|Publisher:||Grand Central Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||7.10(w) x 9.16(h) x 0.74(d)|
Read an Excerpt
I AM DIVA!Every Woman's Guide to Outrageous Living
By Elena Bates, Maureen O'Crean, Molly Thompson and Carilyn Vaile
Warner BooksCopyright © 2003 The Four Divas: Elena Bates, Maureen O'Crean, Molly Thompson and Carilyn Vaile
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWeek 1
The Journey to Divaness
You are an extraordinary woman, how can you expect to live an ordinary life? -LOUISA MAY ALCOTT
When I was a little girl, I believed I was special. I didn't know exactly what that meant other than a certainty that I had a precious gift to give the world. As I grew older, though, I didn't feel special anymore; I only felt different. I never seemed to belong, and like Cindy, I wanted more than anything not to be different anymore. In my thirties I worked endlessly to blend in with everyone else. It never worked. I don't know why I wasted all that time silencing my true self. I am different, I am special, and so are you.
How do you know? Well, have you ever reached a point in your life where you just wanted to slap yourself silly and scream, "Wake up, girl! Smell the coffee and the roses, read the writing on the wall, do anything, but please, please, please, not one more boring minute of life"? I know I have. I've spent years denying who I am, to the point that on many days I truly didn't know who I was anymore. Sometimes enough is just enough, and we wake up to find our life speeding past us as if it were on a turbo train.
I had one of those wake-up calls a few years ago when, in a swirl of emotions, fear, and excitement, my life landed in sunny California, like Dorothy's house in the Land of Oz. Full of expectations that life would be just grand now, thank you very much, I was astonished to find my new "Technicolor life" was still as dull as black and white-again. Really, how many times do we have to do the same things over and over again and get the same results? I had become a master of disguise. If things looked different, I convinced myself they were different. Ooh, here it is: a new man, a new job, a new diet, on and on and on. That is, until the day-which, by the way, always comes-when I recognized that it was my same old patterns returning. Apparently I had to repeat the past almost to infinity before I could discover my Diva roots.
I'd love to spare you some of that endless repetition. Maybe you're coming to this book late in the game and, like me, have done it wrong millions of times already. Maybe you're just starting out and want to avoid the pitfalls of doldrums living. No matter what your current status, you can make a turnaround now. How? First gauge your stage by checking where you are along the Diva Contentment Continuum. Answer the following questions, and yes, honesty is the best policy:
1. If you were to take your clothes off right now, the world would see:
a. Your favorite matching bra and panties. You go, girl!
b. Beautiful separate pieces, just not in the same color palette.
c. Acceptable, clean white underwear with no noticeable holes.
d. Stretched elastic in the panties, holes on the left cheek, and the wire out of the rim on one side of your bra.
2. Your girlfriend calls you on the spur of the moment and invites you out for dinner. You answer:
a. "Great," whip a fabulous outfit together, and meet her in thirty minutes.
b. "Can't, have to work late, can we reschedule?"
c. "I'd love to but my hair's not done."
d. "Sorry, I'm busy. I can't miss Dawson's Creek again!"
3. You've just met the most fabulous man at the coffee shop and he wants to walk you back to your office. Your first thought is:
a. This is perfect; he'll get to see my favorite colors and flowers for future reference.
b. I wish I'd tidied up my desk and put the nail polish away.
c. I hope my boss isn't there to remind me about the report that's late.
d. I don't want him to see my office: "Let's go to your office instead."
4. You're meeting some new friends for lunch. It's a very expensive restaurant, and you were expecting to go to the diner. When the menu comes, you think:
a. No problem, I'll put the meal on my credit card, because I pay the balance off every month.
b. I'll just have an appetizer; I think I have twenty bucks on me.
c. I'll say I'm on a diet and have a salad.
d. I'll use my debit card and hope I don't bounce another check.
5. You've been working at a feverish pace for the past few weeks. You finally have a day off, so you're going to:
a. Go to the spa, get your nails done, and see an old friend.
b. Sleep in and read a trashy romance novel.
c. Run errands and get caught up on your mail.
d. Make a few meals for the week and get caught up on the laundry.
Answer key for the Diva Contentment Continuum: Give yourself 20 points for each a, 15 points for each b, 10 points for each c, and 5 points for each d answer.
100: Divalicious! Congratulations. You're on the right path. The Diva journey will simply enhance your pizzazz.
