All posts by Marissa Campbell

How Much Botox Do I Use?

Here’s another Dose of Inspiration. I created a YouTube video, but if you’d like to skip the performance and just read the script, feel free to scroll down below. 🙂

One of the first values I learned when I embarked on a path of self-discovery was that when you stop judging people, their judgements will no longer affect you. In other words, people will still have a great many opinions about you, but you will no longer care. And for the most part, this is absolutely true.

People come in a million shapes, sizes, and colours. When I see someone walk down the street, I don’t judge them based on their clothing choice or hair style. I don’t judge someone by the car they drive or the house they keep. I observe, yes. There is a difference. If I see a homeless person on the street, I do not judge their past, or their personality, or their soul. I see they are in need of help, and offer assistance. If I see a young mother pushing her baby in a stroller, I don’t make assumptions about who she is by the type of stroller she bought or the clothes she wears, what I will do is smile at my own memories of being a young mom, and hope the young woman is able to get help at home and some sleep.

What I will ‘judge’ someone on, is their actions. And I use the term ‘judge’ here with a qualification: to judge is to form an opinion about something after careful consideration, or to regard something as either good or bad. (Webster Dictionary) Note in this definition there is no mention of emotion or slander or maliciousness. It is simply an opinion or an organization of something into categories. But society’s use and definition of judgement focuses on the negative. Judgements can be cruel, and the way they are thrown around, for example on the internet, between peer groups, or coworkers, can be extremely destructive and hurtful.

Therefore, I prefer the concept of contemplating a person’s actions and making a decision based on how it affects me. In other words, I will not tear a strip off you, or bash you as a human being to my friends. I may consult my friends and seek advice as to how I should cope with and/or respond to something a person does­­—again, if it is affecting me. What they wear is not affecting me, but if they are doing something that hurts me, or threatens my boundaries or personal code of ethics, I will have an opinion on it, and I will make a decision.

Decisions will result in a category placement. And again, categories are not based on derogatory terms, personal slights, or reactive emotions, but based on how that person affects me. Categories run the gamut from, ‘I’d really like to get to know this person.’ to ‘This is someone I do not want in my life.’

I don’t harangue the point, I make a decision and move on.

Labels hurt. Slut, bitch, stupid, fat, cultural or gender slurs… all labels carry an image—a stereotype or perception—and they affect how we interact with the person. If someone has assigned a label in their mind, the person being judged doesn’t get a chance to change that perception, or offer a different viewpoint. ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ as a phrase comes to mind, and it has no weight in that scenario.

I’m not here to examine why people judge, or why they label. The key is realizing when it’s happening and making a conscious effort to stop.

There are plenty of labels out there about me. Lots of people have lots of opinions and judgments. I’ve heard some and the universe knows there are plenty more. Just this week I learned that people assume I use Botox and that my hair isn’t real—that I use extensions. I’ve known forever that people don’t actually think I’m blonde. And here’s the thing. I don’t judge people who do any of that. In fact, if I ever win the lottery, the first thing to go will be those pesky marionette lines and maybe a little tweak of the nose! And when I do start going grey, which by the grace of good genes has not happened yet, I can assure you I will colour my hair. And if it was short, I’d have no problem using extensions to mix things up once and while. The issue is not whether people do these things… the issue is that people feel the need to make a judgement call about that person for doing it!

People in glass houses should never throw stones. We are so much better than this. We are highly evolved beings on an incredible adventure for a very short period of time. Getting pulled back down in the primordial muck and flinging dirt at one another is an incredible waste of our precious resources and time. And while I’d love to see a society where bullying, labels, and judgements become a thing of the past, in the meantime, we can all be part of the solution. Refuse to get drawn into the mud pit of judgment. Instead, choose to walk around it and see the world through eyes of acceptance and humility.

 In gratitude,

Marissa xo

 

Shall I Tell You One Shitty Thing About My Life?

Here’s a short video about my reflections on 2017 and 2018. It’s about 10 minutes long. If you’d rather read the post instead, I’ve included the ‘script’ below. 🙂

A Reflection

I don’t normally weigh in on the passing of a year. I usually recall the positive and move right on into the next year, eager to see what awaits me in the next chapter. But, for once, I am happy to see a door close. 2017 has, for many people, been a very difficult year.

For me, I’ve had euphoric highs and soul-crushing lows. I’ve watched friends struggle through pain. I’ve watched patterns repeat and lessons fall on closed minds. I’ve watched my children flourish, seen them conquer new milestones with wonder and humility. I’ve watched them falter and doubt. I’ve revelled in enduring love and had my heart ruthlessly broken. I’ve laughed for weeks on end, and I’ve cried until I’ve had nothing left to give. I’ve been sicker than I’ve ever been in my life, barely able to function for months. I’ve been witness to and experienced a lot this year.

