I was politely yelled at by my friend Jon because I hadn’t published anything on my blog in a few weeks.
“Get with the writing,” he said. (Mainly because he keeps giving me story ideas and wants to see them written!) Then his wife told him to leave me alone because I had work to do. (Thank you, Sage!)
But that is kind of my problem.
Not Karma! I am chill with that.
It’s the “getting with the writing” thing.
We all have blocks and fears and worries and life. Things that keep us chained to a past we are trying so hard to walk away from.
Voices that remind you of each and every one of your spectacular failures.
Images of every misguided step you took flash through your mind like a movie on fast forward.
And you try, oh god above you try to shut the door on those moments.
Sometimes you succeed.
Sometimes you fail.
But all of the time…you try.
That is the important thing.
I need to remind myself that even though I set upon living this life of mine a specific way, with a specific goal, I am horrible at directions and got lost at some point! (I am easily distracted by shiny things and ice cream!) But even though I took a wrong turn here and there, and had moments of doubt and total breakdowns, I kept going. Not always in the right direction but I felt movement was better than sitting like a lump in the middle of the road.
Okay! Maybe I should have stopped and restarted my mental GPS but that seemed so boring!
I often imagine my guardian angel cracking open a vodka bottle and shrugging her shoulders going, “Let’s see what happens!” Then giggling like a hyena on crack.
But I was babbling with my sister-in-law about how I feel I am failing right now. Cyndee verbally slapped me upside the head with love! (And an eyeroll!) She proceeded to explain to me all of the things I have been doing recently that, while not a planned part of my goals to become a full time professional writer, are PART of the goals for me to become a full time professional writer.
I forget sometimes that life is all about balance. You do not always need to keep running amok trying to get things done just so you can tick things off some weird mental “To Do” list you have.
Sometimes you have to sit and be silent and just breathe.
Sometimes you have to stop doing, doing, doing and just kick back.
Find that crazy inner hamster and tell it to stop racing on that damn squeaky wheel for an hour!
Then let everything go so that, in your silence, everything can come back to you.
I write a good game of how we each need to be strong in our selves and in our dreams. Most days I am riding that high of “I am Pamela and I am strong and talented! Hear me roar! Grrrr!”
I also get quickly reminded that I am human (despite some arguments to the contrary!) and I need to stop. I need to look around me. I need to find my place again on this weird road trip I am on. (And I need to pee often so there are always potty breaks planned!)
And I will “get with the writing!”
I always do come back to this…writing!
It is my constant. My Northern Star.
And no matter what zig or zag or u-turn I have taken in this life…it always comes back to my writing.
It is what I love. What I set out to do. What I AM doing! It’s my happy place!
Do not let the life you are living push aside the life you want to be LOVING.
It’s kitschy but it is also quite true, my lovelies.
No matter where life takes you or even how you got to this point in life, do one thing-
Find your bliss!
Find what makes you happy!
So fill in the blank of what would make your life more livable and lovable and “get with the __________!”
I am sitting here in my little house at my little desk thinking not so little thoughts.
My mind is like a hungry mouse looking for cheese in a maze of long halls with blocked off exits. At some point, it simply said “Screw it!” and climbed over the walls and escaped!
I know what my mind is looking for….words. The pretty words. The right words. All of the pretty and right words that will all fit nicely onto a page and make pretty and nice stories.
But apparently today my brain has chosen to go on strike and all the pretty and right words are refusing to cross the picket line. Bastards!
So I do what I always do when nothing of quality comes to me.
I open all my works in progress (and there are a LOT of them!) and I just write a line here, change a phrase there, erase a paragraph over on that one…I do what I always do. I keep going at it.
And while I am struggling today, I was reminded by someone of supposed good intentions that maybe this was a mistake. Maybe I should not put my supposed talented eggs into this supposed merry little basket of stupid.
And maybe that person can bite me! I have enough disparate self doubt that I do not need any one’s help in that area. I know where my talents lay. I know what I can bring to the table.
Damn it to hell…
This little side show of mental button pushing reminded me of a piece of poetry by a man called Charles Bukowski. Personally-not a fan of his work. And this particular piece (called So You Want to Be a Writer) kind of, sort of, maybe pisses me off.
