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Stick your head out the window…

May 25, 2011

I’m finding the hardest thing to do in life is be honest about how you feel, what you need, who you are and what you want. My reasons for holding back are fear of what people think of me and no matter how many times I give myself the “I don’t give a damn” pep-talk…I really do give a damn. How do I know this? Simple, I Twitter. I’ve had my account for well over 2 years and it wasn’t until recently that I decided to branch out and start meeting new tweeters. Little did I know that meant opening myself up to a world of hate and ridicule. After seeing a photo of my 5th grade self you’d think I’d be used to this kind of thing. I’m not. And quite honestly – yep, I’m being honest at the expense of hurting someone – no amount of therapy in North America, Australia or Greenland will ever condition me to handle it. For this reason, I work very hard at not saying anything that someone else might find hurtful or offensive.

This is coming at my own detriment and taking a toll on my creativity.

I’d estimate that around 6 times a week I tweet something that I almost immediately retract for fear of recourse from other tweeters. This makes me a coward and — this is the hardest thing to say — a phoney. I’ve always prided myself on NOT being fake and the fact that I’m allowing a social networking site to slowly erode my character is ridiculous. What is it that I’m trying to prove? That I’m funny? I already know I am. That I’m witty? Yep, I’ve got this one too. That I’m able to communicate an idea or emotion effectively to a large audience? Well now…I might be on to something with that last one. Can I do this? Am I effective? Does anyone else besides me and my mother care what I think, feel or have to say? I’m honestly not sure, and more importantly, I’m honestly not sure it really matters.

A-HA!

This might be the golden suitcase* of Twitter! The elusive thing we’re all grasping at but just can’t seem to wrap our hands around. Maybe we’re trying too hard to not care when the secret is that we shouldn’t care. In the end you’ll be the one faced with yourself and have to answer for the kind of person you turned out to be. No one else is going to be there to do that for you. So what does it matter what someone -anyone- else thinks of you?

*I use this visual reference more often than any other in my daily life. It’s the best thing to ever come from a Quentin Tarantino film. Well that, and, Salma Hayek dancing nearly nude with a boa wrapped around her neck.

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Stop drawing the deer…

May 9, 2011

Somedays I wish I had money. Mad money. The kind of money where I never had to work another job that required me to wear a single piece of flair or answer a phone. Let’s be honest…I could walk into the light never having answered another phone call and feel my life was more than complete. What would I do with all that time I wasn’t spending on the phone awkwardly talking over someone or sounding like a short circuiting Speak-N-Spell with a shit ass cell signal? I’d photodocument one of the most fascinating phenomenon’s known to modern man: the vanity plate.

It’s hard for some people to imagine that anyone would have such a desperate desire to be heard that they would ask a jumpsuit-laden inmate to pound it into metal for them. I can respect that observation. If you’ve ever sat next to someone in an all day seminar and never so much as heard them breathing you’ll know there are those who walk among us perfectly content with going unnoticed. I am not one of these people. And judging by the number of times each week I rear-end, scratch, or ding the door* of a car that has a custom plate, we far outnumber the stealthy ones. The uneven balance of narcissists to clueless-about-themselves is fine by me since it gives me a chance to put the Psych degree I never took a single course in order to complete to work guessing what it is people are really trying to say.

——————————————————————————————

Let’s start with this guy. I had just left a grueling day of pushing pixels and trying to convince people who are not-at-all right brained that they should give a damn about user flow and typography and that not all designers are bubble-headed bimbos. Yes, my life is awesome. Brain fried, I pulled up behind this SUV. Immediately I was confused — was I in New York? Should I be in New York? It was gray and nasty outside and 3 people had spit at me that today so it wasn’t completely out possibility. Nope, that’s the ‘impossible to get into and out of QuickTrip’ on the right and the ‘please have a FREE FRYDAY McDonald’s’ on the left so I was most definitely still in Atlanta. It took me the entirety of the red light (which is far too long, by the way) to bring this thought process full circle I applauded this guy for his vanity choice. It’s good to keep people on their toes and remind them there’s a whole world out there far beyond the food processor most of us spend our day spinning in.

