Tuesday, November 29, 2011

That Girl Patricia

Sometimes if you're lucky life delivers beautiful people to you. They may pass in and out of your life or you might be lucky enough to keep them forever. And, if you're truly blessed, you are able to recognize their beauty and let their light fill you up. These people do one thing for you: they make every day better simply by their existence. But this isn't about all those beautiful people, this is about one beautiful person. My sister.
Not everyone gets along with their siblings. Actually, as far as I can tell, the bickering between most brothers and sisters lingers well into the adult years, sometimes straight through until someone dies. And even then I've still seen it at times. I'm fortunate to have a sister I don't bicker with, one I don't resent or hold grudges against. 
 Like a lot of older sisters, mine taught me many things, some valuable, others not. Unlike other people's sisters, mine didn't teach me how to apply make up or flirt with boys. No, the life lessons Patricia taught me extend beyond beauty tips and boyfriend banter. She taught me the important things. The things they don't tell you in Cosmopolitan or teach you on Saved By The Bell, like the unimportance of shaving your leg in the winter. I mean, the hair will help keep you warm and aid in holding your socks up so your ankles don't get a chill. 
In truth, I owe her more than she even knows. Not only did she give me my love for books, but she indirectly gave me my passion for words. Without her, I doubt I'd be a writer. I'd probably be a world famous brain surgeon. All jokes to the side, Patricia validates who I am as a person. She has always embraced who I am, whether that was the severely awkward teenager in plaid pants and gas station attendants' shirts or the vivacious and severely awkward creature you see before you today. That sort of respect and acceptance can't be bought. It doesn't go on sale, you can't pick it up for half price at Wal-Mart and you certainly can't just trample someone for it on Black Friday. 
No, what Patricia offers me surpasses anything else in this world. It cannot be held in my hands or put in a box for safe keeping, but it still lights me up. Her love keeps me grounded. It reminds me of where I came from and how far I can go. I know I always have someone on my side, someone in my corner, someone who will either hold my hand or give me a kick in the ass, depending on what the situation calls for. But the best part, she lets me make my own mistakes and has always been there to lend a hand when I discover how much I've truly messed up.
There are many memories that come to mind when I think of my sister. We've had so many laughs, mostly inappropriate ones, and yet those aren't the times that stand out the most. The moments I often find myself reflecting on are the ones where I'm at my rawest and she's been there, not only to listen to my sob story, but to remind me of who I am. She's always demonstrated a faith in me that is baffling. She shows me that I will find my way back home, no matter how lost I am in this crazy world.
Right now I am thinking about when I broke up with my ex-ex (the ex before my last ex). I left his house with my pink bike and a backpack stuffed with as many things as I could shove into it. There were still two garbage bags left at his house. Baggage, indeed. I didn't live far from him, I could have rode my bike home and been there in minutes, but I just couldn't work. My feet wouldn't peddle. The sorrow and anger refused to be stopped.

And so, I called my sister. 
To this day, I don't know where she was or what she was doing, but she came for me. I sat at the side of the road, cross legged and cried as I waited. I don't know how much time passed. All I thought about was the shattered feeling inside me. