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Category Archives: social anxiety

This is not my idea of a good time

Imagine you’re walking down an abandoned street in a town you’re unfamiliar with. It’s night; there are a lot of alleys off the street you’re walking down, and there are noises in the alleys that imply there are people down there. The noises sound menacing. You hear a scream off in the distance; a portentous chuckle not too far from where you’re walking. People whispering from one of the openings ahead.

What emotions are you feeling right now? What is your body urging you to do in this situation?

Most likely you’re not seeing this as an fun adventure. Your fight-or-flight has kicked in. Your startle reflex is high. You want nothing more than to be out of this place; your heartrate is up, thumping away in your ears, your nerves are jangling, you’re attuned to every little thing around you, ready to jump at the slightest noise, touch, scent.

You want out. You might walk faster to get out of here; if you’re really freaked out, you might run. If you know you’re going to have to be in this situation, in this place again, you’re going to probably avoid this street, and you’re going to go another way, or stay home altogether.

Now: imagine something so much nicer.

A party. Everyone’s wearing nice clothes; there are frosty beverages, but no one’s really over-imbibing. They’re just drinking enough that the conversation’s flowing and there’s a lot of laughter. People have gathered into small groups, two, three, four or more; everyone’s very happy, talking a lot, if there’s music playing, it’s low enough in the background that it’s not distracting. Every now and then someone’s voice spikes up over everyone else’s in a laugh or a joyous cry. Snacks on the tables, never a long wait for the bathrooms. It’s a good party. It’s a party everyone would like to be invited to.

How does this make you feel? What emotions? What’s your body telling you to do?

Calm and happy; you’re having a good time, you’re among friends, you’re relaxed and safe. This is a good place. This is something you look forward to for weeks. This is something everyone likes. When this ends, people are already talking about when and where the next one will be.

What, exactly, is wrong with someone, then, when the second scenario creates the same emotions as the first one does? (Or – and this is even better – the first scenario is LESS SCARY than the second?)

The thought of a party like this causes an increased heartrate, sweaty palms, and an upset stomach; actually having to (heavens forfend, and only if you really, really can’t avoid it) attend one means you spend the days leading up to it in an heightening state of panic, characterized by the inability to sleep, headaches, and nerve problems (such as jumping about two feet in the air when a coworker taps you on the shoulder when you’re not expecting it.) Once you’re there, you’re the person in the darkened street. You’re in fight-or-flight mode. You’re sure everything is out to get you (including yourself; everything you say/do/are is wrong, and you’re a total embarrassment to life.) If there’s a room no one’s in, you hide in it, but someone always finds you. Mostly what you do is sit very quietly, like a deer in headlights, and hope no one sees you. Or talks to you. But they always do. And usually in that pitying “oh, this poor dear, she’s so lonely and sad and pathetic” way.

This is social anxiety, kiddos. No, it’s not just “being shy” or “hating people” or “not being good at parties” or whatever. It’s social anxiety. And it sucks. Like, sincerely, sincerely sucks. Because going into a social situation is, to those of us who have this, to me, akin to going on live television naked, and the studio audience consists of my high-school nemesis/bully who is screwing my current-day crush. While they both talk about me meanly. And laugh. (DAMN, but they’re multitasky.)

Here’s one of the (many) things that sucks about social anxiety.

You are constantly having to defend yourself. Because no one believes you have it.

Yes, I have trouble going to parties, and actually haven’t been to one in years because of it. But also, yes, I am active on the internet, and can function (albeit somewhat nervously) in smaller social groups, or (even more strangely) larger groups of people I don’t know at all. And I SEEM like I’d be a lot of fun! “Amy!” people say. “You must be SO MUCH FUN TO HANG OUT WITH!”

If I know you really well, and it’s just a few of us or just the two of us – yes. I’m a barrel of friggin’ monkeys to hang out with. If we’re at a large party, I’m in a corner trying not to vomit. I am not fun. At all. I am not HAVING fun, and I am not fun to BE with. Sometimes I’m crying. Why? Because no reason at all. Fear. Nerves. Straight panic.

“Oh, well, you could be having fun if you TRIED harder!”

No. I couldn’t be. Because my brain utterly will not let me; it shuts the hell down. Or, I suppose, goes on overdrive.

“Well, maybe you just need a drink. That helps everyone.”

Yes. That helped me for years. I was a HELL of a lot of fun when I was drunk. It helped me forget I was afraid of social situations. And then I realized it was helping me right into early alcoholism, and I refused to lean on a crutch that was actually less of a “crutch” and more of a “thing I needed to both get out of bed in the morning and get back to bed at night.” The crutch became a wheelchair and the wheelchair was threatening to become either that thing they strap Lecter into when they want to take him out into public, or a coffin. Either way, probably best to walk away from that crutch before it bludgeons you into the inability to function, right? Right.

I get severe stage fright having to talk in front of groups; however, I can act in front of people with no problems in the least.

“THIS MAKES NO SENSE!”

Actually, it makes tons of sense. If you’re acting, you’re using someone else’s words. People are judging your ability to act, and that’s it. There are also (usually) other people on the stage for them to concentrate on other than you. If you get in front of a group to talk, be it to give a speech, or present something, or to read something you’ve written, or what-have-you, people are not only judging you, they’re judging what you’ve written. They’re judging a LOT of things. That’s terrifying.

When people HAVE seen me in social situations, I seem like I’m fine. I’m not rocking in a corner; there are stories floating around about having seen me at parties functioning, being friendly, funny, and fine. Therefore, I must be lying about this, and just don’t want to attend parties because I’m a terrible human being and/or a huge bitch.

Well, both items in the latter might (eh, fuck it, they sometimes are) be true, but just because you saw me being personable ONE TIME at a party doesn’t mean inside I wasn’t petrified. I’m a very good actress. I can pretend to be someone I’m not, if I have to. I can pretend I’m not petrified; I can bite back the tears (and the vomit.) I can tell entertaining stories and I can laugh and I can be engaged in what you have to say. And the minute, THE MINUTE, I wave my last wave and am all, “Oh, my, yes, we will HAVE to do this again!” and drive off, I’m a shaking mess, and no, we don’t do it again, because I was LYING to you. I was NOT having a good time. I wore the mask of someone having a good time. While you were enjoying yourself, I was working. Does that sound like fun to you? Because it wasn’t. Not even a little. I’m tired, and I want to go to bed and cry a little, ok? And why the hell would I want to put myself through that AGAIN?

