November 4

Why You Should Hug a Writer and Then Run Like Hell

to-hell

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and pondering life lately, and my moods have been… well let’s just say a little bit over the top extreme. Only the people really, really close to me would know this – it’s not something I would ever publicly broadcast, or anything silly like that…

Usually, I am able to associate my over driven emotional tendencies to being a being a female – which should be explanation enough.

MoodsLately, however, it’s been a bit hard to handle.  I’ve always been a chick – as far as I know – some of the early 20’s years are a bit blurry. Either way, I should be used to it by now. (But trust me, men, you really never do get used to having a dagger driven through your guts every few weeks and the hormonal aftermath it leaves in its wake – and don’t tell me that you have to deal with it, too – because you have NO IDEA).

Regardless, because I am a woman – I need to know everything. EVERY FREAKIN’ THING.  My ups and downs lately have been a little bit more than hormones … they’ve also been in part to my spiritual wandering to find out why the hell I am here. These ‘character glitches’ I am noticing have been rearing their ugly head a bit more clearly as I find myself on another personal quest that caught me off guard and hit me harder than that chick in high school with a jealousy problem.

For that reason, I am trying to come to terms – and embrace – some of my… ummm, let’s just call them ‘eccentricities’. .

In the midst of my self exploration, I  forgot to look at my self as being a ‘creative type’… which comes with a laundry list of interesting ‘traits’. Although this may not be reason enough – at least it can be partially attributed.

Yeah… totally… that’s totally it. Riiiight.

I think.

Combine that with being a lost soul trying to break free of the shackles of society, ovaries, a rather dry love life, and full moons – and what you have is complete and utter inner chaos.

It was right around the time I started tapping into my spiritual essence that I began writing more frequently. You see, writing is one of those ‘things’ that has been with me since early childhood – when my Mother taught me to read and write before I started kindergarten. I didn’t like to speak a whole lot and I often found solace using words – in written form.

What a treat it was to skip out on learning the alphabet and read Nancy Drew novels instead. How about them Hardy Boys?! I wonder if they are single. Also, I did not mind hanging out in the teachers’ lounge washing dishes during spelling class. What kid didn’t want to chum with the grownups in a cigarette smoke infested staff room? Way. Too. Cool.

This immediately separated me from the other kids. Who the hell is this 5 year old reading novels and trying to impress us with her short stories at show and tell? She gets to skip class, again?! Wtf.

What a nerd.

Therefore, I suppressed my ability to write for most of my life. It was apparently a talent I had – according to other people – never myself. Most writers never actually think they are any good at their own skill. So, I would deny it. Over and over again. In fact, I still do.

It doesn’t help that I just read Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 tips for great writers and I fail at all of them. Every goddamn one.

I can’t really call myself a legit ‘polished’ writer –  I don’t exactly make a living off of it, I don’t follow the ‘rules’ and I am not formally trained. I only know that my word hobby has been around since I was an awkward child.

I wanted to be ANYTHING but a writer. Next to musicians, writing is one of the least lucrative career choices there is. Race car driver, trapeze artist, lion tamer, lawyer, sewer inspector, private investigator, that chick that’s the bait to catch cheating husbands, exterminator  – please god give me any other talent BUT writing.

Clearly none of these things worked out.

“Well, why don’t you write more?” some people would ask.

“How about you just f*** off and stop asking me that. I don’t want to write.”

And so brings me to this juncture – personal journey #437 and facing some tough questions about who I am.

(For the record I still don’t know.)

trainwreckBut, I can’t be a writer. In this day and age, everyone is a writer just like everyone is a musician and everyone is a photographer. The Internet can make you a pro star anything. Secondly, why on Earth would I even want to take part in this carpal tunnel syndrome inducing activity that makes me want to pull Greek on my dishes and then saw off my sore arm/fingers with a dull butter knife? Seems crazy.

BUT…

I started to explain some of my mild excessive neurotic behavior to fellow writers and even strangers – and they would tell me, “You must be writer”.

Well that’s just f’ing great. Now other people were pointing it out, too.

Then I started to consider that I should maybe acknowledge the fact that perhaps I was a writer – or at the very least a decent wannabe writer – even though it wasn’t bringing home the bacon.

