A Poem for Hard Days

Loneliness is holding onto
that which has let you go.
Sorrow is clinging to connection
that has passed through a veil
into the unknown.
Anguish is forgetting that
for everything there is a season
and every season has its time
and that the trick of joyful living is
growing gardens in pain’s rhymes.

©2022 Sheralyn Pratt

My New Favorite Toast

I went camping this past weekend. This was the view:

The first day I was there, 3 hawks, a slew of hummingbirds, and a black-and-white butterfly greeted me, along with this baby Scarlet Bugler:

It was a weekend where logic said I should have stayed home to work, but I went anyway. I put my phone, notebooks, and work to the side and just spent time with the people around me.

Storms blew in, storms blew out, but it was clear about 60% of the time and never got too hot.

Maybe I should have adventured out and explored a little more, but I mostly stayed in our spot and got to know friends-of-friends a little better.

And that is how I came to hear my new favorite toast:

“They call it life.”

Felicia taught it to me. She got it from her Aunt Mary, who was a full-on character. Think of an Italian mother who was also a welder and a foreman, and that’s a snapshot of Aunt Mary.

And when situations around her didn’t really need any more words than they was already getting, Aunt Mary would simply say: They call it life.

And leave it at that.

It’s kind of the perfect phrase for everything.

Two people are arguing and you’re resisting the urge to correct both of them: They call it life.

Miraculous events come together to make for a perfect night: They call it life.

You’re trying to be impressive but end up embarrassing yourself instead: They call it life.

You work hard for years and finally build your dream home: They call it life.

You have plans to go on a trip but get rained out after paying all the fees: They call it life.

Because it is.

None of us are quite certain as to what we’re all doing here, but it’s undisputed that we:

  • share a stage together
  • are collectively ruled over by forces of nature
  • meet in the shared choas of overlapping dreams — past and present
  • call it life

People may debate who/what we are before we come here, or about where we go when we die, but we mostly agree that we’re here now. Together … for some reason.

Even if we would rather not be.

And Aunt Mary’s toast embraces that chaos with a wink and a smile every time.

Not only that, it’s also a hearty reminder to choose your dreams wisely and not insert yourself into every bit of chaos someone brings around.

It was a wink I needed someone to put into words this weekend, to be honest.

You see, I was raised to be a fixer. When things escalated around me, I was the third-party interference that tried to break things up before they exploded, and I never got the memo that I was allowed to stop that as an adult.

I was the anti-Aunt Mary: I tried to fix the chaos while it was hissing and rearing to fight, which … 😂🤣😅 yeah, take it from me, is no way to spend a life.

A better life is to just carve out your little spot in the world, make it into your personal heaven, then ride the bumps and bruises as they come with a can-do attitude and people you like being with.

Of course, you don’t have to do that. You can do anything you want to. After all:

They call it life.

And you can live yours however you want to.

My advice, though?

Don’t get lost in the dreams or legacies of those who came before you OR in the dreams of those currently surrounding you.

Build on them, sure; honor them, if you can; but your time and stage is different than those who came before, and it’s your job to rise and adapt.

They call it life.

It can be a dream or it can be a nightmare. It can be torture or bliss. It’s all in how we meet the chaos that becomes the story we tell when it’s over.

So choose a story you want to tell and get going. Because there are only two things that are certain: the clock is ticking and chaos happens.

Might as well have the chaos find you where you want to be, surrounded by people you enjoy, and with a life’s work you’re proud to leave behind as a gift to those who follow you in time.

Diving Stars: a poem

We are not here to ascend;
we are here to dive like stars
into the abyss of night
until darkness surrounds us
so we can release our light
— unveiling the unknown
by bringing it into sight.

No, we are not here to
retreat to the glory of
our former homes,
but to transcend the void like adventurers
mapping paths to greater roads.

So, dive, my stars!
Descend to unconquered depths
to plant your beacon on
the path to what’s next.

– Sheralyn Pratt, © 2018

A Quick Bio

Hi. My name is Sheralyn Pratt. And the first thing you should know about me is that if I don’t become a DJ before I die, then I definitely didn’t complete my bucket list.

