I’m not saying YOUR child doesn’t have anxiety. I’m saying just because mine likes to control everything doesn’t mean HE does.

I think I may have over-advocated for my son a few weeks back.

You didn’t think there was such a thing did you? It’s kind of like Munchausen by Proxy, only not. I wasn’t making him sick or faking symptoms or anything.

No, instead I was willing to accept a list of possible disorders based on possible symptoms.

“Have you noticed that he needs to be in control a lot?” asked the well-meaning neurologist we haven’t seen in two years.

“Does he want things to be just so?” he wondered.

Well….yes. He does.

“Sometimes when a child has a tic disorder, and also needs to control situations – wants things to be ‘just so’ it’s because he is actually suffering from anxiety. I think you should take him to be evaluated……Just incase.”

And so I said okay. I agreed to an incredibly expensive evaluation, by an old-fashioned psychiatrist.

Who of course charged hourly.

On a planet where 45 minutes is an hour.

And didn’t bill insurance.

 

“What are some things your son likes?” said the unassuming older gentleman who was to evaluate him. “I would like to be able to make him feel comfortable.”

“Well, he likes drawing pictures.” I thought, I mean, I couldn’t say he likes yelling and running around the house and pretending to shoot things and singing as loud as possible and negotiating. “Oh, and he likes ships. Especially ships in stormy seas.”

 

The day came for The Great Evaluation. We were late. As usual. Through no fault of Isaiah’s. He was waiting for me in the car as I ran around like a crazy person trying to find everything I might need. You know keys, shoes, phone. He really is so patient with me.

Lucky for me, the doctor was late. I was so relieved, I thought for sure being late would be some strike on some invisible list of possible disorders I was passing on to my child.

Instead he got the check mark, I filed that away for future purposes.

We introduced ourselves, and then Dr Mr Nice Guy asked Isaiah if he’d like to join him in a back room; assuring him I would be not more than 20 feet away. Isaiah was off.

Thirty-five minutes later, the nice doctor asked me to join him. Isaiah was busily drawing away, seemingly having the time of his life.

Dr. Mr Nice Guy wanted to talk to me. “Does Isaiah like to be in control a lot?”

“Well, yes, he has a lot of plans. And since he’s the only one who knows them, he has to orchestrate the whole thing.”

“Hmmmmm. And these pictures he draws. Does everyone always die?”

“Oh, was he drawing ships in the stormy seas again?”

“Yes, now does he always draw that?”

“These days. Sometimes he draws dynamite, or castles under stormy skies with lightening.”

“Hmmmm.” He looks serious. “Isaiah, when you draw your ships, does everyone always die?”

“Of course! They crash in the stormy seas, you can’t survive a shipwreck like that.”

“Do you always draw shipwrecks?”

“Pretty much.”

“Well let’s say you drew a picture of an airplane, what would happen?”

“There would be a storm and it would get hit by lightning and crash.”

“And would everyone die?”

“Well, it’s a plane crash, of course everyone would die.”

At this point I am actually laughing, trying to cover it up, because I am pretty sure there is a judgement scale for that. So Dr. Mr Nice Guy turns to me and says, “Do you think he’s playing me?”

I decided I have seen enough Woody Allen movies to put us on equal footing and I say, “Yes, yes I do. I think you have no idea what you’re up against.”

“Well,” says Dr Mr Nice Guy, “I am concerned that everyone in his pictures dies, I believe there is some underlying anxiety there, also, he clearly needs to be in control of situations which can also be a sign of anxiety, I would like you to bring in more pictures from home.”

“Okay, but you know, everyone doesn’t always die. Sometimes things just get blown up by dynamite, or lightning hits a castle, wait, maybe those aren’t good examples.”

“Why don’t you bring me his favorite books too.”

 

On the way home, Isaiah was telling me how much fun he had.

“Did you tell him you only draw shipwrecks?”

“No, I told him I draw lighthouses too.  In the stormy seas, where there’s a shipwreck and the lighthouse keeper can’t get there in time.”

“You know you don’t always draw shipwrecks, right?”

“I know. But he seemed to really like hearing about it.”

 

The events of that morning stuck with me.

