Friday, September 16, 2011

What Would Wonder Woman Do?

We interrupt the normal Friday Fives for Alison's inner pep talk.

The other day, author Talli Roland ( The Hating Game) launched her second book Watching Willow Watts with a celebration and a web splash. Her question: If I could be anyone, I’d be…

Well, that’s easy. I’d be Wonder Woman.

No, really. Who wouldn’t want super strength, super speed, and a super duper jet plane—that’s INVISIBLE? Okay, maybe not everybody, but I strive for Wonder Woman wowsomeness on a daily basis.

And fail repeatedly.

For those of you with frequent bouts of Beat Yourself Up Syndrome and daily attempts at achieving Superhero status, let me tell you a story.

Last week was crazytown and I had at least one eight breakdowns and/or sobfests. Why? I was trying to get ready for a conference in the midst of grading papers and running my kids everywhere and critiquing and getting ready to launch the super fab YA Confidential and answering emails and trying to just keep my head above water.

Then came the Campaigner’s challenge. It called for a 200-word flash fiction. Something I enjoy doing. But also something that takes time. Something I knew I wouldn’t allow on my blog until I’d polished it sixty-four times.

But it would give me the opportunity to write—something I haven’t done a whole lot of since I finished Franken-novel back in August.

And then I thought about my massive, overwhelming to-do list.

And, I snapped.

I felt the demands of my job and had a katrillion and two places to go and be. Then I cursed at my daughter (something I swore I’d NEVER do), and realized I forgot to pack my son’s snack two days in a row. His response to my three hundred apologies didn’t help: “It’s okay, Mommy. I really wasn’t hungry then (at snack time) anyway.”

Cue incessant sobbing.

Ever have days like that (Say yes, I know I’m not the only one). Ever have weeks like that?

I love just about everything I do. Most of it is “fun busy.” I love that my children play soccer. I love that my husband coaches it. I love critiquing other people’s work. I love writers conferences. I love blogging, and I love, love, love working with YA Confidential. I love my students (okay, most of them), and most days I really do enjoy my job.

I don’t set out to be super mom. I’m just terribly selfish and frankly, I want to do it all.

And some days my limited super powers dictate that I can’t.

So I said no to something. That first campainger’s challenge. I didn’t write my 200-word flash fiction.

And I felt like a huge disappointment.

Mostly to myself.

But I had to. It was a decision I wrestled with amidst the millions of other things I was doing. And finally it came down to me asking,

What Would Wonder Woman Do?

Honestly, Wonder Woman would probably have my weekly to-do list done in an hour, but I’d like to think she might do some of these things too:

1) Chill. There are times even Wonder Woman can’t save the day. There are moments when the bad guys win (temporarily). Times where she needs to breathe, refocus, and then kick some Giganta ass.

2) Ask for help. Ever watch The Justice League? Wonder Woman didn’t always battle the baddies solo mundo. This is something I have a lot of trouble with. But I’m working on it.

3) Prioritize, yo. Wonder Woman’s got some super sonic speed, but she can’t save everyone at the same time. So faced with the car dangling off the ravine, the baddie on the other side of town who’s juicing up his laser, and the cat in the tree, she’s gotta figure out who gets saved first, right? Me too.

4) Use her lasso and compel the truth out of people. Okay, I really don’t know how that one would help me—it just sounds cool.

5) Remember what’s most important. Her people on Themyscira. Her friends.

6) And if all else fails, summon the Invisible Airplane (I so want one), fly away, and let the world function without you for a little while. So irresponsible. But sometimes so necessary.

PS—years back, I snatched this book off the shelves because the title so described me. The pages described me. Just about every word described me. Kate Reddy’s my freaking twin.

And the movie premieres today. Check out the trailer. I KNOW some of you can relate.

I won’t spoil the ending for you, but the book has the kind of ending I’m aiming for. See the movie or read the book. You’ll understand.

BTW, I didn't write this post for people to feel sorry for me or not want to ask me to do things or whatever. I wrote it because I KNOW that a lot of my blog peeps have days like this. So I'm here to tell you to have a great weekend! Go out and save the world! But don’t forget—you’re only human. Just do the best you can.

If YOU could be anyone, who would YOU be?


  1. It's hard to look myself in the mirror some days and admit that I'm not perfect. I stare and wonder how it's possible to give other perfectionists permission to slow down, take a breath and stop beating themselves up when they fail to reach their impossible standards, but can't seem to extend the same to myself.