Despicable Me 2 Dancing GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

“But, Sheralyn,” you may say. “You’re not even close to the music scene now and I’ve never seen you touch an instrument.”

True enough. But a quirk of mine is that I sometimes take the long way to where I’m going — imagining the final destination will be richer for the diverse experience gained along the way. *

*Yet after several decades of this approach, I must confess that I’m not certain my approach is the best around. There is something to be said for taking the short roads when you are young, but oh well.

Time will tell. The story’s not over yet.

Let’s see … what else is good to know about me?

I was born and raised to be a devout Mormon, but these days I think I qualify more as a mystic.

Calling myself a “mystic” used to make me feel like I was trying too hard to appear wise or mysterious, but a mystic is really just someone who makes it a practice to sit with difficult thoughts in a meditative state.

And I do that a lot.

In hindsight, it’s kind of hard to tell if being a mystic made me a writer, or if sitting in writerly thoughts created the discipline required to not look away from the uncomfortable.

Either way, the history books will show that I became a writer before I achieved my deejay dreams.

If you look me up now, you will find my reputation has mostly been built in creative writing. I’ve written successful commercials and award-winning fiction. I’ve written manuals and training courses and speeches.

But I much prefer simply speaking.

Honestly, I would probably be a better podcast host than I am a writer. Maybe someday I’ll put that to the test.

Why? Because I’m the kind of person who tests those kinds of things

Maybe the most interesting/frustrating thing about me is my tendency to do things for a time and move on. My resume reads like an ADHD journey filled with Big Fish stories and epic faceplants. And I’m at a spot in my life where I’m embracing that.

Yes, I was once a karate instructor. Yes, I was once a stage performer. Yes, I was once a publicist. Yes, I have written over a dozen books. Yes, I sold t-shirts in Hawaii. Yes, I taught tourists to pan for gold in Alaska. Yes, I have been an aerobics instructor. Yes, I have sat in meetings with Fortune 500 executives and achieved exceptional results in helping them train their employees.

And, yes, I am also known for reading palms at a local crystal shop … among other things.

I am a fully random person who has been around the block and worked at most of the shops.

This makes me a great consultant and an excellent person to meet with when it’s time to look at old things in new ways and strategize for your future.

Funnily enough, my strength as a consultant is actually a little painful for me to admit.

You see, I was raised to be a good worker. Punctual. Reliable. Someone you can count on rain, snow, or shine — 365 days a year. I literally made it from kindergarten to high school graduation with no unauthorized absences.

My parents did their best. Never doubt that.

But in the battle of Nature vs. Nurture, it would seem that Nature may be my winning team. And my nature thrives on variety and changing scenes. And when you catch me in those spaces, you catch the best of me.

So, yeah … there’s a little about me.

Basically, I am a writer who should probably move into podcasting so I can raise myself up to a place where I can just be a DJ for fun. And if I’m mixing my own playlist while surrounded by inventors, creatives, and performers, then you just walked in on my living my best life.

For now, I would love to connect with you online.

Let’s talk — especially if you’re looking for a podcast guest or a quick consult to reflect on your best next steps.

Reach out on Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok.

I look forward to meeting you soon.

It’s Time to be a Headliner: Main Character Energy

The spotlight is on and the house lights are down. Are you ready?

Cuz it’s “GO” time!

Image source: wallpapertag.com

I don’t know about you, but I feel like it’s date night and my date is knocking while I still haven’t figured out what to wear.

Lisa Kudrow Clothes GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I’ve been feeling like that all year … not that you’d know that, since I’ve basically been MIA online the whole time.

If I was on your radar in January, you may remember I started out this year by telling you that 2022 was going to be the Year of Main Character Energy. I even made this spirited header:

I told you that 2022 was the year where anyone not establishing their authentic online presence was missing the boat. Then I ghosted you and went off and did the EXACT opposite of what I’d just advised you to do:

I went dark on the internet for seven months and only engaged with others in person.

And I did this in case I was wrong about the importance of showing up in the digital world during this time — just in case connecting only in the physical world was still a viable way to work.