In this work of his, he goes on about what NOT to do. How if it is not done a certain way, or comes from a certain place within you, then you are not a writer and don’t write. Just don’t do it.
This is a piece that makes me angry and makes feel the need to prove this man wrong. And it MAKES me want to write. Because, at the end of his little “schpeel”, it does find some redemption in my minds’ eye.
He speaks that the need to write will “…drive you to madness…”, which is very true.
When it says that unless writing is like “…the sun inside you is burning your gut, don’t do it/when it is truly time and you are truly chosen, it will do it by its self and it will keep on doing it until you die or it dies in you…”
I do not know about that. I do know that there have been moments in my life when people have tried to kill off this part of me. Degraded, belittled, destroyed my work and my nearly manic need to put pen to paper. I watched them mock and ridicule and physically tear from my hands my work. I have seen their hate, felt their anger and been drenched by the sweat of their disdain for me. Those people where not good people in my life.
And sadly, at times, I was one of those people.
I let fear and doubt and the belief that it would never become anything topple my self esteem to ruble.
Then I realize that writing is, for me, the only thing that brings me peace. Joy. Laughter. Hope.
And god above, I have lost all of those things a dozen times over in my life. I have fallen and had to rebuild my life. I have lost faith in my God and my self. And each time I have been in a dark place in my life, it was when I took up my pen again that I found those very things that I needed.
I will write when and how and where and what my very soul gives me to write. Some days I cannot keep up with the cacophony of words that swirl within me. Other days I cannot remember how to spell my own name.
But regardless of which place I am mentally or emotionally or spiritually, I will write! I will keep plucking away at those mental harp strings that influence and flutter those words within my soul.
I will search for words and the right turn of phrase till my last moment upon this sphere.
You see, for me, writing is the only thing that does not feel like a wasted endeavor.
I write when I am at peace or in a rage or when I am stressed or when I am asleep and I snap awake scrambling for a pen and paper to get something out of my head!
Writing is my northern star.
Writing is my salvation.
I will write how I see fit for me, not in the pretentious manner Mr. Bukowski seems to imagine only a true writer should write. Because only a true writer knows what works for them.
Do I plan to make a living at this and be able to be a success? Absofuckinglutly!
Please my lovelies, do not let the negative naysayers bring you down. Do not let the doubt or the stress or the worry eat away at what you are striving to become. What ever it is that drives you! What ever makes you get up and go forward and live the best life you can possibly live.
Remember! This is your life! Your choice! YOUR DREAM!
The haters can hate all they want but all they are doing is making themselves miserable. You are beyond their little voices and littler minds.
I will fight with teeth and nails till I am bloody and my manicure is chipped just to keep doing what I am doing!
I am a writer.
What are you?
When I was a little girl, I was very quiet. Honestly-if you asked anyone from my family they would talk about how quiet I was. But I lived in a very loud, overbearing home with people who all had something more important or demanding or interesting to say than I ever did. I was not the “squeaky wheel” demanding attention. I was usually found in a corner with my best friend, a collie named Lady, surrounded by notebooks and crayons writing stories, all while holding a knock-off Barbie doll.
So while everyone else was talking and arguing and being loud and disruptive, vying for attention, I was often told to be quiet if I did try to talk.
In fact I would get “shushed” for laughing.
To this day I tend to cover my mouth when I do laugh because, well, old habits die hard.
Why do I mention this?
Because I “shushed” myself today.
I did! In my own home! Where I live with just me and my dog!
I made myself be quiet!
Because as I said…old habits…
And what was I doing while I was laughing, and covering my mouth at the sound, and shutting myself up?
I was spinning in my chair.
Yes. You read that correctly.
I was sitting in my office and just had a wild moment of childish exuberance! The window was open. The sun was streaming in. I had a moment of giddyness! So I pushed my chair back from the desk and pushed myself off and spun my chair around! It was fun! And I did it again and again! After the 4th time, I realized that a good spin could turn me around 16 times till I slowed down. It was the 6th turn that made me realize I should defiantly NOT close my eyes while spinning. It was the start of the 8th turn when I slapped both hands over my mouth because I actually let out a true belly laugh! I actually looked around ready to be reprimanded before I caught myself.