——————————————————————————————

I came across this spicy number on my way back from a little league baseball game. My mind boggled: what in the hell? Why would anyone openly admit to be a ho? Or a toy? Or sloppy seconds?? None of it made sense and no matter how many different ways I tried to get into the head of the driver, I just couldn’t. There were too many flithy magazine renewal cards and fifths of cheap vodka in there to have any elbow room. So I did what any half-conscience and fully functional adult would do. I assumed it was meant to be read together to make a clever word. Yes, that had to be it. HOTOYTWO. HOTOYTWO. HOTOYTWO. Son of a bitch – HOTOYFUCKINGTWO makes no sense and now I’ve wasted this entire red light making my mouth into Donald Trump butthole shapes in my failed attempt to force something that required no effort to begin with. It is what it says: HO TOY2. I can accept that. What I still can’t get over is why someone would call themselves a ho. Or a toy. Or sloppy seconds. And pay a premium tag fee each year in order to do so when carrying a bottle of Valtrex around would be so much cheaper.

——————————————————————————————

That brings us to me. Yep. Me. Shocking, I know – not just that I enjoying talking to myself on this blog (I actually really do a bit too much I think) but that I would have a vanity plate on my car. I’m just that much of an asshole with the burning piss and desire to get something out there. I’ve found it a very interesting study in human behavior having a vanity plate. Second only to the 3 years a drove a Miata and everyone at red lights, stop signs or strip club parking lots felt it gave them the right to ask me for directions, asprins, an extra pair of flip-flops or my ABBA CD. Hey dick-face, how about you download your own illegal music on your own ex-boyfriend’s computer and turn him into the Feds. Like I did.

*Before the police in my local area are called, please note that all of the outlined instances happen to my own vehicle at the hands of myself. Daily.

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As I walk away…

May 8, 2011

Let's do this thing.

After watching The Voice rerun on E! in the bedroom while folding laundry that had been sitting in the basket for over 3 days ($100 to the first person who can pull the hat trick of ‘what a LOSER this girl is’) I came back later to find the Howard Stern movie on. That’s when it hit me. I’m miserable in my life and work because I care too fucking much about what other people think. Seriously. It’s like that chest infection that keeps getting passed around my office — I just can’t shake it. To be honest, I’ve never really cared about Howard Stern one way or the other but tonight it all clicked. He’s a genius. Love him or hate him the man has become the radio legend he is by doing it HIS WAY. Not giving a crap who didn’t like it or had their feelings hurt by it. I’ll admit that just typing that makes me feel badly and there in lies the problem. I need to get over this. I need to get over me. I need to get over this obstacle if I ever want to have a shot at living up to my true potential. Wait…..I need to figure out my true potential. I mean, I know I have the ability to communicate in a way that most people only dream they could. Hell, I’d trade that in a second for a pair of golden pipes. If my shampoo bottles could talk they’d say “man, it’s dark in her ass – oh, and she can’t sing worth a shit.”

Ok, back on track. Potential. I have found that over the past few weeks of speaking up when I feel something needs to be said has been quite liberating. No, I haven’t stopped wearing a bra to work (yet) but it’s most definitely a HUGE step for me. I’ve found that once I let go and stop thinking so much everything comes a little easier. I really do think the trick for me is learning to get over myself and ruffle a few feathers and tell a few people that yes – those pants make you look fat*. Clearly I’ll need to find the line between honest and hurtful but I’m sure in time I’ll get the hang of it.

*I’ve lost 30 pounds since beginning the great sugar embargo and have had no shortage of people come up to me and tell me how great I look these days. Sure it’s wonderful to hear and since my looks are fading a great ass is all I can hope to carry with me into my 40’s so I’ll take all the compliments I can get. Hard not to think that if these same people would have been honest with me back when I looked like a one of those water filled hand toys stuffed into size 8 jeans, I might have cut out sugar a long time ago. I’ll take the personal accountability on this one so as to not hurt anyone’s feelings. Wait. Damn.

