The Unintended Effect of Embracing My Tribe

At some point, I don’t recall when, society began glamorizing what it’s like to be “awkward” and I had finally found my People.

I was elated!

I wasn’t alone!

There were others who had the tendency to trip on her own shoes, or say embarrassing random things in front of important people, or go to hug her husband and accidently poke him in the eye.

I don’t know if it started with Bella Swan, I feel like we can (almost) all agree that she wouldn’t have been so cute if she didn’t fly her Clumsy Flag high.

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There are amazingly hilarious shows like NEW GIRL and 30 ROCK that have main characters I relate wholeheartedly to. It’s like sitting with old friends and accidentally choking on biscotti sticks between stroppy life stories.

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I had never felt so welcome.

And suddenly, I was even collecting embarrassing”events” like Pokemon cards. As soon as I would do something weird, I would catalog it so I could tell my other “awkward” friends. It was like a strange Girl Scout group, and for those of us who are somewhat socially moribund, it felt good to be a part of something, even if it’s an Embassy of Embarrassment where you must have at least three level 10 incidences on file before you could be a full member. And that’s only to join. To stay in, you have to meet quotas.

About the same time, I unconsciously decided that those descriptors were the best attributes I had. That I was only these awkward instances stitched together into a timeline.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the words I use to describe myself.

Awkward. Weirdo. Clumsy. Dummy.

All super uplifting, right?

And then I realized, those words weren’t just in my head.

“I am so awkward.”

“You don’t know me yet, but I’m a weirdo.”

“Listen to this dummy thing I did.”

“Mea, you idiot…”

It wasn’t someone else saying these things to me. It was me…demeaning me.

I  noticed something. Something I didn’t really like. I was starting to be ONLY awkward–ONLY a clumsy-dummy-weirdo. Before, I would have these moments of brilliance. I would at least feel confident with a pen in my hand. I used to hold on to these moments like you would a string tied to a helium balloon because, before awkward was cool, I wanted to be luminescent when I “grew up”. Well, at least mostly shiny.

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Slowly, though, those shiny moments separated farther and farther in time until I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen one. But I could totally remember the last 10 times I told myself I was an idiot.

To my tribe, I told funny anecdotes.

But I was not happy.

I wonder how many of them aren’t happy either?

I heard myself one day, “Gah, me equals awkward,” and it made me stop in my tracks. (Literally, I almost caused a traffic jam in the hallway.)

I. Heard. Myself.

How long had I been shoving myself in this soggy box? So long that I forgot what it felt like to be competent and confident in my talents. “I am not one for false modesty…” (Elizabeth Bennet said) but, in the past, I had not been one for false condemnation, either. Was I really a dummy-wierdo? God, I hope not.

For an experiment, I practiced not saying aloud the things I didn’t want to resemble.

It was hard.

It is hard.

I’d unintentionally ingrained this line of thinking to flow freely from my head to my mouth to my heart that stopping it took constant attention.

Until it didn’t. (I did it again today, but I’m writing this post, so I wonder if old habits truly do die hard, or if it’s just in the forefront of my forehead.)

I’ve noticed an improvement. I feel more “together” in the world rather than cliquishly “awkward”. I feel more capable with publicly verbalizing ten words in a row without accidently creating a dirty joke. I feel more Real Smiles than not these days.  I feel more like Sometimes Shiny Me instead of Always Awkward Me.

Now, I’m working on my thoughts. Even the disappointed tone I hear my inner voice use when I do something dumb. I can’t change the fact that I am naturally clumsy and that I think differently than most people I know (which makes me the life of the party, let me tell you.) But I can forgive myself, and I can release those moments, rather than hoarding them for future hilarious floggings.

I’m finding that I WANT to be forgiving. That I want to see what more I can be by just…believing I’m more than a failed trek up the stairs (true story). This is what I want to tell all the members of my trippy tribe. We don’t have to just be an after-dinner story. We are more than our awkward experiences.

I’m not saying you have to change anything after reading this. I just want to be real with you.  We are Writers and/or Readers. We KNOW words are powerful. Why did I NOT think that applied to Real Life, instead of to just the lives I create? For me, right now, it’s the lack of words that have made all the difference. But don’t we Writers already know that, too?

Until next time, *pregnant pause* (See what happened there???)

 

Why I Liked THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE.

