Truthful admission time: I was being a complete dumbass about it. Grown ups tell other grown ups that they should not care about their birthdays. We try to believe it is juvenile to care about them and to want someone to make a big deal about them is childish. My thirtieth birthday is a big deal to me and I was feeling guilty about it. I felt like a total jerkwad for wanting something that meant someone else would have to put effort into marking this day that has no actual relevance. What kind of self centered jerkwad am I? I am a grown up, I am not supposed to care.
I realized a few things, though, that make me feel less ridiculous.
Most adults who say they don’t care about their birthdays are liars. Most adults who mock others for wanting someone to make a big deal out of their birthday have a significant other to make a big deal of their birthdays for them, and there would a rain of hellfire if their significant other did not do something to make their birthdays special.
I have never known anyone who turned 30 while single. I only know one other single or childless person over the age of 27. I don’t know how single adult people do birthdays. I have never seen it. It made me feel lonely and odd. I didn’t realize what it was until last night. I admitted it last night.
I also realized how wrong I was.
I am at Tina’s house drinking homemade Arkansas wine while she is sewing Team Umizoomi Halloween costumes and we are talking about all the funny stories or inside jokes from our lives. Tomorrow night I am going to Haunt the Zoo with her family. We are going to have small adventures all week and on my 30th birthday we are probably eat cake and drink wine after her kids go to sleep. It doesn’t sound exciting, but I am stoked. This year has been incredible for me. I have so many amazing people in my life. I may be single, but I am sure as hell not alone. I won’t be going out. I won’t have a boyfriend to make grandiose gestures. I won’t have the stuff that people normally imagine they would want. I will have something simple, special, and far better than a bar tab.
Sometimes things come out of nowhere and effect you. My interwebz surfing generally centers around funny stuff. I have a few sites I go to on a regular basis including the Scrw Media sites. This site started as an attempt to be cool enough to contribute to urlybits.com (where I got this video.) I have been lucky enough to be friends with the founders Paul and Sara O’Flaherty for a year now. Anyway, I was cruising around because they have the best of the funny and the cool when I stopped to watch this video that Paul posted:
I cried like an emo little girl. I watched it three times and cried all three times. I will probably watch it again after I post this and cry again.
Okay, I know that I am apparently a dirty hippie, and I believe in happiness and rainbows and kindness and crap. I used to believe I was a misanthropic misfit that hated all thing pop culture and all of that bullshit. Truth is I have always been a bit of one those crazy people who have always been positive in spite of myself. So, of course this made me cry. I have the strangest set of biases ever.
I have thought all afternoon about why this video effected me so much. I think I have figured out some of it.
My most superficial reaction is: “Who the hell wouldn’t be a bit weird-ed out by someone standing in the middle of the street wanting hugs. That is so Pedobear.” (If you don’t know who pedobear is then you fail at the interwebz. Here, educate yourself.)
I hate this reaction. I hate that I had it.
I have this strange habit of giving total strangers compliments. I will go out of my way to tell someone that I like something they have or have done and I always try to tell parents if their kids are cute or well-behaved, normally in front of the child. I have embarrassed the hell out of some my friends and family by doing this. Honestly, I don’t care. I believe in telling people good things. I know how a compliment can make a day better or make someone walk taller. I know giving someone a compliment can make them a little happier. So what if I look like an ass?
The thing that stuck with me after the girl got raped in the parking lot of my old work place is that she was obviously in distress for a long time, and I did nothing to help her until she came to us. I felt low, very very low, that I let a child be in pain and did not help until she came to me, and then only after I saw the blood and it became real. It was this societal taboo on interference in strangers lives that kept me from walking over to her and asking her if she was okay. I decided that I was going to ignore that societal idea of non-interference and try to do what was right whenever I could.
My first thoughts were negative and ugly. I retreated back to that bullshit mindset of total self-involvement and mistrust of anyone willing to be open to the world.
Then that young big guy breaks from his group of friends and goes up and hugs the bear. That was an everyday act of bravery; he did something even though no one else would. (This is where the tears started to pour.)