The only people looking were a rather befuddled Lulu, my stuffed monkey and Executive Assistant Mr. Skittles and my Mr. Spock bear whose paw plays the Star Trek theme song when you press it. None of these beings were judging me, though Mr. Skittles did seem to look at me a little cock-eyed. (But that may have only been because Lulu was chewing on his head the other day. I don’t think he has recovered from that indignity.)
But the problem is the fact…I “shushed” myself.
One would think at this point in my life I would be over the weirdness of my childhood.
One would think so, but one would be wrong.
I still have little ticks and quirks that are carryovers from growing up in that old house on 6th avenue.
I still sweep towards the back door in the kitchen, because according to my Mama you did that to sweep out the bad thoughts as well as the dirt. I always move ladybugs back outside if I find one in the house after I count their spots and I always wish them a safe trip because if you do that, the number of spots is the number of months of blessings you will have. I never move from one home to another with any unused flour packed because that would mean bringing bad energy from the old kitchen into your new kitchen and your biscuits will turn out flat and tasteless. I always leave one box unpacked when I move from one place to another so as not to jinx the new home. I never walk over anyone laying on the floor because that would cut their life line if you did. Trust me-honestly-I do not walk over Lulu! I walk around her! (But, when Mama wasn’t looking, I used to walk over my siblings when they were laying all over the floor. Bad Pammy!)
And….I still put a hand over my mouth when I laugh because I was told I was too loud and it was not lady like and no one likes a girl who “guffaws.”
Why would someone say that to a child?
I was just finding my own corner of joy in that house.
But the fact I still carry that quirk with me today is just…nuts.
Life is such a gift! We all have enough rough patches to get through on a daily basis! We need to stop berating ourselves for childish misdeeds and perceived bad behavior.
I laugh out loud when I am spinning in my chair. I cry at commercials for animal rescue groups. I wish on stars by saying that little poem “I wish I may, I wish I might”. I am gleefully awe-struck by fireworks. I love to stand in the rain, especially if it’s warm and I am barefoot. I find peace in a gentle snowfall during the night. I think Santa and the Easter Bunny are friends and hang out on their off seasons. And I truly believe that my Baby Girl Lulu understands every word I say to her but just randomly chooses what she will and will not acknowledge.
But mostly, I need to remember that it is completely OK to be myself. Especially when I am alone! I need to stop listening to that voice in my head that has a hint of a southern accent telling me what not to do. That voice stopped speaking a long time ago. I need to stop listening to its fading echo.
And those old habits need to be turned into new, better, exciting habits!
My wish for all of you, my lovelies, is to find something to laugh about. And truly do laugh! With joy and abandon and guffaws! Don’t hide your smile! Don’t hide who you are! Don’t listen to those old voices in your head.
Each of us deserves a new voice! Our own voice telling us how wonderful and loved and amazing we are! THAT is the echo I want each of you to listen to!
And I also highly recommend taking your chair for a few spins!
Do you have a word that bugs the bejesus out of you? I have a couple that do, but there has been one particular word of late that seems to bother me more than others.
It’s a simple word really.
But in most contexts it is a word of control. People say this word to tell you what to do, what to be. You say this word to yourself and it makes you second guess and question and doubt. It’s a word connected with an action THEY think you need to do.
It’s the word “should”.
You “should” do this thing over here. You “should” go to that place over there. You “shouldn’t” do this, or “shouldn’t” wear that, or “should” think this way, or “should” have this job, or “should” be, “shouldn’t” be.
“Should” is CRAP! It’s a word filled with soul crushing negativity most of the time.
“Should” becomes a long line of expectations about what your life was supposed to be if you had only listened to everyone else’s opinion. If you had followed someone else’s advice, plan, dictation for your person. Even your own doubts and failures and worries circle around the word “should”.
It needs to stop being such a major word in our vocabulary. Our mindset.
I think “should” becomes a list in our head of things we missed out on or were too frightened to do. Silly expectations when we need to stay positive and not think of the “should have’s” in life.
My friend Jon said it well-It’s a word that is meant to fulfill others expectations and not your own.
