why humans treat each other & other living & inanimate things so vilely sometimes. I like to be an idealist, but when most fails, I do my best to not be a pessimist: Life itself is entirely too beautiful, amazing & inspiring to forget that it is!

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Sitting with my feelings

Sitting with my feelings

Sitting with my feelings

I consider myself a highly sensitive person.
Some might even call me too sensitive. I cry easily when I watch movies and get teary eyed when something moves me. If you would have asked me, I would have said, that I was totally in touch with my feelings

But it took a pandemic to realize that I wasn’t really processing my feelings: I was simply DEALING with them.

Oh, I was GOOD at dealing with my feelings.

I stomped around the house when I was angry, ranted about my grievances, had heart to heart talks ‘at’ my husband and retreated in my bedroom when I was feeling really sad.
All of that for a brief moment, than I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and it was business as usual.

Because I was REALLY GOOD at dealing with my feelings, getting over ‘it’ and wiping my single tear away.

There was a lot tugging at those bootstraps, as I occasionally shoved a bag of chips down my throat before breakfast or decided to kill all my extra time, by binging Netflix series. Sometimes I felt an awkward lump in my throat or a heaviness in my step, but I just kept on stepping until I was, once again, OVER IT.

I was doing GREAT.

The pandemic gave me a new perspective on myself. My rollercoaster of a life came to a halt. I was in between jobs and stuck in a house with my family. And it was quiet. No job appointments, no social gatherings, no family outings. I had all the time in the world time to take care of myself.
In the absence of all those demanding voices, I became aware of my own silent cry.

“You know that bad experience you had? You haven’t really processed that, you have just moved on. You’re still full of anger, frustration and grief and you are carrying it all around in your body. You smile but the corners of your mouth are getting heavy, like those bootstraps you keep pulling on.”

I started to listen to what my feelings were trying to tell me. I allowed sadness, discomfort and anger to show their faces.
Now, it’s becoming okay to sit in the discomfort of negative feelings. I’m allowing them to exist.

I sit with my feelings, I process, I heal and then, when it’s time: I move on.

Let’s be real with each other: what are your healthy and/or unhealthy ways to deal with negative feelings? I would love to hear about it!

This is an original post to World Moms Network by Mirjam Rose of the Netherlands. 

Photo credit to Sophie Burden. This photo was actually taken on a walking tour of Delft, Netherlands when World Moms, Mirjam Rose and Jennifer Burden, met with their children in 2018! 

Mirjam

Mirjam was born in warm, sunny Surinam, but raised in the cold, rainy Netherlands. She´s the mom of three rambunctious beauties and has been married for over two decades to the love of her life. Every day she´s challenged by combining the best and worst of two cultures at home. She used to be an elementary school teacher but is now a stay at home Mom. In her free time she loves to pick up her photo camera. Mirjam has had a life long battle with depression and is not afraid to talk about it. She enjoys being a blogger, an amateur photographer, and loves being creative in many ways. But most of all she loves live and laughter, even though sometimes she is the joke herself. You can find Mirjam (sporadically) at her blog Apples and Roses where she blogs about her battle with depression and finding beauty in the simplest of things. You can also find Mirjam on Twitter and Instagram.

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Alcohol Addiction: Swimming To The Surface

Alcohol Addiction: Swimming To The Surface

Two heavy blankets are on top of me. I am shivering so hard that my teeth are chattering but I’m also sweating so profusely that I look as if I’ve been standing in a rainstorm. My hands shake, my legs twitch, I pull my legs up under me and then I stretch them out, ball them up and stretch them out.

I repeat this routine for hours. I smell myself and it’s not good. I haven’t had a shower, and if I’m being honest, it’s been more than a few days. My stomach rolls and I’m nauseated. I try to drink water and Gatorade but I know they’re both going to make me vomit. My mind tries to remember when I last ate; I think it was five days ago but that might not be true, it could be longer. My hair is matted from the sweat and my curls are turning into massive knots. I toss and I turn and time drags endlessly. What feels like hours has only been an hour.