Hello! It’s been awhile since I’ve done a book review. I have a few to do, but if you don’t mind, I’m going to start with THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE by Patrick Ness. **Spoiler free.**

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This book captured my granite heart for a few reasons:

  1. Structure: There are two stories going on here. One story is told in the actual book and the other is told IN THE CHAPTER TITLES. At first I was confused until I got to chapter two which was the same moment that I realized that Patrick Ness was a genius.
  2. Characters: The story revolves around four friends and is told from the perspective of Mikey. He’s the younger brother of Mel (another of the friends). His best friend Jared and his crush Henna are also in the group. Each of them has his or her own worries outside of saving the world, and the friends can deal with them because they are not the Chosen Ones. Mickey battles OCD, Mel struggles with an eating disorder, Henna grieves the loss of her brother, and Jared works through identity issues. We get to watch the inner trauma of Mickey’s situation, including a therapist meeting that had me wanting to cry on someone’s shoulder. The other characters reactions to their circumstances are subtly yet clearly shown to us as the story progresses. You grow to love each character and see how this group of friends, with all the vices and what some would call “faults”, work together and love each other as friends turned family members. (Especially since some of the families they were born into suuuuuck.)
  3. Prose: The story is just told well. The prose is engaging with just the right amount of “pretty”, and you feel Mickey’s struggle and relief within the arrangement of words. Wonderful.
  4. Ending: I really liked how the chapter titles story and the actual story pulled together in the end. It had a hopeful feel to it and hinted that the characters were all going to continue to grow and turn into even cooler adults. And dang it if I don’t like a happy ending. (I do. Happy Endings are my Thang.)
  5. Movie?: Yes! I think this would make a really neat anti-Chosen One movie. There are neat visuals that could be done, and it’s a fresh take I personally have never seen on film. Ya here me, Hollywood?! Make it so!

Until next time!

Mea

MEAnings-The Beginning

My husband and I were having a rare date together, and sitting at the table beside us was a group of people younger than us. The conversation fascinated me because I couldn’t understand some of it. Context clues weren’t helping a whole lot, either, because the people at the table already knew what the colloquialisms meant, so everything they said left little for me to grasp, and I, the eavesdropper, felt so not…with it.

I’ll just interject here for a moment of honesty–even as a younger person, I didn’t know all the “cool” lingo, either. I was a geek-chic island. And this was before geek-chic was a Thing to be. I’m not going to say I made it cool, buuuuuutttt…. No, I didn’t.

As I wondered what in the world these phrases could mean, I started to laugh. Husband looked at me like I covered myself in purple polka dots, so I had to tell him my thoughts. He laughed, too, which was when I made a decision. From here on out, (translation: until I get bored with it) I will be sharing MY meanings of current sayings with you via – COMIC STRIPS! (Or, in this particular case, a comic “block” because this first one is just one biggo rectangle.) I call them MEAnings! (Get it! Because I’m MEA and this is my definition of these phrases or words. Never mind. You got it.)

So here is MEA…

 

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And the next blog post will be a MEAnings one. I hope y’all laugh a little!

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Strange New Things

Hello! Long time, no see, Darlings.

I could tell you Everything from even before my last post, really the last two and a half years, every excruciating detail that has brought me to now, a Strange, New Thing typing this post, but…

your speculations are probably more spectacular than the truth.

And I’ve worked so hard to figure out where some big, bad things fit into my life, I don’t really want to rehash them all. My emotions might explode and get into your pretty hair.

So, I’ll sum up in a less aggressive way-bullet points!

  • A very important person in my life made a terrible and uncharacteristic decision. It hurt so many people and cause him great guilt and regret, ultimately leading to his depression and suicide. The suicide happened before we could reconcile. I was 31 weeks pregnant during his funeral. It sucked a lot.
  • After giving birth, I had postpartum depression. Again. It sucked a lot.
  • I was in an unhealthy job situation that, in combination with the above, sucked a lot.

Two and a half years later, I think I may possibly be able to get back out in the world because of the next few bullet points.

  • Strangely, forgiving him wasn’t the biggest issue for me. It was that I didn’t tell him I didn’t hate him as he assumed I did. I was just so. So. Sad. I have come to a “place” where I can forgive myself more every day and grieve properly with each allowance.
  • I’ve been back on the medication that helps me deal with postpartum depression for a long while now. Actually, I believe I’m finally in a spot where I can try getting off of them again, which thrills me.
  • I have a new, positive work environment and I like to go there, to be a part of the “team”. I didn’t know how bad the previous situation was until I experienced something different. I make less money, but can I just tell you Folks that quality of life is worth a million rubies?

So, I’m getting back on track. It actually started at the end of July 2016, but I was embarrassed to tell you all publicly. What if I wasn’t “fixed”? What if nobody told me I had crazy in my teeth? I’ve had a few months of pleasant days now, though, and I feel more…resolved, maybe? That might be the right word.

The next set of bullet points are things I’ve learned going through this mess:

  • Forgive others.
  • Forgive yourself.
  • Experience your emotions. Don’t hide them away.
  • Write it out to understand better.
  • Keep hold of your joy.
  • Live the best you can.

I’m feeling good about 2017. I truly hope you are, too.

Kanpai, Lovely People!

kanpai
http://therisingsky.blogspot.com/2012/10/what-does-kanpai-mean.html