Tiny Bit of Crazy

A chronical of the laughter, revelations and transformations that are possible when you embrace the crazy

2012: How it Went Down February 2, 2013

Remember way back last year, when 2012 was all sparkly and new and seemed like it was gonna be a lot of fun, and my friend Tara (from Do These Kids Make Me Look Crazy) and I wrote New Year’s Resolutions for each other?  Then at the 6 month mark we both went through and did a progress report, and now, apparently, we have to actually be accountable for the rest of the year as well.

There’s talk of us doing this exercise again this year as well, but part of me thinks that maybe if I don’t remind her she’ll forget.

Except the whole telling HER what to do with her life part is super fun.

Maybe when she sees how badly I did with this year, she’ll let me off the hook and just let me do resolutions for her…

But if I do have new resolutions to do, now we only have 11 months left in 2013 so that’s going to be my excuse for anything I don’t accomplish this year.

Well, I’ve stalled long enough. Here they are. Don’t judge me too harshly…

Find and make a home. A real home. Whether it’s by yourself or with your man or with a cute little kitten named Rhett. Find a place you adore and want to stay in for a long time. A place that feels like yours. It has to hold all your important stuff, like your shoes and your books and your random photos. I’d really like to add a caveat about keeping it orderly and clean-ish, but I feel that might make your place less yours, which entirely defeats the purpose.

Here’s what I’ve decided on this: Home is not so much defined by the address that your bills go to, or the location of all those fancy shoes I never wear anymore anyway. Home is the place where I can let my guard down, where I feel most myself, and where I’m surrounded by people who love me. As such, I have several homes at the moment. That’s just how I roll. I’m calling this one completed.

Do not text and drive. Ever. As your mom says, you need to “concentrate”.

Totally on top of it. I exercise extreme self-control while the vehicle is in motion. If I’m going to die in a fiery car crash its going to be for a much less embarrassing reason than texting.

Continue to stay in touch with your body. Exercise, nourish, and strengthen it in the best way you know how. I want you to feel and be healthy for a very long time. It’s not impossible that we’ll be in the same nursing home someday and I want you to stay cute enough to rock a colostomy bag.

I have no idea how to rate myself on this one. In general, I feel like my body and I did not do well in 2012. I’d like to spend less time thinking about my body in 2013, which isn’t to say I’m going to go all “People of Wal-mart”, I plan to get my money’s worth out of my gym membership, but I’m hoping to spend a lot less time thinking and talking about my body in 2013.

Decorate your own Christmas tree. Like a real one, where you go and pick out at least 75% of the decorations and put a lopsided star on top. May I suggest candy canes as decoration?

I feel like this is part of the first one about having a home, and while I did help Chris decorate his Christmas tree this year, we just used all the same decorations as he’s used the last few years. But I don’t really mind. I find shopping for things like Christmas decorations to be somewhat overwhelming and Chris’s tree looked really nice. So this is a big fat failure but I’m kind of OK with that.

Get moving on this book we’re supposed to be writing. I look to you to be the leader on this project. Lead by writing, as I’m greatly influenced by peer pressure.

Well, while you’re off writing a book that has nothing to do with the book we were supposed to write together, I’ve been setting up a publishing company andpublishing other people’s books. And some of my writing is making its way into some books – first in the book Sucker for Love, and I’ve also been asked to contribute to another writer’s anthology but I have no idea when that’s going to be published.  So we are both producing books in one form or another, now we just need to do it together.  So, in other words, keep this on the list.

Keep your standards high when it comes to your romantic partnership. I know this whole “grown-up relationship” thing is kind of new to you, but I really think you’re getting the hang of it. I would like to shake you really hard to ensure that you learn from all of my mistakes, but I think this long, drawn-out, whiny way that I communicate about my failed relationship seems pretty effective. 

Nailed it. I’ve gotten so good at this grown up relationship thing, it’s not even funny. Mostly because Chris makes it so easy. But it still counts.

On a somewhat related note; don’t be afraid that you’re going to screw up this whole love story that you and Chris have going on. You’re not. If it gets screwed up, both of you will be able to take a bow. So just . . . be present in your relationship. Recognize where you are emotionally. And please, don’t be afraid to plan ahead for the life you want to have together.

Nailed this one too. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent so much of the last year obsessing about my physical issues that I didn’t have time to obsess about my relationship, but sometimes I go whole weeks without worrying that we’re going to break up. That’s called progress, baby.

Keep storytelling. It’s a gift you have and it should be shared. Most importantly, make sure to post it on youtube. If I can’t be there, then I need to be able to access it later.

I haven’t had the bug for getting up on stage lately, not sure why, but as a result I have only the one story to show from 2012. However, I’m still well ensconced in the storytelling world. And I’ll always tell stories – just not always on a stage. Or in front of a camera.

