Posted in Quirks and Other Weirdness

I feel, therefore, I am.

I was crying.  Scratch that.  I was sobbing.  Ugly, runny-nose, red-eye, hyperventilating squawks of despair even the waterproof mascara could not contain.

Kacey was quick to console…until she learned I was intentionally reading stories I knew would break my heart.  “Mom. Stop.”

“But…but…but…” I protested, gasping, “she was laboring…and then the baby…and oh the sadness…” Incoherent blubbering, as the crocodile tears fell from under my reading glasses.

“Take a B vitamin and SUCK IT UP, woman.” She rolled her eyes at me.

heart-vs-mindForget the dichotomy of the right-brained vs. the left-brained, the introvert vs. the extrovert, the optimist vs. the pessimist. The personality contrasts that most affect my life are the Thinkers vs. the Feelers.

And the differences have nothing to do with intelligence or brain dominance or gender or age.

Most of us (let me just make the transition here)… most of YOU are Thinkers.  You watch movies and are simply entertained.  You read books and maintain the ability to fall asleep when you go to bed.  You meet a suffering friend and are able to be kind and supportive without letting it ruin your day. You endure personal loss, and upon reaching the “5th Stage of Grief:  Acceptance”, you pick up the pieces, buy a yellow shirt, and move on along.

We Feelers don’t do that. We CAN’T do that. Believe me, we try. We often think there is something wrong with us because we dwell on everything. We FEEL everything. Deeply. Your telling me to “stop it” or “get over it” is like telling me to stop breathing.  The way I feel things is not a defect in my personality, nor is it simply part of who I am. It IS who I am.

Now, some of you Thinkers THINK you are Feelers. You aren’t. Just because you can BE emotional doesn’t make you a Feeler.  If you can reason your way out of an emotion – EVER – you are a Thinker.  And some of you Feelers  assume you must be Thinkers because all you do is think, think, overthink. Don’t be fooled, that’s part of what makes you a Feeler.

Feelers can’t shake the emotion, whichever emotion it happens to be.  I am the one laughing the loudest. The one using sarcasm to deflect pain. I won’t settle for an answer of “I’m fine” when I know you don’t mean it. I will struggle to break down those walls you build around you.  I am not the one gossiping because I refuse to assume the worst about you. But I will take all kinds of crap from you and for you because I don’t ever want you to have to feel the pain I have felt.  Ever.

Feelers crave passion and connection. We automatically put ourselves in your shoes to better understand you. Sure, we are the cryers. But we are also the entertainers. And the huggers. And the empathizers.

tumblr_lqpz0qLo0x1qm6ac1o1_500This does NOT mean we are always depressed and gloomy. Far from it.  But when we are, there is no shaking it, and definitely no faking it. We take no comfort in “Things Will Get Better” or “If It Is Meant to Be It Will Happen”.  We only know it is NOT better and the thought of living without whatever it is, is more than we can bear.  And we feel this, not only for ourselves, but for anyone whose story we become a part of.

Unfortunately for me, it only takes 17 seconds for me to invest my heart in someone else’s story.

And it doesn’t even have to be a REAL story.

cramer-krasselt-letters-to-dadstill-boy-back-750xx1648-927-76-0By the time the little boy in the Packaging commercial throws paper airplane messages over the backyard fence, I’m sniffling. Before Tim McGraw mentions x-rays as a reason to “Live Like You Were Dyin’,” I’m overwhelmed.  When Max grows tired of the Wild Things and wants to be where someone loves him best of all, my voice is quivering.. And I am unabashedly mourning when I realize that no matter how much Noah reads to Allie from “The Notebook”, there really is no such thing as a happy ending in a Nicholas Sparks story.

Tears of laughter. Tears of loss. Tears of frustration. Tears of hope. Tears of anger. Tears of joy.

