Monday, November 30, 2015

It Feels Like This. Until I Tell Myself It Doesn't.

It's the split of knowing in your bones you are meant for something else. But, on the other side, the feel of the routine - feet pounding the downtown pavement in secure, happily paid steps. The fear, then, comes in and it's weighty. It's one of wondering if what you were meant for was to be the person in the office that was meant for other things. That you're too late to leap now. That foolishness would have been rewarded before. But by now, you've shown the world you don't believe in yourself enough.

There is a grace some of them have. As though they've cast off the insecure weight. It isn't that they don't have their own anvils, albatrosses, gravity shoes, or their own metaphors to bear. But there is a carefree air to one who stands tall in saying, "I HAVE A RIGHT TO PERFORM AND WRITE AND MAKE IT MY JOB." It's beautiful to behold. I long for it. This isn't about the huge percentage of that proclamation that is out of your control. This is about owning the ask, claiming the fight to be heard and seen as a worthwhile one.

Others see you differently. Kinder than you see yourself. But just as you begin to allow that kind view in -- that OF COURSE you can do this -- you tell yourself that's complacency and laziness. That multitudes more deserving and talented and experienced aren't achieving what you're trying. So let it go. But you can't. You can't fucking let it go. It's always there.

And so.

The process starts all over again, while your feet pound the downtown pavement, a little sadder, a little more defeated. Until those steps are no longer guaranteed to bring security. Until that magnet is being ripped out from your shoes. The split you've hidden for so long is now massive, a rip through your cool facade. It bleeds into everything. It's messy.

Because you are being called up.

It's now or never and not believing in your own ability to make the leap is a sure way to fall on your face. The weight, the doubt, the fear, it has to go. It's chaining you to the ground and you'll never feel the air, the grace of claiming your worth, if you don't shed it now. What good does it do to carry it now? None at all. All to gain.

Leap. But...the doubt...but...the leap...but the fear...but...the leap...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Don't Click That. Too Late.

It was a distressing headline, because that's what headlines are supposed to be - distressing or shocking so you'll read the story. It appeared in my feed as "trending" and something I might be interested in. Apparently, I was interested. I clicked on the damn thing.

Moments before, I was telling the world about a friend's new cafe. It had just opened after years of hard work and we finally got the chance to try it today. I was happily typing about Nutella-filled doughnuts and panini and coffee. Since this week has been a nonstop train of Refugee Refusal Arguments, Toddlers Sleeping Outdoors Pictures, Racist Idiots In Charge Stories and the Painfully Obvious Absence of My Beautifully Kind Mother-In-Law Since Her Death Last Week, I figured an innocuous food post would do me good.

It did. Until I clicked. Until I wondered, "Well, this sounds horrible. I wonder what happened?" As the story loaded, I yelled at myself, alone in our apartment.

"Do NOT READ that."

And I yelled to the universe as I read it.

"No. NO. NO NO NO."

And I cried and my breathing sped up. My legs wouldn't stop bobbing up and down, to match the pace of my heartbeat.

I know we all do it. We click on horrific things because we're terrified the story inside could happen to us or someone we love. If it is about children, we are instantly more terrified. If it is children hurting children, our terror becomes bewildered sadness. But we read it. Because it happens.

I am not a proponent of burying my head in the sand. I speak out often and write about what I see and the changes I want in my life and the world. I act on them. I speak my mind. However, there is a limit. There is a threshold we reach, collectively. The world reached it when a picture of a small child washed ashore made its way to a newspaper, spurning reactions to the Refugee Crisis that were previously no more than uninterested shrugs of indifference or lack of education on the topic. We reach it with family, with friends, with information. We get full. The threshold for witnessing human suffering and cruelty seems to vary depending on the distance from ourselves. When it is a specific story, one that details someone's hurt and struggle - especially if that person is under two years old - the distance closes. It could be anyone we love. Predispositions and prejudices disappear, as there is nothing a 19 month old could have done to deserve suffering, just as there is nothing two three-year-olds could have done to inflict it with a sense of truly knowing what they had done. But it happened.

And I reached my threshold.