I really, really thought this would get better as I got older. In a super-fun (in a not-at-all-fun way) twist of fate, it’s gotten worse. To the point that I sometimes get paralyzed at the thought of these things. I have a wedding to go to, and I just found out there’s going to be at least an hour of socializing before the food gets served.  Now, I was cool with going to the ceremony, going to the banquet hall, eating, then immediately leaving so I didn’t get sucked into the drinking/dancing/having to make small talk part of the evening. I attempted to plan ahead. It’s how I handle these things. I specifically asked if there would be downtime before the food; I was specifically told no. I assume I was misunderstood, or perhaps I misunderstood the answer.

I’m therefore leaving right after the ceremony. I’m pretty sure no one will notice. A lot of people will be there. I’ll just walk like a lady with purpose. Maybe people will think I left something in my car. It won’t matter; by the time anyone notices I’m not there the night will be in the wee hours, anyway.

I am furious about this. Not at the setup of the wedding – that’s probably how weddings work, I’ve only been to a few in my life, my friends tend to live in sin rather than make it official – but I’m furious at MYSELF. I’m furious that I can’t celebrate my friends’ special day with them like everyone else who will be there. I’m furious that I have a broken brain and I can’t make it behave for a few hours so I can make nice and go to a damn wedding reception. I’m furious that people think I’m making this up because I don’t WANT to be there. Because it can’t be an actual PROBLEM. It’s easier to just think I’m an antisocial bitch, not someone standing outside the pretty party wanting so, so badly to go in, but it’s like there’s a force field around it: one, that, if you crossed it, your entire body would rebel, and you’d start panicking, freaking out, getting physically ill.

This is an illness that takes lonely people and makes them MORE lonely. So it nicely goes hand-in-hand with depression. What are you going to become if you desperately would like to connect, but your brain just won’t let you? Well. I’d think depressed, probably.

I also hate feeling out of control, and I hate hate HATE feeling weak. And this makes me feel both of these things. What’s wrong? Oh, nothing, being around people makes me have a panic attack, like a Victorian lady swooning on the couch, is all, I’m getting the vapors, where are my smelling salts. I hate complaining to my friends; I feel like in doing so, they will run screaming for the hills because ANNOYING. Why the hell can’t Amy have a NORMAL problem? No. SHE IS SCARED OF SOCIAL GATHERINGS. Shun the nonbeliever. Shunnnnnn.

I like being the strong one. I like being the no-nonsense one. I like being the one all “I will solve that with COMMON SENSE and also a little SPIT AND WILLPOWER.”

I am quite aware I need to go to the doctor at some point and get some Xanax and maybe some therapy. The last time I attempted to do this, the therapist told me the only problem was my attitude and to get more sleep and exercise and THAT was dismissive and shitty, so I haven’t been back. I’m sure there are good therapists out there. I just have this thing where, if you fool me once, shame on you, but if you fool me twice, well, that won’t happen, because I’m long gone after the first time and you’re dead to me. So therefore, all of therapy is dead to me. I realize this is not the best way to approach life.

I’d love to give you some sort of pithy ending to this, but I don’t have one, other than this, I suppose: please, for the love of Pete, stop being a dick to people who have actual problems THAT YOU CANNOT SEE. The depressed person isn’t just “sad” and she will not just “snap out of it.” The person with social anxiety isn’t “antisocial.” YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON IN SOMEONE’S HEAD. Stop judging them. Everyone has something they’re dealing with. Either help them or get the hell out of the way, but don’t make it WORSE.

That’s all the pithy ending you’re going to get out of me. I’m tired. My body’s been on high adrenaline for days in a row. I’m like a sniper waiting for the target to step out of the treeline. AND THIS IS ALL BECAUSE OF A WEDDING. I just want to sleep for a week.

Also, I think it goes without saying that none of the rest of you can get married, or, if you do, you need to livestream that shit because it’s just way too stressful for me to attend. As it’s all about me. Me, me, me. Me, the antisocial bitch who hates everyone.

Back to watching the treeline for those damn targets. It’s exhausting, but my brain tells me we’re nowhere near done. You can’t just walk away. You never know when that wily badguy will step out of those trees. And when’s a brain ever been wrong, I ask you?

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Tell me on a Sunday, please. Or maybe a Wednesday. What day is this?

Here we are, tater tots. Wednesday! Week’s halfway done. I’m pre-writing this, as I do. So here in Amy-land, it’s a lovely Sunday. I am loafing and writing and finishing making magical packages of awesomeness to send to Germany and playing with Twitter and painting my nails and watching a LOT of bad television and nibbling on popsicles and contemplating scrubbing the tub which I hate doing, but it needs to be done (blergh) and generally spending the day as I most enjoy spending my Sundays: doing exactly what I want to do in a timeline I want to do it in. Well, except the tub-scrubbery. No one wants to do that. Do any of you want to do that? Because I’ll let you, if you want.

Yep, I totally look like this today. All fancy & shit. OH WAIT NO I DON’T.

I’m working through old shows this summer. Currently, I’m watching last summer’s shows. I’m that far behind on my television watching. So this summer, I’m watching last summer’s Pretty Little Liars, Warehouse 13, Drop Dead Diva, and Project Runway. Yes, none of these have that much merit or value. I’m aware. This makes them perfect for summer viewing. I don’t want to think too much during the summer. It’s hot, and I want to sit on the couch typing and half-watch television while I do so. These shows are perfect for that, because you really don’t have to pay a lot of attention to them. They go on just fine without you paying close attention. There are silly twists and melodrama and pretty dresses and sometimes steamy kissery. I’m very pleased with these shows for my heat-addled brain’s summer viewing pleasure. I KNOW, you’re probably all QUITE DISAPPOINTED I’m not as deep as you thought I was. Sorry. I’m really not. I like silly foolish pretty things as much as the next girl. (Also, does anyone WATCH Pretty Little Liars? What is UP with Aria’s earrings? They are HUGE! They would ruin her whole ears. Although, honestly? She is cute as a damn button, that girl. I have a little envy of her adorableness.)

Stylish, but also? HEAVY.

I have very exciting things coming up (well, one of them has passed at this point, which is one of the perils of writing so far in advance) this week. And I thought I had no plans! But now I have ALL THE PLANS! First, I am going to dinner with some theater friends. We are getting spicy Indian food. Are you so excited? I am. By the time you are reading this, it’s already happened. Hopefully I was well-behaved and didn’t totally act like a jackass, and my social anxiety didn’t ratchet up to crazy heights. Also, Dad said, “You shouldn’t eat Indian food. It will kill you. IT WILL KILL YOU.” I’m not really sure it will, since the people who live in India eat it all the time and seem to be thriving just fine, but apparently that’s another thing that Dad wouldn’t do: eat Indian food.

