The Holiday of Existential Crises

New Year’s is annoying.

Not for the usual reasons: New Year’s Eve with its accompanying inflated cover charges, the strange urge to wear glitter, and those annoying “restricted menus” restaurants always throw at you. No, I don’t want garlic herb chicken with steamed vegetables, Chad. I know you have stuff to make cheeseburgers back there.

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Don’t make me hurt you, Chad.

No, New Year’s is annoying because it makes you think. Holidays shouldn’t make you think. Holidays are supposed to be about drinking too much around  your family just so you can handle the alarming amount of toddler warfare. Holidays are about eating so much sausage that you start speaking German. That’s what the holidays are about.

But New Year’s messes with your head, man. You start questioning your very existence and every choice you’ve ever made. You realize everything’s pretty much the same as last year (and the year before, and the year before that). At least it probably is if you’re a person who is married and in her mid-to-late thirties. Okay, late thirties. OKAY, I’M TURNING 40 IN 7 MONTHS.

little-girl-punching
And I’m handling it JUST FINE.

Because when most of your big “life decisions” like kids and marriage are already done and over with, what’s left? Soon the boys will be graduated and on their own. (And by “on their own,”  I mean probably still living with us but not paying rent or doing anything useful around the house).

So once the boys are actually gone, then what are Eric and I to do? Just sit around still being young and super-hot? That gets boring, guys. Trust me.

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So exhausting being us.

Should we buy a cabin in the woods? Not a horror movie cabin where I’d get stabbed in a horribly inventive way, but a pimped-out fancy cabin that has a hot tub and enormous windows that I never have to clean because we’re stupid rich. I’ll learn to make jam and decorate my house so country modern fabulous, Pinterest will explode out of sheer jealousy.

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“I HAVE NOTHING LEFT TO LIVE FORRRR!” ~ Pinterest

Or should we buy a place in the city? We could live in a cool historical building from the 1800’s but someone else fixed it up right before we moved in so it has brand-new plumbing and a really strong WiFi signal. Plus a sick balcony where we can light candles for sexy times but also has total privacy because you know everyone wants to check us out. We’re young and super-hot, remember?

Maybe we’ll travel and live in a new place every year. One year in NYC. One year in L.A. One year in… where else is there? Those are literally the only two places they ever show in movies and TV.

Anyway, New Year’s sucks. And, for the record,  I knew this before Jennifer Lawrence, because she could be my daughter, almost. Also, these plans of mine sound pretty pricey, so I better get back to writing my book. There’s a lot riding on this thing.

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Yep. This is me.

I take awkward to a new level of awkward

I have woefully neglected my blog this Christmas season. Even my last post was a rerun. What sucks is that I’ve had so many ideas for blog posts but have been too busy to write them down. Which means that my brain is overstuffed, filled to way beyond capacity and due for a meltdown any minute. So really, I’m writing this for my own safety.

How my brain could have exploded, probably.
How my brain would have exploded, probably.

I’ve had several people recently compliment me on my writing and tell me how funny they think I am—which is awesome. I love it. It gives me a warm glow similar to taking that first sip of wine. It makes me feel that all my nitpicky editing and agonizing over the perfect word has actually been worth it.

But then I remember how awkward and weird I am in person and that glow quickly turns to paranoia and self-consciousness. I do that thing where you just say words that don’t make sense just so you’re not standing in silence. But then you realize that what you’re saying is gibberish mixed with gobbly-gook and you say even more stupid things. Until your brain is screaming at you to SHUT UP FOR THE LOVE OF GOD but you can’t. So you finally stop talking but then laugh at things that aren’t funny until eventually whoever you’re talking to backs away, smiling nervously and probably blocking you from all social media like a digital restraining order.

"Maybe if I can't see or hear her she'll actually disappear."
“Maybe if I can’t see or hear her I can pretend this never happened.”

It makes me really wish I could just carry around my laptop so that when people talk to me, I’d write the perfect thing to say and then let them read it. And we’d all have a nice, unawkward chuckle because I’m wayyy better in written form than in actual human form.

I think this is why I love fashion and makeup and all that girly stuff so much. Like a magician, I dazzle with my finery so they won’t notice my maniacal jibberjabber. Or people may just think I’m a vacant airhead. Which is a much preferable option than causing them to lock their car doors when they see me in the parking lot, I gotta say.

So my point is, I suppose, that if you ever meet me in person and find yourself wanting to wrap my face in duct tape, don’t worry. I carry an emergency stash just for that purpose. I’ll even help you!