The conversation with Dr Mr Nice Guy.

The conversation with Isaiah.

It didn’t feel right.

In fact, the whole thing felt like The Dictionary Definition of: Too Smart For His Own Good. Where HIS get’s accidentally locked in an Asylum, because he doesn’t realize that the rest of the world doesn’t get the joke.

 

That night as Isaiah was in the bathtub he asked me to come be The Lighthouse. Apparently there were some prisoners attempting an escape from Alcatraz in the middle of the night. So I grabbed our LED flashlight and became The Lighthouse.

“Mom, can you please be The Lighthouse lower? Lighthouses are not that high.” I complied and sat on a stool and watched the story unfold as the escaped prisoners were found out, and the warden came running out of the prison. I was now instructed to become The Searchlight. “No mom, you have to wave the light back and forth all over, not in a pattern, you are searching mom. You are trying to find the prisoners.” I obliged. “Great mom! Now, start flashing the light like it’s lightning,” as he begins to narrate how the prisoners were escaping in their boat, but suddenly a storm blew in. “No mom, not like that. Turn the light on, now just touch the button very gently so it doesn’t go all the way off and that will make it easier to flash it really fast.” He’s right, under his direction I create an effect that is very similar to lightning.

I hear his story in the background, it is very elaborate. Escaped prisoners, ships captains, a warden, guards, and of course a ship, a storm and a lighthouse. But the story itself is so much more. I hear it and I muse to myself; if this kid ever decides to become a filmmaker he’s going to give Scorcese or Cameron a run for their money.

I had an epiphany. A thought that was knocking at my brain just waiting to be released. Isaiah isn’t an anxiety driven control freak. Isaiah is a Creative Visionary. 

He doesn’t need to control because he’s nervous. He controls because he sees it the exact way it should be. Life is a story, a movie to him. I have a moment of pride; he is my prodigy. He imagines like I do. However I am the introverted Woody Allen, to his extroverted Tarantino. His vision is clear and strong. My vision is internal and quiet.

The boy who willingly walked away with Dr Mr Nice Guy was not anxious, the boy who organizes a bunch of kids he has only just met at the park into His Crew is not worried, the boy who can’t wait for me to leave when his baby sitter comes so they can Build Concoctions does not fret.

The boy who controls Directs others to perform in his elaborate stories is not controlling out of anxiety, he is Directing the participants in his live presentation. There is a story, and he will tell it, and he will use the actors at hand and be the lighting/set designer, and he will create the best story he can.

His life is one long piece of performance art.

I cancelled our next appointment with Dr Mr Nice Guy the next day.

 

This one's my favorite. If the storm doesn't get you, the sea monster will!
This one’s my favorite. If the storm doesn’t get you, the sea monster will!
The time-lapse version of the ship going down.
The time-lapse version of the ship going down.
Oh, dang. My stern broke off.
Oh, dang. My stern broke off.

 

 

the Time I Almost Tweeted John Cusack or When Reality Infiltrates Fantasy

 

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Insomnia will do funny things to your brain. I know. I’ve had a lot of experience with it.

Last night in my insomniatic fugue state I had an imaginary conversation with John Cusack. In my head it all started with a tweet.

@JohnCusack did you ever hang out at No Exit over on Glenwood and Morse?

@JenKehl I did. Why do you ask?

@JohnCusack my friend @sadderbutwiser mentioned your movies and then I wrote a post about No Exit, and realized our paths may have crossed.

At this point we decided to meet for coffee. Or we were talking on the phone. Or maybe we were using a communicator, it’s all a little fuzzy.

John: So you like my movies?

Jen: Sure, I write about it a lot. I don’t want you to think I’m a stalker or anything. I just feel a connection to so many of your characters in your movies, it feels like I know you.

John: So which of my more recent movies do you like?

Jen: Oh, well…I haven’t really seen any of your recent movies.

John: Really? Why not?

Jen: Well, I don’t do drama, or thriller, or twisted, or down right scary. I think the last movie I saw you in was America’s Sweethearts. That was awesome.

John: Wait. You don’t do Dramas or Thrillers? Why not?