I don't want my head in the sand to the world, as I want to actively participate in making it a better place. However, I also don't want to shatter myself because an algorithm told me I would find something heartbreaking "interesting" for the next five minutes.

So we put our heads, then, in what?  A bubble, enabling us to see? In a window high in the air so we can breathe? I don't know.

I post here so infrequently because I doubt my own ability to write well enough to intrigue people to read it on an ongoing basis. But it cannot be about approval anymore. It's about where I have to put my head. I have to put it to thought and writing creatively, or I will forever live at this threshold. That isn't a sustainable place to stay.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Vulvapit and Box Wipes.

Sometimes you and a friend wind up writing to one another when you're supposed to be sleeping. That's common enough.

Sometimes, though, that conversation makes you laugh so hard you're afraid you will wake your entire household. Then you'll have to explain what you're laughing about. And then it's gonna get a little blue.

See, Lindsey and I both subscribe to Petit Vour. It's a lovely service that sends four unique vegan and cruelty-free beauty products to your home for a few bucks each month. This is not exactly about how nice that is. This focuses more on the "unique" part.

We had just been discussing a cool face sponge we got that month, and then we got around to talking about some wet-nap looking things that came in the shipment, too. There were two of them, and they were called, "BOX." The card inside said they could be used anywhere on your body, but were particularly designed for your...well, your box.

Having previously had long-ass Facebook threads about how Lindsey's armpit looks like a vagina, we decided it was time to once again ask the experts - us - about our thoughts on this product.

Look. It's been a rough couple of months. Let's just talk about vaginas and laugh, ok? Good.



Monday, February 23, 2015

Sitting Still and Other Boring Necessities

I don’t sit still. I mean, not ever. At work, I am required to sit for extended periods of time, and the best I can do to rally against the system there is to bob my knee up and down relentlessly. Yeah. Take THAT, 9-5 Lifestyle. I’ you.
My body is a fidgety one: constantly shifting, adjusting, exercising, then injuring, healing, swaying (in place like my mother), expressing, gesturing, dancing. If that sounds like it would be a constant distraction for anyone sitting with me (though I’ve managed to curl my toes in my shoes discreetly if need be to hide the movement), you’d be right.
But it’s nothing compared to what’s happening in my head. The squirming on the outside is a physical manifestation of the mental gymnastics I’m executing for infinite Russian judges. Not gymnastics of any significant difficulty – no algebra or code sequencing. It’s just regular thought. SO MUCH THOUGHT all at once.
As an example, I recently blurted something out to my husband that was approximately the 5th step in a mental journey I was taking enirely alone.
Something thoughtful, something eloquent. I believe it was, “If I water did I? No, I’m good.”
“What?” my husband calmly asked, since he’s known me for 12 years and realizes I’m not having a stroke.
“I remembered that my water bottle was in my bag, and I was hoping it wasn’t on top of my lunch and squishing it. It wasn’t, plus I realized I packed everything I need to make lunch with the food I have at work.”
“Moves fast, doesn’t it? It’s so fast, your brain. I love you.” He’s a goodun. I’m keepin him.
Now, note that I’m remarking on the speed. Not the intelligence. I’m fairly smart, but there’s not some kind of burdensome intellect on my shoulders. Just words. Really. Really fast. And all the time.
While I physically bob, mentally weave, and my eyes glaze over, I am busy. I am insanely busy with work, writing, singing, acting, marketing, and oh, yeah…parenting. I fill my calendar with things I love to do, and apparently I love a lot. Meetings, talks, rehearsals, playdates, brunches, trainings, workouts, the occasional husband date (too infrequent, those). Busybusybusy. It’s the way I’ve always been.
So the segue into talking about my therapist probably isn’t a surprise, right? No? Ok. Great. She posited that I cannot get a handle on how I’m feeling a lot of the time becaue I’m just moving from one thing to the next. So much to do, so little time to react. She suggested I journal. Journal in short bursts when I am en route to something, how I’m feeling, and how I feel after.
It’s getting easier, but the first time I tried it I was commuting, balancing all my belongings on my lap, and listeing to an NPR podcast.
I’ve also started tracking my food and my workouts. Who can tell what the hell I ate that day? I’m busy! BUSY, I SAY!
*donuts fall into mouth while yelling, gains 5 lbs, becomes confused*
Surely, the distraction isn’t that bad, right? I don’t need to Memento my damn life to know which way is up. I can relax. I got this.
Mmm. Well. Not exactly. Here, allow me to tell you more than you’ve ever wanted to know EVER about me.
I use the Instead Softcup when I’m having my period. I keep meaning to buy a Diva Cup but…you know…distracted. These are little, flexible domes that go around the cervix and catch the menstrual blood. It’s cleaner, there’s less smell, you can have sex with them in and they’re just easier and less gross and painful than tampons for me. TA DA. Now you know.
Oh, no, I’m not done. Here’s more. YOU'RE WELCOME. You can wear these for up to 12 hours, depending on your flow. They’re…significant. They aren’t painful, and you don’t feel them after inserting, but…you know. Plastic dome on your cervix, howsitgoin.
I recently took one out with difficulty, confused as to why that was.
Because there were two. Two of them. Inside me.
That means one was in there for a month, kids. Just…hangin out. Hugging my cervix. A long, long, uncomfortable, month long hug.