This looks good, right? I think so. I’m tentatively optimistic.

I just checked the menu and it has a LOT of things and now I am immediately worried that I am going to either get something I hate or look like an idiot in front of people that I don’t want to look like an idiot in front of because the few times I’ve gone out for Indian food before it was either a buffet (therefore, the choice is removed from you – you just take whatever looks yummy) or I think I just got some sort of curry and that was that. But there are a LOT of choices on this menu. THIS IS VERY DIFFICULT. Also I like these people but don’t know them very well because we’ve worked together but never socialized so I am now officially freaking out. See? See why I am not ever fit to socialize with the normal folks? Good grief. I just sent Twitter an SOS and told them to decide for me. They have to work with the constrictions that I hate onions, garlic, most vegetables, beef, and anything that strikes me as weird.

This was easily-found on the internet. I AM NOT THE ONLY PERSON WHO HATES THESE THINGS KEN.

So far I think we’ve decided I can have a glass of water and maybe some chicken if I scrape off all the sauce. And a free breath mint at the register. Maybe. Bee tee dubs, Ken’s totally despairing over my food issues today. Here, I’ll show you:

Anyway, so I’m freaking out about something that normal people wouldn’t. No, not just food. People AND food. Welcome to my head, it’s a fun place to be. This will already be old news by the time you read this so I’m sure you’ll know if I a., died of Indian-food-related death or b., made a fool out of myself. Or, c., it all went fine, which is probably what will happen. I’m thinking probably c. I always blow social shit all out of proportion.

Then then THEN, my friend N. sent me a message and a play he wrote is being performed this Friday. Well, I want to go! Because guess who was sort-of-kind-of the inspiration for the play? No, not Idi Amin. ME ME ME! I want to see the play sort-of-kind-of based on me! Also, N.’s playwriting skills are really kind of stunning. I have all kinds of envy. Not the “I HATE HIM” kind – I couldn’t be more pleased for him – but the “WHOA do I wish I could do that” kind. I tried to write plays once. I wrote three. Two were somewhat successful. One was terrible. And then I stopped writing them, because it never was something I wanted to do again. It’s not like I miss it. It just wasn’t my thing. My dialogue is stilted and I have no eye for what makes a dramatic scenario. (One was good enough to win a prize, though. And be performed! On television! I know, quite fancy. Someday I will attempt to get it switched from VHS to DVD and you can all see wee skinny 17-year-old Amy being interviewed on television. It’s a kick.)

ANYWAY, N. is wonderful at such things, and extremely talented, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing his show. I’m attempting to get out and do more things that are not in my comfort zone. It’s a thing I’m trying. I’ll report back and let you know how the experiment progresses.

Then then THEN, Sunday, I’m going to Poughkeepsie to see C. and C. and Vassar that looks like all the castles and to see a play with fancy PEOPLE in it! From the front ROW!

WELCOME TO HOGWARTS!

I know. This week really is going to be the best, right? Although I detest summer heat and humidity and grossness and such, I certainly do love doing things in the summer. There are always fun things happening. Soon there will be a trip home for The Nephew’s 3rd birthday celebration, then there will be a trip home for a long week-and-a-half where you will totally miss me because I will be OFF THE INTERWEBZ for 9 whole days (well, I’ll still have posts, I think…working on that, don’t fret, my little lemon drops) and then there is MORE bon vivanting before the closing of the year. I know! Oh, and a BIRTHDAY before the year is up, whoo-hoo! And a BOOK! And a VERY AUSPICIOUS ANNIVERSARY, which we will talk more about in a few months! I know, 2012 is really rounding out nicely. I so approve, 2012.

The rest of the week will be work work work come home WRITE WRITE WRITE slouch slouch try to read a little sleep repeat. I am trying VERY HARD to keep up with sj’s Tolkien read this summer. I can already see myself getting super-behind. My reading’s been spotty lately. This is what happens when you write every second you’re not working or sleeping (and also sometimes writing when you ARE working. Ahem. If anyone from work is reading this, THAT IS A LIE I WOULD NEVER HA.) So far I am still on-target with the reading. WHEW! Yes yes YES it just started. Shush, you.

OK. On to my next project: walking over to my mailbox and seeing if I got my final piece of the top-secret prize package, then making you all a pretty video of what’s in it, wrapping it all up, then packaging it for mailing tomorrow. I know, this is so short, Amy-wise. I have THINGS TO DO. Tub-scrubbery! Package-wrappery! This is quite a day! Yay for Sundays! That you read about on Wednesdays!


Sometimes, I guess there just aren’t enough rocks.

They keep sending me friend requests on Facebook. I got another one last night.

Every time they do, my stomach tightens. I have trouble breathing. My heart speeds up. I start to shake.

Block friend request. Block friend request. Block friend request.

Why the hell would I accept a friend request from them now? When twenty years ago, they blocked each and every attempt I made?

This post has been a long time coming. I knew it had to be written. But it’s a lot easier to be a clown than it it to be serious. It’s a lot easier to leave the mask on than it is to drop it and show what’s behind it. I was raised to not show your weakness; to hide your pain. This is like standing naked on a streetcorner for me.

I don’t even know how to begin. Or to end. Or, hell, what to put in the middle. I’m a wreck just thinking about it, to be honest. But I thought, if even one person who’s going through what I went through reads it, it’ll be worth it, right? If even one person reads it and can relate, or reads it and sees someone else struggling with it, and can help them, then it’s good that you relived it, for one night. It’s good that you dwelt back there, back where things were so dark. And I promised someone I’d write this, to explain myself. I like to keep my promises, when I can.

I told someone on Twitter recently that the people that are the funniest often have a really dark backstory, and they’ve learned humor as a coping mechanism. I think that’s true, for the most part. Are there people who are just funny, without having that well of private pain to mine from? Sure. I’m sure there are. But the ones that make me laugh the hardest seem to be the ones who understand that laughing keeps the demons at bay for a little while.

I’ve mentioned this before, here and there. But not in detail. Because it’s painful, and I try not to think about it. My parents are all for forgiving and forgetting. “Move on!” they encourage me. “They all have!”

Can’t. Not who I am. Would love to. Not capable.

I went to a very small school. Sixty people in my graduating class. We knew each other from kindergarten to senior year, with only a few new kids coming and going here and there. What got stuck to you stayed with you. Nothing disappeared. Everyone still picked on the girl who threw up in her desk in fourth grade. Everyone knew the teacher whose wife killed him when she found out he was a pedophile. Everyone talked. Everyone knew everything.

