A Facebook Ad caught my eye. 50 Fabulous Women Project to raise funds and awareness for Going Beyond the Pink – a Wilmington Breast Cancer Charity. Marcus Anthony, a seasoned photographer, will take pictures at his state-of-the-art facility. I was hooked. I wanted to do something that would allow me to support a wonderful cause and have my pictures taken by a seasoned professional.
I filled out an application and received a call from Marcus. The project is for 50 Fabulous Women, over the age of 40, to be photographed and have their portraits in a coffee table book. A portion of the proceeds from the coffee table book and $100 participation fee will go to Going Beyond the Pink. I agreed to participate and we scheduled a time for the photo shoot.
The statistics are staggering, according to Breastcancer.org, about 1 in 8 US women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. I have friends and relatives that were affected by breast cancer. The age group that the project is covering is the prime age for this disease. Over forty.
Women of a certain age are often invisible in a culture that values youth. There is a young woman and the old crone. I do not find myself in either one. Why does ageism and sexism affect women differently than men? Men are mature, women are old. Women’s sexuality are either gone or they are cougars. They are seen as ineffective, passive and dependent on their spouses and families. And a litany of stereotypes ensues.
That is why I was drawn to the Facebook Ad. As a mature, double minority, I wanted to support a project that has a worthy cause. To raise funds and awareness of breast cancer. And to celebrate women, beautiful women over 40! Strong, talented, dynamic, exuberant, and contributing members of society.
Early this year I was Shanghaied. Due to a series of missed flight connections and weather delays, I ended up in Shanghai instead of Seoul. At the time I was being redirected, I was informed that I would only be three hours behind my original ETA. I agreed. However, I ended up stranded for 34 hours in China. The airlines housed me at a local hotel. I was glad to have a room, given money, and I envisioned being all comfortable while eating some great local cuisine.
The hotel room was not heated and it was in the dead of winter. I was bitterly cold. I was headed to a tropical country and was not properly attired. On top of that, I finally realized that all my means of communication was non existent in China. Not only was I Shanghaied, I was also incommunicado. My family was clueless as to where I was! As soon as it was daylight, I asked to be taken back to the airport.
The staff spoke no English and I spoke no Chinese. Without heat and no internet, I braved being at the airport and still hoped to be able to reach the outside world. My flight was not until midnight. I had 15 hours to do nothing. I was freezing cold the whole time. As I sat by the check-in area, I decided to go inside the pre-departure area with the thought that of having better internet reception. Yes, there’s internet but I could not connect to any. I had an extra water bottle which I had grabbed from the hotel room so instead of throwing it away, I decided to give it to the young lady sitting beside me.
She was a God Send! Olebrey, as she introduced herself, spoke English!!! Finally, I can communicate! She spent the day with me, until she had to leave, and we enjoyed some local cuisine. Olebrey lives in Inner Mongolia and I promised to send her my book! That was February! Just this morning, I got this picture from her and my book, To Love Again, arrived 4 months later! WOW! She never gave up hope and believed that it would get there! And I’m just ecstatic to know that somewhere in the plateaus of Inner Mongolia, I have met a friend who has a copy of my book. To Love Again!
After I graduated with my PhD, there was an expectation of working in academia and writing a book. Yes, I’ve worked adjunct and now, have published two books. Yes, two. Not in the academic field where I though I’d come up with a new theory to explain my research studies on Sexual Violence in the Lives of Lesbian Rape Survivors. But rather, a fictional narrative, a love story.
It all started with the story of Gia and Armando, two souls who managed to find each other amidst life’s uncertainties. It was a simple story of boy meets girl or rather an older man meets a young woman and falls in love. It was a May-December romance. A theme born from my Master’s Thesis on Age Heterogamous Relationships, where I interviewed couples with at least a 10-year-age gap.
However, as I wrote the story of Gia and Armando, other narratives came alive and their stories had to be told. And so, a prequel came into existence. Memories of Love tells the story of Francisco and Bernadette, once more delving into Age Heterogamous relationships with a gamut of issues including grief and loss. But with a prequel, it suggests a sequel. Thus, I’m working on the third book, Love Comes Around.
Writing and painting are my new hobbies which somehow frees my spirit to express, create and just Be! If you haven’t read To Love Again grab an e-book on Kindle or a paperback through Amazon. Drop me a line and tell me what you think!
Have you ever done something in your life that just grabbed you so deep? Well, that happened to me one evening, several weeks ago, as I attended a painting class. I was late due to work and came in as others had started. The class painted loggerhead sea turtles on canvas. I listened to the instructions and looked around at what everyone else was doing, I felt excited and also apprehensive.
Why? Well, they all looked like they knew what they were doing. So, I dove in and told myself to relax and have a good time. I traced the turtle’s outline and proceeded to paint. It felt good. I felt relaxed and it helped that Leslie, our teacher, had wine for us! As the evening unfolded, I found pleasure in painting that turtle. I even proceeded to use my hands in painting. It felt that good!
Two days later, I found myself signed up for another painting class along with a friend. Not knowing what the finished product was other than the urge to paint I agreed. So on a Saturday morning, I drove across town and over the bridge to a magical island called Topsail. There, I painted a mermaid. Once more, I was apprehensive but I wanted to create something beautiful and have fun!
As I listened to our teacher explain how to mix colors and not to worry about making mistakes because you can always paint over it, I relaxed. I started on the face and tried to mix the right kind of colors. The wood absorbed the paint’s colors and as it infused with the board I became happy. Right before my eyes it came alive.
Her shape came into focus and as I painted her arms it only seemed natural that I would have her arms up to wondrously ran it through her glorious hair. There were two other students in class, my friend and the other lady who happened to be in the turtle class with us. We all admired our works and marveled at what we created.
I was thrilled with my mermaid! She looked serenely beautiful and happy. I was mesmerized. The loggerhead turtle and mermaid graced my living room and I was hooked! The paints called out to me and I bought some art supplies. I found myself to be an accidental artist and I owe it all to that awakened turtle! That mermaid board? Well, I decided she needed company so I painted the lost son of Neptune or was it Poseidon?
“I super love the book. At first i thought its just going to be another love story…but i was surprised, I was shaken to the core. What a lovely story. Makes me want to go out there and just learn To Love Again.” Madz Pamulaklakin reviewed Gia & Armando: To Love Again on Facebook
“To Love Again is written with so much love and passion for life and romance. Readers will finish the book feeling full and complete.” Mae Derby B reviewed Gia & Armando: To Love Again on Facebook
”I fell in love. A true masterpiece! It’s always good to find a book that will make you feel good after reading. Thanks to the author.” Mia Aspirin reviewed Gia & Armando: To Love Again on Facebook
”A moving love story-not just about matters of the heart but also about family. I especially like the reminiscence of the character Bernadette….simply impossible to put down…” Snap Sweets reviewed Gia & Armando: To Love Again on Facebook
”I was just swept away by the book. The storyline, the characters coming alive, the wonderful insights from reading page after page…I am drawn…i am a fan of To Love Again!” Josephine Isobal reviewed Gia & Armando: To Love Again on Facebook
Read more on Gia & Armando: To Love Again fan page on Facebook for more reviews 20 out of 20 5 stars reviews!