“I didn’t want to marry him; I wanted to BE him!” What attracts us to others?

“I didn’t want to marry him; I wanted to BE him!”

The above statement was yelled by a major character in the Jessica Jones series, Trish (played wonderfully by Rachael Taylor), when asked by Jessica (played amazingly by Krysten Ritter) why Trish hadn’t said “yes” to her lover’s very public, romantic, planned-out, catered marriage proposal. It certainly was appropriate, as explanations go, since Trish’s aspirations were to transition from being a radio talk show personality into becoming a serious journalist (which her erstwhile fiance already was).

Interestingly, this sentiment also gave me pause, personally and as a writer. That contemplation urther inspired me to pose the following questions, to myself and to you all:

What causes us to fail in relationships?

What attracts us to others?

Could what attracts us and what dooms us be the same?


image from: https://everydayfeminism.com/2016/01/dealing-with-unrequited-love/

Are YOU attracted to people who have qualities you wish YOU possessed, in an unconscious attempt to acquire those qualities for yourself? This can apply to people you are cultivating as friends, people you work with or for, and/or people you are considering as lovers.

These types of feelings of attraction could have elements of:
—admiration (personal)
—respect (professional)
—envy (wanting what they have but not wishing they would lose it)
—jealousy (wanting what they have and wanting to take it from them, believing they do not deserve to have it as much as you do)
—intimidation (feeling inferior or afraid)
—possessiveness (showing off your connection to this person, “owning” their time or status as yours)
—sexual lust (perhaps believing your becoming lovers gives you power over this person)
—status hunger (wanting to improve your own and/or share theirs)
—aspirations for greatness (believing being closer to this person elevates you)
—desire for more intimacy (see above)
—wishes for shared glory (believing stardom “rubs off”)
—bids for approval (parentifying this person, to some degree)
and many more complications to simple attraction, most of which are based in our own insecurities.


image from https://theotherhubby.com/2015/08/28/insecurity-relationships/ INSECURITY

A list of the usual qualities that could be aspects of that person which you believe that you lack and they already have include:

—components of physical appearance/style
—personality traits, especially charisma/star quality
—social or professional status
—employment/work situation
—education/training/skills
—property/finances
—talents
—fame/celebrity
—community respect or position
—family or other relationships
or, any other accomplishments/circumstances

The next question: How well does it work to hook up with, become friends or lovers with, even commit to, someone in order to gain one or more of the above for oneself?

Speaking for my own experiences, this quest doesn’t work at all, or not for very long.

When people have attempted to do that with me, it was like the situation described, but in reverse: they wanted what I already seemed to possess. At first, they admired me, liked me, complimented me, wanted to “show me off” to others. However, inevitably, they grew to resent me. They seemed to feel increasingly jealous of me. They ascribed negative motivations to me, believing I was patronizing or condescending to them (even though I was not feeling or thinking in those ways at all). Usually, we ended with their being intimidated by me or afraid of my view of them to the point of ruining our relationship.

I had one intimate friend beg me: “Stop looking at me with those eyes!”
I protested, perplexed: “These are the only eyes I have!”
Turned out, he was unable to cope with my seeing him as clearly as I did. Apparently, his self-esteem was so low that the ways I reflected him were unbearable to him. His fears and self-loathing are what destroyed our friendship.

“Comparison kills joy”
image from: http://international-relations-cliches.blogspot.com/2014/02/there-is-icky-us-car-commercial-that-is.html

When I have been attracted to someone’s “star quality,” wishing I could be more like them in their profession, have their talent, or enjoy their status, I would initially be so happy to become their friend or lover. But, as we grew closer, it became clear that I did not gain what I had hoped to gain. Our relationship never availed me of their circumstances.

I often would make myself indispensable to them, hoping to maintain our connection. This tactic often worked, as long as I could tolerate the unrequited nature of my love and they could appreciate my contributions to their life/work.

While I did enjoy getting to know each of them better and usually felt special for having been chosen to be closer to them, for however long it lasted (usually, not long), I was not as positively changed as I had wished to be; certainly, I was not turned “into” them by our intimacy.

Luckily, I am not the jealous or envious type to the point of losing my own self-regard to those feelings. So, often, we would become good friends or lovers and enjoy each other’s company, IF they could tolerate my fawning over them…. If not, we parted.

When we could work all this out, we continued in some capacity as companions, sometimes becoming life-long friends (you know who you are!). I continue to admire them; they seem not to be bothered by my adulation. I suppose they have their own reasons for enjoying me, for which I am grateful.