I was bullied, to the point of almost taking my own life twice, from third grade to senior year. That’s nine years, in case anyone’s counting. Nine years doesn’t seem like that long, now. I’ve lived here for nine years, and it’s flown by, for example.

But when every single day of attending school is complete and utter torture, nine years can seem like an eternity. I know this, because I lived it.

I’m not even sure, looking back, what my most heinous offense was. Being intelligent? Not having stellar social skills? Not being as attractive as the popular kids? There were other kids who fit all of these roles, but they weren’t singled out. Like I said, it’s a small school. Once the kids start, they don’t stop. They were sharks and there was blood in the water. You don’t ever have to tell me that children can be cruel. I know they can. I’ve seen it. I was there.

I was shoved into lockers on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. My books were knocked onto the floor if I dared carry them in my arms; I had to wear a backpack everywhere I went. My locker was blocked by sneering classmates if I attempted to go to it before school, between classes, or after school, so I had to either carry a full day’s books with me at all times, or get a hall pass to go to it during classes. I got gum smashed into my hair. I was invited to parties to be the brunt of elaborate pranks. I was called up at home for the same reason. I was tricked into answering questions like “who do you have a crush on?” and then the answer would be spread around the school and the boy would come up to me and laugh in my face. I was shoved down so many times that my glasses got broken and I sprained ankles and wrists from falling down stairs. I was attacked in gym class by whatever sports equipment we were using that day. I was shoved down and stood on in the aisle on the bus. There’s more. Do you need more? Because I have more.

And, wherever I went, no matter what time of day, no matter where I was going, they’d constantly catcall. “GEEEEEEEEK.”

Which is ironic, as it’s one of the things in my life I’m most proud of now.

Now, you’re wondering, why wasn’t anything done about this? How did this happen for nine years without anything being done?

It was a small town. Everyone knew everyone. The kids in charge of the harrassment? Their moms worked at the school. Their dads taught there. Their parents were well-known.

Plus – I never said a word.

My parents told me to turn the other cheek, at first. But then they got tired of me complaining about it, so they told me to be friendlier. That it was my fault; that, if I had a better attitude, it would stop, and the other kids would all want to be my friend. Because of this, I didn’t think it was ok to speak up. I thought it was shameful. I thought I was an embarrassment to them.

Years later, my father asked me why I didn’t fight back. I could only look at him in shock. I wanted to scream, “YOU NEVER GAVE ME PERMISSION!”

I love them. They were doing their best. I’ve forgiven them. They had no idea what this was doing to me, or even the extent of it all. It must be a very hard thing, to be a parent. You must often feel very helpless.

I did fight back, once. Not on purpose. I kind of lost my mind, is what happened. One of the worst kids – the one that, if I think back, I’d like to go back in time and murder, cheerfully, with my bare hands, while little Amy looks on and laughs – called my name in gym class. I reflexively looked up, and he was about three steps away from me. He threw a basketball square into my face. This smashed my glasses into my face, making them fly off onto the floor and shattering them, and also causing major cuts and bruising (because listen, glasses used to be made of GLASS.)

They were new glasses. They were, for the time period, somewhat cool. I was FURIOUS. He walked away, high-fiving his friends. I LAUNCHED myself at him, screaming. I was the kid from A Christmas Story. Nothing I said made any sense. It was just a stream of profanity laced with hysterical crying. I clawed at his face. He just stood there, half in shock, half laughing.

I ended up getting transferred out of gym class not long after that, to another gym class for the rest of high school. As far as I know, nothing happened to him. He just said it was an accident. His mom worked at the school, and he was very good at acting innocent. He’d had years of practice at that point.

Did I have friends? Yes, a couple. One of them is actually still a good friend now. Did they know it was going on? Yes. But they didn’t dare do anything about it. Because if they did, the collective eye of the popular group would turn on them, and they’d be in the crosshairs. It wasn’t worth it. I didn’t blame them then. I try not to now, either. I know how hard it was, going through what I was going through. How could I ask another person to potentially bear that cross for me? How could I ask the boy I was in love with all through high school to risk dating me, knowing he was courting social suicide? I couldn’t. We were children. We were just children, and our reputations were very important to us.

Did I function? Yes. I did. I was in clubs, I acted in shows, I went on dates, I went to church. I lived my life. I just knew, the whole time, that someone could be waiting around the corner for me, so I was very, very cautious where I stepped. I jumped at my own shadow. I was walking around shell-shocked before I even knew what the term meant.

I spiraled into a depression so deep I couldn’t see my way out of it. I don’t see how anyone couldn’t, going into a war zone, day after day after day. I had a plan to kill myself early on in high school; I chickened out at the last minute. I had a more well-thought-out plan at the beginning of senior year, and, were it not for an occurrence that I still can’t explain, one that smacks of some sort of – divine intervention? cosmic coincidence? grand plan? – I would not be here writing this today. It was minutes away. I can’t talk about that. Sorry. That one’s mine.

A way out might have been to downplay my intelligence. That seemed to be what offended them most. However, strangely enough, that never crossed my mind. Everything else under the sun did – getting a boyfriend, changing the way I looked, talked, dressed, acted, everything – but suddenly acting less intelligent never even popped up on my radar. Thankfully. Because I probably would have done it, in order to make it all stop. In order to conform. And then I wouldn’t have had my escape hatch.

College was the light at the end of the tunnel. A big college. Where I could reinvent myself. Where I could escape everyone who’d ever known me, and where no one would know me as “Geek.” Where I could be whoever I wanted, because I was starting fresh.

No one told me that even when you start fresh, your demons come with you. I was a child, still. I didn’t know.

I graduated valedictorian. And in my speech, I actually addressed them, as far as I was able, by telling them their glory days were behind them and it was all downhill from there, for the majority of them. They laughed at me. As they’d been doing for most of my life.

So I squished that lonely, lost, afraid girl down as far as she’d go and I went far, far away. I didn’t talk about high school. I was a new person.

And, much to my surprise? I made friends. ACTUAL friends. Who wanted to spend time with me. Who did kind things for me without expecting anything in return. I didn’t know what to make of this. I wasn’t mentally capable of wrapping my mind around anything like this. I stopped going to classes because my lessons were in making friends. The lessons everyone else learned in elementary and junior high and high school? I had to learn them in college. I was playing catch up. I almost flunked out because I wasn’t doing what I was there to do. But this seemed important, too. This seemed like an important job, one that I was behind on.

