Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Evening the Score

I have a pretty severe competitive streak. Ask anyone who knows me. It’s kind of ridiculous. When I’m driving, I feel like I’m running laps at the Daytona 500; I zoom here and there, obeying the speed limit usually but always, mindlessly, competing with the other drivers. I’m an especially bad passenger, a backseat driver to the extreme, constantly egging my husband on. “Don’t let them pass you!” “Can you believe they cut you off like that?” “Be sure to get a good jump at the red light!”

What kind of crazy, competitive person am I?

My grandmother once told me that someone was always going to be in front of you driving, so there was no need to hurry. Life’s not a race. But I sometimes have a hard time wrapping my head around that fact.

One of the first big fights I had with my husband was caused by my competitive streak and his penchant for cheating. I had just got a board game called Scene It, and I was super excited to start playing it…until I walked into the living room and caught him reading the answer cards. He’s pretty competitive, too, and he was trying to get an edge on the game. Not cool, and I let him know it.

Since then, we’ve understood and respected each other’s limits regarding games and competition, and we’ve mostly avoided any further conflict as a result. Mostly. When we pull out the Monopoly board, however, there’s bound to be a little drama. I whine because I never land on the good properties during the first few rolls. I whine because I get sent to jail more than a drug-addicted celebrity. I whine because after a few times around the board my husband seems to own every property and has started developing houses and hotels on each one. Forking over those little colorful bills makes my heart hurt, and of course, he’s got a smug smile on his face the entire time we’re playing.

He denies it, but I know he’s smug. I know, because on the rare occasion that I actually beat him at a game, I’m smug. Nope, they don’t come any smugger than me.

In fact, just this last week I’ve had much cause to be smug, because I finally, finally found a game that I actually beat him at. Smug smiling and happy dancing ensued. The game may be one that you’re familiar with: Words With Friends.

 Now, for the longest time, I was able to avoid this popular, dare-I-say viral online game. I typically avoid trendy stuff, and Words With Friends seemed just about as trendy as you could get. But, alas, on a particularly boring Sunday night, I gave in to the craze.

For those who may be unfamiliar with Words With Friends, it’s basically Scrabble on a computer. You spell out words with letter tiles on a game board full of wonderful little bonuses, like “Triple Word” scores and “Double Letter” scores. It’s basically the Olympics for word nerds like me and my husband, and I was the gold medal winner for the first ten games or so. Until…

Until, my husband played a single word “overmeek” and earned 115 points with it. Ah, my friends, the tables turned. My smug smiling and happy dancing came to an abrupt end. My favorite competitive phrase “nanny nanny boo boo” died on the tip of my tongue. My smarty pants, equally-competitive husband is the winning family member, the head honcho, the supreme Ross…for now.

But, never fear! I plan to pull out Jenga later and even the score. 

Are you a competitive cat? What drives your competitive streak? 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Case of the Missing Ovary

Author's Note: Daddy, you may want to skip this one. 

A few weeks ago my right ovary went missing. True story.

It was gone for a full twenty minutes, and I’ll be honest. I was kind of sweating its absence.

The room where it all went down was mercifully dark, but somehow that didn’t make my situation any better. I was there for an ultrasound. Not the cute baby kind either.

Before the appointment even got started, there’d been the typical confusion and panic over the Gown of Doom and the Little Red Button of Humiliation. For those (i.e. MEN) who may be blissfully unfamiliar with these Villains of Gynecology, allow me to introduce you.

The Gown of Doom is a starchy, scratchy, pillow case thing that, at the beginning of a “yearly checkup,” every woman is left alone with to fight to the death in a battle of wits. The Gown is tricky, see. Most hospital gowns open to the back, but no! Not the Gown of Doom. The Gown of Doom must open to the front. I’m probably the only person in the world who has a hard time remembering that, but even without this complication, the gown is uncomfortable and evil. Trust me.

Via - What comes up when you google "Gown of Doom"
After frantically calling my best friend, mom, and sister to confirm the proper usage of the gown, there came the Little Red Button of Humiliation.

When I was first taken into the ultrasound room, the technician chirpily told me that once I was undressed and gowned up,  I “should just press the red button and someone will be right in!” (By “right in” they usually mean twenty to thirty minutes later after the Gown of Doom has given you a rash, and you’ve given up all hope of ever getting out of there alive.)