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He looks freakin’ dead…

May 6, 2011

Once upon a time I couldn’t go to sleep without updating this blog. Now I go months ignoring it – treating it like the fat, ugly sister who tags along on a night out with my sexy friends. As much as I try to hide it, writing is my first true love. Sure I might pretend that I’m someone who doesn’t care whether or not you talk to me or give me the time of day but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I live to make people laugh and sometimes I go over the line into inappropriate to do it and this is why I’ll most likely end up divorced and dying alone.

I’ve found myself in a new place where I’m aware that life is short and no one is going to force me into being happy and fulfilled in my work. That is all up to me. I choose to walk into the building where they ID me to even get into the parking deck every morning. Like I’d ever want to park there if I didn’t have to, right? My car is so fucking banged up and shitty at this point what the hell do I care. Put it next to the dumpster and let’s see if someone will pick it up before the end of the work day. Doubtful. Man, I’m never gonna get the 350Z convertible I’d have to trade in one of my kids* for.

I’m venturing into the next chapter of my life and that means I’m facing a semi. No, I haven’t sprouted a small dick (not just yet anyway). A semi-mid-life crisis. What? That’s not a thing? Well too bad cause I’m making it a thing. I’m not quite 40 but I’m definitely old enough to be looking back thinking “fuck young people” and “what the hell do they know about life anyway?” in my jealousy that I now require 6 pounds of eye cream just to look like I didn’t get an Angry Buccaneer the night before. Sure I could just stop all the drinking but what fun would that be? I want to see just how long my liver was designed to last and my money is on long enough that I die before my mind is mush and I’m shitting in my pants. Oh god, please let that be the case. I’d rather end up hideous with a still-sharp mind than pooping in my underwear, lying on the kitchen floor waiting for the neighbor to come over and have to change my diaper. Hell, I’m 36 and never even borrowed a cup of sugar before so that would be reaaaaaly awkward.

*Ok so I’d never actually trade in one of my kids but I sure as hell would make them sit on top of each other in the fucking passenger seat. Strapped into the proper restraint seat, of course.

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Keep moving forward…

February 27, 2011

I’m at that point again. That point where I’m asking myself “what the hell am I doing?” and I don’t seem to have a better answer than “shooting my mouth off in public spaces.” I suppose that’s the beauty of something like Twitter. Over 95 million tweets a month and very few that contain more than a quick stand-up style joke or half naked photo. While I have taken to the idea of micro-blogging, I will forever have the urge to sit down and write more. A lot more.

You see, part of what makes me – me – is the burning desire to communicate and idea or feeling or discovery in the hopes of inspiring thought or passing on simple pleasure. Some might say it’s ’emotional sluttiness’ but for me it’s as normal as drawing breath or refusing to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. Seriously people, if you’re over 30, just don’t. This same rule goes for Valentine’s Day as well. Trust me.

I digress.

Not unlike most other people on this ever-warming planet, I often wonder what makes me the way I am. What makes me flirt with the almost daily threat of being shit-canned at work for the things that I say or feelings that I just can’t seem to hold back. In my thinking I realized it’s a pretty short and simple answer: 3 pivotal moments. Sure there have been thousands of little things like the time the neighborhood kids had to pay my 5th grade crush $1 a day* to pretend to go out with me. Or the time (the only time) I was fired from my job as a Bank Teller for taking a bad check. Each moment pushes life in a new direction and teaches you a little something about yourself that you never knew before. In my case, the firing was an amazing opportunity for me to have more time to explore what it was I really wanted to do with my life and the kind of person I wanted to be. Sometimes losing something isn’t losing as much as it’s gaining and that’s a lesson I remind myself of almost daily…since I have a big, often inappropriate, mouth and all.