It took me a while to realize that most of the time, when people laugh, they are laughing WITH you, not AT you. I started craving that like an addict. I honed humor like a knife. I wielded it like the same. It became my thing. I was the funny one. I liked that; it gave me a purpose, it gave me an identity. I didn’t realize until years later I was funny because it was helping me deal with the fact that there was still a very injured little girl inside of me and I’d never dealt with her. I’d just hidden her away, like a dirty secret. I didn’t tell anyone about her. I closed her in a very dark room and told her to be very quiet, in case anyone were to notice her.

I also thought I made these new friends because I was someone else. Because that girl wasn’t good enough. Because I was very young, and because I didn’t know better, and because I didn’t hear her screaming, even though I told her to be still.

It took almost twenty years for me to look in the mirror and not number the flaws and hate what I saw there; almost twenty years for me to look in a mirror and not see myself through the children’s eyes who tormented me. I can finally see myself through my own eyes, and while I don’t always like what I see, at least I see it clearly.

I’ve not forgiven them for what they did to me. Will I? I don’t know. I find it ironic they keep sending me friend requests on Facebook. Maybe they’re sending them ironically and want to see what I’m up to so they can gossip. Maybe they’re honestly wanting to be friends. Maybe – and, somehow, this is the most painful option of all? – maybe they’ve forgotten what they did altogether. Maybe those nine years of torture to me were nothing to them. Maybe they meant nothing. Maybe I meant nothing. Maybe they saw it as childish pranksterism, nothing more than a good laugh.

I don’t go to class reunions. When I go home to visit, I don’t like to leave the house, since most of them still live in town and I don’t want to risk running into them. I keep in touch with a handful of people from my graduating class, a very select few who have grown into adults that I want in my life. I try to remember that the children that tormented that sad, lonely little girl then are adults now; that they’ve lived a long lifetime, and they’ve probably changed. I try to tell myself I could benefit from forgiving. That this would be a burden best left at the roadside. That I’d be lighter, were I to leave it behind.

I can’t do that. I don’t know if I will ever be able to.

I identify so deeply with children who commit suicide due to bullying that I find myself weeping over the news reports. I hear about a school shooting and I immediately think, “What did the other children do to the shooter?” rather than, as a normal person might, “what was wrong with the shooter?”

What’s the solution? Well, bullying is taken much more seriously now than it was back when I was experiencing it. It’s not ignored anymore. Officials can’t afford to ignore it; school shootings and suicide rates are up and it’s also just plain bad PR. I don’t know if the programs to stop bullying are helping. They probably aren’t hurting, put it that way.

I know others out there had it as bad as I did. I know others had it worse. I know what I went through probably seems small and petty, maybe even to some of you reading this. And, that’s fine. Because the last thing I want – the absolute last thing – is your pity. That’s not why I’m writing this.

I’m writing this because it needs to be written. I’m writing this because someone I respect a great deal mentioned that I was being a bully toward someone a while ago, possibly halfway in jest, and I immediately froze up, thinking, has it come to this? Have I become those children? Have I done to someone else what they did to me? And when I reacted strongly, and he was surprised, I couldn’t imagine why he was surprised. Then I thought, oh. Because you haven’t told anyone this. Because, for all of your oversharing, this isn’t something you’ve told. Because you’re still ashamed of it. Of course he’s surprised. I promised him I’d write this, and like I said, I like to be the kind of person who keeps promises, when she can. I’m writing this to get it off my chest. I’m writing this because maybe a parent has a child who’s going through this and is at a loss as to what to do. I’m writing this because it’s my way, like Jenny in Forrest Gump, of throwing rocks at the house where my tormentors lived – futile, but a move toward healing, nonetheless. I’m writing this because, as I mentioned, maybe someone going through a similar thing will read it and recognize themselves.

If that’s the case: it does get better. I know, what a cliche, right? But it does. It doesn’t seem like it will, but it does. You can cast off who you are like an ill-fitting suit of clothes, if you like, and step into a new skin. Or, even better, you can find your people. They’re out there. They’re waiting for you to find them. You just have to get through the storm in order to do so. And the storm is bad. I’m not going to lie to you about that. But don’t end things completely. Don’t do that. Please. Whatever you do. There’s help, and there’s hope, and your people are waiting, and there’s going to be a you-sized absence, if you’re gone. One that they don’t even know about, but one that they feel. Please know that little tiny thing you see way off in the distance is the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s being held by the future-you and your people, and keep working as hard as you can, and do anything you need to, to get there.

Most of all, I’m writing this to give a voice to that little girl I had to keep locked in a dark room for so long. I let her out, finally, about a year ago. I could finally let her out. And you’ve can’t imagine anything so freeing. I’m not all the way there. I don’t know if I ever will be. I hear locker doors slam and I have a PTSD reaction. I hear people laughing when I enter a room and my first, immediate thought is that they’re laughing at me behind my back. I still suffer from depression. It’s crippling, at times. I don’t want to get out of bed, I don’t want to talk to anyone, I don’t want to move. Yes. I’ll always be damaged.

But I’m not broken. I take pride in that. I came through the fire and I got burned and I carry the scars, but what really matters is, I came through the damn fire. And I did it all on my own. I’ve found my people along the way, but the person who made it through those flames is the person writing this.

So yes: I have poor social skills and hate large social situations where I am expected to socialize as I am always, in the back of my mind, expecting there to be another shoe to drop, the joke to be on me, no escape route. I cry easily. I wake up on a regular basis from high-school nightmares. I am sometimes so filled with misplaced anger it spills over onto those I love the most. I try to get as much joy as I can out of every single minute of my life, because I know how fleeting and ephemeral joy can be, and I have lost years of it to make up for. I am so shocked when someone wants to be friends with me that I immediately mistrust them. I hide behind a variety of masks, almost all of the time; I only really drop them when I trust you completely, and since I almost never trust anyone completely, I’m almost always wearing some sort of mask. When someone does something nice for me I’m moved beyond what’s rational because it doesn’t happen often and I don’t know how to react when it does. I have made some colossally bad judgment calls over the years, some of which have screwed me over so royally I’m still reeling from them. I’m damaged. I’m banged up and bruised up and my corners are all bent and spindled and I’m missing some pages and there are some things I just won’t talk about and there are some things I just won’t do. Yes. I’m damaged. But we all are, in our own ways, aren’t we? It’s what makes us unique. It’s what makes us.

I didn’t write this for your pity, because I don’t need it. As damaged as I am, I’m not broken.

And even if I am?