Jen:  Well, my dad died at a very formative time in my life. It has made me over empathize with characters so much that I feel much too deeply and can’t enjoy the movie. Basically my Emotional Barometer is broken. I have no desire whatsoever to feel anything but happy when I watch a movie. Life is too short to feel someone else’s pain. And thrillers? You can save those for the sleep-over parties.

John: Well.

Jen: But you know, I would totally watch you in an Action movie. You played a pretty awesome hitman in Grosse Pointe Blank, I totally bought it. It was like a cross between Woody Allen and Bruce Willis. How about you in Red 3? Or if you need the quirkyness you could do some Quentin Tarantino flick that is along the lines of Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill? Because that’s about as intense as I can get.

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Then today. As Serendipity would have it (another favorite John Cusack movie) someone posted a link to an article called 51 Things You’ll Never Hear a Chicagoan Say well of course I had to read it. Imagine my surprise when I saw #19.

John Cusack’s Twitter feed makes him look like a reasonable guy.

Well dang. I follow John on twitter, but I don’t follow him. I decided I would head on over and see exactly what this Chicago expert meant.

Thank you dude who wrote that article. I almost tweeted the anti-thesis of my husband. And if I wanted to be out of the frying pan and into the fire there are a lot of easier ways I could do it.

Like, just jumping into a fire.

I admit it. My husband is a raging conservative. In the sense that almost every conversation we have either starts or ends with politics. Say what you will, it is who we are and how we live. I have no beef with people who do not feel the same way. I am just setting the stage for this:

 

 

Yes. That’s right my friends. John is not Jonathan Trager (Serendipity), Eddie Thomas (America’s Sweethearts) or especially Martin Q. Blank. Nope, he’s your regular, off the wall, hyper-political, super-opinionated, Doppelganger of my husband.

He’s not Rob Gordon, the mixtape expert that I felt so connected with, being a mixtape expert myself. Nope.

He’s my husband.

And if I want to be having a conversation with my husband at 5am, when I can’t sleep, I can just walk out in the kitchen and have one.

And you know what I would say? Quit making so much freaking noise! You wake me up every morning at 5am and then I can’t fall back asleep and I sit in bed thinking up the craziest crap. And you know what? You don’t look anything like John Cusack.

And so. I have two choices. A full memory wipe or I let go of my John Cusack Myth. I choose memory wipe.

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Old School Blogging

 

So my friend Dana over at Kiss My List tagged me in the Old School Blogging Lists of Five. I am happily playing along, because it’s fun, and I don’t want to think of something serious and poignant to write. Funnily enough, I couldn’t think of 5 things I’d like to do before I die. Is that good or bad? I am also totally breaking the rules. You aren’t supposed to expound on things on your list, but I couldn’t help it. This also gave me the opportunity to do the book reviews I wanted to do. So here’s my lists of 5.

Five Things I Have a Passion For

1. Music – If you’re here you probably already know about my Twisted Tuesday MixTapes. I love music in every form. I am passionate about the musicians, the instruments and all of it put together. I can’t imagine my life without a constant soundtrack.
2. Studying the Medieval-Renaissance time periods – I can’t tell you how this started. I believe it began when my grandmother took me to The Metropolitan Museum of Art when I was 7 to see the Unicorn Tapestries. I have been fascinated with all aspects of Medieval times, real or imagined. I majored in Medieval – Rennassaince History for 1 and 1/2 years (I was a jumper), and loved every minute of it!
3. Researching homeschooling methods – I really find the different methods of homeschooling fascinating. It is the logic behind the methodologies that I love to read about. The idea of forming the way a person will process information in the future is cool.
4. Writing – I think that’s a gimme, but I included it anyway.
5. Color and Design – I currently do some freelance work as a Color Consultant and used to do interior design. I designed my house from foundation to paint, and everything in between. I help people who want to bring color into their homes, but are afraid to make the wrong decision. It’s pretty easy to make a bad choice of yellow when you have 82 shades to choose from!

Five Things I Would Like to do Before I Die

1. Visit Maine
2. Live on a large body of water – Lake, ocean, whatever. Just enough to create it’s own breeze please.
3. Visit Cornwall and see the castle rumored to have been King Arthur’s home
4. Get another degree
5. Own an RV – If this could please happen soon.

