Tag Archives: Studio30 Plus

Breaking Through

“I was tied, but now unbound. My head is off the ground.”

I don’t have a lot of people that I’m close to, much more by choice than by chance. This wasn’t always the case, but after getting burned and disappointed one too many times, I built up walls and distractions to steel myself against ever feeling that way again.

“For a long time I was so weary. Tired of the sound, I’ve heard before. The gnawing of the night time at the door.”

But the thing about emotional walls is that they also keep you from feeling just about anything except numb. I’m okay with this most of the time, or at least I think I am until something happens and I’m reminded that while I can be okay with this, that doesn’t mean I have to be.

“Haunted by the things I’ve made. Stuck between the burning light and the dust shade.”

A good friend sent me a CD of some of her favorite music. I popped it in my truck on the way home and brick by brick, with each of the 12 simple tracks on the disc, the whole damn wall came crashing down.

“I said now I used to think the past was dead and gone. But I was wrong, so wrong, whatever makes you blind must make you strong.”

I pulled into my driveway and sat parked with the engine off and the music on. As I watched the squirrels hop from tree to tree, I did something I rarely ever do. I quit fighting it.

And cried.

“In my time I’ve melted into many forms. From the day that I was born, I know that there’s no place to hide.”

I’m not quite sure what “it” was that I was fighting. Not sadness over anything in particular, but rather a culmination of stress, of love, of loss…of life. Without distracting myself in an effort to feel, well, anything, I started to feel everything.

“Stuck between the burning shade and the fading light.”

There are times I worry so much about liking someone or something too much and having it taken away that I default to feeling too little or nothing at all.

I forget that most of the people that like me did so before I started trying to make sure it stayed that way, before I worried about what I said or did.

“Well you walk these lonely streets that people send. There are some wounds that just can’t mend.”

I forget that yes, I can be okay alone within the safety of my walls, but that doesn’t mean I have to be.  And while I know these revelations are usually fleeting,  it’s nice to have a reminder that I can feel emotion without feeling like I’m weak or broken. 

“I am free from all the things that take my friends. But I will stand hear till the end.”

That by opening up to people and showing vulnerability—to even just one person—I can gain so much more in the end. If I choose to, I can feel, well, everything.

“I was broken, for a long time, but It’s over now.”

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This rare display of emotion coincided nicely with the Studio30 Plus prompt this week:

It wasn’t what I expected.

Riding Out the Wave

The other morning I woke up to birds chirping and sunlight streaming through my blinds. Instead of contentment, I immediately felt that both were seemingly mocking me.

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I wanted it to be raining, to be dark, to have the universe send me a sign that it was okay to feel anything but sunny or happy and light.

Tempted to simply pull up the covers and block it all out—the sun, the sounds, the world—I knew that I wouldn’t, partly because I have a hard time being lazy and wallowing but also because I honestly didn’t have the luxury or the choice to do anything other than pull myself up and prepare for the day.

It went along as normal, and after the responsible things were all done I knew I could go one of two ways—self-destruction (common default) or self-care.

So I thought, “I should write. I should try and write something funny.”

I wanted to (attempt to) be funny, as writing those posts gets me out of my head and it stops me from feeling so shitty. Plus, people like to laugh or talk about themselves more than being faced with the reality of someone else’s struggles—me included.

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But sometimes the weight presses down and the funny is squashed under shit.  There’s not some “big event” that brings it on, which makes me feel even worse, like I don’t deserve to feel so numb and disconnected.

It simply sneaks up and bites me in the ass and I find myself longing for any kind of escape. It drives me to literally run myself into the ground as I try and run away from it all (an entirely separate post I’ll probably never publish.)

Anyway, I was still at my computer—trying for a “healthy” escape—and thought that maybe I should write some artsy post in a way to pretend that I’m really just being creative and not on the low end of the wave.

Well, I tried, and I failed miserably at that, too.