I always count down the first 24 hours because if I make it through the first 24 hours I know it’ll get better. I hope this time I don’t hallucinate. I’ve actually had that happen before and it’s extremely scary. As thoughts raced through my mind and anxiety and worry and stress and beating myself up for being so dumb once again, I wonder why am I doing this. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this; this isn’t the second time, third time or even fourth time. Detoxing from alcohol use is a hell that I keep allowing myself to go back to voluntarily.

The worst part about it too is that I am an angry raging drunk. I’m not a sweet, fun, happy drunk – I’m a lay-on-the-loveseat-binge-drink-and-cry drunk – one who lets all her anger from past traumas out on everyone around her.

I ruined my last relationship due to this. I no longer speak to my mother after the last time I cussed her out in a drunken rage. My youngest son no longer speaks to me due to how I talk to his grandmother. My dad and I did not speak until recently.

Every time I wake up from a binge I nervously look at my phone to see what craziness I’ve posted on Facebook, or what friend I have cussed out – and there have been quite a few. I have ended some really good friendships and it’s always so embarrassing to see what I’ve done, but I do it over and over again.

When I joined World Moms Network 11 years ago, this was not how my life was going. I was 37 years old and engaged to my now ex-husband. Both of my children were involved in sports and school, I was finishing my bachelor’s degree and working full time at a job that I loved, and then in 2015 I had a gastric bypass. I was so excited in the first year because I lost over 140 pounds. I’d never dreamed I could be that weight again. I never dreamed people would tell me I was beautiful and gorgeous. It was something I had never experienced.

My surgeon did tell me to get counseling, because whatever had fueled my food addiction would not go away. I didn’t listen. I did not know at the time that a large percentage of weight loss surgery patients become alcoholics.

I always like to tell people that when it’s sink or swim time, I’ll always swim. However, I’m no longer able to swim as easily. It started off where I’d be swimming fairly proficiently. Then, as my drinking progressed, I’d slowly start to drown. I would always get to a point where I’d realize I was drowning and kick my feet as hard as I could, and I’d swim, swim, swim back to the surface because I could always see the light. And then the next day I do it again, and the next day I’d do it again, and the next day I’d do it again. Over time my body has gotten very tired of swimming back to the surface. Every time I drown I feel like I don’t care anymore if I swim to the surface. Everything in my mind tells me, Don’t swim, just go ahead and sink. I’ve gotten really close to completely drowning a couple of times. My arms are tired, my legs are tired – but something in my brain keeps pushing me get to the surface and try it again.

So here I am, back on the surface, in the shallow end, trying it again. In addition to weekly therapy, AA meetings, and a strong network of support, I’m also taking medication. This time, things feel different. I’m still cautious, though. I am not going past the shallow end. Addiction recovery is not linear, and I’m wholly aware now of addiction transference. My goal is to heal my whole self and address the internal issues that led to the food addiction long ago.

Do you or a loved one have an addiction? Are you in recovery?

Margie Webb (USA)

Margie Webb is a forty-something, divorced mom of three biracial sons: Isaiah (25), Caleb (20), and Elijah (6/8/1997 - 7/2/1997) and two bonus sons: Malcolm (5/10/1992 - 10/9/2015) and Marcus (25). She lives in Lafayette, Louisiana by way of Little Rock, Arkansas, and enjoys traveling, attending the theater, cooking calling the Hogs during Arkansas Razorback football season, spending time with family and friends, and is a crazy cat lady. In addition to obtaining her Bachelors and Masters degree, she also has a Graduate Certificate in Online Writing Instruction and a National HR Certification through SHRM. She excels in her career as a Human Resources Management professional. Additionally, she has represented World Moms Network as a Digital Reporter at various conferences, including the United Nations Social Good Summit. Her life has been one big adventure in twists, turns ,extreme lows, and highs. After recently embracing her new lease on life and her identity in the LGBTQ community, she is excited about what is yet to come. She can be found on Twitter@TheHunnyB

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Choosing Wellness and Going with the Flow

Choosing Wellness and Going with the Flow

Truth is, if you had told me a few months ago that I would be writing a health and wellness story right now, I would have answered you with a great big “Srsly? Well, here I am, seriously writing that health and wellness story.