Maybe I just need to accept it. Honor it, in whatever way possible – even if it means I’ll never be an actual ‘writer writer’ per say. EVEN if it means writing a story about how much I despise writing. Regardless, it was a gift that was given to me and I’ve done my best to suppress it.

As I began to meet other writer types, I started to notice certain ‘quirks’ – some not the most flattering – but it did seem to give me a morsel of clarity into the kind of person I am.

Things are really as clear as mud now.

These ‘traits’ could really just be my own made up things to help me feel better about my own erratic behavior on this weird journey. But whatever. In case you know a few in your own life – they are also things that you should know to make your life – and theirs – a little bit easier.

You see, there’s a kind of personal hell most writers go through on a daily basis. By “most” I really “some – and by “some” I actually mean “female” and by “female” I really mean… well, me.

I am sure I am not the only one, but I’d hate to make an error in judgment and speak on behalf of any writers that are actually SANE. I don’t want to pigeon hole anyone. Although, I don’t believe that ‘sane’ and ‘writer’ belong in the same sentence – but hey, I’ve been wrong before.

(I’m using the word ‘we’ because I would like to think that I’m not the only excessive person out there. If you’re a writer and don’t carry these traits, I’m sorry. And also – please tell me your secret).

The thing about some writers is that we loathe writing. We will generally do anything – ANYTHING – to avoid writing.

Write?! Write now?? Right now?!?

to-hellNoooo….. I can’t write right now. There’s a Coronation Street marathon on TV and after that I need to go outside and shovel dog shit, cut the grass with scissors one blade at a time, organize my sock drawer, clean the furnace ducts, knit my best friend’s brother’s cousin’s dog a sweater, rearrange my closet, rearrange my ENTIRE god damn life and call (insert annoying family member here) that I never talk to.

Once that is done, then… THEN I will get to writing, FOR SURE.

Only after I have a bottle of wine.

Furthermore,

  • We always have words and ideas rolling through our head. We tell ourselves stories and sometimes we actually start believing them. Which leads me to my next point…
  • 99.999% of the time we have a story or an idea in our head and when we sit down to write it, nothing comes out. When that happens, our life is over and we become purposeless human beings… and so begins the suicide mission. When we fail at writing, we fail at every other part of life – which may not be the case in reality – but it is a story we will tell ourselves (at least this is true for me)… and quite frankly, NOTHING is going to change the fact that I feel as pointless as a broken pencil.
  • If we are able to get our ideas out – LIFE IS GREAT and the sex is better!!!… Again, this is something I don’t know (seven years single, remember) but I can only imagine.
  • The above is always remedied by wine (or whatever else your poison may be). However, it’s made worse if you fall asleep before writing your ideas down. There’s a limited time on this and if you don’t capitalize on it – you wake up feeling remorseful and so begins the cycle, again. And then you have a new problem. It’s called alcoholism.
  • Don’t correct a writer on their spelling mistakes immediately. That’s what an editor is for. Most of us wannabes are too broke and not legit enough to have an actual editor. If you do feel the need to get all nit picky, do it gently. I didn’t come here to win a Spelling Bee – I’m here to get ideas out of my head before someone cries bloody murder. I don’t care if they are in any logical order – I just want them gone asap –  because I’m not sure they monsterwritereven allow you to have a pen in the asylum. Whether or not I used the proper form of their or there – or misspelled something – is the least of my worries. I don’t even care how many tenses I’m using in the same paragraph. I’ll deal with that after.
  • Knowing you ‘should’ write but avoid it is a lot like being possessed. You know Danny Torrence in The Shining? Yeah, well, rather than ‘Red Rum’… my finger is twitching and that little demon voice is saying “Write me. Wrriiiiiitte Mee. WRITE ME.”

That all being said, writers are really a bunch colourful, caring, attentive souls with a high awareness. You should know one. Also, give them a hug. They probably need one, even though they’ll deny it. They will keep your lives interesting and full of drama all derived from their head. How creative and enticing!!!

And if you do know a writer trying to find their way in the world – keep in mind Danny’s Father, Jack Torrence in The Shining, and prepare accordingly.

Also, this might be the worst thing I’ve ever written… but who cares, my raging emotions are now justified. Sort of.

Where’s the wine?