It was at that point that I decided that was a shit idea anyway. The reason I would be doing that wasn’t to be artsy, but rather to hide behind a mask in an effort to make myself look a little bit better than how I really was in that moment—seeing the sun but yet stuck in the dark.

So I ended up with this post, one I probably shouldn’t publish. It’s not funny, it doesn’t really have a theme—it’s just me oversharing a bunch of things with cute pictures from Hyperbole & a Half because they fit and I read people like pictures in posts.

But also because I know that when I get this way I narrow my world down to the bare essentials in an effort to make myself feel safe.

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That’s not good.

I reminded myself that this blog is important to me because it’s the one thing that’s allowed me to finally let people in instead of mistrusting them and blocking them out. So instead of worrying about what people think, I figured an emotional purge was a better than the alternative, so here you go.

And don’t worry.

This too shall pass, as it usually does. Sometimes in the same day I hear the birds and smile while 10 minutes later  I want to get out a pellet gun and mount the feathered bastard on the wall—metaphorically speaking of course.

I’m envious of those who don’t have to deal with this shit and can just be “okay” without so much effort, but that’s (my) life. And it’s one thing to be envious, but it’s another to be ashamed.

You should never be ashamed.

Unless you’re an adult who uses the word “adorbs” in conversation (topic of a future post.) 

Then all bets are off.

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Not Much Has Changed

I forced my mom to look through her old cedar chest the other day for something for a future post, and along with aggressive letters to the Tooth Fairy and Santa, she came upon my baby book.

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I’ll decode it for you below, but I wanted to show it as evidence.

While I didn’t stick around for the whole trip down memory lane, a couple pictures fell out when she opened to this page and it pretty much cemented the fact that not much has changed since I was just a wee little Abby with mini-issues.

Eat, Play, Love

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While I doubt that whatever I’m shoving in mouth was organic or vegetarian as it is today, I developed a love for food at an early age. Here I’m so totally engrossed in it that I don’t even ham it up for the camera, which is a rarity. 

I can also guarantee that if you got too close, I would stab you with my fork.

You’re A Star, Baby

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Well, that humility didn’t last long.

With no food in the picture, I started channeling my inner Marilyn Monroe shortly after. This is surely photographic evidence that I was destined for a life on stage. But as we know, Broadway was not meant to be.

The Anti-Mommy

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Even at a young age, it was evident that I was not mommy material. Yes, I’m attempting to feed that homely doll I named Gert after my grandma’s best friend, but I clearly resent the tedious nature of her neediness.

But the comments under “Response to Necessary Punishment” in my baby book pretty much seals the deal:

“Hates to be told no. Gets frustrated. Tell her ‘no’ or ‘uh-uh’ and she smiles and squeals to try and warm up to you. Knows not to touch things when told though. Slap her hand and she refuses to let you know it bothers her. Never cries yet (11 months) and teases you. Goes ‘awww’ and gives hugs and kisses when she’s going to do something naughty. Sneaky.”

In other words, some things never change.

This post was in response to me accidentally coming across that page, but it also fit nicely into the Studio 30 Plus prompt this week:

Changes

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I’m a Winner!

I just about crapped kittens when I found out that I won not one, but TWO Studio30 Plus Boomerang Awards, as voted on by Studio30 Plus members:

2011 Best Female Blogger (a tie)

and

2011 Blog of the Year

Although they promised me a cool button/badge to put on my site next week, I found out there was no formal awards ceremony or anything. This is kind of disappointing, as I was planning on wearing these

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My birthday tiara…

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…and an attempt at makeup that would  make a drag queen either proud or absolutely disgusted. You know how I crap glamour.

But since there’s no ceremony, I’ll just have to go ahead and wear the get-up to the grocery store one night this week like I had planned. The snow presents a bit of a challenge with the shoes, but now that I’m a WINNER, perhaps I can just get someone to carry me so my feet don’t actually have to touch the ground.

I’ll let you know how that works out.