Enter the video of all of the hugs. It was this simple and beautiful act of hugging someone and meaning it. I cried because all of these people were made so happy by this unexpected connection with another person. These people were doing something that I might not have had the courage to be open to. (For the record, I get why the parents were hesitant to let their kids walk up to a stranger in a teddy bear costume.)
What really hit me, though, is the end. The man took off the mask, and the tag line popped up, and I felt like such a douche cannon. The tagline is true. Honestly, I think most people would have been hesitant to hug anyone not in a costume, and the costume makes it easier it break through that barrier, but I KNOW most people (myself included) would have never hugged a stranger that had a visible disability.
That man brought so much joy to so many people simply by dressing up in a suit and hugging them. Without the suit, no one would have stopped, and they would have missed out on that joy.
It wasn’t just the disability. It is the strange aversion we have to openness because we might get hurt or something bad might happen.
I need to do better. I need to be braver. There is a lot of good that can come from being open and I don’t want to miss it from fear of the bad.
Tomorrow compliment strangers, you will see what I mean.
There are things we are not really allowed to write about as women. Most of them are profound and really need to be examined with beauty and delicacy. Lives could be changed by lovingly exploring these taboo and sensitive subjects. Then there are the other subjects we don’t talk about for societal niceties like bodily functions. There is nothing profound or delicate about PMS. There are reasons never to discuss the issue like good taste and tact. One thing I have proven is that I have neither good taste nor tact.
I have been trying all day to come up with something else to write about since the world freaks out about the very idea of a menstrual cycle, which, by the way, pisses me off. Seriously, men need to grow up about it. I know they want to believe that our lady bits are there purely for their pleasure and that mentioning anything to the contrary might shatter that for them. Some how we fear that they will grow so repulsed by the idea that their soft, warm refuge has a purpose other than for them to put it in and they will never want to have sex with it again.
WTF? Seriously, dudes grow up. Many of them want to try anal and, a lot worse happens in that magical cave.
My uterus is trying to claw its way through my abdomen, and I need to worry about how men think of vaginas? And we are called the weaker sex? Men would be far better served if their mommas pulled them aside and said, “Honey, one day you will probably find some magical lady that you want to spend the rest of your life with and, if you are lucky, she will do many sexual things that are illegal in southern states. One week a month she will get her period and be possessed by demons because she is in a lot of pain and her hormones are whacked out. If you want to keep doing those kinky things with her the other three weeks a month, you will learn to give her chocolate and be as sweet as possible to her. Think of it as a sex tax and your dues for her having to put up with your shit. Man up and deal, wuss.”
What? You want me to wax it too? Screw that.
Women, we need to talk.
You do realize that men will have sex with you even if you have an afro bush? That pain and bullshit we put ourselves through to make our girl parts “more attractive” is total bullshit. We hold the winning card here, we just need to stop being dipshits about it. Seriously.
Besides, why are we worried about our sexual organs being attractive? Have you seen a ball sack? There is no amount of shaving, waxing, or finger painting that will make a scrotum look less, well, like a wrinkly nut sack.
So this is what we need to do. We need to band together and tell them men folk that we will continue to be the lady on the streets, freak in the bed that they want. We will do all those little things that make them so happy. We are just done putting wax strips or razors on our genitalia. We might trim, but if we do, it is because we want to not because we believe their penis needs a topiary.
Also, on “our time of the month” don’t bitch about not getting sex. Don’t tell us how big of a bitch we are, or how our looks change. Understand that if you do anything but be wary of us and feed us chocolate, the rest of the month will be less pleasant for you. We might even start a website of douchebaggery where we put up your photo and other women in your area can be warned that you are a whiny ass baby. Your balls will be blackballed.
*Head explodes* I am going to go find some chocolate.
I am pretty sure right now I would be utterly incapable of writing coherent, good things, so I am just going to say things at my blog and call it done.