What’s your story?
Comment here, please! http://www.sallyember.com/blog

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3 Films/Events from Unify.org and others

3 Films/Events from Unify.org and others
[Announcements and images from Unify (http://unify.org)]

ONE:
#makingfriends “Making Friends Across Religions”

A short film… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGMQsJ0VzAk

“On June 14, 2017, many of the world’s most prominent religious leaders made a joint statement encouraging people everywhere to make friends across religions.

“Friendship and getting to know one another are the antidotes to negativity and divisions in society, enhancing understanding and unity.

“We pray that the message and example of unity, shown by these leaders, will contribute to bridging divisions by inspiring you and your friends to start new conversations with people of different faiths. Follow the example, spread the message.” http://lionsgateevent.com/


TWO:

8/8/17, 2 PM YOUR TIME


#Globalmeditation on 8/8/17, 2 PM EDT USA:

“The ‘Lion’s Gate Synchronized Global Meditation’ combines several powerful planetary alignments, including the Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, the Lion’s Gate (or Egyptian New Year) and the 30 year anniversary of the Harmonic Convergence.”


THREE:
#CalmOneCalmAll 8/2/17 at 2 PM YOUR time, JOIN IN:
“A Moment of Calm: Global Forgiveness Moment”

watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FloNvmQCZ0A

“Become a part of the growing wave of peace. Join the ‘Global Forgiveness Moment ––The Moment of Calm’ from wherever you are. Simply observe TWO MINUTES of silence on August 2 at 2 PM to forgive and experience the calmness within.”

#Summer #Camp as Sanctuary and Crucible

#Summer #Camp as Sanctuary and Crucible

Some of the best memories of my whole life are from the seven years I spent at Camp Hawthorn, 1963 – 1969. This was a St. Louis-based, Jewish Community Center Association [JCCA, or “J”]-run residential summer camp in central Missouri. Camp Hawthorn was very rustic (no electricity in the sleeping cabins, no air conditioning even in the few buildings that had electricity except for the main office and infirmary, latrines instead of flush toilets, showers without roofs or doors, gravel roads).

Camp meant: campfires, friendships, canoeing, waterskiing, swimming; first crushes, kisses and dances; camping in tents and under the stars; games, sing-downs, folk singing and dancing; art projects, camp-crafts and nature walks; motor and sail boat rides and much more. Humid, sunny, summer heat filled our time, with the occasional thunderstorm or even tornado warning, for three- to four-week-long sessions. When I was lucky, I got to stay for seven weeks.

Camp was a sanctuary from my sometimes dangerous and often dysfunctional home life. Camp was also a crucible for my development as a competent, skilled, courageous feminist, comfortable in my body and in nature, able to make friends easily and become a leader.

Camp Hawthorn‘s property had been a fire and low-security prison before the J turned it into a summer camp in Missouri on the Lake of the Ozarks from the 1920’s to the 1960’s. Near a small town, Kaiser, Missouri, but not much else but forests and the lake, we felt as if we were millions of miles from “civilization.” Our dad had been a camper there in the 1930s. I and all of my siblings were campers at the JCCA camps, but only we three eldest were lucky enough to have been at Camp Hawthorn.

Housing only about 200 people, total, in four “Villages” of about 40 campers and 10 staff per Village, and one CIT [Counselors-In-Training] section for up to two dozen teens and six or more staff [which had its own camp for the last four weeks each summer, Red Bud, a few coves over from Camp Hawthorn], Hawthorn had some general staff cabins and bunkhouses, one “Mess Hall,” one outdoor amphitheatre, five “Rec” Halls (one for each Village and one central one), one swim dock/area next to the one “boat house” and boating dock/area on the lake, and some outbuildings for arts and crafts, nature, the infirmary and office and one central “Specify” bathhouse (to use it, one had to stand at the door and call out “WIC” or “MIC” [Woman In Camp or Man In Camp]: depending on the response from those inside, you could enter or wait (you had to match). You could walk all over its property, including “down the hill” to the lake and over to each Village’s furthest corner, in under two hours, easily. Camp Hawthorn was compact and knowable.

When the JCCA got kicked out of its rented space, it negotiated to purchase/buy out another Jewish summer camp’s property (Camp Wah-Kon-Dah). Sadly, after 1969, Camp Hawthorn was no more.

The J relocated its residential summer camp to a different part of the Lake of the Ozarks, morphing into the larger, much more modern and ever-expanding and -improving Camp Sabra starting in 1970, near Rocky Mount, MO. This coincided with my being too old to be a CIT and too young to be a regular staff member, so I had started working from home for the summer, resigned to working at the local pre-schoolers’ camp at the J, attended by my youngest sister (11 years my junior), until I got the call. The assistant director and his wife had a three-month-old baby but they both had jobs at the camp (she worked in the office) and needed a part-time babysitter to come live at camp and help out. Was I interested?