Five Things I Say A Lot

1. Dude
2. Isaiah!
3.  Isaiah, please stop.
4. Tooootally
5. Go potty Daisy, come on, go potty. (our little dog WILL NOT pee if someone isn’t watching her and cheering her on. Well she will in the house.)

That’s Daisy on the firepit. She should be going to the bathroom. But instead she’s tall.

Five Books and/or Magazines I Have Read Lately

1. Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth. If you have not read these books, I suggest you do. They are set in a society where the community  (called a faction) you live in is based on certain personality traits that you are tested for at 16. This means at 16 you may or may not stay with your family. And by leaving your family, you may never see them again. The factions are Abnegation: A community of completely selfless people whose only desire is for the greater good. The Dauntless: Who believe in Bravery and Courage, they are the ones who guard the city. The Erudite: Value intelligence over all else, they are the computer programmers and seen as the speechmakers. Candor: Believe in honesty above all else, they are only interested in the truth, not the circumstances. Amity: Are the peace loving faction who stay impartial when the factions have issues with each other. They are also the farmers. The story of what takes place in this city is a twisting turn you will never expect. I read each of these books in three days because I could not put them down.

2. Ruby Red and Sapphire Blue by Kersten Gier – These books were recently translated from German to English. They tell the story of two families intertwined by the presence of a time-travel gene that begins to show itself, again, at age 16. When it does, the person begins to travel in time uncontrolled. That is all I will say, these books are an easy read and once again I devoured each of them in less than 3 days. Staying up until 3am to finish the last one. Only to be made to wait until October for #3.

3. Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen – I have read quite a few Carl Hiaassen books. They are pretty formulaic, but always amusing. This one was good, and if you have never read Carl Hiaassen you would probably be fine. It is not, by far, his best. If you want a really good taste of Carl Hiaasen read Skinny Dip instead.

4. If Books Could Kill by Kate Carlisle – I picked this up at the train station where you can leave a book or take a book. It is a witty murder mystery. The main character is a master Bookbinder and the setting is a Book Convention in Scotland. I highly recommend this book for fun quick summer reading.

5. Explosive 18 by Stephanie Plum – Eh. I grabbed this book from the condo we were staying in on vacation after I read all the books I brought with me. It was OK. 18 Stephanie Plum books later and they are pretty much all the same. A quick read, but kind of drawn out because the story is 19 books long! I would say, don’t bother.

Five Favorite Movies 

I have a lot of movies I love, but I almost never watch movies over again. These are 5 movies I have watched at least 5 times each.

1. The Wedding Date
2. This is Spinal Tap
3. Sleeper by Woody Allen
4. Galaxy Quest
5. Sixteen Candles

 

Five Places I Would Love to Travel

1. Wales – My aunt is from here. I always think of Wales as a magical place, they speak a language no one can understand and fairies come from there.
2. Fiji – Need I say more?
3. Maine – I have this idea that I’d like to live in Maine even though I’ve never been there. Weird huh?
4. New Foundland – That place looks amazing. I really need to see it for myself.
5. Any of the Polynesian Islands – Again, gimme.

Five People I Tag to do this Meme

1. Melissa at Home on Deranged
2. Tracy at Crazy as Normal
3. Erica at Nannypology
4. Sarah at Sarah’s Brand New Chapter
5. Sarah at The Sadder But Wiser Girl

I would happily tag you all in this game, so if you want to play go for it. The deal is then you link it up with our host and co-host, Elaine and Alison, I have never met them before this, so it’s nice that Dana made the introduction. Feel free to leave some comments with you you would answer these questions!

And because I love you here’s a treat for you:

My Old School by The Eminent Kings of Music: Steely Dan

Who is Chewbahoe Anyway?

I’ve been asked to contemplate what my favorite movie is. Truth be told, I am not one of those people who will watch movies over and over and over. That’s my husband. You might make it onto my list as a favorite even if I haven’t watched you in 5 years. I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around this one for days. Helloooo…… Favorite Movie Fairy, where are you? ZAP! *sprinkle*sprinkle* fairy*dust, and VOILA! I have different favorite movies for different occasions. [applause]

Maybe I like to laugh?