Event 1: The Nine Insights
It was late-summer 2001. I was in my final stretch of classes leading up to earning my degree from The Art Institute and feeling a little lost. I’d spent the better part of the year having a ‘second teenhood’ going out to clubs and working as a cocktail waitress on the weekends. During this time I had started to question my faith, who God is, whether or not he/she actually existed and why on earth we were all here. What was the point? Why did we push ourselves to do things, achieve things and care about things? Being that I was raised Catholic and only knew what I had been taught about God through Church and Sunday School classes, this was no doubt a very confusing time for me. While I never did live my life the way I was told to, I had a conscience and tried my best to be my best. But this was different. This was an energy. I could feel it all around me. Something was pushing me in a way I’d never felt before. Instead of being frightened or overwhelmed, I was inspired. I just didn’t know what to be inspired about. I friend of mine suggested I read The Celestine Prophecy and the timing with what was transpiring inside me was uncanny. I vividly remember going into the book store and finding the last copy on the very bottom shelf of the ‘Fiction’ section. Now, I’m normally not a fan of non-fiction books but I felt drawn to this one and as soon as I opened the cover and began to read — I couldn’t put it down. It was as if that book were written just for me…to explain all of the things I had been feeling and why. I had never felt more validated in my existence than at that very moment. Pretty powerful stuff. I realized that friend’s suggestion was no accident. It was all part of the bigger plan in life. The one where you meet people and choose whether or not to receive their messages and guidance. I’m pretty certain that I just lost over half of the 3 people who actually read my blog and I’m ok with that. That book transformed my life in a way that I no longer cared about living for what I thought everyone was expecting of me. Instead I began to live for what I expected of me. My expectation is simple: live for what inspires. Not just me, but the people around me as well.

Event 2: September 11, 2001
Just weeks after my spiritual awakening, I (along with over 300 million other Americans) faced a true test of faith. Driving into class that beautiful, almost-last-day-of-summer morning I had no idea the horror that was unfolding. It wasn’t until I arrived on campus that I became aware but it would take weeks for the gravity of the event to really sink in and feel real. Sure, I’d read all about Pearl Harbor and studied enough history to know that turning points like these happen at least once in every generation. But this time – it was my generation. Thousands of everyday people (just like me) woke up that morning, went about their day, and died for their efforts. Not a simple death, but a horrific, terrifying death. I was 27 and it was the first time that I truly felt mortal. Needless to say, I struggled through those final months of school trying to concentrate and keep my focus on what I was about to achieve. I did graduate, top of my class, but the months that followed were nothing short of a nightmare. For the first time in my life I was suffering from night terrors, anxiety, panic attacks, depression so deep and crippling that I honestly thought of taking my own life. I realized that therapy alone wasn’t going to pull me through this. I needed to feel what those innocent people felt. I needed to read how those left behind picked up the pieces and were able to move forward with life, raise children alone, fulfill dreams they once shared together. I needed to understand what a precious gift life is and how living on the edge shouldn’t be saved for when we feel the end is near, but for everyday since we can never know when the end is near.

After a couple of years of struggle, I once again drove to the book store.

This time, I went to the non-fiction section and picked up the two stories that both haunted and intrigued me the most: On Top of the World: Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick, and 9/11: A Story of Loss and Renewal and Among the Heroes: United Flight 93 and the Passengers and Crew Who Fought Back. I didn’t read them at the same time, instead finishing one before embarking on the other. It really is amazing how healing a power storytelling can be. It brings us into a world and paints a picture but allows each reader the freedom to shape the finer details in whatever way allows them to really get it, to feel a part of it, to make it a personal journey. Years of therapy and anti-depressants couldn’t do what reading these two books could – allow me to feel the terror, the pain, the struggle and the triumph of life. Never had I been more aware of who I was and what I needed to be able to cope with anything that life was going to bring me. I needed to feel and express those feelings in order to survive in my own skin. It’s why I tweet and write this blog today and why I don’t worry about who or how many people read my thoughts. Just knowing I’m aware of them and put them out there is all I need.

