Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The end of innocence....HA! Who am I kidding?


So I just had a birthday.
I'm not afraid to admit how old I am -- I just turned 36. It's amazing how many people are hung up about their age, and to that I say BRING IT. Sure beats the alternative, right? So many people try to force their hang-ups about age on me ("turning 29 again, huh?"), and I just don't understand why people are so reticent about aging.
It even sounds bad! Aging doesn't mean that I'm automatically going to wear rolled-down support hose and start getting my hair permed at the beauty shop. (Although I totally could, and I would ROCK it.)
I see age as a badge of honor.
I love the laugh lines around my face - it means I've had 36 years full of merriment and general nonsensery. I love the crinkle lines around my eyes - it means that I've been able to turn my face to the sun and squint in the brightness. I don't even mind the lines in my hands. I remember as a child holding my grandmother's hand, and marveling at how 'bumpy' they were, with all the veins and whatnot. But I knew that her hands were full of wisdom, they were full of hardships, they were full of experience. I remember wondering about all of the things her hands had done over the years, all the apple turnovers she'd made, (OMG - that woman's apple turnovers were the most AH-MAZING thing I have ever tasted! But, I digress.) all the lace she had tatted, all the quilts she'd put together from scraps of old clothes. The point IS.....
What's the point, again?
ha:)The point IS - growing older is a blessing, not a curse. Every year I'm alive is, well, another year I'm alive. Another year I can be amazing.
I still look forward to my birthdays, even though they are a little more disappointing now than the ones I remember from my childhood. There are no silly cone-shaped hats, no parties with streamers, and no unicorn rides.
OK, so maybe I've never actually had a unicorn ride - but wouldn't that be FREAKIN' AWESOME??? (Note to self: get ON that. Stat.)
I do enjoy planning outrageous birthday parties for my little boy, who will turn 4 this year. (Here is my latest Pinterest board for his party this year....yep.) I go way overboard, and I totally get why some people think I'm just a plain 'ole weirdo for going all out the way I do.
But birthdays are supposed to be awesome! You remember that feeling, don't you? And if he goes the way of most people, pretty soon he'll be thinking birthdays are a drag, too. And his mother is embarassing. (I can only dream!!)
But until then, I will celebrate, just like Madonna.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Quiet mouth, LOUD mind

When people try to rain on your parade...

I am a serial tongue-biter.
I don't think this is a bad thing, necessarily, because it has prevented me from getting fired/divorced/deported on many, many occasions. Many, MANY occasions. There's something to be said for practicing that much restraint, and sometimes I'll even reach over and give myself a little pat on the back. And if I pat myself a little too hard because of the anger that has built up in my little 5'2" frame, then so be it.
Oh, but then there are the TIMES. You know the ones. The times when it is physically painful for you not to utter those words. And it doesn't make you proud of yourself at all when you choose not to say them.
I am a peace keeper.
Goes right along with being a serial tongue-biter.
I know I am not quiet and when I am I am biting my tongue and my mind is racing ;)Sometimes, to keep the peace, you have to bite your tongue, hold it in, clamp off the 'ole mouth geyser. Ugh, but that is so hard! And sometimes, it's wholly unnecessary. I always wonder what people would think if I actually said all of the things that run through my head. Some of it is not pretty....and some of it is just plain ridiculous. (My mind wanders a lot) I tend to try to avoid arguments whenever possible, because once those hurtful words are out, there's no reeling them back in. People can forgive, but they will never forget. Those words are immortalized and branded into their heads, and no amount of Haagen Dazs ice cream can repair it.
My dysfunctional mind relies on two techniques:
1) Humor, and 2) Silence. I use humor to deflect all kinds of behaviors and situations, and that started at a pretty young age. I was a goofy lookin' kid, so humor got me out of more than one altercation with a potential bully. (Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't) Also, I grew up in a house plagued by alcoholism, so sometimes humor helped to distract the house from the imploding activity in the front room.
Silence...now this came later, when I figured out that sometimes no matter what you said, certain people weren't going to listen anyway. My head is safe - no one can get me in there. Of course, looking back, I realize that this is a pretty effed-up way to be. I think in a healthy world, we can all speak our minds * in a tactful way* and still be heard, still be listened to, still be taken seriously.
Unfortunately, I don't think we're in a healthy world. Not yet, anyway.
So I retreat. And retreat. And retreat.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Social anxiety, you devilish hosebeast.

Photo: Wow.....Stay classy, Nashville :)

So I guess I should start out by saying that I went on a trip last week. An author friend and I attended a book convention in an exotic location called Nashville, TN, to network and sell books and generally see what's UP in the writing world.
<-- Yep, that really happened.
It was our very first book convention, and we had no clue what to expect. We were one of the lucky ones, and were able to snag a table to set up our wares on. The place was absolutely packed - fangirls (and some fanboys) everywhere. We actually had to *GASP* speak to people.
It wasn't that bad, and I think I was able to hide a lot of my social anxiety as long as I was at the table and talking to people as they came up to check out the books. It was the times when I didn't have the security of my table when I began to feel the stirrings of panic. All around me there were people hugging and laughing and engaging in general merriment, and all I could do was gaze stupidly when their gaze managed to slide over me.
my social skills
I can't say that I've never felt as awkward as I did in those moments, because that's pretty much how I feel all the time. And my author friend is just as socially inept as I am, so instead of one stupid, glassy-eyed stare, there were TWO.
I just couldn't understand it! I mean, it's not like I saw any villagers chasing me with pitchforks and torches. Everyone looked perfectly normal (OK, maybe that's a stretch) and friendly, and it seemed to be a pretty judgment-free zone. So I should have been able to come out of my bubble, right?
Even the simplest exchanges - stuff I'm supposed to just know, because I'm a girl. Girl code. There was an awards ceremony, and everyone dressed up and looked fabulous. Walking into the lobby, we saw a group of girls obviously from the same convention, on the way to the ceremony. They saw us, recognized us, and said, "Oh! I love your dresses!"
That would have been a perfect opportunity to smile back, perhaps throw a "Thank you! And yours is fabulous too!"...maybe engage in some witty, useless banter. You know - bond with other people.
What did we do? Well....not that.
We gave an awkward smile and then got the hell out of there.
As we were walking away, I even told my friend, "OK, we totally blew that. Girl code dictates that we should have stayed there and fawned over their dresses. We just acted weird."
Why does it just come so easily to other people? Those women made lasting friendships that weekend! They were crying when it was time to leave! What did we do?
We skipped the closing ceremonies and got the hell out of there.
Social anxiety, you devilish hosebeast.