For just some good old-fashioned belly laughs there’s Sleeper by Woody Allen and This is Spinal Tap.

Or Remember High School

It’s got it all, laughter, drama, tears and romance. And Jake, who can forget Jake…. Sixteen Candles

Can you call this a Christmas movie?

For some reason this is the movie I must watch when I wrap Christmas Presents: The Wedding Date with Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney [he is so freaking HOT!] [sorry]

It’s not real sci-fi, but…

And then there’s some twisted Sci-fi: Galaxy Quest with Tim Allen or The Fifth Element with Bruce Willis. What, you were expecting Star Wars or Star Trek?

But what is your favorite movie of all time?

The more I thought about it the more I realized there’s only a few movies I love to watch all of the time, and this is one of them, The Devil Went Down to Georgia by Johnny Cash, Chewbahoe and Johnny and the Devil!:

 

This lovely post has been brought to you by our sponsors, please visit them as they are the reason for our existence. I want to thank them for this marvelous opportunity to participate in this amazing prompt known as , Finish the Sentence Friday:

Janine

Stephanie

Kate

Dawn

Egotistical, Neurotic or Depressed? How do you choose?

Adam Levine is hot. Come on. I mean maybe it’s the Jew in me that sees the Jew in him and bows down to those perfectly placed Jewish traits.  But come on, he’s hot.  So when I read the prompt for this weeks Finish the Sentence Friday, and then watched Saturday Night Live the next night, which I never do, there was my hot boyfriend hosting! What are the odds? At this serendipitous hormonal moment I immediately knew how to answer Friday’s question.

This is him laughing delightedly at something I said. Him: “Oh Jen, you are so funny!
Please stop, you’re going to ruin my set!

Then I got to thinking, you know, this guy will take his shirt off for anyone. Literally. Maybe he has a little bit of an ego problem. If I got to spend the day with ONE celebrity, would I want it to be this guy? I mean, he’s hot, but that’s not even my hand! What??!!

Would he even care what I had to say? Or would he be trying to catch his reflection in every window we walked by. If he offered, I would never say no, but only ONE celebrity, only ONE day? Sorry Adam, but if you just hadn’t claimed to have the moves like Jagger, I may have given you the benefit of the doubt. And if you’re reading this darling Adam, because, you know, it could happen. Nothing personal, I don’t really know you, but if you aren’t an egomaniac, you might want to work on your image a little.

So, I dug right down to the bottom of my soul. (Important segue: Please tell me you’ve seen A Chorus Line? Obviously you should: the songs are epic, that line reminds me of the song “Nothing”) And there he was: the one man I told my husband I might leave him for. He just gets me, you know? It’s like we are soul mates. Does the other mate need to know your soul in order to be soul mates? I mean we are only separated by ONE DEGREE, and in TWO ways! I mean come on, it’s like I know him right? Oh wait you still don’t know who I’m talking about, 

you John Cusack, you can look at me like that anytime, and I will never call you egotistical. I am pretty sure that I know you, your dry sense of humor. I believe the absence of a sign can be a sign, just like you do! I had the same conversation with myself that you did before you went to your high school reunion. “Hi. I’m, uh, I’m a pet psychiatrist. I sell couch insurance. Mm-hmm, and I – and I test-market positive thinking. I lead a weekend men’s group, we specialize in ritual killings. Yeah, you look great! God, yeah! Hi, how are you? Hi, how are you? Hi, I’m Martin Blank, you remember me? I’m not married, I don’t have any kids, but I’d blow your head off if someone paid me enough.” We have the exact same career motivations “I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.” either.

