I consider myself to be a pretty empowered woman; after all, I survived an intensely precarious childhood without becoming too damaged, and I did it quite on my own. One of the reasons I turned out OK is that I had a very independent and self-reliant mother to model myself after. She was highly critical of me and emotionally unavailable to me, but she was ever-present — a model of self-containment and uniqueness. And although I craved her approval and attention, her love even – more than my own – she was so unlike my biological mother that I was happy to have a different version of womanhood to guide my own advent towards my individuality. I’m not perfect by any means of the imagination, but I strive to improve myself — to be better, smarter, and more accomplished — constantly. Of course, there is always room for improvement, and now that I have kids, I want them to observe my strengths and seek to be empowered themselves — both my son and my daughter. Here are a few Resolutions for the New Year that I have come up with that I think will make me stronger, more confident, and a better version of my present self:
1. MFA, PhD, OMG: I love going to school, and since I didn’t get to finish my Doctorate, thoughts of returning to school always provoke me to look for new courses or programs to apply for in my new state and home. There is a great MFA program for which the deadline is in April, and I intend to apply for it, especially since my writing has shifted from scholarly papers to more narratives. And now that I have completely finished my book and it is in the hands of a very able and confident agent, I need to pursue the novels that guide me towards writing every day. The MFA will help me hone in on the skills necessary towards writing fiction, since for the past six years I have been focusing on my non-fiction narrative. Wish me luck!
2. Widgets, and Plugins, and Shortlinks, Oh My!: Blogging has taken over my daily life. I never imagined that it would become like a full-time job without the health benefits or the paycheck, but it has. And I love it — but I need to challenge myself to expand my knowledge of computers and technological skills necessary towards developing my focus. I have purchased a .org URL called Empowering Girls and Women, and intend on moving my feminist intent on developing it — by myself, without any one’s help this time. I know I can do it, but because the process is so time-consuming and involved, the idea of all the work that it will entail makes me lazy. So buck up, Marina, and let the techy games begin!
3. Articulate the Angst: I have a problem. No, it’s not that I see sexism and stereotypes everywhere I look. I don’t think that is a problem. My problem is that I avoid conflict at all costs. I fight with my husband all the time — but he’s safe. No matter what I say, he sticks around. He loves me enough! But with other people, even close friends from childhood, I am not comfortable speaking my mind. I always feel that telling them what I really think and feel will chase them away. And when they hurt me — I keep it to myself. But it all adds up in the long run. My goal for 2011 is to say what I really think and feel — and not on paper or on the safe and all-consuming pages of my computer screen. I need to start being honest with people about how they make me feel, when they make me feel it, and believe it or not, this is the hardest thing in the world to me. Harder even than overcoming technology. Go figure!
4. Write More, Blog Less: I have book ideas in my head, but no time to sit down and write these works of fiction because I blog too much. Since revamping this blog site, I blog each day of the week except weekends. And if I could blog seven days a week, I would. I love blogging and getting people from all works of life, (except spams, of course), getting involved in critical conversations about gender and sexism in our society. I consider what I do here very important — even if I don’t get 1000 hits a day now, my purpose is fed by desire to improve the conditions of girls and women. That said, I need to write more — not blogging, but writing about stories with characters and plots and conflicts that women face on a daily basis. And I cannot seem to find enough time to do both — and teach and fulfill my kids’ needs. There just isn’t enough time in the day, and something has to give. For 2011, I am going to try and reschedule my blogs on the weekend so that my weekdays will be filled with real writing time. We’ll see how that goes.
5. Get Thee Published: I have yet to be published, and I am the cause of this. I need to send out article ideas to magazines and get published this way, while my agent is trying to find a publisher for my book. I need to get my name in print, and I have not been trying hard enough. #4 is one of these reasons — blogging too much and not concentrating on the real goal. If I can fulfill the goals of #4, perhaps I can accomplish something towards this goal.
6. From Concept to Novel: As mentioned earlier, I have some great novel ideas, but they’re cemented inside my head, never having been put to paper. Writing is my goal for 2011. Having secured a contract with an agent does not mean taking time off from the serious writing. My first attempt at writing fiction began in 2005, and in the past few months, I have begun taking this book, A Gift Unopened, to my writer’s group for critiques. There were some problems with the first chapter, but everyone seems to like the rest of it so far. Shifting from real life events and characters to fictitious ones is more difficult than imagined, but having other writers read and comment on my work helps tremendously. In 2011, I vow to revamp this manuscript and begin writing my children’s book, which I have been nursing for the past year.
7. Georgia on My Mind: In terms of my teaching, I have just been awarded a Grant to attend a College Composition Conference in Georgia. And I intend to go. Teaching is my vocation, one of my two passions, and I intend on taking advantage of this, my first grant. Not only that, it will look good on my resume — which kicks ass considering I have been working part-time on the college level since 2005. When I’m ready to work full time again — or when it becomes necessary considering today’s economy, my resume will help me get a low-paying job with benefits — I say this because teaching is one of the lowest paying gigs out there considering the amount of work involved. But that’s another blog topic all together.
8. Tutor, Tutor, Where art Thou?: The College does not pay me enough, writing pays me nothing even though I do have some cash coming to me from a site that has been syndicating my posts. I have wanted to tutor ever since I moved here from NY. Parents are willing to pay money for their kids to get personalized attention towards their education, and I definitely have the skills to do so. If you live in my area and know of anyone who wants their kids tutored in English and writing — any age, any level, English Language Arts only, College essays, etc. — pass this along.
9. LinkEd and Connected: People who know me don’t know this about me, but I am shy. I don’t like being in a group of people I don’t know because I never know what to say. Sometimes, I say the wring things. Writing is safe for me — the words come fast and easy as they appear on my blank screen. When I teach, talking and lecturing comes easy — but these are areas in which I have confidence. Networking is a hardship for me. Figuring what to say to people I don’t know, is an arduous task. Talking on the phone is painful. Email is safe and powerful — which is why I have made some very good connections with like-minded women through my blog and theirs…but it isn’t easy for me. Another goal is to get out there, get myself noticed by bigger blog sites, writers and editors’ sites. I have to approach people to guest blog on sites that get a lot of hits, and in turn, bring more people to mine. I have to link and connect myself to improve visibility of my skills.
10: Cut the Cable, Cut the Crap: I escape a lot. And I mean a lot. I escape inside my thoughts, and when there is too much noise around me by my husband and kids, I escape to the movies or to television shows like House or How I Met Your Mother. I am a television addict, which is probably why I don’t have as much time as I can have to blog and write and connect and create a new site. I spend too much evening time eating sunflower seeds and watching TV — if you can call it watching, since I zone out a lot. So no more TV for me come 2011. Or at least less time in front of the TV. There is just too much to do than waste it watching senseless shows that go nowhere and annoy me with their trivial characters and plots. Enough with watching other people become successful. It’s time for me to achieve my goals and get my writing done.
These are my New Year’s Resolutions, and the motif seems to be to write more and do everything else less. Achieving is the most awesome high anyone can get, and my goals are set to empower me so that I can be a better version of myself as a person. This year, I resolve to look past the losing weight and eating less goals, and instead, attempt to improve my mind, my writing, and my ambitions towards being published. If I can achieve these goals, when I look in the mirror, I know that I will smile, loving that the woman staring back at me is confident, secure, ambitious, and a great role model for her kids.
Copyright© 2010 by Marina DelVecchio. All Rights Reserved.
Here’s a great song from ABBA to celebrate the New Year. May you be more empowered, more focused, and exceptionally successful in all your pursuits in 2011. Before you go, name one of your Resolutions for the New Year.