I took my leave from the pre-schoolers camp, said a tearful but joyful good-bye to friends and family, and took the next ride from the J to Rocky Mount. There, I was reunited with many of my beloved staff members and fellow campers (but only one about my age) and also “joined” my (begrudging) one-year-older brother (who worked there at the boating dock for a few weeks, but he got sick and had to go home), to work at Camp Sabra during its premier summer.

It was weird being there as the babysitter: not really staff, certainly no longer a camper. I had all the freedoms of being on staff, especially at night, but no actual affiliation to anyone who talked to me or worked with me (six-months-old Craig didn’t speak, yet). Seeing some of my beloved counselors from Hawthorn working at Sabra was almost great, but they were not there “for me,” which was also strange. We didn’t quite know how to relate to each other.

After a few weeks, I even dated one of them, a young man I had known while a camper with him on the staff at Hawthorn (he is almost 6 years older than I). We had brief somewhat chaste sexual encounters and hurried conversations that didn’t go well. Extremely surreal. For me, it was like dating a teacher or something equally bizarre.

He claims not to remember this….I remember a lot.

I left that summer gig at Camp Sabra near the end of August, just before my 16th birthday, to get my driver’s license and get ready for my junior year. Even though I was hired (by that very same young man, later Camp Sabra‘s director for many years) about seven years later to be a Village leader, I never did work at Sabra again, because the Missouri camps’ schedules for staff didn’t work for me, who was then working in Rhode Island: I couldn’t go to staff training week because I had to finish out the school year at my teaching job.

I held on to my memories of Camp Hawthorn and attempted to “find” it again by working at several other camps (in New York, Maine and New Hampshire), and another day camp at the St. Louis JCCA. Throughout college and my young adult to middle-aged adult life, I tried to replicate my experiences at camp, but nothing I ever did or anywhere I lived for a summer felt as great as being at Camp Hawthorn had.

However, the abilities I developed, the sense of myself as strong and capable, having so much fun while being busy every day, being outdoors most of the hours for weeks at a time, making such great friends (several are STILL my friends, 50+ years later!): how great is all that for youth? Irreplaceable, for sure.

Are you an alum of one of these or another great camp? Find your former bunkmates and counselors, donate photos and funds, enjoy reunions and family weekends at Camp Sabra (or yours) and more: http://www.campsabra.com/alumni/

sisters 2015 Camp Reunion
My sisters and I were at the 45th Reunion of a combined group from Camp Sabra, with earlier Camp Hawthorn campers and staff and some from Wah-Kon-Dah, August, 2015, St. Louis, Missouri.

Terry Schaller and I Camp Reunion 2015
One of my first and many years’ camp friends, Terry Schaller, and I, Reunion, August, 2015, St. Louis, Missouri.

Aubrey Herman and Mike Lainoff 2012
Aubrey Herman, one of Camp Sabra‘s first Directors and former Camp Hawthorn staff (and that erstwhile boyfriend I mentioned, but he denies it…), with long-time Camp Hawthorn and first-year Sabra Director, Mike Lainoff [his wife and office manager for the camp was recently deceased, 11/29/15; miss you, “Fritzi”!], 2012

I vividly remember the wonderful smells of the lake and rivers, the views of the tendrils of fog and dew rising from the early morning water and grass, the soft sounds of our canoe paddles in the water when no motorboats were around. The scent of an outdoor fire, the smell of motorboats running on freshwater lakes, young kids’ sweat and earnestness when trying hard to learn new skills all bring me right back to being at summer camp, every time.

River canoeing view
River view from canoe

Shabbat at Camp Hawthorn 1950s
Shabbat [Jewish Sabbath, Friday night service], campers all in white, Camp Hawthorn, 1950s or 60s One of the only times I didn’t mind attending Jewish rituals were these Friday nights at Camp Hawthorn. The services were blissfully brief, and we then sang, danced, did skits and had fun. Perfect.