I spent most of 2020 quarantined at home with my family in the Philippines, working from home while trying to keep up with all the cooking, dishwashing and laundry that needed to be done. Everyone at home helped out, sure, but we all know that doesn’t make any of this any less tiring, right? But a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do, and so I did. 

It was only towards the end of the year that I  began to realize just how stressed out I had become. I was constantly hyper-acidic, my hair was falling out like crazy, and my eczema decided to join in the fun, too. I was also starting to become cranky, short-tempered, and really unpleasant at times. And it dawned on me – I was trying so hard to take care of everything else, that I had failed to take care of myself. Don’t get me wrong, I was (and still am) getting a lot of love and care from the people at home, but it’s different when you actually take the time to take care of yourself, too. Self-care is something that only you can give yourself, and it really does matter. I understand this now. 

Enter 2021. I started the year determined to make some sort of change, though back then I had no idea what it would be. I started by upgrading my fitness tracker so I could start logging my steps, and monitoring my heart rate and stress levels. I began taking walks, too. Every once in a while I would go online to try and find some form of exercise routine that I could do (and not hate) at home. 

Now, you need to know that I do not have the greatest relationship with exercise. I’ve never found it to be fun, and it’s one of those things that I have always tried to avoid. So of course I was rejecting every potential home workout I saw online. Until one day, I chanced upon the post of a friend on Instagram, and she was doing this poi-like, dance-y flow routine with a rope. It actually looked like fun. So I did some research, checked out our local rope flow community online, went ahead and got myself the cheapest flow rope I could find, and set out to learn the basics.

At first, I thought it wouldn’t be too hard to learn. I have some dance background, so my coordination is not that bad. And I played a lot of jumprope as a kid. Well, I  was wrong. Rope flow challenged everything from my concentration to my coordination to the flexibility of my entire body. My non-existent stamina was put to the test, and I literally felt muscles in my back and shoulders that I never knew were there. 

After weeks of huffing and puffing, and buckets of sweat, I could finally pull off three basic moves, not at all gracefully. There’s video proof on my Instagram in case you’re interested! I put in so much work, and progress was slow. But surprisingly, I was having fun. 

Rope flow hour became my me-time. It was a chance for me to step away from the computer, get some fresh air and sunshine, and just de-stress, while spending time with myself. I got to dance along to music that I loved, and just be carefree for a few minutes each day. It felt fantastic. And my body was feeling fantastic, too – Less sluggish, more energetic, more focused even. A friend said soon I’ll be skinnier, too, but that, for me, would just be icing on the cake. I had already gained so much from rope flow, and that was more than enough.

Now, for the first time in my life, I have an exercise routine that I don’t want to quit! I’ve even gone as far as to share my progress on Facebook. And that’s when our founder, Jen, saw me rolling my rope, and asked me to write this post. As of this past June, I am 3 months into my rope flow journey. I now can do all of six moves, but am learning more each day. I’ve started joining spin classes, too, but that’s another story for another post. 

I may not be the best person to talk about health and wellness because I’m not the most active, and I eat what I want, when I want to. But then again, maybe that does make me a good fit for this topic. Because if I can do it, anyone can. If I managed to take that first step, everyone can, too! Health matters so much right now, especially when we have our families to care for. As moms, we need to remember that we can’t take care of our family unless we take care of ourselves first. We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to them, and we deserve to be healthy and well. 

What activities are you doing to maintain your health and well-being?

This is an original post by Patricia Cuyugan of the Philippines.

Rope Flow exercise photo credit: Patricia Cuyugan.

Patricia Cuyugan (Philippines)

Patricia Cuyugan is a wife, mom, cat momma, and a hands-on homemaker from Manila, whose greatest achievement is her pork adobo. She has been writing about parenting for about as long as she’s been a parent, which is just a little over a decade. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her reading a book, binge-watching a K-drama series, or folding laundry. She really should be writing, though! Follow her homemaking adventures on Instagram at @patriciacuyugs. 

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