Anyway, I suppose I should give some sort of speech, so here’s where you visualize me walking up to the podium in those kick-ass shoes, tripping and hitting the floor—most likely exposing my ass to the audience—and bravely adjusting my tiara before saying:

First of all, I would like to thank the whole crew at Studio30 Plus, as finding that community has most certainly been a highlight in my year.

The amount of talented people that interact on that site is ridiculous, and I’m constantly humbled by the things they can do with words and that they let me into such a cool club (never mind that they let everyone it. Go with it.)

Second, I would like to thank anyone who has ever read anything I’ve written, unless it was one of those stupid posts in which I just complain. I’m sorry about that, but it will probably happen again.

My blog is tiny in comparison to the millions of other bloggers out there. It’s not self-hosted, it takes me hours to figure out how to add a crappy picture (see above) and I pretty much just ramble about whatever’s on my mind.

Yet a handful of you guys still read, and despite what I may claim, it is nice to be noticed and acknowledged in some way. Blogging is a hobby, and unless your hobby involves poking rabid animals with sticks, hobbies are supposed to be fun and not stressful. 

So until someone actually pays me to write this crap—I’m a WINNER now!—I’ll try not to spend too much time stressing that I have nothing to write about. No promises, but I like you guys and want to have fun. That would be impossible if I worried about following 10,ooo people or getting 10,000 people to follow me.

That’s never been my goal.

In fact, my “goal” list includes items like “make a new to-do list” and “find the piece of broccoli I dropped down the couch,” not “become the next Bloggess.” (Although honestly, that would be cool. The Bloggess thing and finding that piece of rogue broccoli.)

So I am very humbled and grateful for the awards and would just like to thank everyone for everything everywhere. That includes my couch for being a constant source of support, and Comcast for providing such shitty service that I often have angst I can channel into a post.

And don’t worry!

Just because I’m a WINNER doesn’t mean I don’t still put my pajama pants on one leg at a time like you do, only to realize that I’ve been wearing them backwards a couple hours later. That won’t change either. I’m prepared to stay humble and self-deprecating. 

But most of all, I promise to never forget the little people—the drunk nuns, the Verizon phone operators, and of course, Uncle June.

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Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go stress that I don’t have anything else to blog about, put on my tiara and try to get something free at the bookstore. “But I’m a WINNER!”

I’ll let you know how that works out.

You Can Be a Winner, Too!

Because I’m a WINNER, I want to make at least two of you feel like winners too, so I’m giving away two (2) signed copies of my book. If you already have it/don’t want it, I’ll send you a $10 Amazon gift card instead.

All you have to do is tell me a) the name of your pet and why you chose that name or b) what you would name your next pet. I’ll randomly select two people from the comments on Wednesday and email the winners.

Phoning It In

Don’t take it personally, but if you call my phone and expect to talk to me at that exact moment, you’ll probably get my voicemail.

This is (probably) not because I hate you.

This is because I hate talking on the phone.

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I don’t really regard this as anti-social behavior—I have plenty of those that I can easily identify—because I will text, email and talk face-to-face with no issue, at least for a short amount of time.

And I also understand the importance of talking on the phone in certain circumstances and do so when the situation requires it, but for the most part, I’ll do pretty much anything to avoid using it for more than casual check-ins.

I know this can be annoying, but I have my reasons.  

RANDOM RINGING

I don’t like not knowing when the call is coming in. When forced to engage in spontaneous conversation without warning, I don’t have time to think up an appropriate reply. This means I could get caught saying any number of ridiculous things simply because I couldn’t prepare what would most likely be an equally ridiculous excuse quick enough.

I do better if I am initiating the phone call myself, as I can prepare  for the communication and  sometimes even "rehearse" the call by going over possible responses in my head. But random ringing? No bueno. 

Thank goodness for caller ID.