So when you see me, I will probably be crying.  Or I will have just been crying.  Or I’m about to cry (just give me 17 seconds). If you’re a kindred spirit, you will give me a hug and shed a tear with me.  If you’re a Thinker, you will offer me a Kleenex, tell me it will be okay, and wonder what the heck is wrong with me.

Nothing.  I’m a Feeler.

Posted in Quirks and Other Weirdness, stephanie2morrow

An Anarchist with Tweezers (or Why Writing is Hard)

Friday finds me staring out an enormous steel-grid window, trying to give voice to a character I created 13 months ago.  I can’t decide if she’s a she, or he’s a he, or he-she’s an “it”.  I can’t decide if she speaks in first person or if the stories should be narrator-driven. And if I don’t move forward with him soon, my series of wildly popular children’s books will not have time to generate millions of dollars in “merch” in time to fund my retirement in the Tiny Dream Home.  

A year and a half ago I made the leap to full-time writing. Well, okay, maybe not a leap so much as a giant scissor step. (Mother May I?)  And maybe not so much full-time as “when I find the time.”  But still…I naively convinced myself this would be an easy gig.  After all, I love it. I’ve known since 7th grade English class that I am, inherently, a word person (despite the fact I spelled inherintly, inherantly, inherrently incorrectly three times before resorting to Google).   

While I was mistaken about the simplicity of writing, I still spend my days filling blank pages with words.  Myriad words. Pretty words. Words that make you laugh. Words that make you cry.  Words that make you think. Words that make you feel. 

Or, like today’s offering, words that just make you read for four minutes because it’s Friday and you’re distracting yourself with Facebook and counting the minutes until the weekend instead of finishing up today’s work (or is that just me?).

I’ve been14600489_10154030839061801_1874055504_o disillusioned how difficult the process is.  I can edit for days on end.  I can mold somebody else’s content or idea into something very readable.  I know my gift.  “Coming up with original content” isn’t one of them, despite my attempts at originality in life. Maybe I’m deluding myself even there.  Really, I just use logic to make life choices, rather than follow mainstream thought. This has branded me a hippie, a progressive, a weirdo, an anarchist (do not read “antiChrist:”) or in my own mind, a salmon swimming upstream. A salmon with great hair. But I digress.

To be more honest, Friday finds me staring out an enormous steel-grid window, giggling at the goofy things people outside do while waiting at the traffic light.  Then again, I just plucked a whisker out of my chin and realized I’m on camera. Lovely.  Plus, I’m sipping an iced mint matcha, which cost me six bucks, and is basically just green tea and milk with a mint leaf garnish.  Whatever.  Writing is hard.

Posted in Just Funny, Quirks and Other Weirdness, Uncategorized

good luck will rub off when i shakes ‘ands wif you

She sat on the back row of the bleachers wearing a brown plaid A-line jumper and ribbed white turtleneck, swinging her feet back and forth and wondering why they were HERE on this show today instead of in Kindergarten melting leaves & crayon bits in-between pieces wax paper, or dancing around the room to “Chim Chim Cheree” like yesterday.

Who is Captain Spaceman anyway?” she wondered to herself, looking at all the rows of lights hanging from the high ceiling of the television studio. Oh, well, at least the man in the giant blue leotard says our time is almost up, he just needs to draw a name for the prize. Sure, a prize would be nice, but not if she had to walk down in front of everybody to get it. No thanks. Her little wallflower self would rather just sit here watching her feet swing than be made a spectacle of, thank you very much.

Wait. What did he say? T20000 leagues gamehe giveaway is a Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea game? Icky Yucky Ooky. She may only be five years old, but she’s smart enough to know that Jules Verne, and for that matter, all Science Fiction stuff is for boys. And she did NOT want boy stuff.  No thank you very much. Besides, surely they wouldn’t call out a girl’s name for a boy’s toy. That would just be mortifying – like that awkward moment when the boy in front of you toots and then looks at you so everybody else will think it WAS you. She’s rather die. But she told herself there was nothing to worry about. Only a 1 in 30 chance even if they DID include the girls, “Which they wouldn’t,” she thought just as they announced … HER name. WHAT? NOOOOO!

