Trying Something New

Those of you  who have been following my blog for a while are probably aware of the struggle I have had with insecurity when it comes to showing pictures of myself. I am overweight and over fifty and would never have won a beauty contest even on my best days. And when you add in the fact that I am not even the slightest bit photogenic, I’m one of those people who would be a lot more comfortable using a picture of my cat as a profile picture.

It was a huge step for me to post my first selfie here a few years ago. And other than one slightly batty piece of fruitcake with over-the-top negative reaction, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Since then, I’ve gotten more comfortable about sharing pictures of myself. I still think my smile makes me look like a serial killer in pictures, but I guess I can learn to live with that. I can color the gray hairs and layer on the makeup to hid the wrinkles, but I have yet to discover a filter that shaves off eighty pounds or gives me better cleavage.

I am, however, working on what I call the Popeye chapter of my life. It’s the chapter where I look at myself, shrug, and say “I  yam what I yam.”

Of course, the thought of yams makes me hungry for sweet potato fries, which tempts me to make a run to Red’s Drive-in in Paw Paw for a double olive burger to go with the fries. And suddenly I am reminded of just why I have to worry about the extra eighty pounds (not to mention acne at the ripe old age of fifty-one).

It’s life, guys. It is what it is. Like my mom used to say, there are better ways to go through life than to be dragged, kicking and screaming.

At any rate, I am slowly working up the nerve to do a video blog post someday. Eventually. Maybe to celebrate my 55th birthday. My older children both shook their heads and said, “no, Mother,” when I suggested it, but I rarely listen to their suggestions.

If I did listen to my daughter’s suggestions, I probably wouldn’t have worn the lavender t-shirt with the silver butterfly on the boobs that makes it look like I’m wearing a bustier. Pictures of me in that shirt should be in the back pages of Glamour magazine with a black bar across my eyes and a caption that says “Fashion DON’T.”

But I’m going to take a leap and put myself out there in a video this coming weekend. Sort of. I have decided to do a Facebook Live Q&A on Sunday, April 30, at 1 p.m. EST to help celebrate the release of my newest book. I don’t know if it will do anything for sales and I strongly doubt I’ll get enough viewers to even mildly dent the internet, but I think it will be fun.

I’ve got lots of coffee on hand for before, and lots of wine for after. If it doesn’t go well, I may hit some of the wine during.

I even did a little test run with Facebook Live last weekend to see how it works. For the record, I was wearing the lavender butterfly/bustier shirt that day, which is how I figured out how awful it is.  Check it out here.

So please stop by this coming Sunday and ask any questions you might have about my books or my blog, or even about those fabulous double olive burgers and sweet potato fries at Red’s Drive-In. Anyone who comments will be entered into a random drawing to win a free digital copy of Victoria’s Promise.

Click on the link below for more information. I hope to see you then!

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Facebook Live Q&A with A.J. Goode, April 30 2017 at 1:00 p.m. EST

Sign Me Up!

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In three days, I will be facing one of my greatest fears.

In three days, I am going to wake up in a cold sweat and probably spend a couple of hours fighting back nausea as my nerves go haywire. I’m pretty sure I’ll screw up my hair and end up with random pieces sticking up to do their own thing; I’ll probably jam the mascara wand in my eye while applying my make-up, too.

It’s a safe bet that at least one earring back is going down the drain or into my cleavage.  Either way, that sucker is going to be long gone, because I’m not going in after it in either place.

In three days, I’m doing my first book signing at my local library, and I’ve got to be honest: I’m almost praying for a power outage or possibly an alien abduction somewhere between now and then. Sure, I signed books at a booth during Octoberfest, but this is different.

I am terrified, but not for the reasons you might think.

If the only people who show up are my relatives, I’m going to laugh. Hey, more chocolate for me! If I sign only a handful of books, it’s okay; after all, I’ve already sold them to most of the people I know around here.  When all is said and done, I get to spend an hour and a half at a library with a very nice librarian, talking about books, drinking tea, and eating chocolate.

Successful book signing or not, that pretty much describes my perfect Saturday afternoon.

No, I’m not taking this little drive down Anxiety Lane by way of Panic Avenue because I’m afraid of poor attendance.  It’s not the where or what of the situation that’s got me gnawing off my fingernails; it’s the who. Specifically, me.

I don’t think I thought this whole author thing through. I like writing and telling stories. I enjoy being around people. I just don’t like being in front of people.  I sweat when I get nervous, and I start talking fast. I mean really fast. The first time I had to prepare a lecture for a classroom, I delivered forty minutes of material in just under nine minutes.

Nine minutes.

When I finished and looked out at my audience, this is what I saw:

"Did you catch any of that?"
“Did you catch any of that?”

I have a tendency to giggle when I’m nervous. And I blurt out things that I really have no reason to be blurting. You know that filter that some people have between their brain and their mouth? I don’t have one of those. Especially not when I’m nervous and giggling and talking too fast.

I’m reminded of the episode of Coupling when Jeff is so worried about an upcoming job interview that he panics about “accidental words” popping into his brain, causing him to blurt out “Thighs!” and “Vulva!” at really unfortunate moments.

I should probably not do that.

The truth is that I’m not sure I’m the kind of person who belongs in front of people. I’m overweight, middle-aged, and I only have one nice dress to wear to an occasion like this. I’ve got funny posture and my hands sort of flail about when I’m talking. I don’t even like putting my picture on my Author Profile page – in fact, for a long time my profile picture was a shot of the stump of the tree that fell on me. Seriously, that says an awful lot right there: I hate my picture so much that I’d rather shine the spotlight on the tree that bounced off my head four years ago.

Lovely picture of me, eh?
Lovely picture of me, eh?

All kidding aside, I’m really grateful for the opportunity to do this in my own town for the first time.  If it goes well, I may approach a few other libraries about doing it again. I understand that it’s necessary to put myself out there as part of any marketing campaign, and I think I’m probably going to end up really enjoying myself once I get over being nervous.

As long as I don’t suddenly blurt out “Penis!”

What about all of you?  Do you get nervous about making public appearances? Are you comfortable attaching your picture to your work, and if so, how did you get to that point? If not, what would it take to get you there?

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This post was written as part of the Insecure Writers Support Group.