WRAP IT UP

Much like the way I fail to gracefully exit a physical situation, I also fail to gracefully exit a phone conversation. Well, I take that back. I have no problem exiting a phone conversation. It’s getting others to realize that I want to exit the conversation about five minutes ago that’s the problem.

You see,  “long story short” is usually anything but. When my exaggerated sighs and verbal hints to wrap things up and get to the point are ignored in favor of minute story details, I am forced to start banging pots and pans or slamming doors to give the illusion of being extrasuperbusy.

But if all else fails, I can always use the “my phone cut out” excuse. Given the fact that my phone is cheap and does cut out often, this probably isn’t a lie.

NO YOU GO…NO YOU!

Despite “great” reception, people often end up talking over each other on the phone. Conversations usually end up sounding like they’re on some sort of tape delay and consist of both people talking at the same time, and then pausing, and then talking again at the same time, and then pausing…

It’s completely disjointed and frustrating, and by that point I will have simply forgotten why I called you in the first place. Then I will remember that you probably called me.

I rarely dial out.

DISTRACTED DIALING

Here’s the deal. People are always doing other things while they’re talking on the phone. Unless they’re chained to a landline, you can bet they’re watching TV, surfing the Interwebs, driving or—lord help me—on the crapper while attempting to carry on a conversation.

If you’re going to call me, please focus on that and not if anyone “liked” your witty Facebook status. And if I’m in a bathroom and hear you on your phone telling someone that you’re at your desk or the mall, I will continuously flush the toilet for no reason other than to blow your cover.

If you have a problem with this, just have your people call my people—and leave a message at the tone.

This post was in response to the Studio30 Plus prompt:

Bad Habits

(it was so hard to pick just one)

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How are you?

I’m pretty sure that I could win the lottery, discover the cure for human stupidity, star in a Broadway show and get married—all equally unlikely—and when asked this question, I would reply with, “I’m okay. How are you?”

It’s a reflexive action, kind of like the way I want to slip a right jab to the noggin of people who say “could care less” instead of “couldn’t care less.”

The truth is that yes, sometimes I am fine. Then again, sometimes I’m not. And when you ask me how I am, I have a hard time believing you really want to know. But since this is my blog and I am queen of the land, I will tell you.

I am secure enough to admit I am sometimes insecure.

This isn’t something I normally broadcast to the fives of tens of people who flock to this blog or that I run into on a daily basis, but whenever someone says, “You know who you are,” I always wonder if it’s me and I don’t realize it.

Insecurity is annoying.

But I don’t take compliments well and often have a hard time accepting that people might genuinely be interested in what I have to say or do and not just because they expect something in return. I realize this suspicion is often unwarranted, but past experience has shown me that I shouldn’t rule it out.

So I’m guarded, and many of the decisions I make are often second-guessed. In fact, I will see that second-guessing and raise you a third and fourth guessing, and then a couple days of obsessing over something seemingly minute.

Taking interest in others without expectation? No problem.

Accepting others can take an interest in me without expectation? Problem.

But I have a theory.

The more blogs I read or conversations I have with people, the more I see something in the people I am attracted to that keeps me coming back—a  rawness, perhaps?

My theory is that they’ve gone through “something,” whatever that is, and have a self-awareness that produces something genuine, something that pushes things past a superficial level—online or off.

I don’t share 99 percent of the things I think or write (you’re welcome) and I have to imagine that’s the case with others (so thank you.) But when we make ourselves vulnerable and share it? It produces some good shit, and most often, a genuine connection.

Because I can see that in them, I’m slowly allowing myself to believe that the people around me can see that in me, that they like me for me and not because they feel obligated or expect something in return.

Considering you interact with me under your own power—unless one of the henchmen I sent to your house to sit on you and force you to talk to me or read my posts is actually doing his job (good help is SO hard to find)—I’ll try and drop that insecurity.

After all, no matter what you say or do, someone will find a fault or a reason to be offended. And while I try and keep things light, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t express myself and hide behind that veil of doubt that creeps in from time to time.