I am trying to normalize my hours. I am failing miserably. To be honest, I am not even entirely sure it is Thursday. I think I remember Monday. I drink coffee and tea and, instead of waking me up, I am just sleepy and giddy. I enjoy the sort of loopy, trance-like state of barely being able to stay awake, but having my brain running around like a crack-addled squirrel, but I am pretty sure I annoy the shit out of my friends. guy, Guys, GUYS, hey GUYS…
I have discovered two things harsh my creativity: news and sunlight. I can only handle so much news about dumb people doing stupid shit and possibly blowing up the world or ranty people on either side of the spectrum talking before my brain starts bleeding and I can’t slip into a state that allows me to create the world I need to be in to write my book, or, even worse, I start being a ranty douche bag myself. Also, I can write while the sun is up if I am writing something like a blog or a paper. The more impossibly late it gets, the more creative I am. I don’t know why it is, but it just is.
So last night, while cracked out and exhausted from trying this stupid normalizing my hours stuff, I was still being all freaked out about revising. I couldn’t figure out why I was so intimidated by it that I was almost paralyzed. I realized I am not adept at situations where I don’t know what is expected to succeed. I thrived in school because I knew what to do to get the results I wanted. Generally at my jobs I had a clear idea of what to do to be proficient at my job. Writing is this complicated, intangible process. You can study and research and read about writing, and it will help you be a better writer, but it doesn’t fully prepare you for the experience of going through the massive process of writing your first book. After I realized that, I became okay with being freaked out at every turn, because this is some strange on the job training.
Tina is being extremely kind, and letting Kathleen and I have access to some photos. She is calling our blog stock photography. I am going to take advantage of it. Today, I am leaving you with the parting thought of a picture of Tina’s magnificent toes.
So this is the third time I have tried to write this blog. The first time it was utter crap. The second time I tried to write this the document gods ate it. Let us hope the third time is a charm.
The title has nothing to do with anything except that I made some tasty, tasty French onion soup.
So I did something earlier today that was probably dumb. I looked up literary agents. There are about 17 gazillion of them. I found a professional association of agents and thought that would be a decent place to start. It seems like a big, scary process. I am letting myself get freaked out about finding an agent before I even have the book ready for my poor beta readers. I should not borrow trouble, and I should take the wise words of Douglas Adams to heart.
My second version was much longer but, honestly, I am sick of writing this stupid blog.
More like I am just a lazy ass. So here is my recent progress on my book: 0.23 words.
Okay, maybe not lazy, more like overwhelmed.
Here is where I am, I have to write the fluffy ending and then rewrite the entire book. I hate endings. The action is over. The story arch is complete. I don’t want to write big romantic scenes about the main characters wooing each other. I hate conclusions on papers and I am just not a fluffy romantic scene sort of person.
I know I can do it. I know I can do it with some sort of humor that makes it decent. It is just daunting.
Then there is the second draft. I am basically going to have to go through the first draft and write the book all over again. That is okay. I can do it. There is just so much of it. I love what I have rewritten so far. I just need to shut up and write. It is just daunting. Daunt, daunt, daunt.
I think I am going to walk through wal-mart mumbling that to myself.
daunt, daunt, daunt.
What really annoys me, really really really annoys me, is how needy I feel. I feel like a needy whiney ass baby. I should write because it is my goddamn job. Everyone else I know goes to work and does their job because it is their freaking job. I hate that I feel like I need someone holding my hand and stroking my ego. It frustrates me. I have had people tell me how awesome I am my entire life. It feels like weakness and whiney bitchness. I want to bounce up and down in my seat and say “Buuuuuut there is just so much.” (Insert dirty joke here.) I hate needing validation.
Me: I don’t know what to write.
Mom: How about the end.
Tell me I am pretty.
I know this too shall pass. I do. I know I will power through it and get to the other side and write a fantastic book, or at least a not too shitty book. I just want to stomp and kick and scream. I just want to whine. I don’t want to put on my big girl panties.