Consider getting a kitten. Like, one you’ve picked out yourself and named after some random fictional character or a TV star from an 80s sitcom.

As I said at the 6 month check in. I would LOVE to get a kitten. But now is not the time. You know the whole “many homes” thing from the first item? Well a kitten would totally slow my roll.

Self-host your blog. Get legit, girl.

Meh. I love this blog, and I wish I had more time to write on it, but one thing I’ve learned over the last year, is that for now at least, it’s always going to be at the low-end of my priority list because it exists purely for my own indulgence. If I were part of a niche, (like mommy blogging), or even if I was still a young and crazy single girl writing about my wild dating exploits, I might be able to leverage the blog to some personal or financial advantage. But as is…its just a creative writing outlet, which I TOTALLY NEED TO DO MORE OF. But paying for hosting isn’t going to make me do that. Becoming independently wealthy and having much more free time will though, so put that on the list for 2013.

Tap into your insight when it comes to your own emotions. Listen to yourself. Listen for that little tingly noise that sounds when your comfort level has been surpassed. Once you hear it, do something about it. Talk to someone, write it out, sing in the car in your loudest voice. Just don’t stuff it down until it erupts in a flood of tears and incoherence. You’ve got a bunch of people who’ve got your back but we’re only useful when you communicate, even if it’s initially in a series of bumps and false starts.

I’m getting better at this. Chris and I totally had a serious conversation that didn’t involve any crying, and then one where I only cried for a few minutes before I was able to speak. I’ll keep working on it though.

 Leave the country at least once in the year 2012. You’re the type of person who may very well get old and become a homebody who doesn’t drive and eats ¼ cup of raisins for breakfast every morning. You need to travel while you’re still spry and can figure out how to use a bidet and tolerate people with weird accents.

This didn’t happen, due to health and financial reasons. But I did get right up against the border with Canada and looked over it and pointed at Canadian people, so I get half a point for that.

Make a three-year plan for your career. Map out something long-term and realistic, but challenging. It could be writing a novel. Officially becoming a freelancer. Searching the want ads until you find something that you’ll really love. I can’t pretend to guess what would be the absolutely perfect job for you, but I want you to focus on figuring it out. You are so talented and I would like you to be emotionally and financially satisfied by the work you do.

Done, and thy name is Possibilities Publishing Company.

Attend BlogHer’12 with me. I promise you, you will be inspired.

Not my fault. But I still like the idea…but maybe instead of traveling somewhere together and having to pay for a hotel AND conference registration fees we could just have a girls weekend away somewhere fun?

Challenge yourself physically at least once this year. Like, run a 5K. Swim across a small lake by yourself. Go camping without the benefit of an electrical hookup. Something outside of your comfort zone that requires the use of your body.

I totally did this!! I road a bike (for the first time in like 15 years) 18 miles down a mountain. I may have ridden the breaks for the first 5 miles, but after that I totally rode at a normal speed. For me, a normal speed for me, which is to say slowly. But I went over a few little jumps and totally felt like a badass several times. Not the times when then 9-year-old passed me, but plenty of other times.

Acknowledge the fact that you are not some sort of grouchy curmudgeon who believes the worst in people. Yes, you had Drew pegged long before I did. Yes, you are better than me at ejecting people from your life who are toxic. But at the end of the day, you are this loving, positive force to the people around you. Own it. Own it enough to direct it toward yourself.

First of all, 90% of people suck 90% of the time. That’s just science. So me being a grouchy curmudgeon is a normal response to life.  Also, I feel that my cynicism is a necessary balance to your endless amounts of faith in humanity (notice I didn’t call it naiveté? You’re welcome.)  You need my darkness, girl.

And lastly, I’m going to save the best for last,and quote your very words back to you. They’re brilliant. Never waste a second of your time or energy on anyone who doesn’t immediately find you hilarious, brilliant, talented, loving and perfect just the way you are.

This is just something that everyone should always do, so we should keep it on our lists forever.

 

Year in Review January 13, 2011

Apparently its a blogger rule that you HAVE to write a New Year post in January.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

I’m not usually real big on following other people’s rules…

BUT

I totally love new beginnings, fresh starts, sentimentality, opportunities for introspection, self-analysis, and looking for meaning in every little thing.

Love. It.

Oh – and I REALLY like making lists. And goals. Love setting goals. Although, oddly, I don’t get much satisfaction out of achieving my goals…which is maybe why I usually don’t…but I love setting them. Hmmm, maybe that’s why I really enjoyed my master’s program, but didn’t really enjoy working in that field…hmm…well, we’ll just go ahead and add that to the introspection list.

Anyway, given all of these things about me, it should come as little surprise that I enjoy the month of January, ie. THE START OF THE NEW YEAR, when it’s not only acceptable to be this way, but ENCOURAGED.  