September 6

11 Simple(ish) Things.

One of the constants in my life has been a dear friend of mine by the name of Rod Black. Actually, I’ve written about his significance in my life before. I call him a soul mate and quite often I think he is an angel in human form, as he always appears in my life at the precise moment that I feel even remotely troubled. There are a number of people I have very deep and meaningful connections to (they know who they are)… but in this case, it was Rod that inspired this piece of writing.

The past few months have been some of my most personally rewarding, eye opening and challenging. I’ve been discovering a lot about my spiritual side as well getting to know myself on a deeper level. With that, comes a lot of questions. I mean A LOT. There are days where I often question my place in life and what I’m supposed to do to reach my highest potential. And there are plenty of times I feel overcome with fear to do so.

There are times when I feel like I don’t really belong anywhere, and days when I feel completely unmotivated and detached from life. Some days, I feel like I’d like to float away.

It’s those exact days, when my phone rings and it is Rod, as if he is telepathically hearing my own fears and self doubts. I almost think he is. Whether I am in need of a gentle reminder or a swift kick in the ass, he is there.

I’m sure everyone can relate to those days where you feel incredibly stuck. You feel like any goal you have set for yourself is millions of miles away and completely out of reach. Those are also the days where every single roadblock imaginable seems to appear, and those are the days you really want to give up and float away. Those are the days your ego pays you a nice visit and makes you question everything you’ve ever done and makes you feel like it’s not worth trying anymore. Fear, personal loathing and self doubt cloud any kind of positivity or self worth.

I’ve had a number of these days in the past while. Thankfully, I’ve been able to recognize them, understand them, and accept them… or at least I try.  It’s part of being human and the only way to get through those times is to allow them. I’ve recognized that these days are not the essence of me, but my own ego.

Though it is easier said than done, the days I feel stuck and like none of my dreams are manifesting I try to picture my ideas much like a garden. You plant the seed, and though you can not see the activity taking place beneath the soil – with enough care and attention, you see that seed grow and take form.

It was during one of my recent moments of doubt and disparity that Rod called me.

He told me to make a list of some of the things I am proud of, thankful for, that make me happy, and that I admire in my own self. He told me I should always have this ‘list’ close by so that when I feel like I am in a funk I can refer to it.

“It works, Tanis”, he said.

I chuckled and said, “Hmmm yeah…sure…okay”, and  shrugged it off. I was in such a foul mood that day that I didn’t think I had anything to be thankful for, which is pretty ridiculous. Either way, I didn’t really think about it. I would have rather had a glass of wine and sat in a dark room sulking to myself rather than think about anything ‘positive’.

Then he asked me again. And again. And yet again.

“Did you do what I asked you Tanis?”

“Ummm…”

“You didn’t, did you. TAAANIS!!!”

“Okay, fine. I will. Like, what… do you want me to send you the list  or something!?” I joked.

“Yes, as a matter of fact I do. I’ll fill in the things that you are missing.”

So here goes…

11 Simple things that things I am proud of, thankful for, that make me happy and that I admire in my own self.

 (Note: I decided to start with 10 things… but at the end I had to add one more. There are many more than 10 which I will add in my own journal, but these ones came to me first in no particular order… and really, I’m cramming way more than 10 in here)

1.  Let’s start with the glaringly obvious. I am thankful for my family, perfect or not. Blood is blood, and I would not be here if not for my family.

2. Also on the obvious side – roof over my head, food to eat, water to drink. Air to breathe. Sunsets, stars, and simple things.

3. I am happy that my Mom taught me to read and write before the age of 5. I remember reading Nancy Drew novels in Kindergarten and writing and reading my own short stories to the kids as they were still learning the alphabet. I also got to skip spelling class from Grade 3 onward. During that time, I got to hang out in the teachers’ lounge and learn the fine art of washing dishes. I’m not sure if that is something I am happy about – but surely it will make my future partner pretty happy and I’m certain my parents thoroughly enjoyed it as well.  Regardless, reading and writing is something I’ve taken for granted, because it has always been a part of my life and I often forget there are some that never do get to learn. I’m sure my spelling and grammar skills were better back then than they are now, but either way – I was privileged to learn early on.