I try to be a positive person, and perhaps to some that philosophy is syrupy or tiresome, at worse they might feel it’s plastic or fake. But I do not feel life should be spent wallowing in negativity, lamenting what we don’t have, or spending our days waiting for a future utopia that may never happen. Life is what is happening right now, where we are, with what we’ve got. To wish it away or fail to see what we do have, is a failure to truly live. And our time here is far too short for that.

I recently had a friend say to me, ‘Can you please just tell me one shitty thing about your life, so I don’t feel so bad about mine.’

I make a choice. Every day. And I choose to focus on the positive. I choose to pay attention to all the blessings I have. All the love that surrounds me.

I make a choice to valiantly and consistently purge negativity from my life, removing toxic people, toxic experiences, and toxic energy around me.

 We all have a choice. Our past is not a prison. It doesn’t define us, or trap us into following a certain path, or making certain decisions, over and over again. It creates walls, yes, but every wall can fall down if the intention and will is there to dismantle and topple it. But we have to want to break down those barriers to happiness. Excuses, labels, judgements, things that keep us stuck in our comfortable loneliness, our comfortable pain, they can all be overcome.

But you have to want to change. You have to want happiness. It’s always your choice.

2017 was a difficult year. And going forward, I choose to make 2018 a year of growth and adventure, a year of clearing out the cobwebs and throwing out the clutter, finding peace in new, open spaces, experiencing the magic and wonder in every moment, letting positive energy surge into my life.

I don’t have a single shitty thing to tell you.

I’m just going to feel good.

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

Reading of Chapter One: Hot in Aruba

Exclusive!!!
Enjoy Chapter One of Hot in Aruba! *WARNING Totally Sexy Scene Baby :D*
 
Kick back and relax, grab a coffee, some chocolate (no, scratch that, a lot of chocolate :P) and enjoy your personal reading of Chapter One. (And check out my mad video effects skills, lol. :D) Join me for eighteen fun-filled, sexy minutes of literary bliss!
 
Hot in Aruba is now available on Amazon!
Amazon US:     AND   Amazon CDA: 

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

A New Start Opening Pandora

That incredibly emotive paragraph I wrote for the last blog post got me thinking again about Opening Pandora--a story I’ve been wanting to write but one that has lacked any kind of structure or focus. My biggest obstacle has been that I’ve had no idea how Stephanie’s journey begins. I’ve known where I want to take her, at least in part, but how to start… again, the complaint of pantsing your way through a manuscript. In fact, there have been several false starts, a few of them punished to this blog, actually. None of them worked, otherwise I would have been able to continue  her tale. But I like this one… it resonates a truth to me. Setting up her ordinary world, before everything changes.  What do you think?

Emptiness is like a plague, robbing life of light and color, stealing the innocence of beauty and the hope of joy, leaving only the shades of memory and longing. And I’d been living in the shadows far too long. I raised my glass. “Happy Anniversary.”

As usual, he didn’t answer back, merely smiled from beneath the glass pane, his likeness forever captured, his essence forever lost.

Right on schedule, my laptop sprang to life, calling me away from the past, and I clicked to answer.

“Hey, beautiful. How’s Durham?” A shinning, persistently optimistic face beamed back at me.

“Good evening, Dr. Monroe. How’s life in Boston?”

Joe swept his hand to the view behind him, a bank of floor to ceiling windows reflecting a cityscape lit up like a Christmas tree. “Effervescent.”

I shook my head. “You’re too damn cheerful.”

“Only around you, which begs the question. When are you coming back from that godforsaken place? Chatting but once a week is becoming tortuous. I miss you.” Joe was an urban socialite. The idea of leaving the seat of all that is modern and convenient for a small town, despite its natural beauty, surrounded as it was by lakes and forests, was heresy.

“I miss you too.” I sipped my wine.

“You’re avoiding the question.” He crossed his arms.

“I know this is hard for you to grasp, but it’s very peaceful here. I needed the break.”

“Well, surely you’re done traipsing about with the fairies and wee folk of the bogs and glens by now. It’s been a month.” He moved closer to the screen on his computer. “You’re chewing your fingernails. Oh, God. What are you not telling me?”

I dropped my hand as if I’d been caught reaching for a hot pot on the stove.

“Stephanie. What is it?”

“I found a job.” I came out as a whoosh, the urge to finish chewing my nail chasing quick on its heels.

“A job? You mean to stay then?” His voice screamed incredulous, but his eyes searched me across the miles, crestfallen.