You know I get you, I mean we all need a little medication every once in a while like when you said “Look, Byron, I want to be honest with you. Before I came down from the room, I took a half a pound of Vicodin, so I’m going to be really comfortable until about late March.” and “You probably read in People Magazine that I’m on Zoloft.” We both have anger issues, like that time you “tried to walk away, but the guy just kept pushing. So you hit him in the tray with your face.” But then, John, you had to go and get all depressed on me.  You know, you and me, we’ve got something. But I don’t know, I just can’t tolerate depression in a partner, I mean there’s really only room for one, and that one, well it has to be me.  My narcissism demands it. So when you said “What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?” I knew we could never be. Come on now, don’t look at me like that
 I mean maybe I could do a day, but what if you start on that downward spiral of depression and angst… I can’t handle angst. I mean, if you could sign some sort of contract, you know a promise note? I will be funny and self-deprecating but not angry and depressed?  I’m just saying.

 

Maybe I need to think inside the box, apparently my Jewishness knows no bounds because if I have to say, “now hold on Jen, we (meaning me and the other people in my head) appreciate people for what’s on the inside (unless they’re more depressed than you), not just what’s on the outside” I guess I would have to pick Woody Allen. Yes. I would spend the day with this guy:

You know what? The voice in my head is Woody Allen. The over-thinker, the self-deprecator, the hyper-intellectual, the elitist who pretends he is not, the ironic, the paranoid, the witty, the imaginative, the over-thinker. All of those people are in my head, and their voice is Woody’s, but Woody does it so much better. It’s OK if I call you Woody, right? He is the only celebrity I would want to spend the whole day with, and you know what? I wouldn’t want to say a word, that’s how I know I’m right. I would just want to listen to him talk, well, not about politics, or his personal life, just about stuff. Tell me about stuff Woody. What is your theory about life, we only have 24 hours, so you may have to synopsize (that’s a real word, I looked it up).  I have mentioned this before, and the more I write the more I realize it is true. Woody Allen is my muse. I do not claim to emulate, imitate, or duplicate, I would never.  Truth be told, my life is a Woody Allen movie, well not “Curse of the Jade Scorpion” or “Midnight in Paris”, or “Bananas” for that matter. Well, whatever. It just is, and when I look at my family en masse, I know why the things I think are funny are funny, and I know why Woody Allen lives in my brain.

 

She has “the cancer.”

Finish the Sentence Friday

 

“I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.”

Lot’s of new and exciting changes are coming to my blog! It’s nerve-wracking for me, but exciting for you, I hope! While I am in the process of making the change, I have had to remove my youTube links 😦 So some posts might seem bare, but just wait! Bigger and better is on its way!

 

Call me introspective…blame my last post. My last post, lots of comments. Stuff. People’s stuff. My stuff. I have been wondering what my place in this universe is. Well, wait. No. What my place in this world is, yeah, not that either. What my place is in the writing blogging writing world. My dirty little secret? Not only do I love to write, but I really want to be a writer. A real writer, one with a modicum of success. Why is it a secret? I cannot tell. Oh do I lie, of course I can tell. But I want to believe that I do not know how my psyche works. I want to pretend that I am not as defeatist, as self-deprecating, as distrustful of my own abilities, as I am.  Because maybe I’m not. My sister does not possess any of those traits, yet she was raised by the same people, same place, same time.  Birth order? Nah, don’t buy it. We have no “middle”, just us, so it can go 50/50, that’s not enough for me. I mean if I am none of those things, and there is no obvious reason why I cannot be successful, then maybe I can be successful.

Things have gotten a little out of control lately. I started this blog about two years ago. Originally in the form of a personal blog/website to be an informative platform. I wanted to help people, by sharing what I knew about my son’s health issues, what I did about them, how to move on. The blog was on a lame platform, it wasn’t a “real” blog, it got ZERO traffic. That doesn’t mean I didn’t think about it. It stuck in the back of my mind, it would not come unstuck. It whispered into my ear, in the middle of the night. Angry Jen “what did you do? did you start something and not finish it again?” Healthy Jen “you started something wonderful, you should keep doing it.” Angry Jen “don’t bother, what’s the point? It’s not a real job.” Healthy Jen “this is your dream, this is what you want, writing makes you happy, do it.” Yes. I am that conflicted. No. I am not schizophrenic, because I recognize the conflict.