But it isn’t. Today, I’m actually eager to step into the online energy … even if I’m still not sure what to wear.

Music Video Singing Gif By Katy Perry GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Keeping it real, the past seven months have been a rough grind through some hard knocks. I learned a lot and I’m sure I’ll share some of that super-fun wisdom with you sometime.

But it’s not time for that yet. Now is not the season for unpacking drama.

It’s Leo season !! The season of maximizing your potential by unapologetically embracing your shine.

Leo vibes bringing Main Character Energy, image source https://warriorsofmyth.fandom.com

It’s the season of enjoying all the things that make it fun to be you and calling it “summertime.”

It’s the season for everyone — me, included — to show up to the party NOT as the staff, but as a guest others came to speak to.

In my case, this means it’s time to:

  • start posting videos
  • start online conversations
  • discover my preferred medium
  • enjoy life more
  • develop my reputation

And that all starts today — with this blog and TikTok, soon to be joined with greeting cards, stickers, and other types of unique designs.

Why? Because two things I like to do with my time are: design and write. And I’m going to get in the habit of sharing those things with you.

In life, I am a random, creative person you seek out when you want to look at old things in new ways. But it’s time to stop selling my labor and reputation by the hour and start standing for things that are genuinely mine by showing up real-time.

After all, time marches on, even if we don’t. So why not find the beat of our own drums and dance with it as we go?

Why not choose own our narrative in the chaos and have some fun?

That is Main Character Energy: self-awareness and purpose paired with impeccable timing.

Here’s my last tip as your coach:

Authentically express yourself online in the next 3 weeks.

You’ll be cutting it close on catching your summer rays before pumpkin-latte season sets in, but we’ll do it together.

Image source: Hello Fresh ad

Just remember: Be authentic! The days of positioning yourself like a static brand are done. No one wants to hear a rehearsed monlogue on improv night. You’ve gotta flow.

The online mood now is all about being genuine and in the moment, so that’s all you’ve got to be — while picking your niche and being known for something.

What do you want to be known for?

Embrace that vision today, and step into your main character energy.

It’s time.

__

Want to book me as a guest on your podcast? Message me on Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok.

The Future is Pro-Choice

With gas prices on a runaway train and corporations making record profits during a recession, there isn’t really much for voters on the left to get fired up about this next election.

Or, at least, that was the case until the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent reversal of  Roe v. Wade.

Now even Republicans are ready to march in blue.

It’s not going to make me too popular to say this but, as an Independent voter who knows how these games are often played, I’m not too worried about the Roe v. Wade reversal. I see it as an open door to move a woman’s access to reproductive healthcare into this century — rather than relying on the dated, and somewhat problematic, Roe v. Wade case.

Progress is a pendulum. As a society, we rarely get things right out of the gate and it is typical to overcorrect one way – then the other – before we find homeostasis and a communal balance in the middle.

And sensibilities have definitely changed in the decades since Roe v. Wade made history. So have perspectives on what it means to be Pro-Life and Pro-Choice.

Pro-Life & Pro-Choice in the 20th Century

Once upon last century, you could get away with voting “Pro-Life” if you were voting for your own conscience. If you would never get an abortion, it was considered fair to vote accordingly to express your values as part of a community standard.

Back then, if you voted “Pro-Choice,” the social assumption was that you were a person who might want to get an abortion at some point and were voting for your right to do so.

Those standards are gone.

Pro-Life in 2022

Today, if you are “Pro-Life,” you believe that any healthy woman who gets pregnant should be required to carry the baby to term. Full stop.

You believe you have the right to make moral choices for your neighbor.

You argue that a pregnant woman made her choice when she had sex (or had sex forced upon her) – even if:

  • the contraception she used at the time failed
  • she isn’t ready to be a mother
  • the father isn’t one she’d choose for a child
  • she just had a night of fun that didn’t turn out as planned
  • the child has a medical condition that indicates and short, challenging life
  • … whatever

If you are Pro-Life today, the position you must defend is that any woman who finds herself pregnant has lost her right to not be a mother. She must carry the child to term and either raise it herself or grant the child to an agency to sell to someone else through adoption.