I'm so cuddly! Just hold me FOREVER.

So I basically ended my period last month and just FUCKING FORGOT I was doing anything to keep myself from looking like I had a target on my crotch during said period. “Ok! Well that’s done. Where are those donuts?”

When I realized this, I sat in my bathroom in a daze for a while. Perhaps that was the superpowers I developed from contaminating my lady bits taking over.

Perhaps, it was brain stopping the ribbon competition in the floor exercise for a second and saying, “WOAH. Woah. Maybe…maybe we should slow down.”
That’s right. I took a “stop and smell the roses” message from my cervix and a foreign object I just left in it.
Because this is my life. You’d fidget, too.

"I'm so happy I didn't leave that in there!"
"Why? Who would fucking do that?"
"I dunno. Morons? YAY PERIODS!"

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


If I put the writing of this piece off any longer, I would be typing in front of you. On the plus side, my living room is entirely rearranged and very clean.

Also, I barely made it here on time. After leaving work and rushing to daycare and then transferring my 2.5 year old to the sitter-friend, despite my child’s pleas of “I don wan you to go pee-forming, mama, I wan you to stay hew wif me,” I went ahead and broke both our hearts and I left, and made it on time. Barely.

But this isn’t about “on time.”

Write Club does not concern itself with such average mediocrity and Good for You Maintaining the Bare Minimal Effort Required of You, Champ that is “On Time.” The drama lies in the extremes. The Early and the Late.

And frankly, I don’t want anything to do with the extreme that represents dead or unexpectedly pregnant.

And yet…

I’m here to defend the honor of Early. In this, I am an unlikely candidate at best. Here’s the thing: I’ve always heard great things about Early. It’s something I’ve longed to be associated with for decades. I mean, who wouldn’t? Who wants to be the inconsiderate representative of mistakes that happen long after parties end because there’s a whole menu devoted to those mistakes at Taco Bell? No one. Well, no one and Bob Stockfish, I guess.

But unfortunately, Late is pretty much where I’ve been for most of my life. I’ve been late to work for 16 years. Getting up before the sun is foreign and strange and I don’t enjoy it one bit. I am constantly texting apologies and checking other people’s wristwatches on public transit, as though simply knowing the time is going to make it reverse in my favor.

I am, in short, that inconsiderate asshole you wait on. I am Late. And I am so sorry.

But. BUT. My heart, it’s in the right place. I swear to you. This is why I have always dreamed of being included among the elite ranks of the Early. To stand nobly in the I-Was-Here-First spot in line. The walk the hallowed halls of Jogging Happy People and the kind of blooming that means advanced reading and big boobs. Oh, it just sounds so NICE, you guys.

Imagine: a state of being so clean, so honorable, that it puts even beautiful, docile songbirds into competition for readily available worms. It allows the elderly a smaller bill just for having dinner at...noon. It puts a spring in the step of the downtrodden nine to fiver because the quittin time whistle blew a whole two hours before normal closing.