She made it sound so simple.

I followed her too-happily-announced instructions and stripped. The room was at least 62 degrees, and it was still January. Chill bumps popped up to join me in my shame. The Gown of Doom offered little comfort or warmth.

I eyed the Little Red Button of Humiliation, looked back at the exam table.

The Button.

The table.

They were probably six feet apart.

I decided to try sitting on the exam table, then reaching back for the button. This seemed feasible. I wasn’t an Olympic gymnast or yoga master, but even I could manage the little stretch it would take to reach the button.


As I attempted to make the little stretch necessary to push the button, the Velcro from the Gown of Doom violently protested by ripping apart and leaving me exposed. Now, if I was telling a made-up story, this would be the part where the nurse knocks and walks in, taking in all my shame and full body blush. But alas, nothing nearly that funny happened, and I was left to readjust the Gown of Doom, hop off the table, and press the Little Red Button of Humiliation.

I somehow managed to rearrange myself and get back on the exam table with that awful crinkly paper before the Ultrasound Tech Chippy McChipperton came back in. Thus began the exam.

“This will be a little cold.”

Holy Mother of God!!!!

Yes, she was right. The gel and ultrasound wand thingy were equally cold as she pressed them along my lower abdomen and made small talk about the weather and her kids. Intermittently dispersed amongst the small talk were her attempts to point out various parts of my body. Looking at the gray fuzziness on the screen, I was reminded more of a geography class as she chattered on:

“There’s Mozambique, and then to the South of that is your left ovary, and…


 Hmm? Nobody wants to hear a medical professional ever say “Hmm” when they’re looking at your body or something inside it.

I took a deep breath, searching the Tech’s puzzled face. “Is there something wrong?”

“I just can’t seem to find your right ovary. You do have one, right?”

What the hell kind of question is that? I mean, I guess I have one, unless unbeknownst to me it fell out! “Umm…yeah.”

She pressed the wand thingy harder into my abdomen, moved it here, then there…and back again. 

For twenty minutes.*

The Gown of Doom bit into my skin. The wand thingy started to kind of tickle. I struggled not to squirm.

Finally. Finally, she smiled and said, “Oh, there it is!”

Turns out the whole time it was hiding just behind Russia or some gas bubbles in my colon. Silly ovary.

*Time may have been exaggerated, but it seemed like twenty minutes. Believe me. 

I'm sharing this with the wonderful writers at yeah write. To meet some fantastic writers who blog, visit them by clicking the button below:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Dearest Ms. Austen

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My Dearest Ms. Austen –

I hope this letter finds you well. Of course, you are dead, so I’m not really sure how “well” you could be. But for a dead writer, I do hope you are well. I hope your eternity is full of ink and quills and social situations to poke fun of.

To start, I would like to comment on a hero from my favorite of your beloved novels, one Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Good God, woman, could you have created a more perfect man? You might already know this, but countless readers have lusted after your Mr. Darcy…particularly when he’s portrayed by Colin Firth on film. Yummy.

But I digress. Thanks for the high expectations. No woman deserves less than a passionate, stubborn, very-nearly-insulting, and intelligent man like Darcy, and no woman should settle for a man who brings forth less passion within her. I have my own irritating and adorable Mr. Darcy, and I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

More important than the dead sexy and very real Colin Firth or the dead sexy and very fictional Mr. Darcy, I would like to mention the nature of your words and your storytelling ability and how both of these things heavily influenced the direction my life has taken.

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As a little girl, I loved to read and be read to, not unlike many children; however, as I grew, I found that my passion for words stretched far beyond just reading them. I had a writer’s heart: first kindled in a grade school poetry competition, catching fire in an eighth grade reading of The Diary of Anne Frank, and consuming my soul in high school with the works of Hemingway, Lee, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, and, a favorite, Ms. Jane Austen.

Ms. Austen, you are just one of my many literary heroes. Your words are just a few of the words that have touched me and molded me as a writer over the years. I collect characters and phrases from you and others, tucking them away like pieces of sea glass…to be used later, shining and sparkling again in my own words and worlds.