80-99: Diva-in-Waiting. You have some great things going for you; all you need is a little polish on this Diamond in the Rough. The Diva journey will bring out your shine.
70-89: Diva-Wanna-be. Your priorities are stretched to the max and you long to have fun. This book will put the zest back into your life.
0-70: Diva Emergency. You give and you give and this is what you get? A life with too much stress and too little fun. Stay with us and by the end of the year you won't recognize yourself.
AND NOW, BACK TO ME!
My score on the Diva Contentment Continuum was a 25, so I decided it was time to start living as if this life weren't a practice session. I'd always believed that I was destined for more, but how could I break through all the obligations I'd accumulated? My time was overcommitted: to the Parent-Teacher Organization, and the church, and community service projects, and work, and Little League. It seemed like the same six women showed up for every project in town, and I was one of the six. Like Divarella, I longed for a strong voice to say, "No. Thank you very much, but No." I believe that all of us are special. Within each one of us is a tiny bud set to bloom, at a time that is uniquely ours. I don't know the exact moment of awakening for you, or for myself for that matter, but we're assured by the Legend of Diva that we will indeed blossom. We're also assured that we can't grow too old to bloom, thank God, for the spirit of our Diva is more resilient than our ovaries.
Over time, we begin to feel the stirring of our Diva. We become quietly disheartened with our trophies and gadgets and more in tune with seeking our own individual voices. It might come as quietly as the urge to take dancing lessons at the local high school, or change our hair color, or try a new style of clothing. It doesn't really matter how the bud begins to stir. It only matters that we nurture ourselves and give ourselves permission to burst with life.
One day, full of discontent, I thought, What would a Diva do? and my journey began. I began to seek out evidence of Divas. Whenever I felt powerless or helpless, I would imagine what Audrey Hepburn, or Madonna, or Oprah would do in the same situations. Sometimes it was Michael Jordan (representing my male energy, I'm sure). I made a collage of my "Divas and Divos" to inspire me to be more than I was being in that moment. I would actually visualize Audrey Hepburn, head held high, back straight, shoulders erect, and my demeanor would automatically shift. It worked every time. As I started this journey filled with excitement, guess what showed up? Every area of my life where I was not living up to my full Diva potential. I would look at Madonna dressed in a fabulous outfit and ask myself, Why did I listen to play-it-safe rules? When I looked in the mirror, sure enough, I was dressed in my standard black outfit, which bored me to tears. Where was my self-expression and style? My clothing might have made me look thinner but it sure didn't lift my spirits-and that glumness in my reflection added more weight than any black pantsuit could hide. It was time for a change, a drastic change in my life. And my journey began, just like yours will today.
My greatest inspiration of all time comes from the movie The Wizard of Oz. At one point Dorothy says to Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, "How do I start?" The all-knowing Glinda lovingly gazes in the eyes of the distraught Dorothy and says, "It's best to start at the beginning."
You are off on the adventure of your lifetime. Enjoy! - Maureen
To get you started on your journey, you'll want some basic supplies to record your fabulous transformation. We urge you to record your journey so that you will remember how far you've come. Buy a big, blank sketchpad or scrapbook-make sure it's acid-free paper so your diary will last. If you like, decorate it Diva-style, with glitter, velvet, or a boa trim. The purpose of the decorations is for you to be excited every time you pick it up. My Diva Diary is trimmed with a light pink marabou boa and it's delightful. You'll also want to create a Diva Supply Box to help, so here's our suggested list of Diva supplies: glitter, glitter pens with feathers in your favorite colors, scissors, glue sticks (we like the ones that go on purple and turn invisible), sequins, invisible tape, highlighter pens in at least three colors, stickers for a job well done, and any little Diva specialties that you create.
DIVA DO 'S FOR THE WEEK:
Every week we will list some Diva Do 's to help you play-and-win-the Diva game. This week 's Do 's help lay the foundation for your journey.
1. Make your own inspirational Diva collage. Identify your role models of Divine qualities. Look for love, passion, beauty, strength, power, vision, persistence, loyalty, grace, gentleness, courage, integrity, charisma, style, and authenticity. Find pictures in magazines of people who inspire you to cut out and put in your Diva Diary. Label each one with the quality you want, so you'll always remember why you chose this person.
2. Pick one quality you admire to focus on. Don't be discouraged; when you start this process, a cruel trick of fate is to show you every time you fall short of this quality. Take fifteen minutes each day to reflect on what will be present in your life if you have, for example, more grace.