I am tired of other people dictating to me what I am supposed to do. What I “should” be. Because those people do not know me! They have never truly seen my heart nor have they had a notion of what I want in this life. And they seem to think I should be grateful to them and appreciative of their opinions because they graciously took notice of me. Fuck that!
An example of how this word can be negative popped up tonight. I was texting with my sister-in-law Cyndee and she mentioned she had eaten her latest recipe creation for dinner and felt like she was in a sugar coma. And I immediately told her she SHOULD take a walk to work it out of her system.
SCREECH! What the fuck? Why was I saying this? Why was I (unintentionally!) shaming her? She did not ask my opinion. She did not say she wanted to find a solution to the deep tiredness she was feeling. She simply wanted to take a nap. Seriously-when is a nap ever a bad idea?
I apologized to her for just assuming she wanted my advice on how to deal with an issue that was not an actual issue at all. She ate poorly and was reaping the consequences of it. We have all done this! I do it frequently! (Hello Cheetos!) And what did I do other then empathize? Told her “you should…”
I detest when people do this to me and yet I made a snap decision and did the very thing I hate, to her.
“Should” is one of the reasons I made some pretty bad life choices. When I was younger and less fabulous than I am now, I overheard a conversation between my Mama and one of my sisters. And Mama said that “Pammy Ann should just stay here at home till she is 40 or 50. She should just do what we tell her and be done with this nonsense she has of leaving home.”
Well, Pammy Ann went into total panic mode because (should she listen to her Mama!) all she could envision for herself was living like the lady down the street who was in her 40’s and still lived with her parents and wore handmade clothes and worked the same dull job at the same dull office she had worked at since she was 18 and took the same lunch in the same brown paper bag every day and she and her mom would run outside and take brooms to the squirrels in their yard who tried to steal the walnuts that fell to the ground from their walnut tree and her dad would scurry around and make them fill buckets with all these stupid walnuts and take them into the house and all I could imagine was a house filled floor to ceiling with buckets of nuts and why couldn’t the squirrels have them and oh my fucking god I would go crazy like the Squirrel Lady if I did what I “should” do and just live with my parents for the rest of my life!
AAARRRGGGHHH!!! (What followed was more than a decade filled with a bad marriage, bad clothes and even badder hair. I still have nightmares about that hair!)
“Should” should not be in your repertoire of verbiage. Try going through your day without telling someone what they “should” do. And by “someone” I mean you, too.
If you feel the need to tell someone what you think they should do, please, present it as a suggestion. With a light of positive shining on it! Not a finger-pointing demand that they follow your dictate of what YOU think it best for them. Instead of “you should do…” what about asking them if they had tried another line of thinking?
And if you are going to use that word on your self-Holy Negative Nellie, Batman! Please! Be kind to yourself!! Instead of a negative thought like “well I missed out. I should have studied a foreign language in school. Boo hoo!” Say, “You know what? I should learn a language!” And then follow through on your suggestion and change that should too WILL.
Life is too hard to live with “should haves” clouding our hearts and minds. It becomes a fog, a road block to the good and positive things just waiting for us!
I encourage all of you, my lovelies, to be kind to one another and be even more kind to yourself.
…by my Baby Girl Lulu. Apparently I do not smell as fascinating as bunnies under the deck.
I will take that as a compliment!
It’s a beautiful morning out in my back yard. Lulu has yet to piddle because of the afore-mentioned sniffing expedition. The sun is shining and I am….
Well I don’t know what I am!
Not bored. Not worried. Not excited. Not over whelmed.
Just “whelmed” I suppose. Is that an emotion? It should be!
I am not in a dramatic emotional position what-so-ever. I simply am.
And that is an okay place to be.
I deal with so much mental chatter most days that having a morning filled with mental nothing is a relief.
I am not being mentally assaulted by every thought, action, image, memory, or detail of a thousand different moments in my life all at once. I am simply enjoying the moment. Enjoying Lulu’s sniffing and snuffling. Enjoying the breeze. Enjoying the sun. Enjoying the mental peace and quiet.
I suppose this seems odd for some of you. That a quiet moment would mean so much. But know this about me. I deal with excruciating anxiety and depression on a daily basis. I am in a constant mental state of “battle readiness.”