And so I dream of you, of having an ounce of your talent, of wielding a quill and a pot of ink as cleverly as you do. I dream of writing words that move millions, that leave a legacy, that still have life centuries after my death.

And of course, I dream of Mr. Darcy…

Sincerely and with great respect,
Ms. Kathryn Ross

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This letter was hand-written for the Lightning and Lightning Bug prompt: Letter Writing Campaign. We were charged to write a letter in 700 words or less to someone we'd never met. I was inspired to write to one of my literary heroes. 

Which of your literary heroes would you write to if given the opportunity? What would you say?

If you'd like to join the Letter Writing Campaign, you have until Wednesday to linkup. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Where You're Going

My husband’s college acceptance letter came in the mail last Thursday. When I got home from work, he was standing at the door waiting on me, our three cats winding in and out of his legs, a huge grin on his face. The grin was infectious. For a moment, we just stood in the kitchen, grinning at each other like idiots. After exchanging our hellos, I asked him what in the world was up, and he just smiled and handed me the unopened letter. The words Jacksonville State University were printed as the return address, and I knew immediately that this was a good letter.

He confided to me later that he was a little nervous at first. In his experience, college acceptance packages came in thick envelopes crammed with information about the school: orientation, registration, and financial aid. The thin envelopes were always bad news. But not this time.

We opened the letter together, and the first thing our eyes landed on was the slogan “Where You’re Going” printed on a bumper sticker. I’ll never forget that moment. We both hollered our hoorays, grabbing onto each other in a clumsy, hopping hug. This was the beginning of our future, a first day of the rest of our lives. Thankfully, there are many days like that in life, days that ring out with success and promise and hope.

We still haven’t come down from our college acceptance high. Jeremy has big plans after completing his four-year degree, and while there have been roadblocks and detours along the way, he’s never given up on making it happen.

I’m a firm believer of making dreams come true. For the longest time, when I first graduated college, I had given up on my own dream of becoming a writer. It seemed so out of reach, as I sat at home and searched ad after ad for a freelance writing or editing gig. Most of the ads were far from home, and as a family girl with a good sense of my roots, I wasn’t quite willing to travel far away for a job. The jobs that were within in reach required experience that I just didn’t have. It seemed like to break out in the writing world I only needed a chance, but chances, it turned out, were hard to come by.

Just when I had all but given up on my dream, several years after my college graduation, an opportunity presented itself. The opportunity came in the form of a weekly local column, and to this day, it remains the best gift I have ever received. This column led to another first day of the rest of my life. When I saw my name in print for that first “official” time, I knew that at least part of my dream had finally come true. And from the column, so many more dreams were realized; so many more dreams took flight.

I now have my own blog. Not a huge accomplishment but one that I cherish. Chicken Noodle Gravy provides a chance to connect with my readers and an opportunity to write every day. Since I began this web journal over a year ago, I have seen my own writing improve and grow.

I’ve been published in the fabulous regional magazine West Georgia Living. I’ve actually had the opportunity to work on real freelance assignments, to research and build a story from next to nothing. The entire experience has been amazing.

Dreams are easy to give up on. The older we get, the easier it becomes. But giving up on a dream means we could miss out on so much. I might have missed out on meeting so many new people, on reconnecting with friends from my past, on finally earning a dollar for my words, and so much more. Jeremy might have missed out on that college acceptance letter, that key to our future which will undoubtedly open the door to many dreams to come. 

Where are you going? What dreams do you never give up on in your life? 

Come discover some fabulous bloggers with yeah write! Just click the button below.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Two Smiling Yellow Daffodils

He ducked his head as he came through the door, weathered and wrinkled cheeks flush with embarrassment. Neither my co-worker nor I said a word as he slipped past the front desk and down the hallway. He carried a used plastic water bottle with two wilted daffodils tucked inside, their bright faces drooping in thirst.

While we stood looking at each other and listening for his movements, we heard him at the water fountain in the mouth of the hallway, imagined him stooping low down to fill the empty bottle from its mouth. We busied ourselves when he finished his task and passed right back by us and out the door, carrying his sweet gift to some extraordinarily lucky recipient.

The door closed behind him, and we expelled our breath with simultaneous sighs and exaggerated “awws.”

“How sweet,” my friend said, grinning.

And it was.