3. Create a new action to integrate this quality into your life. When I practice gentleness, I speak softly and move slowly. When I first started I could only do it for a little while. Like muscles, we grow stronger with practice.
4. Before you go to bed at night, look at your collage to help you dream about what you desire. Keep a pen and paper handy to record your dreams when you wake up. You can transfer any special dreams into your Diva Diary later. Most of all, enjoy your practices. If you stress, take the Diva Default-take a bubble bath instead.
FRIVOLOUS DIVA DO:
TRANSFORM YOURSELF -EVEN IF IT 'S ONLY TEMPORARY. Buy yourself some water transfer tattoos and put them in all your favorite risqué places. I put a red heart on my breast and felt truly "bad."
Excerpted from I AM DIVA! by Elena Bates, Maureen O'Crean, Molly Thompson and Carilyn Vaile Copyright © 2003 by The Four Divas: Elena Bates, Maureen O'Crean, Molly Thompson and Carilyn Vaile
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Table of Contents
|The Legend of Diva||xvii|
|The Divalution: Our Evolution to Diva||xxi|
|Step I||Dusting Off the Diva||1|
|Week 1||The Journey to Divaness||3|
|Week 2||Escaping the Dungeon||9|
|Week 3||Defining the Diva in You||14|
|Week 4||Acknowledge the Goddess Within||19|
|Step II||The Heart of the Diva: Secrets to Love, Inspiration, and Fun!||25|
|Week 6||Acceptance--Sweet Surrender||31|
|Step III||Unleashing Your Femininity: Sources of Diva Glamour and Power||45|
|Week 9||Key to the Kingdom: The Boa!||47|
|Week 10||"Tiara" Presence||52|
|Week 11||Scents and Scentsabilities||56|
|Week 12||All That Glitters Is Diva!||61|
|Step IV||Conquering the Anti-Diva||67|
|Week 13||"Watch Out, World!" Vanquish the Green-Eyed Monster!||69|
|Week 14||Diva Emergency Alert System, aka Diva Interventions||75|
|Week 15||Defusing the Time Bombs||80|
|Week 16||From Regret to Opportunity||84|
|Step V||Lessons in Strength||89|
|Week 17||I Am Diva, Hear Me Roar!||91|
|Week 18||The Diva's Pot of Gold||96|
|Week 19||The Bionic Diva||102|
|Week 20||Integrity, the Foundation of Power||107|
|Step VI||A Diva's Surroundings||111|
|Week 21||From Clutter to Clarity||113|
|Week 22||Closet Clutter: Out with the Old!||117|
|Week 23||Home Sweet Home||122|
|Week 24||Illumination: Ignite Your Creativity||126|
|Week 25||Breaking the Rules--or Better Yet, Redefining Them||133|
|Week 26||Humor--Lighten Up, Divas!||138|
|Week 27||Delightful Delusions||143|
|Week 28||Be Outrageous!||147|
|Step VIII||A Diva's Image||151|
|Week 29||Creating the Diva's Style||153|
|Week 30||Color: The Magic Wand||159|
|Week 31||Playing the Field (of Hair and Makeup, That Is!)||164|
|Week 32||Diva Charm School: Magnetism 101||170|
|Step IX||Diva Elixirs||175|
|Week 33||Exercise--Not Taboo After All!||177|
|Week 34||Songs in the Key of Life||182|
|Week 35||The Scents of the Diva: Armatherapy||187|
|Week 36||Houdiva: Escape to Serenity||192|
|Week 37||Lingerie (I'm Too Sexy for My Clothes!)||199|
|Week 38||The Spell of High Heels||203|
|Week 39||The Art of the Plentiful Woman: Lessons in Sex Appeal||207|
|Week 40||Sexy at Sixty||211|
|Step XI||Divadom! The World Tour||217|
|Week 41||La Dolce Vita||219|
|Week 42||Vive la Diva!||224|
|Week 44||Rodeo Queens and Other Divas from Around the World||232|
|Week 45||Diamonds, Multifaceted Like the Diva||239|
|Week 46||Tiara Time-Out!||242|
|Week 47||"Welcome to Fantasy Island"||246|
|Step XIII||Living Diva||255|
|Week 49||Friends Are Forever||257|
|Week 50||Travel, Diva-Style||261|
|Week 51||Leap First, Look Later: A Lesson in Spontaneity||265|
|I Am Diva Certificate||274|