    I battle with frustration everyday and some weeks are worse than others. A good support system is key to world domination. If I didn't have someone putting their hands on my shoulders telling me it's ok to stumble once a day, I think I would implode. Music breaks are glorious, too!

    I would be Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She's flawed, yet gifted with super strength to protect herself and her friends.

  2. Hear Hear! When I was teaching I found I had more sobfests than good days, it seemed. I could never understand how my colleagues with kids managed to do it (I don't have kids yet and I still sometimes feel like I have no time to day anything). Between the marking, prepping, Parent-Teacher interviews, extra-curricular supervision...It's a lot! You already are Wonder Woman, Alison! (I don't know you, but I can tell just by reading this).

  3. Great person to pick and just an overall wonderful post. I've pretty much have had a week like that where I've had so many things I had to do and wanted to do and it became overwhelming.

    I really like number 1 and 3 off your list. I need to do those more. :)

  4. Great post. An invisible airplane would be cool but having the Justice League to back you up is pretty awesome.

  5. "For those of you with frequent bouts of Beat Yourself Up Syndrome and daily attempts at achieving Superhero status, let me tell you a story."

    Yup, suffer from a lot of BYU syndrome over here. Great post--and I hope you take some time to relax over the weekend and maybe check out that movie!

  6. It all gets so overwhelming some days, doesn't it?

    I think mini-breakdowns are quite healthy. I know I always feel better afterward. :)

  7. Oh man, I totally know how you feel. Breakdowns and I are quite familiar with each other, unfortunately. My husband had to literally pick me up off the floor more than once my last semester of under grad. And like L. G. Smith said, letting it all out by crying is therapeutic!

  8. Amen! I've been having days andd weeks that sometimes go great and then BAM everything is terrible.

    I swore I was just going to be a student this semester. Then I ended up writing a proposal for a conference, grading part time, and beating myself up to write more on the current manuscript. No needs to become my new favorite word for NaNoWriMo.

  9. This is such a mom thing, and you are so not alone, Alison. I don't remember feeling like I needed to be everything to everyone until I had a child. Yes, it's super stressful some days (I'm not a crier, but more of a grump in general when those days roll around), but you're right: for the most part, it's fun-busy.

    Who cares about the Campaign Challenge? No biggie... you'll rock the next one. :)

    For now, I think you need to take an hour off and schedule yourself a massage or pedicure. And don't think about your To-Do list AT ALL during that time. :)

  10. OMG. I'm sooo glad I'm not the only harried mom out in the big world. Schwoo!

  11. Wonder Woman does rock, doesn't she=)

    I have a very bad want to see that movie. Now, I believe I must read the book too!

  12. I'm just here to provide hugs, wine, and brownies. They make everything better.

  13. So gutted I didn't think of Wonder Woman. How great would that be?

    Juggling priorities is difficult, without a doubt. Hope everything gets a bit less frantic.

  14. Good choice. I don't know who I'd be... I'll have to give that some thought :)

  15. I know you didn't write it for pity, but I'm sending you hugs anyway. The lunch thing would've forced me into tears too. (I feel awful if I let someone down or forget to pack their snack). Then again I cry at sappy hallmark commercials, so it doesn't take much.

    I bet Wonder Woman would be VERY impressed by all you do. :)
    I know we folks at YA Con are impressed and appreciative of you. <3

    And I'm so looking forward to SJP's movie.

    My advice for the week: Just breathe.

  16. You aren't alone. I want the invisible airplane too. I guess it's just time for a little selfishness.

  17. You've been tagged! In a good way!

  18. Who would I be
    If not me?
    Let me see.

    Someone who'd go on a spree?
    Someone who'd always be free?
    Someone who'd live near the sea?
    Someone who'd sit on a knee?

    Of all these choices, which is the key?
    It's so hard, you see,
    since they seem to be
    exactly the one--
    the one
    I call Lee.

    And now I apologize for this. My prose (I think) is much better than my poetry.

  19. I think we all want to be Wonder Woman. And we all buckle under the pressure eventually. You've got excellent advice, for sure. All you can really do is try and give in when you can't do it all. Something's gotta give.

  20. I love Wonder Woman and I'm glad you dropped something. Wonder Woman would be proud :)


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