When I returned to my office, I admired the bouquet of roses and lilies and carnations sitting on my own desk. I admired the pretty red ribbon with tiny white hearts tied around its base. I admired the lovely pink vase showing off the bursting-to-full arrangement. And then I thought about that little old man with the black boggin hiding a few wisps of gray hair, head bowed humbly, and yellow daffodils smiling out from a crushed water bottle in his hand… and I was ashamed.

I take things for granted, y’all. We all do. Every single day. I take my wonderful, loving husband for granted. I take the fact that we make enough money for him to buy me a beautiful bouquet of flowers for granted. I’m not a terribly materialistic person, but I’m constantly lamenting the fact that our incomes aren’t better, that our jobs don’t pay more. I do this even though we have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and food in our bellies.

I love the simple things. I hug them to my heart always and count my many blessings daily. But I still take things for granted. I still want more.

That old gentleman with his black boggin and thirsty daffodils wasn’t taking anything for granted; he wasn’t, at that moment, wanting anything more than some water for the flowers that he would give his Valentine.

For a long time after he left, I thought about him and his flowers. I imagined him presenting them to his love. I imagined her face lighting up and her heart filling as if she’d been given the fullest bouquet ever. And I imagined how we could all learn a lesson from those humble daffodils, spreading cheer and love in the simplest and most profound way possible.

Hopping this morning with:

Monday, February 13, 2012

I am Not a Mommy Blog

The time has finally come! After months of talking and planning and talking some more, my friend Bernie of One Mixed Bag and I have created a new blogging community, a community dedicated solely to bloggers without kids.

For a long time, we've felt that there's been a void in the blogosphere, a void that needed filling. See, there are plenty of communities out there dedicated to Mommies Who Blog, where such bloggers can connect and network and get support, and while Bernie and I both love Mommies Who Blog, we couldn't help but feel like the rest of us (those without kids either by choice or circumstance) needed a community, too. And so, We're Not Mommy Blogs was born.

We're Not Mommy Blogs is a blogging community dedicated to filling the non-mommy void in the blog world. We will host discussions, weekly linkups, and feature guest bloggers. We also offer a directory for bloggers to linkup to permanently and share their blogs. We're a community dedicated to support and friendship, and we hope that you will make many new friends through our platform.

We hope you'll check out We're Not Mommy Blogs and find your place among us non-mommies.

Psst! By the way, We're Not Mommy Blogs is being featured today over at Living on Less for the very first Make a Friend Monday blog hop. Hope you'll stop by and hop around with Michele!


Living on Less with the Coupon Queen

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Valentine to Blogs

Dear Blogs,

I began my affair with you over a year ago now; hard to believe so much, and yet so little, time has passed since that fateful day.

I was a cynical and suspicious fledgling writer. You were foreign to me, a vague concept in a transforming world taken over by social media. I had toyed around with you before, teasing with the idea of starting a relationship with you, but something always stopped me. The fact that I didn’t quite understand you? Perhaps. A lack of courage? Most definitely.

Blogging meant putting myself out there in a way I never had before. It meant sharing feelings I had never shared. It meant revealing a dream, to myself and to others, that I didn’t quite believe in.

I was a chicken. In typical Katie-form, I wondered what everyone would think, agonized on how others might see me. I worried that I wasn’t a good enough writer. I doubted that I had anything to say that people would want to read. But I didn’t let any of that stop me. I saw value in writing a blog. I saw that it might help me improve my writing, that it might help me gain a little confidence.

You’ve given me that confidence; you’ve helped me to improve. Because of you, I now write almost daily, and looking back on posts even from as little as a year ago, I see how I’ve grown. Selfishly, I would jump into this relationship a thousand times again and never regret a moment for how you’ve changed me, for the insight you’ve given me on myself.

But you’ve been so much more than even that. Through you, I’ve made dozens of friends, friends whom I cherish and have made true connections with. I stupidly forget this gift you’ve given me sometimes, the gift of friendship and insight and connection. I tend to overlook these little things that make you so great.

Little things like reading an extraordinary and touching story, bravely shared through friendship and love.

Little things like laughs shared for a great causes and a unique wit, both of which will leave you wishing you could get together with those fellow bloggers and go out for drinks, in a totally non-stalker way.