She cannot choose to terminate the pregnancy.

If you are Pro-Life, you consider voluntary termination unethical and unnatural, even though the child in her womb might naturally self-abort during any stage of the pregnancy – first trimester … second trimester … third trimester … stillborn.

All of these are outcomes that might be chosen for the mother by natural selection but, if you are Pro-Life, you believe that the mother has no right to make this decision herself.

Only God or nature can terminate a pregnancy. Not her.

That is the ground you must defend if are Pro-Life in 2022: That you’d never do it so neither can anyone else.

By law.

If a woman becomes pregnant and is capable of carrying a baby to term, she must. Period. If she doesn’t, she is a criminal and subject to prosecution.

Pro-Choice in 2022

If you are Pro-Choice, you believe that a woman should have a choice in if she becomes a mother, when, and with whom.

Perhaps you would never personally get an abortion yourself, but you acknowledge that as your choice and allow that the world is a diverse place with people in all types of circumstances.

You understand that women become pregnant under all sorts of scenarios– some desirable and some less desirable. You believe a woman has a right to a “Reset” button when it comes to whether or not she is tied to a man, a child, or a memory for the rest of her life.

You allow for all sorts of scenarios when determining whether it’s the right time for a woman to have a baby. Maybe:

  • she went out for a night of fun and walked away with more than she planned for
  • she’s being abused and doesn’t know how to stop it
  • she tried to break up with a guy and he got her pregnant to lock her in
  • she’s madly in love but not ready for parenthood
  • she already has children and doesn’t have the ability to support more
  • … anything

If you are Pro-Choice in 2022, you believe that a woman has a right to look at her own situation, say, “Not now,” and receive professional, safe, respectful care.

Those are the lines in the sand.

Current Community Standards are Overwhelmingly Pro-Choice

Anyone is welcome to stand wherever they like on the issue but if you imagine that the majority of U.S. citizens don’t believe in a woman’s right to say “Not now” when it comes to having a baby, you are incorrect.

Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z are all overwhelmingly Pro-Choice. It is a majority-held cultural value now.

This is why I’m certain that the reversal of Roe v. Wade is simply setting the stage for a massive pendulum swing away from anything that looks like a Handsmaid’s Tale.

When history looks back on this moment, I feel confident it will say that the Supreme Court Justices actually did the Pro-Choice movement a huge favor. Why?

Because the U.S. Supreme Court just swung the pendulum back to the 1980s in the middle of a generation that was raised by Gen X.

And no one raised in the 1980s wants to go back to those talking points. They’ve seen how they play out and are not interested in a replay.

The course correction on allowing a woman to decide when and if she becomes a mother will be swift. I’d argue that the only thing democrats have to worry about is that it will be so swift that it won’t impact the upcoming elections in the way they prefer.

Not that it should anyway.

Democratic leadership has had more than enough time and opportunities to solidify Roe v. Wade into law over the past half century. But they haven’t – mostly because they still like it as a single-voter-issue bargaining chip.

And their voters know it.

I personally don’t know a single democrat who doesn’t see the Left’s failure of leadership in this area as intentional manipulation of a hot-topic issue. They’ve lost faith in any politician — except maybe AOC — doing anything and are simply ready to make the change themselves.

They’ll do this in many different ways, but one of the ways I’m most interested in watching is how they’re going to start making Jury Nullification a thing.

Because it’s totally going to start being a thing if women and doctors start getting prosecuted in restrictive states.

If you’re unfamiliar with jury nullification, it’s the finding of a jury that a law shouldn’t be a law and, therefore, even if the person on trial is technically guilty of breaking every letter of it, the accused is not in the wrong.

The law is.

Jury nullification puts the law on trial, not the person. And you’d better bet it will become a rampant phenomenon if mothers and doctors start getting prosecuted for terminating pregnancies according to unforgiving state laws.

Today’s generation waits for no politician. They are more than willing to subvert the system themselves. In fact, they’re chomping at the bit to do it.

Change is Coming

So if you are Pro-Life and you’re celebrating, you can stop now. The U.S. Supreme Court did your cause no favors this summer.