“I can’t come back Joe. There’s nothing there for me now.”

“I know it was hard losing Jason, but you have friends here, a career…”

“And I’m grateful to you for both, but I need a mulligan, a clean start. I can’t do that in Boston where every café, every restaurant, every street I walk down reminds me of him.”

“It’s been over a year, Steph.”

“I know, that’s why I’m here. I have to do this.”

He leaned back, neatly manicured eyebrows drawn together in consternation. “There’s no budging you?”

“I’m not saying this is a permanent solution; it’s just a right-now solution.”

He regarded me, like a chess player assessing his next move. “Fine. Then Christopher and I are coming for a holiday.”

“Better bring goulashes—gets pretty mucky on all the dirt roads.”

The look of horror on his face made me spit out some of my wine. “Jesus, Joe.” I dabbed at my eyes and the mess with tissue. “It’s not that bad. I promise.”

He put a hand over his heart. “I’m only considering this because I love you. Christopher, however, might have my balls.”

“Well, it’s a good thing he’s been taking such good care of them all these years then isn’t it. He’s not likely to damage them now.”

“You don’t know how much he hates mud.” He grimaced.

“Well, let me know if and when you two decide to come down. I’ve got plenty of room.”

“I’ll clear it with the hospital and get back to you.” He paused. “You sure you’re okay?”

“I’m good. Honest. It’s been a rough day, but I start at the pub tomorrow. I’m actually excited.”

“The pub? What on earth have you gotten yourself into?”

“I’m the new bartender.”

Opening Pandora Take 100

Maybe a scene later in the book, or maybe nothing at all.  😛 The joys of pantsing your way through a manuscript means you have no idea what’s happening, lol. Each chapter you write is like both you and the reader discovering your words for the first time.

“You know when you love someone to the point of the dissolution of your own skin, your body disappearing into the hallowed embrace of their arms, when their breath becomes the only thing keeping you from drowning, when their eyes are the only light you see guiding you from the darkness of your own soul, when you can’t imagine an existence without their smile, their laugh, their touch. And you know when that love gets severed from you like a limb torn from your body, ripped from your very sinew and bone, pulled apart and scattered like bitter carnage for the wolves of betrayal and misery to ravage and destroy.” I stared at Dr. Monroe, willing him to challenge me. I needed a fight. Someone to yell at, rail against. But he merely uncrossed and then crossed his legs and tapped his pencil against his chin, as his cool expresso eyes studied me.

I leaned back, the energy drained from me. “Well then, you’ll know what it was like to lose her.”

Countdown to Hot in Aruba: Day 24

Countdown: Day 24
Here’s the finished cover. Complete with a wonderful endorsement by USA Today Bestseller Molly O’Keefe And in case you don’t know what the story’s about… here’s the juicy back cover blurb :
 
Vulnerability is Samantha Mackay’s kryptonite, and she keeps her emotions—and her men—at arm’s length. But when her good friend Carlos Naldini invites her on an all-expense-paid trip to Aruba, her resolve waivers.
 
Tired of being relegated to the friend zone, Carlos enacts his foolproof plan, inviting Samantha to join him in Aruba, hoping the trip to paradise will soften her reluctant heart.
 
Samantha agrees to Carlos’s proposal, giving him exactly ten days to prove he’s boyfriend material. After some wild Aruba nights and hot, sexy days, things appear to be progressing swimmingly, until Carlos’s ex-girlfriend arrives, exposing an intricate web of deception and betrayal. When news from home shatters Samantha’s hopes further, she leaves Aruba, giving up on her dreams of happily ever after. Devastated, Carlos is determined to do whatever it takes to bring Samantha back to Aruba and into his arms.
 
Secrets, lies, and heartbreak lurk in the shadows behind sunshiny days of sex on the beach, cocktails by the pool, laughter, and friends. It’s getting hot in Aruba—but the sparks might just consume them.
 
Huge shout out to Emma Inkpen for her incredible cover design and to Debra Baydak-Poray for discovering this tantalizing image. 😀

Countdown Day 25 to Hot In Aruba Book Release

With only 25 days till #HotinAruba drops, I’m going to share my pick to play Carlos. Meet Spanish model Amadeo Leandro. I’m not even sure if this beautiful man acts, but um, well, he’s certainly sexy! Carlos as a character is charming, giving, and totally selfless. He cares deeply for Samantha. Having been relegated to the friend zone for years, he’s ready to prove his mettle as boyfriend material. He sings sensuously as he plays the guitar, and when you imagine his hips moving while he dances… well, let’s just say I hope you enjoy meeting Carlos.