1st Grade StephAnd that, boys and girls, was the beginning of my lucky streak. I have gone on to win tickets and gift certificates to nice restaurants and books and videos and essay competitions and savings bonds and a video player and $200 in a photo contest and numerous cds, weekend getaways, a smart tv, and if you have EVER been to a “sales party” with me, be it Pampered Chef or Creative Memories or Tupperware or whatever, you know my name is ALWAYS the one that gets drawn for the door prize. Always.

Some decades later, only a few petals remain from my wallflower days. I have since learned to embrace Jules Verne, giant squids, AND feminism, no thanks to that stupid boy board game.

Today the sun is shining, my one-year-old blog is flourishing, and no fewer than a dozen of my stories and articles have been featured or purchased by BlogHer, Experts Among Us, and others.  I feel very VERY lucky.

And since I just got my vanilla latte free, I guess my good fortune still holds.

Either that, or I’ve already purchased ten this month and my punchcard was full. Still…

*The little dude next to me was my first “boyfriend” despite the fact that I was clearly taller. But he gave me a bracelet. Gotta love a guy who gives you jewelry. And it’s quite possible the girl next to me was Cindy Brady.
Posted in Beauty, Just Funny, Minimalism, Quirks and Other Weirdness, Uncategorized

Monogamy & Handbags

For the last three years I have been in a serious monogamous relationship… with my purse. I have carried this faux-leather sensible black handbag (with a frivolous lime green lining) through better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, forsaking all others and remaining completely faithful to my beloved handbag “until death do us part.”

We are very much alike, this handbag and I:  practical, organized, oversized, and somewhat amusing (reference the lime green lining). She has been a faithful companion.  She supported me without fail, and we have, for all practical purposes, been inseparable.

Regrettably, my $40 faux leather partner had a lifespan rivaling the career of an American Idol contestant or the shelf-life of an incandescent light bulb. “For as long as we both shall live” turned out to be about 32 months, thus I found myself in mourning.

After her untimely demise, I must admit to a brief rebound relationship with an adorable little buckle bag, but at only 5” tall, she turned out to be much too shallow for any kind of meaningful relationship. I’m also ashamed to admit to a lust-based one-night-stand with a flashy metallic copper number. However, she proved to be nothing more than a vacuous tote, a hollow single-compartment chasm in which I could find nothing.

I’m happy to announce my grieving phase has finally ended. I am once again in LOVE. My new purse is practical – large enough to hold my grown-up coloring book, but small enough to wedge into the console between the front seats of Eddie van Honda. She is designed for organization – monogamy handbagcompartments with magnetic snaps, a separate pouch for the progressive trifocals I never wear, and a small zippered pocket so I always know where to locate my elusive keys.

Most importantly, my new bag is a bit whimsical – ivory leather with silver studded fringe.  She’s nearly perfect. I love her.

I’m sure I could draw some sort of spiritual analogy here about how we were all created for a specific purpose, or about the wisdom of choosing good companions, or about the how our physical life is just transient, but, after all…it’s just a purse.

Posted in Family, Quirks and Other Weirdness, Starting Over, Uncategorized

Do the Opposite

Today’s life advice:  ALWAYS MAKE THE HARD CHOICE.

About everything.

Remember the episode of Seinfeld, where George decides his life sucks because he always makes bad decisions?  

George CostanzaGeorge: It’s not working, Jerry. It’s just not working.

Jerry: What is it that isn’t working?

George: Why did it all turn out like this for me? I had so much promise. I was personable, I was bright. Oh, maybe not academically speaking, but … I was perceptive. I always know when someone’s uncomfortable at a party. It became very clear to me sitting out there today, that every decision I’ve ever made, in my entire life, has been wrong. My life is the opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have, in every aspect of life, be it something to wear, something to eat … It’s all been wrong.