The good news is that you still have a right to carry all your pregnancies to term. The bad news is that community standards no longer support you making that decision for your neighbor.

If you are Pro-Choice, congratulations. It may not look like it, but the winds just shifted massively in your favor.

If current, impotent leaders don’t step up, it doesn’t matter. Community standards are on your side and you can rewrite the laws yourself without wasting your time, money, and effort marching for the attention of politicians — only to have them workshop your talking points into rallying speeches intended to draw your support as they continue to avoid taking action.

That old-school merry-go-round is a dying model and the new model is to replace anyone not taking action.

Be bold, or get out.

And a women’s right to choose just might be the issue that gets this new model organized and ready to take on an entitled establishment.

We shall see.

Regardless, the future will be Pro-Choice.

The good news is that anyone can still be Pro-Life – they just can’t make their neighbor be Pro-Life … just like their neighbor can’t force them to be Pro-Choice.

Because who wants their neighbors deciding if they have a baby or an abortion?

No one.

And that’s why the future is Pro-Choice.

Diving Light

Remember,
we are not here to ascend;
we are here to dive like stars
into the abyss of night
until darkness surrounds us
so we can release our light
— unveiling the unknown
and bringing it into sight.

No, we are not here to retreat
to the glory of our former homes
but to transcend the void like adventurers
mapping paths to greater roads.

So, dive, my stars!
Descend to unconquered depths
to plant your beacon
on the path to what’s next.

Sincerely,
Sheralyn

Happy Holidays & a Bold New Year

I officially declare 2022 “the Year of the indoGOAT” … but more on that later.

Oh, what a year it’s been.

The best of times

The worst of times

Routine times

Quarantine times

Everything in between

If you’re like me:

  • this year went fast — REALLY fast
  • everything changed, yet nothing changed
  • you did a bit more navel-gazing than usual
  • you said goodbye to more people than you were expecting to

If you weren’t like me, you:

  • traveled a lot
  • embarked on new adventures
  • went to no funerals
  • enjoyed working remotely in an industry you hope to retire in

Honestly, I hope your year was far more adventurous and dynamic than mine. Because this year was a bit heavy for me.

The year before that was a bit heavy, too.

And I must confess that multiple unexpected deaths mixed in with bouts of quarantine and fruitless routines really gives one a lot to ponder on.

And all my pondering has led me to the same conclusion: Time is short, doubt is pointless, and if you have something to give then it’s time to get in the game.

To do that, I need your help.

HELP!

If you’ve known me a while, I rarely ask for help and I certainly don’t ask for Christmas presents. But this year I’m asking for both.

This year, for Christmas, will you become my patron for the year of 2022?

Starting at $5 per month, you can fund (and vote on what you want to fund) projects throughout the year.

Projects you can expect to see include:

  • Books
  • Art
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Clothing
  • & MORE

I’m seriously going to give you so much value for your investment that it’s silly. But that’s what you get when you give me a budget to create with.

Building Brick-by-Brick

For every $5 gift, a gold brick will light up on “The Yellow Brick Wall.”

(Can you see the 4 sponsored bricks that are lit up? Take note of how small they look on your screen. This is relevant later.)

If you don’t know what the Yellow Brick Wall is yet, I’ll save you the long story for now.

Long Story Short: The Yellow Brick Wall is a time capsule. Wherever it appears, guests can paint over its gold in black-and-white (NO COLORS, including grey). People can write words, paint pictures, and leave any image they like.

It is a snapshot of a record of time, place, dynamics, and people.

There are no rules of what one can or cannot depict on the wall, only the promise history will remember what you valued over gold.

But more on that later…

How It Works

Think of things this way:

  • Each $5 sponsors a brick on the Yellow Brick Wall
  • When a brick is sponsored, it changes from dark to gold with your first name & last initial on it

Bricks can be gold-lit:

  • 1-by-1
  • in groups
  • in blocks of 60, or more, to depict custom images

And for those of you wondering if you can advertise on the Yellow Brick Wall –which will be featured on my home page ALL of 2022, the answer is:

YES

Not only will whatever BLACK-AND-WHITE image of your choice be featured on my site all year, but it will also have a PERMANENT SPOT on the Yellow Brick Wall when I mint the final image as an NFT at the end of the year.