And this magical place isn’t just about convenience. Early saves lives when it’s in the form of detection. Your doctor can’t comfort you by saying “Good thing we caught it so late.” Early is so noble, so coveted, so impressive that even its negative connotations don’t get to hold its name.

I know it’s hard to even imagine a bad side to early. If you’re too late for something, it could be fatal. The bomb went off. The cancer has gone into your eyeballs and pores. Someone else got the job. Your sweetheart married someone else because you didn’t object. By the way, if that’s all that was stopping someone you love from marrying someone else, that person is terrible and you should reevaluate your choices.

If you’re too early, you’re...a minor inconvenience. I can’t possibly handle all this noise, all these questions, all these Pulitzer Prizes or multiple orgasms at this early hour. I need coffee.

For episodes worse than that due to early arrival, they aren’t even called early. Nope. Say you...were surprised with by the onset of a happy ending during your lovemaking. Two seconds in, let’s say. Is it early? No. It is called premature ejaculation, son, and early will have nothing to do with you. Don’t even try it. Here’s a towel.

And say that premature ejaculation lead to pregnancy, which you found out about because she was LATE...and then the baby came dangerously early, because it apparently takes after its FATHER. For this, we give the offspring the premature label, too. For early cannot be bothered with anything so complicated. Here’s another towel.

Can you imagine it? Being a part of something so...not late? Because I can’t. But GOD DO I WANT TO. I mean the early part. Not the premature part. I’ve had that before. I have the towels to prove it.

I want to live in Early. I do. I am too overinvolved and distracted to do it. As soon as my feet hit the floor, about an hour later than they should, I am strangely compelled to clean or cook something for my family or read ALL THE BOOKS WE OWN to our child. My intentions are good, but early is a beautiful place I just can’t seem to reach. And that seems unfair, doesn’t it? It’s like my wiring is unable to grasp this beauty like...a long torso or a c cup or a face that sits still when I talk. What is it even doing right now?

So here is what I propose: screw it. Let’s call it early from now on. Let’s all invite ourselves to that party, and we’ll show up when we please. No one will be shunned or scowled at for their belated entrances. If we say we’re early, we are. Just think: stroll into work tomorrow at 11am like you own the fucking place. Say something about "getting an early start." See if anyone argues.

Deny reality. It’s the only way something as amazing as Early is going to let us wrongly wired folks in. Sure, it might bring the property value down some, but let’s take what’s ours. Let’s be early whenever we want.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Funny People, Part 1

I know the funniest people on Earth.

No, no. I don't think you understand. This isn't because of any one thing that happened or person or wacky scenario. It's my life, and I am so goddamned grateful to be surrounded by smart people who understand how jokes work and actively make them because it brings joy. I'm lucky, is all.

So tonight, a couple of things struck me. 1. That I need to document the conversations a bit more for my own benefit. You know. When I've lost my memory and I can reread everything like it's the first time. 2. That I'm very fortunate. 3. Chicago weather is like a fist that you aren't sure where it's going to go every winter, and you just pray it isn't in your ass again. Then it is. I digress.

Tonight, the music stopped in the bar where our meeting was held. It was just the pause between songs, going from something like Slipknot to something like Beastie Boys because the shuffle was taking hallucinogens. Again. During our discussion on fundraising strategies, the loud protest came from Sully.

"I don't wanna draw boobs for my dad."

And then the music continued. We all nodded at the statement's universal applications.

Later, I was being driven home. I live two blocks from the bar, but it's hard to walk with the aforementioned Chicago winter fist lodged in there. Plus, I got a few more minutes with Sara and Angie this way. Win.

We pull up to my building. It's a snowy blanket of 7-11 Slurpee and clean, white flakes.

"Are you safe?" Sara asks. I instantly reach for the Marathon Man joke, but before I can finish, she asks again.

"Are you safe?"

"Yeah, why?" I reply.

"Well there's a strange man walking toward us in the middle of the street."

"That is because the sidewalks are shit right now."

"Well all right," she pauses. "No. Nope. It's the Stand GET BACK IN THE CAR."

I didn't. I went home. I'm fine. That dude was walking to his car. To drive across the country and find Mother Abigail.

Next time, more of this. Documentation, no matter how underwhelming it is to anyone else, really.