So how am I?

I’m secure enough to say that I am sometimes insecure—especially when I post things like this—and I’m a constant work in progress.

I’m okay with that.

Thanks for asking.

This post is in response to this week’s Studio30 Plus prompt:

The Big Question

P.S.  I updated the “Book” tab on the blog to include a clip of me on a morning talk show in case you want to check that out. Or, you know, you want to buy the book.

Comfort and Joy

A good story has a beginning, an interesting middle and hopefully some sort of satisfying ending. When you read that last page, you’re sad that the story is over, but happy with being able to experience the plot twists, to know the characters and to have some sort of finality at the end.

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When you think about it, life is the same way.

Everyone is the author of their own life story, and whether we realize it or not, we have no control as to how or when it will end. Oh, we write outlines and make plans, rehearsing the dialogue and shaping the plot as we go, but in the end, it’s not up to us to place a period where that question mark is at the end.

While this used to freak me out, that reality has since become a driving force behind  a lot of my actions as of late.

Maybe it’s that I’m tired of a bunch of crappy chapters of my life I would rather crumple up and throw in the trash, maybe it’s maturity, maybe it’s something else that eludes me as I write this post, but the fact that I have control of that “interesting middle” to some extent has become much more liberating than suffocating.

These past couple of months I’ve taken control of a few different things—some I’ve shared here and some I never will—writing new chapters physically and metaphorically and closing the book on some others.

Changes in dialogue, strengthening of character development, the elimination of certain relationships and the invaluable  inclusion of others —I have some sense of control over these things.

But no matter what I do, I will never be able to write out the plot twists that often get thrown in the way, the most recent of which is what prompted this (slightly too introspective for a holiday week when everyone’s merry and bright) post.

On Dec. 23., “crazy neighbor lady” that I’ve blogged about before passed away unexpectedly.

As much as I joked about her, she was also a very close friend of the family, and her death came as quite a shock. 

None of you knew her and I don’t share this information to be depressing—I promise lighter fare next time. But I share this information because we’ve all dealt with death. Being around the old people as much as I am, it never comes as much of a shock when a senior friend passes on, something that has been happening with alarming regularity this month.

But when it hits close to home—literally next door—it’s a slightly different situation for me.

That night in my pajamas and snow boots I traipsed over to her house to meet my mom so we could wrangle up her dogs and secure the house. They greeted us with a mix of excitement and confusion, Christmas music still playing in the background and gifts waiting to be given on the counter.

It was eerie.

It was surreal.

It still hasn’t quite sunk in, and because I know myself entirely too well, I know it won’t hit me until some random day in the summer when I realize she’ll no longer be sneaking into my garden to steal the good tomatoes.

Because make no mistake—she was a pain in the ass.

She was contradictorily selfish as hell and giving. She would smoke like a chimney and complain about her cough. Yell at her dogs to go “poo poo” in the middle of the night and forget to let them in, but buy them designer sweaters for the snow. If she didn’t have a cocktail in one hand, it was only because she was too busy flipping you off with it.

But that was the character she chose to be, and no one could edit that down, nor should anyone try.

I think the hardest part of this whole thing—of any loss of life—is that there was no time to write those last lines, to craft the perfect dialogue that will leave you satisfied when that final period is placed at the end of a chapter. It just kind of happens and the book slams shut, leaving those behind wondering what the hell just happened and why.

Maybe it’s best that way.

Maybe it forces all of us to realize that the conversations we haven’t had are the ones that need to be said, that certain relationships need to be erased with others added back in, that strength of character can be written in at any time, if we dare to mix up the plot.

I take comfort in knowing that I am the character I choose to be—a constant work in progress—and that no one can edit that down, nor should anyone try.

I hope that Joy—that was her name—left feeling the same way. 

I’ve had this post written since Saturday, but it fell in line nicely with this week’s Studio30 Plus prompt:

Transparency

We are who we show ourselves to be.

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