I was reading a Dear Abby post today about a woman who'd been conversing with a man online for a few months. She knew the time was getting closer to meet, and she was concerned the man might not like what he saw because she was overweight and had some dental issues. Abby reminded her that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and advised her to deal with her weight and dental issues if they were affecting her self-esteem.
Of course, after reading this, I started to think about why we think we have to measure up to someone else's beauty standards. We've all looked at the popular magazines that feature glamorous models and perfectly-toned women with flawless makeup, and we feel like we're lacking. Honestly, I used to feel that way myself, but the older I get, the more I realize that beauty on the outside doesn't matter if there's isn't any on the inside.
To me, beauty is the person who'll stand by your side no matter what, the smile you get from a complete stranger when you feel like your world is upside down. Beauty is the hand holding yours, the person applauding you for your accomplishments, and the words of encouragement when you're about to step outside your comfort zone.
Beauty is the voice on the other end of the line when you just feel like chatting, the arms wrapped around you to let you know you are supported, and the kiss on the cheek to say goodnight. It's shared laughter and adventures, exchanging secrets, that sense of urgency to share an important part of your day, and the voice of reason when you're out on the ledge.
Beauty isn't how many dimples a person has or the blindingly-white teeth. Yes, we can all appreciate an attractive person, but the interior is far more important because that's the beauty that will last a lifetime.
I was born in 1968 which, now, seems like a very long time ago. I have now lived 17, 841 days. Now it really seems like a long time.
In less than 56 days, I'll turn 49, and it's made me reflect on how different things are now than when I grew up in the seventies and eighties.
I lived in a time where technology was a telephone, a color television, and, if you were lucky, a microwave which we didn't have at all. I never had a microwave until I was in my twenties, and I didn't have cable TV until I was in my late twenties.
I still remember having to pay for long distance on a landline, stopping to use a payphone when I was on a long trip, needing cash to buy practically everything because you could only use your ATM card to extract cash .
When I was born, gas was $0.34 per gallon. Where I live now, gas is $2.04 a gallon. The average cost of a new car was less than $3,000. A new car in 2017 is easily over $14,000, most even higher than that. The hourly wage was $1.60 an hour, and when I was able to work when I was sixteen, the hourly wage was $3.35.
In 1968, you could buy a new house for less than $15,000. Where I live today, it's not easy to find a house for less than $80,000, and those usually aren't in the best neighborhoods.
I didn't get a car when I turned sixteen or even when I graduated from high school. My first car I bought myself when I was twenty. Before that, I took the bus, walked, or rode with friends, but then taking the bus and walking was a lot safer than it is now.
In my teens, everyone knew everyone in the neighborhood, and the neighbors had no problem with ratting you out to your parents if you skipped school. Ask me how I know. The parents all watched out for one another's kids. Most nights and even weekends, we were home because movies and going out to eat were luxuries that didn't happen very often.
We had to find free ways to entertain ourselves, and that's what drew me to reading. I could check the books out from the library and read a dozen in one weekend. I still miss having that kind of time.
What do you remember about your childhood? What do you miss?
I write about killers a lot. When you write suspense, that's not unusual. In my latest suspense release, Last Showing, I introduced you to Stefan Greenwald, a particularly nasty guy who liked killing because he could. I won't tell you what happened to Stefan in my book because I'd like for you to read more about him first.
I like killing. I know what that makes me sound like, but it’s who I am. There’s just something about watching the life drain out of someone’s eyes. It makes me feel powerful. I like to hear them beg me to spare them. If they looked close enough into my eyes, they’d see it wasn’t going to happen. I’m not the sparing kind.
I’ll bet you think I started killing people when my mama walked out on me and Luther. You’d be wrong. It didn’t have anything to do with her. I think I was born this way. All I know is I’ve had this desire inside of me since way before I can remember. And I ain’t interested in it going away.
Having the power to allow someone to live or die is exhilarating. Of course I never let them live. That'd be too merciful, and mercy ain't ever done anything for me. Besides that, I can't leave behind witnesses. I have enough trouble keeping up with my dumb brother who, by the way, is the reason I was caught and sent to prison the first time.
Do I think the cops will get me again? I never really think about it. If it happens, it happens. I’ve already been to prison. I can go back. I killed people in there, too, and I got away with it. It’s hard to prove who killed an inmate when no one’s talking. And no one talked about me in prison. They knew better.
I suppose this will all have to end some day, but until then, I’m going to keep having fun. And before you think you’re safe, I ain’t particular about the women I kill. I’ve even taken out a few guys. No one is safe when I’m in their town. So you’d better hope the cops catch me again.
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!