Little things like communities and friendships built on common interests and transcending barriers like age and location to provide support and encouragement in so many ways.

Little things that let us all know we aren’t alone, in our thoughts and ideas, in our fears and insecurities. For every experience or feeling I have, you’ve shown me there’s someone else out there with a similar experience and almost the exact same feeling.

Little things like witnessing unbelievable passion and love through the eyes of a mother, who said without fear just what I’ve wanted to say all along.

Little things like learning about someone else’s culture or viewpoint, learning that something we may have judged before or misunderstood isn’t so different from us after all.

Little things like witnessing the brilliance of a writer as she grows and fearlessly dives in, reaching out for a dream that is reaching right back for her.

These little things all make up my experiences as a blogger, as a lover of blogs. They are why you make me smile, work harder, and devote much of my free-time to my passion. I couldn’t possibly list the many people and words who have touched me through you, but I did want to devote at least a few of my own words to the difference you’ve made in me and in my life, my perspective, and my  writing.

Thank you, blogs, for being so much more than I ever thought you were.

With love,

What are some of the things that make you love blogs and blogging?

Author's Note: If you have the time, I encourage you to take the time to click on the links above. They are just a few of the many people and posts that have touched me as a writer and a blogger. I hope they can touch you in the same way. Oh, and this is by no means a complete list of the people and blogs who have influenced me and left me speechless. I wish I could name them all!

This was written for The Lightning and the Lightning Bug prompt: Valentine

Friday, February 10, 2012

Exclamation Points Anonymous

My name is Katie, and I have a problem. Not the most original way to start a blog post, I know, but I feel the need to absolve myself, to confess my sins, and to allow you to pass what judgement you will on the person I really am.

And the person I really am is a person who abuses the delightful form of punctuation known as the exclamation point (among other things, as you'll see). As a writer, it smarts to admit that. I'm going to leave it out there for a minute so that you can mull it over and let the truth sink in.


Ready? Okay. When I'm in my "writing" zone, this problem rarely rears its ugly and enthusiastic head. I don't really get the urge to litter my work with that cute little line and dot combo that can be either incredibly annoying or incredibly endearing, depending on whom you ask. I guess recording my thoughts for a blog post or composing a work of fiction just doesn't call for the little guy too much, so he mostly stays away.

Thank goodness.

But in everyday life, oh, he's there. Boy, is he ever there.

In comments on my favorite blogs, he's there.

In text messages to friends and family, he's there.

In tweets and Facebook updates, Lord help me, he's there.

In emails composed to my coworkers and superiors, emails that are supposed to be professional, the little stinkin' bugger is there.

I hate him sometimes. I hate that he makes me sound like a lunatic who's yelling everything.

"Sure, Jenny! I'll be at the meeting today! I can't wait!"

I'm either a lunatic who's yelling everything or an overenthusiastic idiot who probably seems pretty insincere. Neither are very appealing images, which is why: This. Must. Stop.

I have to let go of security blankets like exclamation points, ellipses, and random capitalization. I have to let my words speak for themselves without the aid of certain devices. Sure, there's a place for those devices. But I need to learn to use them with a lighter hand, to not be that writer who uses them as a crutch, as a way to clutter their writing and distract from their message.

We all know that writer.

The one!! Who loves everything!!! And wants you to get excited about it!!!! And love it, too!!!!!

The one who...puts ellipses...in every sentence...they...write...

The one who RANDOMLY capitalizes WORDS to place, often unnecessary, EMPHASIS.

I have been that writer. I am that writer. But today's a new day, and the first step to solving a problem is to admit that you have it. Well, I have it. And from here on out, I'm breaking up with the exclamation point, the ellipses, and that ever-annoying random capitalization.

We'll still be friends though!!!!



Edited to add: I typed this from a printed version of the post last night. I very obviously did not proofread. To those who may have read this before I fixed my glaring errors, I apologize.

Edited (again) to add: If you are a serial exclamation point user like me, never fear. I will still love you, as I navigate my own road to recovery. You just keep doing what you do best. I'm the one with the problem. Not you :)


Do you have any weird writing quirks that drive you crazy? Do you over-punctuate? Do you abuse the exclamation point?! Well, DO YOU!?!?!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Crazy as a Betsy Bug

“Just how crazy is a betsy bug?” The question was asked with just hint of sarcasm. Barely detectable, but I knew him well enough to know it was there.