Okay, yes, I do. I love writing. I love being a writer. I love it even though it makes me feel needy and daunts me. I love it even though it makes me feel crazy when I am so absorbed into the world that I am writing that I can’t function outside of that world. No, I love it because I get absorbed into the worlds that I am writing.I think my problem comes when I am not writing. I need to stop fighting the whiney and whine then get my ass over it and write.
Damn all those overachievers in my life. My sister is pregnant, puking, miserable, and still manages to be a spectacular mother and be something important in her company. Tina has two little kids and a husband off on deployment and still manages to be supermom, super daughter, super bff, photographer, graphic designer,and awesome dance mom taunter. Sara works full time and runs half of an internet empire. I feel like a pansy for whining about writing.
So, here is what I am going to do. I am going to put on my tennis shoes and work out, then do my best to woman-up and write the shit out of a fluffy ending. I will whine in my head the entire time, I will just have to be okay with it.
^ That is inspired from an episode of Dora the Explorer. You can tell I have been at Tina’s house because of the uproariously funny video that I posted very late Thursday/ very early Friday for my Thursday blog but I think only Tina and I thought was uproariously funny. I am going to keep making videos because they make me happy, and when you are a full time eccentric writer and part time garden gnome, making yourself happy is very important.
I have realized a couple of things recently. (I feel like write that sentence a lot. Either I know far less than I should or I think about things I didn’t know too much.)
Kids shows assume small children are entertained by the same things that people on drugs are. Okay, there are some obvious examples of this like Yo Gabba Gabba and The Wiggles, but seriously, all Baby Mozart shows is random objects to music. I worry for this next generation. Also, I still hate the Canadians for exporting their kids shows.
Tina’s three year old wanders through life and is easily distracted by shiny things. Tina was well trained to handle this by a decade of friendship with me.
I am addicted to coffee and I am shockingly okay with this.
I am very busy doing nothing in particular. I am calling it research for writing.
Sometimes you just have to believe. I mean go forth and truly believe without hesitation or qualification. I have spent my entire life with people telling me I was smart and funny and special and I was going to be spectacular when I grew up. I also have had people telling me that I was too weird, not realistic, too big, too awkward, and maybe I should just grow up. I listened to the second set of people even though they were the minority and kind of jerks. Somehow what they said was more plausible than what everyone else told me.
I think I figured people just told me that they were going to be able to say “they knew me when” because they were being nice. It was easier for me to believe that I needed something reasonable to do other than want to write. I always just felt like an ordinary person amongst all of these extraordinary people. (Turns out I am an extraordinary person among extraordinary people.) My life was odd and my view on life was odd. (I mean that in a good way. I have always loved my odd life.) It was just me trying to find my path to something more reasonable. I told someone once that I knew I was going to be famous later in life. He told me that everyone feels that way because no one wants to believe that they will be mediocre. Screw that.
I have decided to believe, whole heartedly and without hesitation or qualification, that I am something spectacular now that I have grown up. I am going to march into my thirties knowing that I am going to be one of those few people who make it as a writer. I AM going to do amazing things. I am going to listen to those extraordinary people in my life that tell me I am extraordinary.
I am new to this willful belief in something about me. I have only believed this willfully in one other thing, my last relationship, and it imploded in a most spectacular fashion. Which, logically, should mean I learned believing can fail miserably and never do it again. Instead, I have decided to learn that it sucks when things you believe in blow up and it could hurt a lot for a long while, but in the end you live through it and learn lots, and there is something else on the other end.
We laughed and laughed then went to the store. When we got home, we decided to make our own version. She played some Rift with her husband then set her tripod way up high, then I stood in front of the camera and talked about stuff. She took the footage and cut it into a brilliant video, and I captioned it. This is the result:
We think we are intensely clever, and we have come up with more video ideas. Next time, I won’t have the typos. Okay, yes, I will have the typos.
Well, I was going to do a stylistic experiment last night and get really drunk then write a blog and trying to figure it out today. Turns out that I am just not into getting that drunk any more. I tried. I even took shots. I just didn’t get drunk. I just ended keeping Tina up too late talking about stuff.