4. I am thankful for my ability to manifest things. This is one some of my friends have often told me I can do. Many times I’ve heard, “If you say it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen”. For whatever reason, this has not worked with manifesting a lottery win just yet – but other than that, I have come up with some crazy ideas that most would say “that’s not possible”… and I have sat back, followed signs from the universe, and literally watched my intentions manifest into form. What are they exactly? I’m saving them for my book (one day).

5. I’m thankful for my interest in music. I started with playing the organ (my parents’ choice) and played the flute in my school band. I played the drums in my teens and got booted out of the first band I was in – which prompted me to buy a guitar. Scratch that – my Dad bought me my first one. When I got good enough, I bought my second guitar which was a HUGE deal to me, because it was the very first big purchase that I ever did myself. I also remember the man at the music store that told me I couldn’t touch one of the expensive guitars basically because I was a girl… So I pulled out a wad of cash, said “Okay… no problem, see ya later!” and went to the competitors and bought and even nicer one.

6. I’ve been wanting to start my own business for a while and I’ve been working diligently on writing a business plan for more than a year as well as working full time, dabbling in some writing, taking evening classes and also trying to maintain some kind of social life. I’ve learned that I’m great at writing business plans and I’m pretty happy about that. On that note, earlier today I had an extensive Q&A session at a local firm and got questioned on nearly every aspect of my business. It was pretty intense, and at this very moment I am happy that I held my composure with confidence, even though there were some questions that totally stumped me.

7. I’m pretty happy that after three days of having no luggage in New York City, it was returned and I was able to wear clean clothes to Central Park. I’m also happy that I was *only* stranded in the Washington airport for 14 hours and not 24. Furthermore, I was even happier to leave New York because it was cold and hang out in balmy Texas for a few days where I got to take in the SXSW festival (another thing that was ‘impossible’, yet I intended it to happen and it did). Among other random things, I’m happy that I can fit through the ‘Leprechaun door’ at O’sheas and also, I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty thrilled I got to wear ‘Keith’s glasses’ a week ago. –>

8. I’m quite happy with my intuitive abilities. These are some skills that I’ve been developing over the past while but have improved greatly in the last few years. Everyone has them, not everyone knows it or knows how to awaken them. Often, I am able to read and feel other’s energy and sometimes I have the ability to see one’s aura/energy field. It’s a GREAT bull shit detector. There are times though, it’s more of a curse than a blessing as sometimes I am filled with information on others that I would rather not know or feel.

9. I am proud of my ability to network. I have actually never really thought about it because it’s one of those things that just seems to ‘happen’. Now that I actually think about it, it’s likely one of the things I do best and I’m pretty stoked on it. It doesn’t matter what industry I am in, I have an innate ability to attract precisely the people that I need or want to know. Because of it, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know many of my ‘idols’. Some of them, ten years ago I would have said “as if I would ever meet that person.” And because of both my networking and ‘intending’ skills, it’s afforded me some really cool experiences. I also know that people don’t come into your life for no reason. Everything is connected. Whether it’s an acquaintance or someone I  now call a friend, I’m pretty happy about each and everyone of them. I wouldn’t be where I am otherwise.

10.My yoga studio makes me pretty happy. It’s one of those things I never thought I would do, or could do. In fact, if you read this post – I was petrified of it. I also just signed up for a Qi Gong class – a form of Tai Chi/Kung Fu. I had my first class today and I’m already starting to learn even more about myself. I’m fairly stoked on this class and to try something new.

11. Last but certainly not least, I am thankful for my friend Rod. It was my interest in music that allowed me to meet him. I am proud to know him and proud of him. Rod had an experience years ago and was declared dead at the age of 19. Shortly after, he had a near death experience… much of which he writes about in his music. I’m pretty darn happy that he is here today. When I think of his challenges and watching him keep going, it challenges me to do the same with myself. He is the pure embodiment of passion and perseverance. I encourage you to check out some of his music here or on youtube.

So now I am sitting here reflecting on a lot of these experiences and memories and realizing more and more how much I have to be proud of.

The next time your having a bad day and your ego is kicking your ass… maybe it’s today… maybe it will be tomorrow… I encourage you to do the same.

We spend so much time focusing on and gravitating towards the negatives. Society is geared towards the negatives whether it’s via social media, TV, or our daily conversations. So much in fact, that we often forget to really truly focus on the positives.

What are some of the things about yourself that you are thankful for? What aspects of yourself are you proud of?