sailing-4
photo from Camp Sabra website, sailing on the lake

I thank you all (most are nicknames), and sorry if I forget anyone!
STAFF: Big Mike, Fritzi, Bunny, Maxine, Big Mama, Stolie, Soapy, Nate, Ned, Pinky, Twinkle, Howdy, Nix, Ron, Susie, Jay, Frank, Corky, Brenda, Chuck, Aubrey, Woody, Paula, Mimi, Big Al, Randy, Craig, Vicki, Sue, Melanie, Nancy, Linda, Candy, Buddy, Aaron, Glen, Bobby, Mark, Amy, Joanne, Fred, Rich, Vic, Gary, Frank, Cookie, Bobbi, Stan, Frank, Jerry, Barry, Smokey, Fritz, Danny, Sue, Johanna, Little Mike, Hawk, Katie, Kim, Renee, Mark.
CAMPERS: Suzanne, Terry, Terri, Diane, Janet, Sam, Joyce, Marlon, David, Jeff, Sheldon, Glenn, Jon, Walter, Bob, Jack, Steve, Marty, Beth, Marcy, Debbie, Sharon, Ronnie, Katie, Kathy, Melissa, Jay, Elice, Diane, Phyllis, Wendy, Judy.

Want to send your child or sponsor another child to attend camp this or any summer? NOW is the time to register! http://www.campsabra.com/

“Should You #Write What You Know?” Guest Post by Krysten Lindsay Hager

I am excited to welcome back a previous guest blogger for today’s post, someone who was also a guest on Episode 15 of #CHANGES conversations between authors (see below for links), and who is an award-winning #YA and middle grades #novelist, #blogger and nonfiction author, Krysten Lindsay Hager!

Read her insights into what an #author ought to write about, below, and please comment here, http://www.sallyember.com/blog and on her site (see below for all her links).


“Should You #Write What You Know?”

What makes a person go back in time to those #teen years to relive all the awkward, cringe-worthy moments of growing up, crushes and trying to fit in while juggling homework and friendships? Was I crazy even to think about writing about that?

Probably.

Yes; most definitely, yes.

But, then again, sanity is overrated…or so I’ve heard.

Back when I began #writing seriously, I had been taking creative writing classes and even did a one-on-one independent study with my English professor. This is the first time that I finished a young adult novel. I liked my finished book, but I felt there was another story I needed to tell.

I tried different ideas out, outlined, free-formed it, scribbled on napkins and in journals, but nothing felt quite right. I had heard the phrase, “write what you know,” but it didn’t resonate that strongly with me. However, when I heard, “Write the book you would want to read,” well, that one hit home with me.

desk one

I decided that instead of trying to write for the market or what I thought people would want to read, I would write a story that I wanted to read. I told myself this story was just an exercise for me and there was no pressure to submit it or even finish it.

You know what happened? The words began to flow. It wasn’t so much about form and structure as it was about enjoying the process again. I’d soon learn that the writing reflected that.

A few months later, I had heard somewhat late about a writing conference that gave writers the opportunity to sign up for a critique. Since it was first-come, first-served, I had been waitlisted.

However, when I arrived at the conference, I saw that I had a spot in the critique queue. I asked the woman behind the counter how was it that I suddenly had a critique time assigned? I’m not saying she winked or anything, but she told me “they had found a spot” for me.

I didn’t question anything. I just said, “Thank you!” and I went to my appointment.

I went in, anxious and about to throw up. Those of you who have read any of my Landry’s True Colors Series or remember the scene in Next Door to a Star with Hadley getting ready for her first day of 10th grade, are now thinking, “Oh, that’s where Landry/Hadley gets her feel-the-fear-but–do-it-anyway bit from.”

The editor went through the chapter with me and then she came to the part in which my character has been left out by her two best friends and has to get up and walk across the room and ask another group of girls if she can join them. The editor looked at me and said: “My heart was in my throat as I wondered: would these new girls accept her? Would they let her sit with them?”

As she told me how she felt emotionally connected with the character, it hit me–—that moment I had written about was based on my own feelings. Way back in middle school, I had done that incredibly long walk in the cafeteria to another table to see if someone would let me in their group after my own crew had stopped talking to me for a day. (Who knows why, and, at the time, it seemed catastrophic to me.) That awkward, uncomfortable memory that I wasn’t even sure I should write about had brought up something in this woman who was reading it for the first time.

It was then that I realized that writing honestly about my character’s (and my) vulnerabilities was the only way to bring truth and authenticity to my stories. The fact that this person was so interested in this story’s world made me realize that I had something that someone wanted to read.

desk two
Krysten’s Writing Area

I found out that when I focused on the story I needed to tell and had written from a different place inside of me, that all brought my book to life. It made me realize the importance of writing what is in your heart–—the story only you can tell.


Krysten’s new release!

NEXT DOOR TO A STAR
by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Audience: Young Adult
Realistic Fiction

★ SYNOPSIS ★

Hadley Daniels is tired of feeling invisible.