And fuck me if this ain’t tiring as hell!!
Before you ask-yes I am on meds. Yes I have seen a therapist. Yes it all has been a tremendous help. But for those in the “know” it is still a daily barrage of thoughts and panic and fear. A struggle to control our minds and maintain a sense of self that is not defined by past abuse or actions.
Most days that’s a success. Some days it is a massive failure.
But it is those in-between days that I relish. The days of nothing. The days when I smile because I am genuinely happy. Am tired because I was busy and it was physical exhaustion that made me want a nap not mental exhaustion.
Those are becoming my “norm” thankfully. As long as I remember to take the medication I am prescribed. That seems like a “duh” thing to remember. Yet-I forgot to do that. I was so cavalier about the fact I was feeling so amazing that I stopped taking my antidepressant.
Stupid egotistical move.
You see, I was only able to control the panic attacks because the depression was under control. Lose one fail safe and the whole thing blows up.
It did too!! BOOM!
Massive panic attack. I had not had one in so many weeks and was feeling so confident and dare I say “cocky” that I just assumed I was cured. (BAHAHAHAH!!)
That’s a negatory good buddy!!
I know better now. I have wonderful people in my life who have been so strong for me when I could not be. I am surrounding myself with calm and peace and joy. And my medication! And Lulu!
It’s not the crutch I feared it would be. It’s a walking stick to help me navigate the sidewalks of my mental state. There when I need to lean on it but mostly decorative to make me even more fabulous! Most days I do not need the extra medication for when the panic attacks start to build, I am stable and good to go with just the antidepressant. But it is there when I do need it. A safety net. Trust me my lovelies, we all need a net to fall into sometimes.
So here I am!
Enjoying this amazing morning with my Baby Girl! Relaxing in the calm and love I feel for myself.
And I shall steal a Cookie Monster quote and make it work for me:
Me will enjoy this quiet interlude while me is outside watching Lulu run back and forth sniffing for bunnies.
Now me wants cookies!
I have a deep and personal love for Star Trek! (and for those of you who groaned because I am talking about one of my favorite obsessions, remember you love me! And if you forget that – you can BITE ME!)
Today is the 52nd anniversary of Star Trek’s original television premiere.
And I have been watching the original show all day!
There is something rather simplistic in the concept of the show. The solid unquantifiable belief that every one, man or woman or human or nonhuman or all the odd bits and pieces in-between, are equal. They should respect one anothers opinions, even when they differ from your own. They should support and care and honor one another regardless of those differences. And honestly-the costumes are a hoot!
You see for me…my love of Star Trek started with my love for poetry.
Here is the whole odd-ball, round-about way I came to love and respect and appreciate Star Trek. (Original series and Reboot only for me by the way! The other series are fine…I am just not into them.)
When I was a young girl, lost in a house filled with crazy siblings clamoring for attention and even crazier parents trying to give those siblings that attention, I sought solace in books. I was rather quiet growing up. Considered weird by one and all. I was not brash or loud so I tended to get left behind. Ignored.
I was an after thought.
I found a place of my own within stories. Books I had read or stories I had created myself. Reading and writing was my escape!
So, I often found myself wandering around a used book store near our house. (Nine years old and already meandering alone on the streets.) While I was in that book store one afternoon, I found a special book.
Oh! I fell in love with the simple and elegant words! The lines of prose were gentle and easy and brought a calmness to my already tired soul. I was touched by the beauty expressed within those pages. This small book was one of the reasons I wanted to write!
I saved my allowance and purchased this book. Then promptly came home and hid it because the afore-mentioned siblings would have mocked me and I really was not up to that.
A book of poetry by Leonard Nimoy!
I fell in love with this wonderful man through his words first. Eloquent and pure, much like he was. I learned about life, and love, and existence in this great universe through his writing. Understand-I was nine! I never thought about my existence beyond my dog, Lady, and what we were having for dinner. That was until I read his poems.
It was after I devoured that first book that I was introduced to “Spock”.
Wow! While Leonard Nimoy taught me about existence, Spock taught me why I often struggled with that existence. Spock showed me that regardless of the similarities we all share, each of us are “aliens”. Each of us struggle to accept, not only others who are different, but we struggle to accept ourselves. And Spock taught me, that despite that struggle, I need to continue to be me. To be my genuine self.
