Something new for me today – TEASE ME THURSDAY where I share books I’m currently working on.
Today’s little tidbit is from BALANCE, the next edition of the Uptown Girls series I hope to release in September. The heroine, Phillipa Doubletree, has survived an abusive marriage and is trying to forge a life on her own for the first time in her 38 years. This is the opening -so far – unedited as of yet. Hope you like it.
The other day while waiting for a manicure, I took one of those rate your life tests you find in old editions of Cosmo and Elle. You know the ones. Your overall score gives an empirical value of how your life’s going at the moment.
Not exactly the healthiest way to take stock of your present situation, I know. But I had a few minutes to kill before my manicurist finished up with her previous client and I figured, what the hell?
I scored a whopping 41 percent on the test.
The only question garnering a complete 10 was the one that asked if your finances are in order.
When you’re the only child of a father with a seat on the Stock Exchange and a mother who was lucky enough to be born into one of the oldest families in the country, you can’t help but be fiscally sound.
Legend has it in my family that trust fund baby were my first coherent, spoken words.
Unfortunately, the rest of the questionnaire’s results were anything but stellar.
~Do you feel fulfilled in your work situation?
I don’t work.
~ Are you happy with your current love life?
What love life?
~Does getting up each day fill you with a sense of purpose?
Okay, that one I’m seriously working on, but I still only rated it a 5. I gave myself that much for the effort I’d been making of late to become a better person.
~Do you have any mental health issues you are grappling with?
I should have given myself a 10 for this one since I was still in therapy twice a week, but since I wasn’t so much grappling with as learning how to deal with my issues, I scored it low.
By the time my name was called, a deep, dark, funk had invaded my soul.
Here I was, staring 38 in the face and had nothing tangible to show for a life of spoiled riches except a few grey hairs and a frown line my mother suggested—strongly and often—I get botoxed away.
I’d married young – way too young – for the wrong reason, and then stayed in the emotionally abusive relationship out of fear. I’d abandoned my best friend when she needed me the most and I’d never taken advantage of all the, well, advantages, my parents’ social standing and financial security offered me.
In essence, from the age of twenty-one, I’d stopped participating in being an adult and went through the next fifteen years in a zombie state. The reason is something I was still coming to grips with, hence the twice-weekly therapy sessions.
And I sound like I’m whining. I’m not.
Well…maybe a little.
But in truth, I was trying, hard, to fashion something for my future aside from therapy, society lunches, and shopping.
Which explained why I was in the back seat of a cab at two in the morning, holding an hysterical, bleeding woman twice my age, while commanding the driver go faster so we could get her to the nearest emergency room. I offered him twice the amount on the meter and told him I’d pay any speeding tickets he got along the way.
In order to give some purpose to my life, I’d been volunteering at a women’s center for the past three months. My best friend Aurora – who’d I’d reconnected with after a fifteen-year separation – got me the position after I told her I needed to do something constructive with my life. Aurora had been a volunteer at the center for a few years and felt my participation would help both the marginalized women there who were in need, and myself. Since I’d been in a relationship that had taken over my mind, body, and spirit, and I’d managed to come out on the other side of it emotionally and physically intact (mostly), she figured I’d be a good role model to women in similar, and even worse, circumstances.
Because I could walk the walk and talk the talk of a woman who’d been subjugated and made to feel less than by the person who was supposed to love me unconditionally, Aurora figured I could relate to the women’s fears and worries. I’d actually been through the fire they were currently navigating through.
She wasn’t wrong. Despite our economic and social differences, the women I’d dealt with found in me a sister in arms. Since joining the team, I’d woken on volunteer days with a sense that I was doing actual good in the world (which explained the score of 5 on the questionnaire.)
Here’s the tentative cover – which I may change. Not sure yet:
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