Charlotte Rains Dixon  

2011: In Which We Commit To Taking 100% Responsibility

I'm blaming this one on Paula Deen.

In case you just flew in from another planet, Paula (I feel like I can call her by her first name) is the star of numerous shows on the Food Network, has her own restaurant and shop in Savannah, and is the author of a gazillion cookbooks, most of which feature lots of butter. 


Paula is the Grand Marshal of the New Year's Day Tournament of Roses parade, and as such there was an interview with her in the newspaper yesterday.  There was the usual promotional stuff,  and then something she said caught my eye.  I don't have the exact quote, but she said that she considers June 19, 1989 to be her "second birthday" because that was the day she took complete and total responsbility for her life.

That hit me like a ton of pugs.

I immediately started wondering what taking complete and total responsibility for my life would like look.  Honestly, its so big, I'm only just beginning the process.  Here's what I've come up with so far.

No more blaming. If anybody is at fault, it is me.  And I'd prefer not to think of it as fault but rather choices I've made in the past.  I can make different choices in the future.

Accepting what I want and doing it.  I mean this on a big scale (I want a novel published, so I'll quit whining about how rude the publishing industry is and send out my queries to agents) and a small scale (I want the kitchen clean so I'll quit waiting for someone else to empty the dishwasher and do it myself).

Loving what is.  (To borrow a phrase from Byron Katie.) My house is messy today because I've been trying to get some things finished before the new year.  If I really wanted a clean house, I'd stop and straighten it.  But I want to work more, so I'll love my house the way it is.

Okay, that's as far as I've gotten, though I have to say that these three actions, done as regular practices would be life-transforming.  Help me out.  Any ideas for what taking complete and total responsiblilty for our lives means? What would your writing life look like if you took complete responsibility for it? Have  you ever made a commitment like this? 

I'm doing it for all areas of my life in 2011.  Want to join me?

Oh, and by the way–Happy New Year!  As I wrote a friend on Twitter ,let's make this the best writing year yet.

Photo by Terry Wha, courtesy of Flickr, via Everystockphoto.  It is supposed to illustrate the parade theme, in case you hadn't guessed.


7 thoughts on “2011: In Which We Commit To Taking 100% Responsibility

  1. J.D.

    I didn’t know she had a place in Savannah. We went to Savannah one St. Pat’s day weekend. Along the way, I remarked to my wife about the heavy traffic. We had no clue. When we got there we found that Savannah has the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the South. The place was full. That was one of two or three trips we made. We ate at the Pirate’s House. A visit there is practically a requirement for every tourist. Summer is a good time to visit Savannah. The old houses are not as musky and walking the town squares is pleasant. I wonder what event prompted Paula to “take charge” of her life. Whatever, she seems to have been successful with it. Maybe she will take charge of mine.

  2. Charlotte Dixon

    J.D., I think the place is called The Lady and Sons, or something like that. I’ve never been to Savannah and would love to go. From bits and pieces that I’ve heard, I think Paula had a nasty divorce and was left with her sons to raise on her own. I’m assuming that’s what made her take charge of her life. Happy New Year to you!

  3. Patrick Ross

    “Accepting what I want and doing it.” What a perfect mantra, for creating and for life!

    J.D., Charlotte is right, her Savannah restaurant is called Lady and Sons. It’s right in the historic part of the city. You’ll need reservations to get in, but the food is worth it. A warning: You’ll consume about three weeks’ worth of daily recommended calories in one meal!

    Charlotte, I was in Savannah this summer on my artist road trip. Here’s a 40-second video I shot there —

  4. Charlotte Dixon

    Patrick, I watched the short intro and I’m already head over heels for Savannah. I’d love to go! And I can’t help myself, I love Paula’s cooking. Needs to be reserved for special occasions and once-in-awhile splurges, though. By the way, you have the perfect voice for videos and such.

  5. Giulietta the Muse

    Hey Charlotte!

    I’ve seen Paula’s mug all over the place, so I do know who she is.

    She’s right take responsibility for your life. I did it back awhile when I found myself moping through life. Presto, chango. I started doing things I liked! I got off the treadmill that’s going nowhere. I initiated things. I lead things.

    We’re not taught to take responsibility for our lives. If we did most of us would probably not choose to be hypnotized consumers, temporarily placated by a new purchase.

    I will proudly join you to keep doing this! All three are great. I’ve got a perpetually messy house. I clean on occasion but frankly I’m too busy doing things I like to spend my time doing something I don’t like that returns the next day.

    Nothing wrong with having a mess. Just a form of housecleaning discrimination.

    Great post! G.

  6. Charlotte Dixon

    Thanks for dropping by, Giulietta (and by the way, you have the most beautiful name). I’m really only starting to learn what taking complete responsibility for my life means, and when I fall into procrastination or expecting someone else to do something for me, I have to remind myself of my vow. So I’m glad that you’re blazing a path and joining me in this endeavor. And thanks for the bit about the messy house, one less thing to feel guilty about. Life’s too short to clean, right?
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  7. […] whole thing started with that damned Paula Deen, which you can read about in my post on taking complete and total, 100% […]

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