The Top Ten Things You Need to Know About Me

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1. I’m not a schizophrenic but I do play one on TV – I change my mind, my focus, my career path, my direction, my style and anything else that can be changed frequently. And by frequently I mean often. And by often I mean at the drop of a hat. If you’re going to hang out here, you better buckle yourself in and get ready for a wild ride. Oh, and if you hear me mention something about writing a book, don’t get your hopes up until you actually see a book… a completed book… a book that’s for sale. That’s the only way you’ll really know I mean business.

2. I didn’t decide to be a writer until I was 40 years old – And even then, I wasn’t really sure that’s what I wanted to be. So, I flailed a bit (read: a lot) and spun around it and generally tried to turn it into something with a little more likelihood of success/financial gain. It didn’t work. My writing ended up sucking and I never made a dime, anyway.

3. If you want to pay me a compliment, tell me I’m funny – Cuz I am. I’m damn funny. And I’m sorry, but if you don’t have a pretty decent sense of humor, we can’t be friends. Life is WAY too crazy to handle with a straight face.

4. It’s a minor miracle that I’m already to number four of this list and have only cussed once – It’s not my fault. I come from a long line of Scottish-Irish Catholics whose signings of the cross sometimes included an f-bomb. I’m actually tame by comparison. So, consider yourself lucky. And warned.

5. I’m not a coach – I thought I was for quite some time (see flailing and spinning reference in Number 2 above) but I’m not. Real coaches are trained to help people find their own answers, solutions and truths. I’m way too bossy and impatient for that. If you want my advice, I’ll be more than happy to give it to you. (Actually, I’ll probably give it to you whether you want it or not.) But advice isn’t the same thing as coaching. Advice is based on opinion and perspective and experience. I heard author and longtime advice columnist (Sugar on the Rumpus) Cheryl Strayed speak once. She maintained that her experience as a writer qualified her to advise people. In a nutshell, she said that writers are master students of the human experience. We dig deep into life and look for the points of intersection, the stories behind the stories, the truths that apply to us all. My brain started working that way long before I became a writer, but I completely agree with what she said. You don’t need training or certification to help people. You can simply use what you’ve learned from getting to know so many of them, especially yourself.

6. I had a crazy spiritual awakening experience – It simultaneously saved my life and completely fucked it up for awhile. The saving part was cool, like once was lost but now am found cool. The fucked up part was… well… fucked up. I used to call the whole thing my “conversion experience”, but the only thing it converted me into for awhile was a lunatic. It took me a long time and a lot of heartache to see it for what it was. Essentially, I had a head-on collision with myself. My egoic, fear-driven squirrel brain ran smack dab into that part of me that remembered who I really am. At first, I thought it was GOD. And it was. But not the mean GOD on the big throne up in Heaven with a perpetual look of disappointment on his face. The God that exists inside us all. And until I got really clear on that, I kept trying to turn the whole thing into a mission or a purpose or a career. They say that God created us in his image. I don’t know if that’s true or not. What I do know is that we have a tendency to try to create him in ours. Turns out, the two are interchangeable. Once I wrapped my tiny little brain around that, I was a lot better.

7. I have a head for business and a bod for sin – Okay, scratch that last part. I’m 47. The only thing I have a bod for is the occasional home decorating project. I just like the line. It’s from Working Girl (Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver). Plus, I really do have a head for business. It, along with the home decorating thing, are just a couple of the things I thought I had to leave behind after the aforementioned spiritual awakening. Neither of those things felt like worthy pursuits for someone who’d met God up close and personal. But when I figured out that it was really just me on the floor of my bedroom that morning, I went back to doing what I damn well pleased.

8. My need for approval, acceptance and validation is my Achilles heel –  I’m working on it and I’ve come a long way, but it still kicks my ass and makes me do some pretty dumb shit from time to time… like write stuff that I think will appeal to the masses, volunteer to do things I really don’t want to do or morph myself into anybody that looks like they might have this life thing all figured out. If I have a mission in life, this is it… to become comfortable being me. Not one of the fake versions that I played for the majority of my life. But the real McCoy… the slightly brilliant, slightly crazy, slightly scarred, not-so-slightly scared, REALLY funny person that I am.

9. The less I know the more I understand – I like knowing things. It’s what drove me to learn everything I could about as much as I could for as long as I can remember. I hate feeling like a dumbass. But here’s the thing I’m starting to figure out… knowing is overrated. And if the Universe has a mission, I’m completely convinced it’s to wrestle the knowing out of us. At least that’s been my experience for the last eleven or so years. Every time I wrap my grubby little hands around something and start to call it THE TRUTH, I can almost hear maniacal laughter on the wind. Then, inevitably, comes the bitch slap waking me up to what matters way more than knowing… understanding, empathizing, connecting, supporting, loving. I know far less than I ever have but I care more. That’s better.

10. I really do consider myself very lucky – That’s saying something. Because for a very long time I believed I was straight-up cursed. No lie. I thought I’d been given a disproportionate amount of bullshit to deal with and was quite irritated about the whole thing. I don’t believe that anymore. Partly because all that bullshit taught me more than any amount of sunshine and unicorns ever could have. But also because I got some serious payback in the form of my loving husband of 20 years, two incredible sons, a rehabilitated relationship with my family and more material comforts than I ever dreamed of having. I’m a lucky girl! Who knew?