As I was charmed by Spock, I also become enthralled by Star Trek itself.
I learned that each one of us has the same capacity to explore this galaxy, be it as wide and expansive as the heavens; or as small as your own back yard. Each of us must look into the great unknown and decide who we wish to become. We must learn to accept one another with respect. We need to learn the hard lesson of loving ourselves (all facets of our selves!), so that we can learn to give that love to others.
But most importantly…I learned to not be afraid. No matter how scary it is, take your fear and use it to push you forward. Your own personal rocket fuel to blast you onward!
I actually miss his presence, odd though that may sound to you. I had never met this man in person, you see. And yes, many of you have “jokingly” mocked my slightly stalkerish obsession with Mr. Nimoy. You do not seem to realize, though, the impact Leonard Nimoy has had on my life. It is…incalculable!
Through this gentle being’s spirit and talents of acting, writing, photography, directing, I have learned to be comfortable within myself. I have learned a valuable lesson by watching his own actions in life with all he had gone though and over come.
Regardless of people, or problems, or obstacles in your way, find your gifts and enhance them. Share them. Revel in them!
Use your fear to find your strength and to find what you want to do. Then-do it proudly!
You see…Leonard Nimoy and Spock and Star Trek taught me one important lesson in this life… to BOLDLY GO where no one has gone before! To where ever YOU choose to land!
Let your “rocket fuel” blast you out of your fears and into your life!
Live Long and Prosper, my lovelies!
Okay! I promise to never say that again!
I am currently visiting my family up in Okoboji. (My only complaint is that it’s a four-hour drive that makes my ass numb!)
But numb-butt aside….
It is lovely up here…warm breezes, soft water lapping against the shore, and laughter drifting along the air. I have collaborated with my favorite sister-in-law, Cyndee. She and I worked on her next magazine project. I have worked on some poetry and a story idea. I found fabric for new curtains and volunteered Cyndee to sew them. (Thank you for letting me do that!) Saw a movie. Ate popcorn. Tried on shoes. Had some pretty good Chinese food. And am now simply sitting and writing.
All in all….its been good! Real good!
I mentally refer to this place as my “Writer’s Retreat.” In fact, I have my own room in Cyndee’s house. The “Yellow Bedroom”. (Okay-that’s what I call it. It just sounds so fancy-schmancy that way!) I pack like I am moving in and I rearrange everything in the room to make space for all of my shoes, clothes, books, make-up, and what-ever-else I bring with me. (And trust me-I bring A LOT!) Don’t worry-I put everything back in order once I leave.
Tomorrow it is supposed to be warm so we will be heading to the pool! Lots of sun, fun and sun-screen because I burn and turn a rather unfortunate shade of red. I have several books with me to read. Including one that I promised I would finish while on this trip because my friend Jon is beginning to get a complex because he claims I never read things he recommends to me which is so not true!
The only real “care” I have is that I worry about Lulu! Silly-I know! She is with her favorite person, her dog-sitter, Jeffrey. He takes amazing care of her!
BUT!! She is my Baby Girl! MY BABY GIRL!!! I’m not there to tuck her in, to sing her a lullaby. I’m not there to hand feed her if she doesn’t eat. I’m not there to give her a hug or tummy rub or kisses to her little snoot with all the freckles. I’m not there to groan at her when she flips her bowl of food over. Or to chase after her through the house when she grabs a pair of my under-roo’s out of the laundry basket. Or to be stern with her when she piddles on the floor right after she comes back in from being outside for an hour. Or heave a huge sigh when she digs into the trash in the bedroom and I find torn up tissues all over the house.
Wait. What was I saying about worrying about her?
I am happy and relaxed. I am surrounded by a whole lotta love. We are going to celebrate my birthday because-HELLO! It’s still my birthday month and we will be having cake!
And most important?
I am content!
That alone is worth a numb ass and missing my Lulu.
I am comically and tragically pissed off about things.
In my defense...I was left unsupervised.
In my defense...I was left unsupervised.
Bizarre thoughts from author Jenny Lawson - Like Mother Teresa, only better.
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