Sometimes things that have been broken come back stronger than you’ll ever imagine.


For an imaginary person, she totally seemed realistic. NICE JOB GOVERNMENT.

Happy Saturday! I SAID HAPPY SATURDAY. This is totally the time when you cheer or whoo-hoo or whatever it is you do to get pumped. Oh, fine, I’ll forgo the mandatory cheering. I mean, we don’t work at Walmart. We don’t have to do our team cheer. Shit, I don’t know your life, maybe some of you work at Walmart. I MEAN NO DISRESPECT TO YOU WALMART EMPLOYEES. You have a totally difficult job, that place must be the worst. SPEAKING OF WHICH. My dad used to work at Walmart? Right after he retired? Until he realized it was sucking out his soul through his pores to keep going to work there? And he had to participate in those? Only, well, he’s MY dad, and imagine how I’d respond to a group cheer, and then think about heredity, and you can imagine that totally went over like a lead balloon. He used to stand way off to the side, and when it came time to cheer or whatever they did, he’d stand behind a display so they wouldn’t see he wasn’t participating. I KNOW. Totally nefarious. I approve WHOLEHEARTEDLY.

OK, so as I’m sure the savvy among you have guessed (which, let’s just say it, that’s all of you, I don’t even have any non-savvy readers, I ONLY ATTRACT THE CREAM, BABY) (that totally sounded filthy-dirty, right? I didn’t mean cream like “cream your jeans” or something. I meant like the cream rises to the top. Man, but your minds are just the naughtiest!) I’m writing this Friday night for Saturday publication because I’m working all day Saturday with no internet access then I’m off to see Bebe Newirth and then, well, I’m going to get drunk and fall asleep, so really that doesn’t leave a lot of time for blogging. I know. I LOVE YOU ALL THAT MUCH. I’m totally giving you my Friday night. What’s that? What else was I going to do with it anyway? LISTEN SLAPPY. I could have done a LOT of things with it. Television shows to be watched, tweets to be tweeted, um…dishes to be…washed…FINE THIS WAS A REALLY GOOD OPTION.

I was going to do random-crap Saturday, but as I started writing I realized I totally had enough to say to make this a WHOLE POST. I really have a lot of words in my head. It’s a constant wonder to me that they don’t just run out.

So Friday, I had a very exciting thing happen. A VERY EXCITING THING! I know, right, you probably are thinking, “Pshaw, Amy lives like this totally exciting life, exciting things happen to her ALL THE TIME,” and, well, you’d be right, I mean, I can’t deny how rip-roaring outrageous it is being a very well-known blogger and all with the notoriety and such. I mean, just IMAGINE the exciting nights spent on the couch with my cat! Or PONDER the evenings where I’m tussling with my ancient computer trying to get it to work! IT IS MAGICAL.

Anyway! ANYWAY. So Friday, I was at the library. Speaking of which, I’m totally reading like a sloth lately. I’ve been stuck on the same book for like a MONTH. I am not even EXAGGERATING. And also reading all those horrible plays I mentioned earlier in the week. But the book I’m reading is very long and sometimes good but sometimes I just want to find the author and say, “YOU COULD HAVE CUT LIKE 500 PAGES DUDE” but I want to see what happens so yeah, A MONTH. And I’m like halfway through, I’m not even kidding. There goes my resolution to read more in 2012. But I keep reserving and taking books out of the library. Because someday I’ll finish this book. Right? I will, right? And in the meantime, those books just sit on my shelf. MOCKING ME. With their much-better book faces. DAMN YOU LONG BOOK. Although there was a somewhat-steamy scene with my favorite character today (whew, FINALLY, I love my taciturn Russian spy the most) so it might be looking up. Maybe.

And I checked into the library on Foursquare, because a., I’m totally affected and I think you all want to know what I’m doing like every second of every day because I’m JUST THAT INTERESTING and I know it’s going to either get me killed by a psychokiller or my house robbed one of these days but I JUST CAN’T STOP and b., I’m the frigging MAYOR of the library, I can’t just stop checking IN, who does that? I mean, I can’t lose my library mayorship. I’m the most proud of that. It’s like, you know how you people with children feel about your kids? That’s how I feel about my library mayorship. What? That’s sad and pathetic? SHUT IT JUDGEY. I won’t even tell you if I was being sarcastic about my mayorship equalling your children. I won’t even give you the SATISFACTION.

And then – THEN – (I know, you’re all, um, I was promised something exciting was going to happen? And so far…this kind of blows?) @RozinCP tweeted me that she was RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the library. Right next door! Well! That’s exciting, and look, see how handy Foursquare is, you Foursquare haters? How could she have done that if I hadn’t checked in? SHE COULDN’T SO SUCK IT. So I thought, that’s nice, and hey, listen, I love Roz.

OH! Side note. I totally love Roz? Because she is seriously the most positive person on Twitter. No, I’m totally serious. But not in that annoying, “ZOMG I saw a DOUBLE RAINBOW you guys I wish you were all here so I could give you DOUBLE HUGZZZ!” way, which makes me want to stab you with a protractor. No no no. She’s INTELLIGENT positive. She is supportive toward the people she follows; she is very intelligent; she reads and comments (beautifully, humorously, and grammatically!) on people’s blogs; and she’s just a joy. And listen, you know I hate like, oh, I don’t know, everyone, right? So this is totally a huge endorsement. Also, she approves of my wine addiction and sent me a song on John Lennon’s birthday because she knew I would love it. So if you’re a Twitter person, you should totally follow Roz. She’s the bomb.

So I thought, isn’t that nice, look, Roz is right next door! And I told her we should have lunch, because Roz is one of the Twitter people that I would like to meet in person. I mean, listen, there are Twitter people that should STAY on Twitter, like, ALL THE WAY OVER THERE PLEASE THANKS, then there are Twitter people that should become real life people? And Roz is the latter.

Oh, and also, I’ve mentioned this, but my dad’s convinced all the internet people are imaginary. I’m not sure if he thinks they’re all figments of MY imagination, or if some shadowy government agency has made them all up and is tweeting and texting and blog-commenting and such as them or what, but he’s always saying how you all aren’t real. So you know, there’s that to consider. AND there’s how my brother said you all had one hand.

But back to it! NO! Roz is CUNNING! She CAME TO THE LIBRARY TO MEET ME!

So first I was a little scared, no, not of Roz, but because I’m kind of a weirdo and was afraid I would scare poor Roz, and also I have ALL THE SOCIAL ANXIETY OMGWTFBBQ, and then I thought, NO AMY YOU ARE AWESOME, so that was totally my pep talk. Listen, I’ll give you a pep talk for free if you need one, you know, if we’re friends. I’m very good at them. I cuss a lot in them, though. Just a warning.