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Happy Holidays, everyone!

When Everyone is Weird, You Become Normal.

It’s so gratifying to finally work in a place where you’re not the only weird one. A place where weird is normal. Ergo, I’m finally normal.

"You can't argue with ergo" ~ this guy
“You can’t argue with ergo.” ~ this guy

Believe it or not, this was not always the case. To make a long, painfully boring story short—but no less painful—my creativeness was once caged up during the workday hours, much like an accident-prone puppy.

My creativity is the CUTEST!
Aww, my creativity is the CUTEST!

I worked okay jobs, it wasn’t like I was a coal miner or anything. Although I did work retail during Christmas season, which is essentially the same thing. But my poor, sad creativity! Whiling away the days staring mournfully out the window and peeing on itself. My creativity is gross sometimes. 

I could only let my creativity roam free when I was off work. Which was really hard for me, as I’ve always been a writer, just like I’ve always been female and super-hot.

Mmm hmmm.
It’s a curse, really.

But girlfriend can’t live on her sweet Dorothy Hamill haircut forever, right? She gots to get paid. And the tiny percentage of my life allotted to writing  just wasn’t doing it for me.

So I finally broke out of the cage, free to pee wherever I wanted. STOP WITH THE PUPPY METAPHOR, JESSIE.

"I'm freeeeee!" ~ my creativity.
“I’m free to peeeee!” ~ my creativity, apparently.

A fellow Ohio University graduate let me know about an open copywriter position, after which I wowed them with my sick writing skillz and sparkling personality. Soon after: boo-ya! I’m a professional writer. (Do people still say “boo-ya?”If I have to ask, then probably not. Moving on.)

I’ve been at my job for two-and-a-half years now (three years in May) and I’m still getting used to my weird ways being the normal way in my department.

It really hits me when we talk to normal people outside our department—people who are not scared of business-y things like percentages, columns and… some other business terminology. Profit margins are a thing, right?

Anyway, we were in this meeting recently where they passed out spreadsheets with the aforementioned business mumbo-jumbo and we all recoiled like they just handed us a basket of snakes.

"Nooooooooooo... anything but Excel!"
“Nooooooooooo… anything but Excel!”

And this was when I had a minor epiphany. I had found my people. For once, it wasn’t just me backing away in horror at the sight of those damn grids, waving my hands and shaking my head as if warding off an evil spirit (which Excel totally is). We did it as a team, gosh darn it. “We’re creatives, don’t show us numbers!”

Numbers are DISGUSTING.
Numbers are DISGUSTING.

The moral of this post, I guess, is that everyone should find their people. Whether you are a numbers person (and therefore in league with the Devil himself) or an artsy person—FIND YOUR PEOPLE. Your work life will improve about a thousand percent.

But don’t quote me on that percentage, because… you know. Numbers.

AHHHHH! It's like looking into hell!
AHHHHH! It’s like looking into hell!

Writing about writing

You guys, I’m starting grad school in two weeks. Two weeks. Where has this summer gone? I should have my book finished by now… it was on my summer checklist and everything. Well, less a checklist and more a note to myself that read, “Finish your book, idiot.”

Also, the entire point of birthing this website was so I would have a full-grown freelance career. But what did I end up with? A blog that spends the entire day picking its nose, taking up Internet space and contributing nothing to the household.

Get a job, blog.
Get a job, blog.

Maybe if I actually, you know, looked for freelance work, this blog would get up off the couch and do something for me. I have a couple articles I began writing that I could pitch… but have I completed those either? I think we all know the answer to that.

SIGH. Will I have time to keep up this blog? I hope so. The thing is, my “writing brain” is always on. I basically have a whirring disco ball full of bumbling characters that have no idea how to function in this imaginary world I’ve stuck them in. Ideas from my blog run into magazine article ideas and later meet up for drinks with movie ideas and then maybe hook up later with book ideas. It’s like an orgy in my head, man. And it never shuts off. It’s like the all-orgy channel.

Okay, that metaphor just went to a weird place. The point I’m laboring to make is if I don’t get those ideas out, they stay stuck in my brain. That’s how people go crazy, probably.

Wait, what am I doing? Dammit, I’m a writer, not a doctor!
Wait, what am I doing? Dammit, I’m a writer, not a doctor!

So for my own safety, I should probably keep writing. That’s a tagline for writers, right?

Writing: It gets the crazy out.

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Well… mostly.