He was making fun. Something we did to each other often. The playfulness was part of our relationship then, and it still is now; one of the things that makes us work.
I mulled over his question for a moment, pretending to be distracted by the chicken frying on the stove. Truth was, I didn’t even know what the heck a betsy bug was. Later, when away from his scrutinizing eye, I would google the information and learn that a betsy bug was actually a real insect more commonly known as a bess beetle. Upon more in depth googling, I was unable to learn where the phrase originated. I just knew I’d heard it since I was a child.
That Jane's* crazy as a betsy bug; bless her heart. 
I turned to Jeremy, wiping flour-covered hands on the front of my jeans, and said, “A betsy bug is crazy. What more do you need to know?”
He wasn’t convinced. “What makes it crazy? Why is a betsy bug any crazier than any other sort of bug? A roach, for example? Or a grasshopper?”
He smirked, and I turned back to my chicken. “I honestly can’t tell you, Jeremy. It’s an old expression, a turn of phrase. You use them all the time.”
“Not any as weird as that.”
“Yeah, yeah. It’s weird. I’m Southern; I say weird things and talk real slow. Shoot me. It’s better than people not being able to tell where I’m from! Need I remind you of the time you called my Mom’s bank and her coworker thought you were from India? Her exact words were, ‘Brenda, there’s some foreign man on the phone for you!’”
It was true. Jeremy’s accent was pretty unidentifiable, and frankly, even I had a hard time understanding him sometimes. Mainly, because he mumbled.
I liked to tell him that I wasn’t fluent in “mumble.”
He liked to roll his eyes at me.
We were always trying to figure each other out. From opposite sides of the country, sometimes seeming to speak two different languages, raised in two separate cultures, and yet, for some reason, we worked.
Even now, when we're lost in translation, words and minds apart, we still work.
Author's Note: *Names have been changed to protect the innocent, bless their hearts. This little slice of mine and Jeremy's life was brought to you by the Write on Edge RemembeRED prompt: "Colloquialisms and Dialect." For great writing, be sure to click on the link below:

Write on Edge: RemembeRED

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Time Thieves: An Inside Look at Migraines

I can count on them. They are predictable foes, attacking reliably and when I most expect it. They save their assaults for holidays and special occasions, vacations and family gatherings. Or, worse, busy days at work. 

They want to destroy my day, and I usually allow them to do so, surrendering to their sly weapons and their overwhelming power over me. When they assault me, I am at my weakest, a normally tough girl gone soft and vulnerable. 

They are migraines, time thieves and day stealers. Ruthlessly sucking away moments of my life, moments I can never get back. Moments spent passed out in darkened rooms or at office desks with head in hands. Moments spent torturously driving home in traffic or trying to pretend for the sake of friends and family that pain isn’t tearing me apart. Moments lost forever. 

I’ve had them since I was a teenager. Since then, countless days have been spent in bed and in agony, fruitlessly wishing that the pain would just go away...if even for a moment. 

For me, migraines are hereditary, passed down to me from previous generations like my freckles and pale skin, my tendency to overanalyze and a love of animals. My mother has them, as do my aunt and grandmother. It’s our burden to bear. 

We’re not the only victims, however. Husbands and children are susceptible, too, helplessly entwined in our web of pain and paralysis. Countless weekend trips and holidays are sacrificed to the mighty migraine. Dinners and dates ruined. Frustration and annoyance trickle in to replace concern and sympathy, and adding to that incomparable pain of the migraine is the guilt that comes with disappointing your family.

"You've got a headache again?" become the most hated words of the English language. I've uttered them myself before...and I have had them asked of me. Usually, I do everything in my power to hide the pain...just to avoid that inevitable question and the inevitable defeat that comes with it.

Those who don't suffer from them can't understand them. To them, it's just a headache. I've heard that in their voices. Suck it up. Get over it. Why are you such a wimp? They may not say it; they may not even admit to thinking it, but it's always there. 

I wish there was a solution, a way to conquer the migraine. But alas, even medicine can only do so much.  And so, they are the one thing that we who know them can count on, these bringers of pain and disappointment, these takers of time.