Waitress: Tuna on toast, coleslaw, cup of coffee.

George: Yeah. No, no, no, wait a minute, I always have tuna on toast. Nothing’s ever worked out for me with tuna on toast. I want the complete opposite of tuna on toast! Chicken salad, on rye, untoasted, with a side of potato salad … and a cup of tea!

Elaine: Well, there’s no telling what can happen from this.

Jerry: You know chicken salad is not the opposite of tuna, salmon is the opposite of tuna, ’cause salmon swim against the current, and the tuna swim with it.

Yeah, this is kinda what I’m talking about, only without the coleslaw.

If you don’t want to do it because it’s too hard, that’s exactly what you need to do.  
~ Cook or grab take-out?  Cook.
~ Walk away from the new jeans or buy them on credit?  Walk away.
~ Watch tv or work out?  Work out.
~ Study for an A or wing it for a B?  Study.
~ Coke or water?  Water.
~ Be comfortably introverted or introduce yourself? Come on, make a friend.
~Accept what’s in front of you, or wait for what you know is right?  Wait.
  For heaven’s sake, wait.

I’d love to tell you that’s what I always do, but OBVIOUSLY it’s not.  MUCH TOO OFTEN I take the easy road, sometimes out of laziness, sometimes out of impatience, sometimes out of thinking it won’t matter in the long run.   I can tell you from more years of experience than I care to admit, those are the decisions I have regretted.  But the times I have been intentional… the times I have been disciplined… the times I have thought through the consequences… THOSE are the times I can look back on and see the results and feel good about life.

Do the opposite of what your lazy self wants to do.  Sure, it’s difficult, hence the words “HARD choice”.  But today you’ll have taught yourself a little discipline and tomorrow you will like yourself a little better if you just keep at it.  

bed unmade.jpgExcept, of course, when it comes to making your bed.  (Even though my mom required it be done every day growing up.)  I just don’t get it. Nobody is going to see it except me.  Like Jim Gaffigan said, “It doesn’t make sense.  It’s like tying your shoes AFTER you take them off.”  So even though I won’t likely MAKE the bed today, it’s Monday, which means I WILL wash the sheets today.  

Even though I don’t wanna.

 

Posted in Birth Stories, Family, Quirks and Other Weirdness, Uncategorized

Sew Frustrating

 

Okay, I have this quirky brain. It has a hard time “seeing” certain things…like how to read a sewing pattern, or how to correctly miter corners, (trust me, the inability to properly miter corners becomes an issue at least once a decade), or these horrendous IQ test problems:

spatial relation 2
Which solid could you make by folding the pattern on the dotted lines?

Oh… I don’t know.

E.  A Chinese take-out box???

 

Apparently I have “mental rotation” and “spatial relation” issues.  The Medical DIctionary defines it as the inability to locate objects in the three-dimensional external world by using visual or tactile recognition. I choose to think of it as a genius flaw, much like wearing my shirt inside-out all day long. Only more frustrating. Much, much more.

When my youngest was still in-utero, I was sewing this snuggly-thing for him. Basically it was a fleece wrap with feet, wings and a hood. I TRIED to follow the pattern. Really, I did. But after sewing the stupid hood on backwards at least three times, I gave up. Then at 35 weeks pregnant, I had to put myself on bedrest. (The frustration with the snuggly and having to be put on bedrest are supposedly unrelated…I have my doubts.)

Anyway, after a week off my feet, the nesting instinct got the better of me and I had to vacuum the house and FINISH that obnoxious snuggly which had been spread out on my kitchen table the entire time. Vacuuming, I am happy to say, went well. Sewing however, did not. After multiple times of attaching the hood in various incorrect ways, I yelped a scream of attack, much,snuggly I imagine, like a Viking warrior cry, and threw a spool of thread against the wall. (This is, VERY UN-ME-like.) My husband came in to console me by asking, “Want me to finish it for you?”

