“I’m drowning!” That was the Facebook status update of a good friend recently. Was she really drowning? Of course not. iPhones don’t work under water. Yet. But I saw her cry for help and picked up the phone and talked her off the ledge.
Why was she drowning? Because she has three kids, a full time job, a husband, and is in the process of selling her house and living in a temporary small apartment with the kids, dog & husband. Add on top of that all the volunteer work she agreed to do for the school, her kids and her work. Sound familiar?
I encouraged her to vent all the things dragging her down then we talked through what small steps she could take to take some burden off her shoulders.
The first step (after hiring back the weekly housekeeper they’d let go after moving to the apartment) was learning to say NO.
The vast majority of us in RWA and in romance writing in general are female. We are trained from birth to smile and say yes. To all variety of things. It’s how so many of us end up experiencing that drowning sensation. We want to be liked. We want to be helpful and so we say yes, even if we don’t have the time or desire to do something.
So in 2013, I’m encouraging you to say NO. For your own good, say NO. I’m not saying to say no to everything. I sit on the board of the Washington Romance Writers and I love the experience. But I did say no to chairing the auction at my children’s school.
We only have room for so much in our lives. If we try to cram too much in, things we love and care about will get squeezed out. Like our writing. How many of you met your writing goals in 2012? Show of hands please. Why not? Was it because you said yes to other things leaving out the time for writing?
It’s my belief that people’s lives are like a Bento Box. There are only so many boxes of varying sizes. Pick and choose carefully what you want to put in your Bento Box.
Mine is filled with the following things:
- My family
- My writing career
- My volunteer work with WRW and my kid’s school
- Fun: I Zumba, I read, I take a religious study class
I think I can squeeze a bit more in. I’ve been relatively lazy this past year, planning on dedicating more time to my writing career, but I’ve noticed that with the extra free time, I’ve squandered it. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to say yes to a huge project that will squeeze something else out. Pick and choose carefully what goes in your box.
What’s in your bento box this year? Are you happy with it, or do you need to say NO to something?
***This photo is my child’s bento lunch box from www.laptoplunches.com We LOVE our lunch boxes because they hold up well and enable us to pack a healthy trash free lunch.
Author Bio: By day, Lynne Silver lives the suburban soccer mom life; volunteering with the PTA, doing laundry and working. By night she enters the sensuous world of alpha males and passionate heroines.
She calls the nation’s capital home and lives in an old fixer-upper with her husband and their two sons. When not writing romance, she reads it. Lots of it. Over and over and over again, preferably with a bag of M&Ms in hand. She is represented by literary agent, Jessica Alvarez of Bookends LLC
Where to Find Lynne:
www.lynnesilver.com (be sure to sign up for the quarterly newsletter! There be prizes)
When genetically enhanced soldier Ryan Lopez learns his beloved wife Thea has betrayed his team by going to the news media and spilling Program secrets, he takes responsibility for her punishment the only way he knows how—seducing her until she’s begging for release. But the more he takes control of her body, the more he tests both their limits, and realizes he’s never fully understood his wife’s dark desires. It will take every bit of Ryan’s enhanced strength to prove to them both that the woman he loves is also his conquered match.
Excerpt: “Ryan,” she said, looking over at her beloved husband. “I’m sorry.”
He didn’t respond. His resolute profile remained locked, staring straight ahead.
For the first time since going to the press, doubt crept into her belly, causing an uncomfortable lurch that threatened to come up her esophagus. “I am sorry, I swear.”
Finally, he slowed his gait and looked down at her. “Are you? Or are you sorry you were caught?”
Ouch. Okay, she probably deserved that. By going to the press, she’d betrayed not only her husband, but his team and everything he’d spent his whole life working toward. But she’d had her reasons, if only he’d give her a chance. She could explain. An unfamiliar lump formed in her throat and tears welled in her eyes. If only she could go back a few days and talk to Ryan before talking to the press. But she’d been sad, so sad, and Ryan had treated her as if she were made of porcelain, too scared to talk about their loss.