Just take note, if you know someone who suffers from migraines, remember patience, remember understanding. Remember that resenting something your loved one can't control only makes the pain worse. And believe me when I say, it hurts enough. 

Do you have migraines? What do you do to conquer them? Does anything help? Do those around you understand?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Standing In My Own Way


I made a breakthrough this morning. I won’t diminish this breakthrough by saying that it would probably not be that big of a deal to anyone else. It’s a big deal to me and that’s all that matters right now. I overcame an obstacle that was standing in the way of pursuing my dreams. I overcame myself.

I am my own obstacle, and I have been for quite some time.

When it comes to giving credit, I’m your girl. I was blessed with the ability to see good in almost everyone and everything. I love supporting others, watching them grow, helping them grow. You need a pat on the back? Give me a call. I’ll pat you on the back all day long and then tell you how awesome you are…because you are awesome, and you should know it.

But you know what? I’m kind of awesome, too. Only, I have a hard time convincing myself of that fact. In the last two years, I’ve made huge steps in making my dream of becoming a writer come true. I’ve been published. I’ve been paid. I’ve even become a contributing writer for a regional magazine. Some might even say that I am a writer now. 

And yet, despite these successes, I remain unimpressed.

Instead of looking at all the wonderful accomplishments I’ve made, I pick myself apart. I throw my flaws up to myself. I constantly say, so what? You’re still crazy. You’re still neurotic. You’re still afraid of a lot of things. When will I ever say: This is enough?

Today, I took one step closer to being able to say that.

I made two phone calls for two new magazine assignments I have.

I’ve only been writing features for this magazine a few months. My first assignment was back in October. Since then, I’ve managed to hide behind my computer. For each of my assignments so far, I did interviews through email and, if I do say so myself, I kicked ass.

Hiding behind a computer is easy. I can be everything that I want to be when I’m writing. I can be confident. I can be intelligent. I can take the time to get my wording JUST RIGHT. When you read a professional email from me, you’re going to think that I am a smart, confident, kick-ass woman. You’re going to imagine a woman in high heels with perfect hair and perfect makeup and perfect everything. She’s going to be the woman you want to hire, the woman you want on your side.

I can project that woman from the comfort of my computer. I can be that woman, because with words, I am that woman.

But truth is…when you strip away the security blanket of a computer…when you strip away my ability to think through and perfectly construct what I’m going to say…I am not that woman.

Truth is…I’m just Katie. Self-conscious, nervous, people-pleasing Katie. I twist my hair when I talk. I bite my lip. I play with my rings. I fidget. My hair isn’t perfect, and neither are my clothes. I’ll turn red and splotchy. My voice might shake…just a little.

I don’t want you to know the truth. But I don’t know why.

Because the truth is who I am, and I should be proud of that.

Today, being able to hide behind my computer ended. Both of my contacts for my new assignments wanted to talk to me on the phone. Now, you may remember that I’m telephonophobic; therefore, for the days since I found out about my assignments, I've been freaking out. We're talking panic attack city in Katie-land.

But, today, after a long pep talk from my awesome dad, I let go of that fear.

I let go of controlling my image. I let go because this was important. This was my dream. It made letting go all that much harder, but it also meant that I had to do it. There was no choice in the matter. Fear was not going to dictate another decision in my life. Fear was not going to make the choice for me. Fear was not going to waste another of my moments.

So, I picked up the phone, made two important calls, and, y'all, I kicked ass. I was that woman with the perfect words and the perfect hair...and instead of heels, I was wearing sneakers. I was that woman, because I am that woman. I am her, and she is me. 

And I’ll continue being her, as long as I stop standing in my own way.

Be who you are. Be proud of who you are. Because it’s who you are that makes you so awesome. And I’ll just keep remembering that I’m awesome, too, and maybe one day soon, I’ll even believe it. 

Today, well...I made a breakthrough today, and because of it and because of the feeling I have right now, I'll remember it forever. And when I forget...or when I feel insecure and afraid, I'll come back here. I'll remember this day. I'll remember this feeling, this pride I have in myself at this moment. And I'll kick ass again. 

Do you ever stand in your own way? Do you let fear or insecurities make decisions for you? How have you kicked ass lately?

The Blog Entourage

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