Finish it FOR me?!?!?! NO! This is a matter of principle! A matter of pride! A matter of doggone-it-I’m-an-intelligent-human-being-and-I-am-capable-of-sewing-a-stupid-hood-on-a-baby-snuggly!!! He had never used a sewing machine before, much less read a pattern. On second thought, “Sure, finish it for me.”  I was certain he would mess it up as well and I would at least feel vindicated, if not accomplished.

He sat down to the Singer, put his foot to the pedal, and zapped that sucker right on the first time. Took him all of 45 seconds.

Ugh. It’s hard to be grateful and exasperated at the same time.

Within a couple of hours contractions began, so…grateful won out.  

Posted in Just Funny, Quirks and Other Weirdness, Uncategorized

Dances with Wools

Things I Hate:

Injustice. Litterbugs. Mosquitos. Wintergreen. Comb-overs. Fluorescent lighting. People who have to “one up” your stories. Having only vowels in a Scrabble game. The smell of sardines. Using “would OF” and “could OF” when you mean “would’ve” and “could’ve”. Cheese Whiz. Not being able to find my keys in my purse. People who mispronounce the word nuclear. Pumping gas in the winter. Three friends – two final pieces of sushi. Yogurt. The guy who decided Pluto could no longer be a planet. Getting all comfy in bed and realizing I forgot to pee. Reality shows with housewives or bachelors or anyone willing to compromise our intelligence for their 15 minutes of fame.

But the one thing I hate most?

Socks. Darn them.  

Cotton. Wool. Nylon. Striped. Solid. Argyle. Athletic socks. Trouser a socksocks. Ankle socks. Knee socks. Crew socks. Toe socks. They are evil in its purest form. Be a-frayed. Be very a-frayed. Masquerading as “essentials”, “comfort items”, “fashion accessories”, they are nothing more than vile, wretched, sweat-inducing, pedicure-hiding, foot-enclosures. AND. I. HATE. THEM. Wearing them forces my feet to go spelunking against their will. I don’t mean to be a heel, but it’s cruel and unusual punishment. And to add insult to injury, I’m pretty sure some of my toes are claustrophobic.

Three-fourths of the year my toes are happy little campers. Strappy sandals or microfiber mules or casual clogs – all sock-free. But then winter sets in and my feet either roast or freeze. And since I don’t particularly look good in blue…

Besides, my oh-so-comfy winter-weather leather loafers require socks. So, for Christmas, I asked my children to buy me socks. Cute ones. Cute enough to get your attention, but not so cute that you lose respect for me. And comfortable ones, though I know in my heart there are no such things. My children refused. Kacey even went so far as to Facebook her brother saying, “Do NOT buy our mother socks. No matter WHAT she says she wants, she hates socks. You don’t want to be remembered forever as the ‘child who bought her those stupid, awful, toe-torture devices’“… or something like that.

Now, I’m not stocking up on them, but I did break down and buy my own socks. And I broke down further and wore my own socks.

I think I may have to start a humanitarian group called “PETF” – People for the Ethical Treatment of FEET, or maybe the ASPCT – the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Toes.

The absolute worst is sleeping in socks. I don’t know if it’s the fact that my bed is on the north wall of the house, or that my cotton sheets lack warmth, or that I frequently sleep alone; regardless, I find myself often wearing socks to bed this winter. At some point during the night, Emma Lazarus calls to me… “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free… “ and my right big toe grasps the top of my left sock and frees my left foot and my left foot returns the favor by stepping on the toe of the right foot so my right foot can free itself, then both feet push the socks into the floor (“Out, out damned socks!”) while my ten toes do a little socks by the bedmiddle-of-the-night emancipation dance.


And for some bizarre reason, despite the fact that the kitchen is clean, the towels are always
tri-folded, the sheets are washed every Monday, and the dvd’s are alphabetized… the socks remain in the floor until their services are required again.

I don’t know why.

Oh yeah, because I hate them.