From time to time as I was writing 30-Love, my husband James would poke his head into our study and ask me how things were going. "It's moving right along," I'd say, pausing to give him a patient smile while waiting for him to leave the room so I could continue working.
Early on I'd shared with James that I was writing a story about a Dallas model named Charlie Valdez who falls in love with a handsome tennis pro named Drake Winstead. Since the romance novel is loosely based on our relationship, I knew James was very curious about how I would portray Drake (a.k.a. James) in the book.
He asked me numerous times when I'd let him read it but I'd decided he'd have to wait until I was finished with it.
As it turned out, James didn't read 30-Love until it was available to the public. Although he's not a big reader, when my author copies arrived, James was quick to pluck one from the box. "This one's mine," he declared, quickly disappearing upstairs with a copy in hand.
I busied myself with some things around the house for a couple of hours before I joined him in our bedroom. I watched him read for a few minutes before he set the book down and asked, "Wait! Just how fat is Charlie Valdez?"
Like most creative individuals, I'm not the best with criticism. I stood there for a moment and took a deep breath. "Charlie Valdez isn't fat!" I replied defensively. "And, that's a really ugly thing to say! Fat is like the f-word and it's very hurtful to people. Charlie's full-figured. You know, voluptuously built—what is it you guys like to say? She's a "brick-house. You need to stop being so judgemental over there!"
At this, James picked the book up again and shot me a questioning look. "I'm having a hard time visualizing Charlie in my mind. I know you don't like to use the word "fat" but who would you compare her to?"
I let out a deep sigh, knowing we'd probably be having this conversation (and perhaps that's why I didn't let him read the drafts I submitted to my publisher in the first place!). "Charlie Valdez is a beautiful, full-figured woman who represents most women on this planet. She is neither fat nor thin. She's perfect and she loves herself for who she is—and Drake loves her no matter how much she weighs!"
"Hmm," said my husband. (Now, if you haven't read last week's blog: "James and The Judgemental Hmm", I'd suggest you do so to fully understand how aggravating this sound can be!)
Fast forward to the sequel to 30-Love, Match Point which was recently released on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com. In it, Charlie Valdez is a guest on a national talk show where the host, Linda Brummel asks if the popular model would be willing to have her film crew come to Texas and film a more behind-the-scenes segment. Charlie says, "You know, if I felt like it would be beneficial to anyone, I'd do it. Being the poster child against body-shaming is one thing. Exposing the nitty-gritty details of our personal lives is quite another."
I don't think men will ever understand how challenging it is for women to stay in shape. It's been my observation that guys who decide to drop ten pounds simply limit their carbs, and voila! they magically shed them! Meanwhile, we ladies starve ourselves to achieve the same results. It certainly doesn't seem fair—but then again whoever said life was fair?
I'm pondering this unjust reality one day during my 2020 Closet ClotheSure Challenge. I'd just come downstairs to take the photo in this formal beaded gown which I've had since 1999.
James smiled as I posed for the picture for Week 47. "I've always loved that dress on you," he said.
"Well, that's great because I can't get the zipper completely up!" I snapped impatiently.
"Here, let me help you," he offered.
I hold my hand up, motioning him to back away. "No, it's fine. No one can see the backside. Just take the photo and we'll move on. This one is definitely getting the boot!
"Got it," he replies. (Have I mentioned my husband's no fool?)
Feeling a little friction in the air, I say lightly, "You know, I bought this gown in 1999. A woman's body changes in twenty-plus years."
James takes the photo, nodding silently.
"Okay, I might have gotten a little fluffier over the years," I confess.
Unable to help himself, James quips, "Wait! Did you just say the F-word to me?"
Shooting him the mother of all eye rolls I gather up the bottom up the dress and waddle up the stairs.
Closet ClotheSure Week 45
Monday: Jennifer Lopez navy sparkle top with Gap navy trousers. Both are going bye-bye! (the top I've had for years and the pants are just too big on me)
Blue White House Black Market top - a keeper, skirt (black and blue) Ann Taylor - too short. Although it matches an amazing car coat I wear often, this skirt is going away!
The silk top from Ann Taylor is way too large (check out the armholes!) It gets the boot! Keeping the long blue sweater skirt by Gabrielle Union (New York and Company) although it wasn't red hot on social media. I'm thinking it's due to the fact that I should have paired it with a more flattering top.
I bought this teal dress from White House Black Market on sale a couple of years ago. The color is divine and I really like the fit. I'm thinkin' it's a keeper although folks weren't loving it on social media. At the end of the day, I have to be true to myself and decide which outfits really make me feel like a "ten". This one definitely does! Keeper!
From The Great Outdoors - Or, From The Things That Make You Go, Hmm Department!
Sometimes, as an alternative to hiking the trails near our home, James and I walk around our subdivision. This is especially true at Christmastime when everyone's got their homes decorated for the holidays. Recently we came across this over-sized suitcase sitting on the street across from a playground. That was actually several days ago and I know the thing is still there because I pass it on my way to work every day. We've been musing about what might be inside and have come up with the most bizarre theories . . . Actually, it's a little disturbing. If the suitcase is still there tomorrow, I may call the police. It's kind of creeping me out!
So, here's another photo I snapped a couple of days ago. I'm a huge fan of Japanese Maple trees and wanted to share this special shot with you:
Now, that's far better than the creepy black suitcase, right?
Happy Friday, friends! And, remember God is in control and hope is on the move!