life

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!

Truth is stranger than fiction!

I’d call it stealing if I hadn’t received permission, but would’ve done it regardless because it’s brilliant and ridiculous fun! In honor of Aussa over at Hacker, Ninja, Hooker, Spy, I bring you my own truth/lie post:

Five of the following facts about me are the truth. One is NOT. Can you guess which one is the lie? (Friends of mine who read my blog….no cheating!)

1. I once won $1,000 with a scratch off lottery ticket.
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2. I’ve been sky diving.

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Like this. But with screaming and vomit

3. I was expelled from High School my Senior year.

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I was probably headed here

4. I graduated college Cum Laude.

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Turns out I DO have a brain!

5. I had my first cigarette at the age of eight.

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got a light?

6. I once had my tongue pierced

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cuz I always make awesome decisions

That’s it, folks! Can you guess the fib? Do you have any truths that are stranger than fiction? Can’t wait to hear your guesses!

We Interrupt This Broadcast — Leroy, WTF?

If you’re a follower to my blog, you might be asking yourself right now, WTF? Am I on the right site? Rest easy. I just changed themes. I got blog envy and decided to spruce things up a bit. I know, risky move, but I’m a young blog so I figured better now than later, right? This is THE ONE though. I won’t switch things up on ya again. Welcome to my new home. Settle in. Take your shoes off. Of course you can put your feet on the coffee table. Here’s a cheese plate. Wine? Certainly. Red okay?

Now back to our regularly scheduled program…

I was thinking the other day how cars fit our personalities. Not everyone’s I guess, but most people’s. Some choices are purely practical and based on needs. Others pick cars based on how they picture themselves, e.g. rugged and outdoorsy, or efficient, or sporty. Some are chosen based on how you want to be perceived. You pick your color, interior, engine size, 2wd/4wd, SUV, Sedan, hybrid, foreign, domestic, new, used…we all have our fit. And more importantly, they almost all have names.

The first car I ever drove was a purple VW Bug. It had sparkles in the paint and a moon roof. It was FREAKIN’ AWESOME. It was technically my dad’s car – on loan to him through the dealership he worked at or something like that, so I only drove it for about four months during my senior year of HS, but DANG it was cool. I named it Beethoven because I was a nerd and loved classical music it deserved a bad-ass name.

After HS, I borrowed $1,000 from my Grandma and bought a used, yellow VW rabbit named Wolfgang. I drove that car into the ground – until it had to be towed away about three years later. There were a handful of junkers in my twenties that got me from class to class, and waitress job to waitress job, but they’re hardly worth mentioning. A mirror of the state of my life at the time. Then I met this cute guy who liked to take me to hockey games and tolerated my eight three cats. Not long into our relationship I acquired a red Jeep Cherokee named, aptly, Redman – this name chosen for the Redman tobacco my Grandpa used to chew.

Then I graduated college and married that cute guy. The first car I got to buy NEW and pick out all on my own was a silver 4-runner. I liked it because it reminded me of an elephant. Even the side view mirrors were huge like ears. I named it Modoc after, well, Modoc: The true story of the greatest elephant that ever lived, by Ralph Helfer. Over the years (and two kids) Modoc got handed down to my hubs and now I’m driving a black Sequoya that he picked out. Even though I didn’t choose it, I knew the Universe assigned it to me when I saw the license plate. Hand to God, the last three letters are WTF. What are the odds? How perfect is that? This SUV is big, mean, and named Leroy Brown, after the Jim Croce song of the same name. Why? Because he’s the baddest man in the whole damn town; badder than old King Kong, meaner than a junkyard dog.

What is your car? What was your thought process buying it? How is it like you, or not like you? Most important: what is its name?? I LOVE hearing from you!

What came first…

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I have anxiety. Or I should say I had it. Or, I have it but I’ve overcome a lot of it, and what I haven’t overcome, I’ve learned to deal with. Did that make any sense?

I’ve had it since I was little. I have distinct memories going back to the age of seven…but I never told a soul. I didn’t know what I had, didn’t even know it was something to tell someone. So I went through life and figured out my own little strategies to get through it (or avoid situations that triggered it altogether).

In my late twenties, I finally got a clue what I had been suffering with. It had a name. It was a thing. I couldn’t believe it. As I learned about anxiety, it explained so much about why I was the way I was. Puzzle pieces began to click. And I began to kick its ass. Don’t get me wrong, this was not a swift ass-beating. It took y-e-a-r-s.

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Lots of people have anxiety of all varieties. Some a lot worse than me, and I’m so thankful that I have come so far and conquered so much. I feel triumphant that I don’t have to medicate to fly anymore, or that I can slow a runaway heartbeat when my anxiety is triggered – and it does still get triggered. But, I’m in control and that’s an incredible feeling.

(case & point: It took me 3 days to publish this post. Turns out it’s quite a naked – not in a good way – feeling to reveal a vulnerability. But I’ve learned that the scariest things I face are almost always the most rewarding, so I grew a pair and did it.)

However, my struggles with anxiety are not entirely what this post is about. It’s about how it has helped me be a more effective writer. Yes, that’s right. My anxiety helps my writing.

How, you ask? It’s called imagination. Basically, part of anxiety is the “what ifs.” If you have anxiety you know exactly what I’m referring to. You worry about every bad thing that could happen in any given situation. But you don’t just worry about it; you picture it so vividly that your body reacts as if it’s actually happening. The bitch with anxiety is that you’re reacting to panic, fear…terror. Not pleasant feelings to be coursing through you with the intent and ferocity of a runaway train.

It’s a genuine physiological response to imagined stimuli. One that comes so naturally to me after all these years, I can do it at will. But not just with fear.

As a writer, if I want to convey the passion of a kiss; the terror of being chased by a killer; the thrill of being that killer on the chase; the fury of betrayal, or the heartbreak of loss…I put myself there. Really there. Enough to have the goosebumps. The tears. The pounding heart.

You might argue most good storytellers can do this. I would agree with you. So following that line of logic, maybe this is a gift inherent to writers, and perhaps my ability to make my mind think I’m in a situation – enough to feel it; taste it; smell it – is the reason for the anxiety. I don’t know. It’s the ole chicken and egg scenario. It doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that I found a silver lining in an otherwise shitty thing, and that’s awesome.

Did you find a silver lining in anxiety, or something else shitty?