After a year, I couldn’t deny it any longer and I transferred the best of what I had created onto this blog. Instead of transferring posts, I condensed and edited and created informative “pages”. Then I released the muse, which in my case is a cross between Woody Allen, Christopher Moore, Jennifer Crusie and throw in any 70’s DJ worth his salt. Eclectic, I know. I started to write again, I didn’t really know how to get any traffic. I had no idea what I was doing. I linked my blog to my personal Facebook page. Most of my friends were indifferent. I blame myself. I wrote. I got very little feedback. Healthy Jen was in her element and happy to write. Angry Jen was so sure that she was failing and that this was ridiculous. The thing is, both of my personalities can operate simultaneously so I don’t actually have to make a decision. Nice, I know.

Then something did happen, sadly I can’t even remember the chain of events leading up to this, because nothing about my writing career had seemed important enough to commit to memory. Another blogger reached out to me and asked me to join her community. I felt honored, and I felt like a fraud. Guess who was who. But as I said, cancelled out, so I joined. I participated, things began to happen. People began to know I existed. I admit it, it felt good. The more I participated, the more my reach grew. The more my reach grew, the better my writing became. I needed the competition/camaraderie/practice to get better. But I still felt like a fraud. Bloggers need a niche. That’s what I’ve been told, if you are going to be a “successful” blogger you have to find your place. What? Place? I don’t think so, I don’t fit into any “category”. They won, I felt cornered. I picked parenting. Now what. Yes I am a parent, yes most of my writing moments are inspired by parenting or marriage. But not all of them. It’s not WHY I write. I write because I have things to say, they demand to be released from my brain. I have things to say and I take great pleasure in forming the right words to fit the thoughts that are coming out of my head often times faster than I can write.  Sometimes what I say is witty, sometimes it is sensitive, sometimes it is completely insensitive.  Always it is me, not my niche.

I got really ahead of myself, I got scared, I got confused about what I was doing. I was neglecting my son, neglecting my house and neglecting myself. Neglecting myself because I was only writing what I wanted to write half of the time (and not showering, but that’s nothing new). The other half of the time I was writing what I thought my niche me should write.  You know what, the percentage could even be higher (to the niche side).

I have to admit, once I feel like I have been “accepted” into a group I admire, I will do anything in my power to stay there, and continue to “earn” my acceptance. Often to the point of losing myself. I did it in real life as a kid, and I regret it to this day. It’s like Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful (somewhat obscure 80’s movie where the character of the lost soul is Eric Stoltz to our Molly Ringwald, he’s not a chick), or some after-school special.  The girl (or Eric Stoltz) is awesome, but she doesn’t know it. Someone in the “cool” world recognizes it, and the girl (or Eric Stoltz) will do anything to stay in that world. The thing is, it never works out in the end. Not ever. And the girl (or Eric Stoltz) goes back to the world where she (or he) came from, and realizes how wonderful that world was all along and how they always knew she (or he) was wonderful too. Great metaphor. Only problem? The end part is a hollywood ending. This is not Hollywood. Nope. So, instead of me going back to my world where I realize everyone already knows how awesome I am and being content with that. Jen’s real-world translation is. I stop trying to fit in with the cool kids, I write what comes in my head whether it fits a topic or not, if a topic speaks to me, great. If not, pass. I know how great I am and how cool I am. I cannot expect everyone around me in my physical reality to understand that. But I’m gonna stick with my crew. I have a feeling that someone special saw me for who I was, because the post she liked the most, was probably one of the most honest I had written up until that point.  I think she saw me. Not niche me. Healthy Jen me. I’m gonna go that way. I’m gonna stay with the people who helped me to realize the dream by quieting the angry Jen.

And because where would I be without these wonderful ladies, here is my shameless plug Lisa Nolan of Life Happens Then Write (and many other blogs) has created an amazing community of blogging women who support each other and share in each others moments, Mom’s Who Write and Blog. That is where I belong right now. So if things slow down, and you stop seeing me everywhere, that’s why. But if you want to join us, jump in!


 

See you soon! I’m gonna write, write like the wind, to be free again……….

 

And for those of you who did not get half of my references, this is for you:

Some Kind of Wonderful

Christopher Moore

Jennifer Crusie

It breaks my heart to even say this, but if you’ve NEVER seen Annie Hall, you would have trouble grasping the acute neurosis humor, behind this post so here’s a little help