After Hadley’s best friend moves away and she gets on the bad side of some girls at school, she goes to spend the summer with her grandparents in the Lake Michigan resort town of Grand Haven. Her next-door-neighbor is none other than teen TV star, Simone Hendrickson, who is everything Hadley longs to be–—pretty, popular, and famous—–and she’s thrilled when Simone treats her like a friend.

Being popular is a lot harder than it looks.

It’s fun and flattering when Simone includes her in her circle, though Hadley is puzzled about why her new friend refuses to discuss her former Hollywood life. Caught up with Simone, Hadley finds herself ignoring her quiet, steadfast friend, Charlotte.

To make things even more complicated, along comes Nick Jenkins…

He’s sweet and good-looking, and Hadley can be herself around him without all the fake drama. However, the mean girls have other ideas and they fill Nick’s head with lies about Hadley, sending him running back to his ex-girlfriend and leaving Hadley heartbroken.

So, when her parents decide to relocate to Grand Haven, Hadley hopes things will change when school starts…only to be disappointed once again.

Cliques. Back-stabbing. Love gone bad.

Is this really what it’s like to live…Next Door To A Star?

Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnLXsu2c43k

Next Door to a Star
NextDoor Cover

Excerpt from Next Door to a Star:

The school year should end right after spring break, because all anyone can focus on is summer vacation. You can’t learn anything new because all you can think about is all the fun stuff you’re going to do once you don’t have to get up at the butt crack of dawn. Summer always seems full of possibilities.

Nothing exciting ever happens during the school year, but maybe, during summer vacation, you could run into a hot celebrity and he’d decide to put you in his next music video. Okay, it wasn’t like I knew anybody that happened to, but my grandparents did live next door to a former TV star, Simone Hendrickson, and Simone was discovered in an ice cream parlor one summer. Of course, she lived in L.A. at the time and was already doing plays and commercials, so the guy who discovered her had already seen her perform. But hey, it was summer, she got discovered, and that was all that mattered.
Amazing stuff didn’t happen to me.

You know what happened to me last summer? I stepped on a bee and had to go to the emergency room. They’re not going to make an E! True Hollywood Story out of my life. I didn’t go on exotic vacations—–like today, I was being dragged along with my parents to my cousin’s graduation party. Most people waited until at least the end of May before having a grad party, but Charisma was having hers early because she was leaving on a trip to Spain.

I was dreading this party because I didn’t want to listen to everybody talk about how smart and talented Charisma was–—making me feel like a blob in comparison—–but my mom RSVP’d even though I said I’d rather die than go. My death threats meant nothing.

But still, for some strange reason, I had a feeling this summer was going to be different.

About Krysten

Krysten Lindsay Hager
(author photo courtesy of Shannon DiGiacomo)

Krysten Lindsay Hager is an obsessive reader and has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and humor essayist, and writes for teens, tweens, and adults. She is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series and her work has been featured in USA Today and named as Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values and Virtues Fiction and Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Children’s Books on Values. She’s originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and southwestern Ohio. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Connect with Krysten Lindsay Hager

Website: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/krystenlindsay
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KrystenLindsayHagerAuthor
Twitter: @KrystenLindsay
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8298036.Krysten_Lindsay_Hager
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Krysten-Lindsay-Hager/e/B00L2JC9P2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Book trailer for Landry’s True Colors Series provided by Videos by O.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFp2fPFbvTQ&feature=youtu.be

Buy links:
Amazon USA: http://www.amazon.com/Next-Door-Krysten-Lindsay-Hager-ebook/dp/B0149HTAK0
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Next-Door-Krysten-Lindsay-Hager/dp/1680582690
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/next-door-to-a-star-krysten-lindsay-hager/1122588304?ean=9781680582697
Nook UK: http://www.nook.com/gb/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&%5Bs%5Dkeyword=krysten+lindsay+hager
Books-a-million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Next-Door-Star/Krysten-Lindsay-Hager/9781680582697?id=6130980443153
itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/author/krysten-lindsay-hager/id890673226?mt=11
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/search?query=Krysten%20Lindsay%20Hager&fcsearchfield=Author&fclanguages=all

If you enjoyed this post, please comment/like it here AND go visit Krysten’s sites.


Krysten Lindsay Hager was my guest on Episode 15 of CHANGES conversations between authors. Watch conversations with my previous CHANGES guests any time:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbfKicwk4dFdeVSAY1tfhtjaEY_clmfq

Learn more about and get yourself or recommend someone to be scheduled as a guest:    https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/


Want to be a guest blogger on my site? Visit my “Guest Bloggers Hall of Fame” to review other guest posts and read my guidelines. Then, contact me if you’re interested: http://www.sallyember.com/guest-bloggers-hall-of-fame/