Would she go back if given the choice? If she could reverse time, surely she’d go back five weeks to the day she miscarried and do something different. Stay in bed with her legs elevated or remember to take her prenatal vitamin, maybe. But that was crazy thinking. The doctors had assured her it was nothing she’d done. Her body had simply seen the genetically enhanced baby as a virus and expunged it. No, not it. Her. It had been a girl. Against Ryan’s concerns, she’d begged to know the gender of their dead child.
“What are you going to do to me? Feed me bread and water? Lock me up? Beat me?” she asked as they stepped into their tiny two-bedroom house on the compound.
He turned with a look she’d only seen once before on his face, the day she’d finally agreed to marry him after leading him on a merry one-year chase.
Desperation and dominance. A scary combination.
“Don’t tempt me. I’ve never hit a woman, and I certainly won’t start with you.” The small foyer’s creamy yellow walls seemed to squeeze in on her husband’s wide shoulders.
She released a breath. She hadn’t truly believed Ryan would ever lay a hand on her in anger, but she’d pushed him to the edge of control. Given that he was a genetically enhanced soldier, he’d probably kill her if he ever lost his physical temper with her.
Ryan stalked away from her, and then spun to face her. “They all laugh at me, Thea. My friends. They think I’m a wuss and let you wear the pants in the family. And I’ve been able to shrug it off, because I know how it is between us. You like to think you’re in charge and I’ve been content to let the illusion stand, because where it counts we have an equal partnership.”
She opened her mouth to speak, but shut it after his eyes glinted dangerously.
“But I’m done.”
She nearly vomited. What did he mean done? Was he done with her? She’d never be done with him. It would kill her if he left her. She’d known it was a possibility when she’d told a reporter all about her life in the Program, America’s top-secret military compound for breeding enhanced soldiers, but she’d been in a grief-fueled rage, uncaring about anything other than her own agenda. With a few weeks’ distance, she owned her mistakes and alienating her husband had been the biggest one.
“I’m done letting you have the power in the relationship. From now on I decide.” His palm slammed the wall, missing a wood-framed wedding portrait by inches.
She stared at him, not sure how to handle this. Ryan had always left decisions up to her. Whenever she asked his opinion about movies or dinner, he shrugged and told her it was her choice. So she’d stopped asking. “I knew you wanted pizza last night. Why didn’t you say something? I didn’t need Chinese takeout that badly,” she burst out, unable to keep silent. It went against her nature to not talk.
“You think I care about dinner last night?” he asked with narrowed eyes. “Jesus, Thea. I don’t give a shit about food. You can eat shrimp lo mein every night of the week for all I care.”
“I was talking about sex, and our careers and our living situation, but mostly about sex, dammit.”
“When we were first matched, I was so happy to be done playing games. No more lying to strange women about my job or excuses of why I could never stay the night or invite them to my place. I was happy to have a woman who knew what I was and where I worked. But no, you had me panting after you for a year, sneaking into my apartment at night, like I was your dirty little secret.”
“Everyone knew we were a match,” she protested. “It was hardly a secret.”
“And yet you kept me craving you, chasing you, doling out your favors when you decided you wanted sex. I thought things would be different when we married, but nothing’s changed. I’m still never sure where I stand with you.”
“What are you saying? You’re going to take me whether I want you or not. That’s rape.” The look on his face actually had her stepping back and mentally measuring the short distance to the door.
“Screw you, Thea.”
She tossed her head with a carelessness that was at total odds with her actual emotions. “What then?”
There was a long pause. She bit her lip, waiting for his sentencing. “I’m using the only option open to me. You’re going to have to beg, Thea.”
She stared at him a beat before obeying. In a deft move, reiterating he was a highly trained special ops warrior, he slid plastic zip ties around her wrists, binding them behind her back. Not tight enough to hurt, but enough that her breasts were thrust forward by her arm position.
“Thea Lopez…” His husky whisper tickled her ear. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you.”