She said she was going in and she was wearing a red coat and a red hat and so I ran out of my car and there was Roz! Ta da ta daaaa! I may or may not have scared her by saying, “RED COAT!” loudly as if I had Tourette’s but we moved past that. She’s very gracious. And we had a lovely but all-too-brief conversation in the lobby of the library (because I had to go back to work…grumble) and probably that was asshatty because I think you’re supposed to be quiet there. I mean, Roz was quiet. Well, that sounds weird. She wasn’t a low-talker. She was a NORMAL talker. I wasn’t quiet, though. I’m totally hyper. You know that, right? I have this one friend that is always shushing me. It’s like a knee-jerk response with her. Even when I’m not being loud. She’ll just go “shhh” when I start talking, like pre-emptively shush me. At first this annoyed me, then I realized, it was done with LOVE. Love for my loudness! Because for all the times she’s shushed me, I’ve never once toned it down. Yet we’re still friends! That’s love, people.

So! I met a real life internet person! And we had a nice chat and she is SO NICE, you guys! She wasn’t even a psychokiller even a LITTLE bit! She was just as nice in person as she is on the internet! I know, that never happens. This might be unprecedented. And listen, I gave her two hugs. TWO HUGS! So that kind of made me like the double-rainbow-hug-asshole above but I was so excited to meet a possibly-imaginary internet person that my default setting was “hug,” apparently. ALL THE HUGS. AND! Listen, Dad! SHE WASN’T IMAGINARY.

Also, when I talked to my dad about this tonight, here was our conversation:

Me: So, I met a Twitter person today. In real LIFE.
Dad: On purpose?
Me: Um…not by accident, how weird would that be? Yes. On purpose.
Dad: Were they a killer?
Me: Well, I can’t speak for everyone she’s ever met, but I’m obviously still alive.
Dad: You can’t just go meet internet people. They’ll murder you.
Me: I didn’t just go MEET her. We happened to be in the same place at the same time. And she wasn’t a killer. AND she wasn’t even imaginary.
Dad: Oh, I don’t know. The government can make you see what they want you to see.
Me: What does that even mean?
Dad: Shh. I think I’ve said too much.

I also totally told Roz I was going to blog about her and she said that was cool with her. So hi, Roz! And thank you for meeting me! I hope I wasn’t too scary! And my hair wasn’t too insane! And my eyes weren’t too crazy! But even if they were, thank you for not being scared of me in person!

Now I KNOW you are all totally jealous and want to meet me in person? And that’s so nice! But you cannot. Because I am a recluse. Yes, like a recluse spider. Only less eight-legged. I mean, local people, you can totally meet me if you come to my theater? For Rumors? Starting February 10th? At Albany Civic Theater? Because I will be stage managing and running the lights and the sound and if you come to my show I will TOTALLY give you AT LEAST two hugs because patrons of the arts deserve at least two hugs. NO NOT YOU DING DONG JOE. You’d just be there FOR the hugs, and listen, that’s totally creeptastic. You get ZERO hugs. And also maybe a restraining order. But the rest of you? Hug city. And you far-away people? Aw, sad pandas. If it makes you feel any better, I promise I’m totally exhausting after like half an hour and you’d wish you never met me at all because it’s like carrying on a conversation with a hamster with ADD. I mean, I SEEM awesome at first, like, oh, OK, here, it’s like, you know when you’re totally wanting something like mozzarella sticks and then you think about them and think about them and THINK about them and then you’re all “I WILL DIE IF I DON’T GET MOZZARELLA STICKS” so then you GORGE on mozzarella sticks and then you’re totally disgusted because they’re kind of greasy and you wonder what you were thinking to begin with? Yeah, I’m kind of like a mozzarella stick? I seem like a great idea at the time, and I can TOTALLY be delicious. Only in teeny, tiny doses. Also, I’m better with some spicy marinara.

Anyway, ROZ! Thank you for making my Friday a happy one and for making my first real life ZOMG Twitter meetup a total success whoo-hoo!

Happiest of weekends to you all! Oh, and remember! Not all the internet people are as awesome and normal and non-killery as Roz? SO USE CAUTION MY LITTLE HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS. I don’t want anyone psychokilled and their last words to be “But Amy at Lucy’s Football said meeting internet people was AWESOME so I met SirHumpsaLot in the abandoned parking lot where the Blockbuster used to be…cough…cough…ugh” because I would feel HORRIBLE. So be careful. Rule of thumb? Bring a weapon, unless you’re meeting Roz, or one of my friends, because, other than a few shady characters (contact me privately, I’ll totally give you a list of the assholes) my friends are TOP-NOTCH.

SMOOCHES. Happy day to you all!


Slam, Bam, Thank You, Ma’am

I did a VERY IMPORTANT and VERY SCARY thing yesterday. You’re all going to be super-proud. Ready? I don’t think you are, because the magnitude is going to BLOW YOU AWAY. 

I totally left my house AND WENT SOMEWHERE. 

I know! Right now, you’re just about picking yourself up from the floor in shock. It is ok! Do not fret, little one! All is well! 

Here’s the thing. I don’t like people? As mentioned over and over again? Or being places where there are people? Or going places on my own? Or leaving my house when there is awesome television to be watched, or even when there is crappy television to be watched? But sometimes something exciting and fun presents itself, and how can you not go to such a thing? 

I used to drag my roommate to these things with me, but she’s moved onto greener pastures, and by greener pastures I of course mean she moved to another town so she could live with her boyfriend. Isn’t that the total definition of greener pastures? Well, I guess not if you’re a cow. Then the definition would be an actual LITERAL greener pasture, with, oh, I don’t know, tastier clover, or something, or views of more attractive girl-cows, maybe doing sexy cow car washes in sexy cow bikinis or something. 

But since she’s left, it’s not as easy to go to events that might be nervous-making. Definition: events where I will know no one, I am not sure of the exits, I am not familiar with the venue, I am not sure of how large the crowd will be, and have the potential for awkwardness or embarrassing moments like the time I went to a fancy movie theater in New York City and thought I was pulling off pretending to be a fancy person until I totally walked into a windowpane of very clear glass because I thought it was an exit WITH MY FACE and then my cover was blown. 

Events that I am comfortable with going to alone: movies, plays, book readings or lectures in venues I have been to before, some concerts (ones with actual seats are more comfortable than ones where you stand), malls (although I am never really comfortable in a mall because malls suck), various shopping venues. 