This is my season people.

And so I bring you: My Reflections and Lessons from 2010

&

 My Predictions and Goals for 2011.

(You might want to refill your coffee cup and get comfortable. This could take a while. Don’t say you weren’t warned).

Reflections:

1. 2010 will be known as a “transitional year”.

It was the first year since 2002 where I worked in a full-time office job. It confirmed that sitting at a desk doing someone else’s work on someone else’s schedule, following someone else’s rules and dealing with everyone else’s personality quirks and issues (also known as “office culture”), is simply not a good fit for me.

BUT

This job also provided:

  •  structure and balance in a time when I couldn’t create it for myself,
  • a “loaner identity” at a time when I’d lost mine,
  • and financial stability at a time when I was pretty much incapable of earning a living in any other way.

And as a result, I was finally able to find myself. It was a lovely reunion really. 

Post reunion with my (real) self, we quickly figured out what we wanted to be when we grew up: A creative writing professor (and hopefully also published novelist). And we decided the time to grow up was now. I started researching MFA programs (Masters in Fine Arts) in February 2010 and as of January 15, 2011 will have finished submitting all of my applications.  
 
2. Despite it being a transition year, in which I spent more hours than I care to count sitting at a brown desk staring at a white wall, there were still lots of unexpected moments which served to keep me entertained and add more depth and color to my life. Some were good, some were sad, some were on purpose and some were by accident. All are worth noting.  
 

Some highlights (in no particular order, so don’t go reading into where you show up in the list): 

 
I unexpectedly found a wonderful friend in one of my co-workers. Susan makes this job, and sometimes my life, bearable.
 
 
 
In March, my very dear friends Miller and Rasmus announced they and their new, beautiful baby boy Hank, were moving to Denmark. And by August they were gone. With the exception of one year right after we graduated from college, Miller and I had never lived more than a few miles from each since our first day at William Smith College in 1994. It was, without question, the absolute best move they could make for themselves and their family. But it was the biggest social transition I’ve had to face since graduating from college. It’s still sometimes hard to believe I can’t just drop in on them for super glue or a decent meal. But thank god for VoIP phones, Facebook, digital cameras and video cameras because they all let me stay connected to their daily lives, so they don’t feel so far way. And I now have my first passport, my first savings account, and my first international trip planned for next summer. And a place to flee should I accidentally become an enemy combatant of the state.
 
 
 
My parents came down to visit, for the first time in about 6 years.  We had a great time, and they were even lucky enough to get to attend a storytelling event.
 
 
My wonderful friend Pam, the person who got me this job, and was my go-to girl for processing drama and life decisions over dinners and endless cups of coffee, fell in love and moved to West Virginia.  Pam and I started out as roommates and we had a deal that our house was a judgement free zone – we could say anything, confess to any emotion, act or intention and not be judged. Most of our conversations had to do with men and sex. Pam knows many things, and has taught me much over the years. This transition was a little easier to handle because for the first few months she came back frequently. The hardest part was getting used to the idea that we couldn’t have any more emergency coffee dates to dissect some drama in my life. Although, for the last several months there has been very little drama that has needed dissecting, so that’s worked out well 🙂 I try to bring the open acceptance of each other’s choices that Pam and I have to my other relationships at all times. To varying degrees of success. But its good to have goals.
 
 
 
I joined a boxing boot camp. It doesn’t sound like much, but a) it required I face all of my old gym class anxieties and some of my social phobias, and b) it was the hardest workout I’ve ever experienced. c) it involves running outside. I hate running, and I especially hate running outside. But I did it anyway. I was hooked almost immediately, and started to experience my body in a whole new way.
 
 
I also did a ropes course, which meant facing some serious fears, examining some belief systems, and also experiencing my body in a whole new way. It was awesome.
 
 
 By far the strangest moment of the year was when I had my picture taken with George W. Bush. He was the keynote speaker at our annual conference, and well… I don’t know. He was funny his speech. In a good way, not in a “that’s not how you use that word” kind of way. OK he was funny in that way too. But I figure, a wold leader is a world leader. Whateves. Don’t judge me. I used this picture in my Happy New Year’s Card this year with the caption: May your new year be filled with unexpected moments. I think a good caption makes it hurt less. Oh, and I feel the need to say I was incredibly hung-over and fighting a bad cold when I took this picture. Which is why I look so pasty and…blech.
  