Event 3: Archer
Yep, you read that correctly. Archer. Now I know you’re wondering how in the hello-dollywood I could shift gears so dramatically from 9/11 to a cartoon. It’s simple. Archer is everything I’ve ever wanted to be. It’s free, it makes no apologies and it’s damn funny. I honestly stumbled upon this little gem while channel surfing and knew I was meant to find it. It’s the only show I make a point not to miss each week and feel no guilt what-so-ever spending 30 minutes watching with no distractions. I watched an interview with its creator, Adam Reed, and realized that he had the same philosophy about life that I did: deep down we all have thoughts and feelings that we wished we felt free enough to express outwardly but most of us don’t. Through the show, he has the freedom to do just that and do it in a way that’s funny and approachable even when it falls short of being appropriate. It’s the same way I (like to think) approach my writing, my tweeting, my expressing of myself. You might not always like what I have to say or it may cause you to cringe in horror but it’s real. It’s what makes me real. It’s what keeps me going and inspiring me and, hopefully, inspire others.

*With inflation I would have cost those little punks nearly double what they paid back then, but today, I know I’m priceless.

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Don’t drink, don’t smoke…

January 25, 2011

For all you goody-two-shoes parents out there who feel you’re doing your children a favor in life by turning on PBS instead of Nickelodeon, I’m here to tell you you’re wrong. Now I’ll admit that there’s been a time or two where I’ve found myself scrambling for the remote to end the horror of “House of Anubus” before my kids could buy into the idea that all child actors were that bad. But I’d much rather they sit and watch a marathon of “SpongeBob SquarePants” (complete with the ‘Evil Pencil’ episode) than a full day of PBS. Why, you ask? It’s simple. Caillou. How can I be so sure that this little bastard is guaranteed to ruin your child’s life?

5 SIMPLE REASONS

1. He can’t make a snowman
If this child really is four as the show’s annoyingly catchy intro* claims, and he lives far north of the Canadian border, then there is no excuse for his inability to roll a clump of snow between his hands. Growing up in north eastern Ohio I can tell you first hand that making a snowball is taught the same year a toddler begins using the potty. This means he’s either A) still shitting in his pants or B) a lazy do-it-for-me kid destined to be a burden on others well into adulthood.

2. He only has one set of grandparents
While I think it’s great that an older influence is included in the show, it disturbs me that there is no definitive way to know whether or not they are the parents of his mom or his dad. There are no distinguishing features to separate them and none of them ever refer to each other as “son”, “daughter”, “mom” or “dad”. This means that either A) his other set of grandparents died in a horrible hot air ballooning accident or B) his parents are actually brother and sister.

3. His cat sleeps on his bed
Hey, I have no issues with a child having a pet. I have issues with parents that would allow said pet to camp out on a child’s bed. The result of this behavior will either be A) a nasty case of bed bugs that will leave physical as well as emotional scars or B) a dependence on animals that will lead to a lifelong struggle with compulsive Christmas sweater knitting and bestiality.

4. Neither of his parents hold down a job
Sure there have been a sprinkling of episodes where we’ve witnessed his parents getting dressed and claiming to go to work, but it’s been few and far between. Without the confirmation that his parents are independently wealthy we can only assume that either A) they both have a criminal background that keeps catching up with them or B) expect the government to take care of them.

5. He’s bald
If the kid is four and hasn’t so much as a strand of hair coming out of his head, it is pretty safe to assume that he’ll be folically-challenged for life since it’s clear neither his parents, friends nor grandparents seem to be at all alarmed by this. This predicament will lead to either A) an unhealthy obsession with clipping and sniffing other people’s hair on the subway or B) dancing in a nude male review under the stage name of “Slick Sack”.

*”I’m just a kid who’s four, my mommy is a big-fat-whore
She likes exploring the pie-u…

So many drugs to do, each day try something new
I’ll share them with you, I’m hi-u…

My world is gambling, gaming each day
with mommy and daddy to show me the way…

Growing up obsessed with muff, man it’s been really tough
I’ll clip it for you, I’m Caillou, Caillou, I’m Caillou – kill me!”