Events I am not comfortable going to: pretty much everything else where I could use a wingman. 

Now, a long-distance friend told me that the smart solution to this would be to call one of my friends and ask them if they wanted to come with me. Well, yes, wouldn’t that be an easy fix! Except, no. Because then they’ll want to hang out AGAIN (I’m not just saying this because I’m totally irresistible as an event buddy, even though I am, but I know this from experience) and then they start getting very hurt when I turn them down a million times, because I will do that, because I AM TOTALLY ANTISOCIAL. I have a list of things I do every month. I very seldom vary from this list. I am very busy; I am also very anal about sticking to my schedule. (WHAT? I don’t know why you wouldn’t think I’m a lot of fun to hang out with because I TOTALLY AM. I don’t know why, either. Even I’M annoyed with me. Yet I go out with someone, and they start sending me messages about wanting to hang out again. I assume because they had such a good time? So I’m apparently super-fun!) So if I ask someone to go to something with me, I play the whole situation out to the endgame, like we’re playing a little game of chess, and I see it ending badly with them thinking, “AMY HATES ME” which I totally don’t, I just wanted to hang out and do something ONE TIME, so I don’t want to open up a can of worms where the worms are just going to get all over everything and get that sticky worm goo all over your best tablecloth. 

When I was in college, I had this adorable friend who was my culture buddy. His phrasing, not mine. We did not talk much otherwise, but when we found something cool to do in the community but thought it would be weird to go to alone, we would call each other up (back in the days of yore before texting) and we’d go together and have a nice time with no pressure whatsoever to do it again until the next fun opportunity presented itself. I LIKED THAT. I want that. 

Anyway! Back to the task at hand. So last month, Albany Poets announced they were starting a bi-monthly poetry slam at a local club. THIS IS VERY EXCITING. I love poetry. We discussed this. And I’ve been to poetry slams in the past, and loved them. My friend Mer, who I miss like fire, and I went a few times, and we had the best time. However! I don’t know anyone at these events. Well, not 100% true. I met a couple people in the local poetry scene about 6 years ago, briefly, when one of my poems was accepted in a local poetry magazine and I was invited to read it, and some of my other work, at the same club. Do you know what I remember about that night? Pretty much nothing. I was in a total and complete state of terror. I am in such awe of people that can read their own work in front of people and don’t look like they’re about to vomit up their own gallbladder. PEOPLE ARE JUDGING SOMETHING YOU DID AND LOOKING AT YOU AND THIS IS THE SCARIEST THING EVER. Yes, I know I can act and I write on here every day and I’m all over the Twitters and such, whatever, there’s a degree of anonymity there that’s not present when  you’re reading your poetry in front of people. You’re pretty much saying, “Here, I wrote this, and it’s my heart? On the page? So please don’t shit on it, or squash it, because that might kill me?” It takes a level of bravery that I am just not in possession of. 

So if they DID remember me, I’m pretty sure that’s what they would remember. The squeaky-voiced mouse who was shaking and a definite green color because OMG PEOPLE ARE LOOKING AT ME I’M GOING TO DIE NOW. 

(The poems rocked, though. I was, and remain, totally proud of them. And the audience was actually very nice. So thank you, audience from 6 years ago, for not shitting all over my heart.) 

Inner monologue yesterday: “Want to go to the poetry slam. BUT I WON’T KNOW ANYONE. So? It will be fun and you need to get out of the house. BUT WHAT IF IT’S AWKWARD. Then you won’t go back again! You need to start doing things that are outside of your comfort zone, delicate flower, because you know what? You won’t break. I’M GOING TO MAKE THAT WEIRD SMALL-TALK WHERE PEOPLE THINK I’VE BEEN RAISED BY WOLVES. You are the weirdest human being in the world, you are aware of this, right? NERVOUS-MAKING NERVOUS-MAKING NERVOUS-MAKING.” 

Yeah, I totally went. Who’s a badass who faced her inner demons and won? Well, not really me, THERE ARE JUST TOO MANY OF THEM, but I talked myself into going into a situation I wasn’t comfortable with so that’s a total win on the scoreboard of my life in my book. 

And you know what? I had a kickass time. Yeah, take THAT, inner doom and gloom voice! 

I got to judge the poetry slam, first off, which you would know if you followed me on Twitter because I totally geeked out when that happened. Alright, pretty much anyone that said yes got to, THAT IS NOT THE POINT. Judging! With a clipboard and a marker! Which is kind of like voting? And you know how much I love voting. I love voting more than almost anything. I wanted them to give me one of those old-fashioned voting machines when they phased them out (which was just about the saddest event ever) so I could put it on my porch and vote on things like “what’s for dinner?” and “what television program should I watch now?” Honestly, if it were a choice between voting and sex? Sorry, fellas. Voting. Judging was only uncomfortable when I had to judge the person sitting in my row, because do you judge them based on their proximity to your seat and the potential that they might totally punch you and/or follow you to your car and kneecap you or something? Or do you judge them based on their poem? (I went with the poem. Because I am a very good judge. Also, I think I might have taken it a bit more seriously than I should have, because I am an anal weirdo. Along those lines, if you want me to judge anything for you, like a pie-eating contest or a horse race or a game of penny can, I AM YOUR WOMAN. I have tasted the power AND I LIKED IT.) 

The poetry was excellent, the people running it were very nice and funny and intelligent and not-at-all nervous making (and asked the address of my blog, which I apologized while telling them, because they can actually write? And I…um…do this? Talk about whores and things that make me stabby and make pie charts about, well, whores and things that make me stabby? So, hi, actual real-life writers who I am NOT AT ALL DAUNTED BY IN THE LEAST WHO SEEMED VERY NICE. Please know that I DO know multi-syllabic words and CAN use grown-up sentence structure and KNOW how not to make every sentence a run-on. IT IS JUST NOT AS MUCH FUN.)  

So, I left the house, successfully, and had a very enjoyable time, and didn’t have a nervous breakdown and need to rock in my seat and go to my happy place. FINE, I’ve never actually DONE that, except for in my head.  

I’m completely going back next month when I have a Tuesday free. But now that I’ve judged, I don’t know that I can go back to being a commoner. THE POWER. THE POWER. 

(Congratulations to everyone who won, and especially to Rain Dan, who walked away with top honors – just a beautiful, beautiful writer. Metaphors you would DIE for, seriously. So gorgeous. I’m not in the least bit jealous of talent like that. Nope! Not me! I’M NOT STOP ASKING LEAVE ME ALONE.)


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