 
And speaking of our annual conference (by “our” I mean the place where I work), it was in Dallas, TX and I had to be there for almost a week, and I was DREADING it hard-core. All of my past experiences with annual meetings and events in general had been bad. Very, very, BAD. Like bat shit crazy co-workers and lots of tears and no sleep and sore feet and changes in employment status, kind of bad. But this one was good. Fun almost. My boss stayed a good boss, instead of going crazy like my previous bosses. My co-workers were sane and reasonable and easy to work with. We even had some fun. Including getting utterly and completely wasted in a wine bar. Everyone, including our boss. It was one of the funnest and funniest nights I’ve had in a really long time.
 
 
 
And woven through all of these special or unique moments were lots of normal moments. My annual summer trip to Charlotte, NC to visit my friend sister since junior high school, Twig, and her family; Twig and her family’s annual fall trip to DC; lots of storytelling shows; lots of laughing and lots of hugging. Maybe a little drinking. And another year of Mer’s Summer O’Fun…. but I can’t seem to find pictures of any of those events. So here’s me hugging some people…
 
 
 
                                                                                                       

Lessons Learned in 2010

All of the lessons I learned last year stem from one kind of lightbulb moment that I had over the summer. See, I’m a little bit of a control freak. I used to believe I could control everything in my life by just applying the right pressure, finding the right words, wanting it badly enough.
 
This is the place where crazy gets made. Seriously.
 
I lived in that place a lot last year, and as a result, a lot of serious crazy got produced. And then one day I woke up and realized I didn’t want to do that, be that, live like that any more. I finally recognized that the sense of control was mostly an illusion, and the things I did have control over (like my own behavior) I was distorting and crushing because I was holding on so tight.
 
I realized a few key things.
       1. Not everything needs to be resolved immediately. Not every relationship has to be defined on the first date, every disagreement is not the end of a friendship, not every reunion is a new beginning. Sometimes what looks like an ending is actually a beginning, or vice versa. By trying to control what each moment is, and by trying to define and identify every beginning, middle, and end of every interaction and episode in my life, I run a high risk of getting it wrong.
        2. Life is a novel with many chapters, most of which are still writing themselves. I think I’ve finally reached an age where I can take the long view of my life and see the patterns and the waves. I can look at friends who I’ve known for years and see that the lows and the highs that seemed so all consuming at the time, fade into a wavy pattern when you get enough distance. I can see that while there are craters of unimaginable depth and peaks of blinding intensity, and empty places and over-crowded places, all merge into a beautiful tapestry of a rich and long relationship. I have learned to trust that when the connection is real, you can ride out all the highs and the lows and the outcome is beautiful and solid. I think mostly of friendships as I write this, but know that it applies also to romantic and familial relationships too. I find an immense amount of comfort in this perspective.
       3. Grey can be a nice color. Part of “taking the long view”, and being able to relinquish control over uncontrollable things is becoming comfortable with uncertainty. Is this a friendship that survives this rough patch or is this the end of this chapter? Is this a date that becomes the start of a new chapter or just a footnote? I remind myself that the gray area, the space of being uncertain about the future is a place I can be comfortable within. And when the anxiety starts to take hold I repeat to myself “Grey can be a nice color,” over and over until the anxiety passes and my fists unclench.
      4. I am stronger than I think. But not yet as strong as I can be.
      5. I have built a great life filled with a wonderfully diverse and beautiful collection of people. I’m not sure how I did it, but I’m grateful that I have. They make me brave.  
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
 

And now…. 2011!!!

 
I like themes. I feel they provide focus. So my theme for 2011 is going to be…drum roll please…
 
.
 

No Risk. No Reward

 
I know I didn’t invent that phrase, but I like it so I’m stealing it and claiming it as my own. Learn to love it. 
 
I like to believe that in 2012 I will look back at 2011 and dub it “A Year of Growth”.
 
Hopefully, (fingers crossed, knock on wood, if it please God, Allah, the baby Jesus, the Universe and anyone else who gets a vote), I will be enrolling in an MFA program in the fall. (Ideally UNC Wilmington, but any program will be better than no program). So that will fit really well into my theme.
 

My Resolutions:

1. Do at least one thing that scares the crap out of me (aside from starting grad school).
2. Seek out more performance opportunities. Try to move outside my storytelling and performance comfort zone a little bit.
3. Read more.
4. Write more. Especially for money. Often the freelance stuff isn’t exciting or very creative, but it still feels awesome to get paid for words I’ve written. I never want to lose that feeling .
5. Dance more.
6. Laugh more.
7. Trust more.
8. Believe more. In myself. In my friends and family. And in the Universe to know what it’s doing.
9. Make fewer excuses.
10. Judge less (except reality TV people. And celebrities. I’m still gonna judge the fuck out them.)
11. Pace myself with what I commit to, so I don’t get overwhelmed and drop the ball on a bunch of things (again).
 
If you’ve read this far, you deserve some chocolate. Or a drink.  
 
I hope you all have exactly the year that you need, even if it’s not what you expect 🙂  
 
 

 
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