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Scenes from a Starbucks…

January 20, 2011

"Smells like fish in here."

One of the best things about my job is that I sometimes get the opportunity to change up my schedule and work on projects that take me out of my element. For the past two days I’ve been working with an agency downtown and have had a little extra time to spend in the morning enjoying my coffee while catching up on emails. Since I’ve had a few Starbucks gift cards floating around in my wallet and there’s one just down the street from my house I figured, “Why not stop?” and see how the other half live. You know, the half that wakes thumping a vein and cuts you off in your own neighborhood trying to beat you to the Starbucks to get their ‘fix’. It turns out the stereotyping isn’t too far from the truth in most cases and I’ve seen some very interesting people and behaviors these past couple of mornings.

The following account is based on real events. No names were used since no one would give me the time of day.

8:09 AM: The parking lot is looking a little more crowded than it was at this same time yesterday. I wonder if I’ll get a squishy ass-friendly seat or will have to set up shop at a hard tailbone-killing chair. I can’t believe I’m thinking this. Am I becoming a ‘regular’ already? What in the crap do they slip into their brew?

8:12 AM: I forgot this location doesn’t have a drive-thru so most of the cars were to go orders leaving a couple of open chairs. Pour that Pike’s Place already so I can snag my seat.

8:13 AM: What is it about the half and half? It’s almost always empty. Do they never fill this thing to full capacity? I’m thinking it must be some kind of cheap Barista entertainment to stand and watch all the unrefined schlubs who order non-whippy-frothy-plain old coffee to drink wrestle with getting the few remaining drops from the carafe.

8:14 AM: Finally. All set and ready for ass to meet seat. And lookie there, one’s waiting for me tucked into a quiet corner.

8:16 AM: Burned my tongue. Fuckers.

8:23 AM: There’s a pair who do not at all look to be a couple sitting together and talking while looking all around the space. It’s as if they’re casing the joint. I’m thinking they won’t get much. A few spent gift cards, egg sandwiches that have been on display for what looks like over a week, yesterday’s half-stolen AJC newspaper and the tip jar which looked to contain $3.78 and a Terminex business card.

8:25 AM: The odd couple just walked over and lifted up the newspaper rack next to the seat I’ve made home and intently studied the floor underneath. Not sure what they’re looking for but they didn’t pick up the quarter. Safe to assume now they aren’t here to rob the place.

8:31 AM: Lady in track pants just walked in and noticed me sitting in the squishy seat. She looks pissed. I didn’t see a name or ‘RESERVED’ sign hanging on the arm so I’m going to ignore her and pretend I’m not completely enraged at how amazing her ass looks in those pants. I suppose if she’s really that upset, I can offer she sit in my lap. I’ve always been an ‘ass woman’ anyway.

8:37 AM: Track pants took her coffee and plain bagel to go. Damn.

8:51 AM: The odd couple just gave the lady behind the counter a half-melted-down-golfer-topped statue that she’s awfully excited about. She keeps saying “I didn’t think I was gonna make it! I didn’t think I was gonna make it!” I know what she means. Playing golf is painfully boring.

8:58 AM: Justin Bieber’s older brother is chatting up another lady behind the counter. Just heard him tell her he’s gotten an agent here in town and hates New York because the winters are too cold. Judging by the large tears in his jeans, he’s only just arrived in town and has no idea he should have kept driving south for another 600 miles.

9:06 AM: The next wave of regulars are making their way in: 3 retired guys, a stay-at-home mom and what looks to be her personal trainer, young, hip business woman in knee-high black patent leather boots and mid-life man in baseball cap. I think this is my cue. Time to get some new boots.

9:11 AM: Giving up my seat to the scone crumbs and a stray blueberry. Good thing I wore black pants and enjoy the smell of blueberries.

9:12 AM: Hey, look at that! I just found a quarter.