Christmas Crier

I am a pretty chill person. At the same time, my emotions are intense and pace restlessly just a scratch under the surface. I've been this dichotomous since birth. There's a not-at-all-embarrassing family legend about me going to see a long-anticipated show with my folks at a wee age and my dad looking over at me and seeing me in tears. When asked what was wrong, I reportedly said: "I'm just... so excited."

I still cry at the beginnings of things. I cry at the end and in the middle, too.

You'd think that age and experience and whatnot would teach me to either A) become more hardened and cynical or B) how to control myself.

I have tried A) and can assure you that being hardened and cynical does not make me less of a hair-trigger crier. Eventually I gave it up. And B) has met with only mild success in the last 36 years.

Which brings me to the holidays.

Christmas is a time of heightened sentimentality, so those of us who cry at absolutely everything already may find ourselves in tears more often than not from Thanksgiving straight through New Year's.

Christmas is also a super happy time of year, which is another crying trigger for me. All the family gathered together for the first time in 12 months? Cry. Hear my sister is pregnant? Cry. My dad loves the slippers I got him? Cry.

Crying at nothing and everything makes me feel like some kind of emotional loose cannon. I also fear that I might be slightly crazy.

At least, I did. Before I found Option C: Accept this is how I am and stop berating myself for it.

If I just shrug and say, "Yep, I'm a crier" and let fly, then there's a lot less internal conflict when I burst into tears at Target the second "O Holy Night" starts playing. In an awesomely circular way, I'm now actually less emotional overall, because all my energies aren't consumed in pretending that I'm not emotional, and my already-heightened emotions are no longer fueled by the frustration of feeling things so damn intensely all the time.

So, fellow criers of the world, embrace your inner tearyness. If crying is just below the surface, your other emotions probably are too. That means laughter is on deck. And love, and forgiveness. And your anger probably passes almost as quickly as it flares up, which is a good thing.

There are worse things in the world than being a crier.

PS, Here's an easy test to see if you're a crier or not:

Oh man. That one gets me every freakin' time.


Nom de Plume

I never realized how judgmental I am until I was scrolling through stock photos, trying to find one who looks like my romance-writing alter ego so I have something to use for my forthcoming fake author profile picture.

"Not pretty enough. Not edgy enough. Too pretty. Too edgy. Too boring. Too fakey-looking. Not enough tattoos. Too many tattoos. Too skinny. Not skinny enough."

In real life, I am not as pretty as any of the photos I looked at (hello, they are models) and am definitely skinnier. I have some tattoos but nothing outrageous; my ears aren't even pierced. (Also, I mostly wear jeans and the majority of these girls are wearing almost nothing.) But none of these things should matter, because Alter Ego doesn't exist. I'm making her up. She can look however I want her to look.

Okay. So what how do I want her to look?

Fun, spunky, and creative, but so much of any of these things that she alienates potential readers. She has to stay relatable. I want her to look older than 18, but not too old. Maybe mid-to-young thirties. Hip, but not hipster. And I don't want her to look too posed, because I want her to feel, you know, spontaneous. Free-spirited, yet committed. Not flaky. And she can't be blonde. Maybe a redhead. Probably a brunette.

It's funny that putting my best face forward is an instinct that kicks in even when it's someone I made up. And all the personality attributes I'm ascribing to imaginary-her pretty well describe the actual-me, which is also kind of funny.

You'd think, as a writer, I'd have more imagination, but it turns out that in spite of total carte blanche to create whatever personality I could possibly come up with, Alter Ego is, in fact, pretty much exactly like me.

Which is kind of cool. 


A Semi-Guilty Bullet List

Okay, it's absolutely terrible I have not posted in weeks. I apologize profusely.

In a lame effort to play catch-up, I've prepared this list of excuses/explanations/recent stories:

  • Painted my folks' porch a fabulous woodgrain. Much better than pink stucco.
  • Got a call to show the house!!
  • Found out I can, in fact, clean the entire house in ten minutes.
  • Signed up for Reddit's super-fun Secret Santa Gift Exchange. Flexed artistic muscles making cool stuff for it; good experimentation all around. Learned some new techniques.
  • Picked a sick kid up from school three days in a row because of rampant stomach problems.
  • Started said kid on an elimination diet to see if maybe it's allergies. No wheat, corn, oats, soy, dairy, etc. (In kid terms: no pancakes, no chips n salsa, no mac n cheese, and no ketchup.) So far, so good, and almost zero complaining.
  • Decided to start writing smutty romance novels and self-publish direct to Kindle. Because, well, why not.
  • No, I will not be sharing my pen name or any future titles here. Or with anyone. Ever. I'll let you know if it works out though.
  • Joined YogaGlo. Still on my free trial, and am completely in love.
  • Started a Cry Movie Marathon with the girls (and sometime-participant, Dan) because Miss L says she has never cried at a movie before. 
  • Growing concerned stepdaughter may be a sociopath, since the following movies failed to induce tears: The Seventh Sign, Pay it Forward, The Green Mile, Philadelphia, Romeo & Juliet, For the Boys, or Beaches. BEACHES, for god's sake!! 
  • Dead Poets' Society & Steel Magnolias are still in the wings though, so it might end up okay... I'll keep you posted on that too.
  • Found out that Miss G and Miss L are both getting terrible grades because all their parents believe them when they say they have no homework. Children everywhere are now under house arrest.
  • Although I've been Slacky McSlackerton about posting on a regular schedule this month, I'm actually stepping it up after the new year: TWO posts a week. Woo hoo!

All right, I think that about covers it. We're all square now, right guys?

See you next week.