For those of you wondering: Why a minimum of 60 bricks for custom images?

Well, if you look at the image of the brick wall above, you will see that the individual bricks are quite small/illegible on different screens.

Custom images need enough real estate to be seen.

Simple as that.

Voting For Projects

I’m starting a Patreon, where projects will be pitched, voted on, and completed in order of interest.

But you can also vote outside of Patreon and use Venmo to vote in the memo space.

  • Projects will have an allotment of bricks that need to be sponsored to begin
  • Patrons can choose to have their monthly subscription cast votes
  • Bricks — even custom-image groups of bricks — can be purchased separately to cast votes
  • If no projects are greenlit, I will work on whatever I want in the meantime

EXAMPLE: Let’s say that Pimpernel 4 is one of the projects and it gets funded. I will then make writing Pimpernel 4 my full-time focus until it is done.

Then everyone pledging $15 or more a month will get it for free.

Sound fun?

Good.

Then follow me on Patreon or Venmo me.

And may the Year of the IndiGOAT begin!

New Beginnings

For the past several weeks, groups of twenty-something influencers have been pushing an idea out into the Twitter-verse:

Disappear for 6 months

they all urge, then follow up with something like:

Spend those months working on yourself then come back a powerhouse.

I hated this advice so much that I unfollowed people who made a habit of tweeting it into my feed.

Why?

As someone who had disappeared for over a year, I saw the call to action as terrible advice. Being out of the loop that long, I felt out-of-sync, siloed, and uncertain of how to reconnect or move forward.

Given my experience, I refused to believe influencers claiming that I had gained a superpower along the way.

But had I?

Is Disappearing a Superpower?

It’s indisputable that I have changed since I “disappeared” off of social media.

For one, several people have passed away in the past year.

A year ago, I had living aunts and uncles. Now, I don’t.

All the family members of the generations preceding me are no longer with us, leaving my siblings, cousins, and me as the oldest generation living.

Friends have passed, too.

In the past year, I’ve abandoned dreams, questioned everything, worked building the visions of others, and spent more hours than I dare count meditating about it all.

My conclusion?

We are here to rise and shine. And that means I need to start working on my polish.

Long story short

I’ve had a good solid year to reflect on life, what we do with it, what others are willing to do with our time on this earth — if we let them — and I’ve decided it’s time to be ambitious.

It’s time to be honest about all the reasons my courage has failed in the past, find the vision required to show up day-in, day-out, and build something amazing.

So here we go.

I am building Z LABYRINTH through words, art, social media, and merch.

I’ll be building bit-by-bit, brick-by-brick — bricks I am allowing you to sponsor, btw.

Route 44: Here We Come

Right around my birthday, a friend gave me a dare:

Get back online.
Provide value.
If you do, I bet you could get 100,000 people to tip you
$5 before your next birthday.

A pretty ambitious dare, but isn’t that what good friends are for? To readily see in us what we are slow to see in ourselves and occasionally taunt us about it?

Another long story short: I accepted the dare and jokingly named it Route 44 (after my age).

Now, here I am at the beginning of the road … gazing at the horizon upon which I am about to build.

Everything to come is going to be a journey. And, like any journey, it requires a budget to make the journey and invest in the vision.

The journey to build Z Labyrinth is one that unfolds as we go and a vision built one sponsored brick at a time.

Sponsor a Brick for $5

blank Yellow Brick Wall brick

Like what I’m creating and want to become a permanent part of my creative legacy?

Click here to donate $5 to sponsor on a brick and put your name on the Yellow Brick Wall of Z Labyrinth.

Want to sponsor more than one brick?

The first $5 will ALWAYS put your name on a brick

BUT

you can sponsor multiple bricks and use the space to display the image of your choice in that space.

(NOTE: The image must fit the bricks you’ve sponsored — MORE INFO COMING SOON!)

To learn more, DM @SheralynPratt on Twitter or Instagram or click here (link coming soon) for more information.