Now I know.
I wasn’t going to blog today and take my shame for missing a day and not try to make up for it, then I took a shower. Okay, it wasn’t the shower that made me want to blog; it was the towel after the shower that made me want to write a blog.
We know I am the most awkward person on earth because I over think EVERYTHING. I have this crazy fear of being rude or inconsiderate. I always try to do the right thing in any situation. It is like a compulsion. I think everyone has it but I am pretty sure I bring it to a completely different level. Case in point, my towel after the shower and trying to figure out what to do with it.
I was raised that towels are not dirty after one use, as long as only one person uses it. I know dead skin cells and all of that crap. I know some people find it totally disgusting. I think if you freak out at the idea of someone using the same towel twice, you really need to twiddle your own joystick more. Anyway, I also know the other argument and find it equally valid. I am just a towel reuser. Anyway, I am almost incapable of throwing a towel on the floor after using it once. I picked a blue towel. I know that blue towel is the one I used. It is covered in my germs and my skin cells. I can dig it. I think Tina is a towel washer. Use it once and wash it. It is also possible that she doesn’t put that much thought into things and I am just insane. Totally possible. The struggle comes after my shower and I have this blue towel that in my head is now “my towel” and I can use it after my next shower but I am pretty sure she would just prefer to wash it. I stand there for several seconds with “my towel” in my hand and tell myself I should just throw it on the floor with the rest of the laundry so she can scoop it up when she turbo launders. I have it in my hand and I know I should, but I just can’t, so I throw it over the shower rod, unintentionally making it harder on her since it totally does not go there and she will have to try and reach it. Mind you, all of this is going through my head OVER A FREAKING TOWEL.
I might write some day about the last of the juice.
Today I spent the day at the Rock Island Arts Festival and had a blast.
I heard four different versions of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” one with a xylophone.
I defended pole dancing as a legitimate art after seeing the girl I used to baby sit when she was just a sweet little girl climbing up a pole. It was pretty cool actually. It was really more like a performance art and less like dirty crack whores. Only one of the dancers had fake boobs. (Lets not discuss the tramp stamp tattoos.)
I think there was some art there. I saw a few painted cow skulls. Mostly I was hanging out with Cynthia and her kid. We did a lot of walking between the huge sand piles and the bouncy castles.
Jewelry. I saw jewelry. I like shiny things.
I got to meet many of my friends offspring. I am a terrible friend and I haven’t met any of my friends’ spawn. Autumn is still cute as hell and you can’t even tell she had a kid two months ago. It is ridiculous.
I spent four hours talking non-stop to Cynthia and her son. When we were at school, Cynthia was gorgeous girl. (I have always had hot female friends. It was good for my guy friends but not good for my chances to pick up guys. But, yeah, I know all the hot chicks.) Now she is an amazingly beautiful woman. She looks almost exactly the same (there is a picture of her in an attic… NERD reference) but she has a new grace about her that makes her stunning. She was the same sweet, smart, funny Cynthia I loved so much in college but only better.
I did NOT get drunk at the wine tasting then try to get a pony ride. I did encourage LaNell to though.
I awkwardly talked about writing and my book a lot but my friends are great people and handled it well.
I have the strangest sunburn. I burned around my necklace and I have to white lines V-ing down my chest pointing straight to my boobs. I am going to think of it as added advertisement. I also have a stripe across my eye from my chunky sunglasses. I can pretend to be Geordi LaForge. I would take a picture of it but my dumb camera is refusing.
On a completely unrelated note: there is a pile of laundry that I took out of the dryer before I left this morning. I put it on my bed thinking that I would put them away after I got home today. Okay, I knew it was a slim chance I would hang them up, but I had the best intentions. When I got home I moved them from my bed to my computer chair so I could lay down and then moved them back to my bed after I woke up. I have accepted that they will just moved back and forth between the two spots until they dwindle away from me wearing them. I might put away the panties since I don’t have to fold or hang those up.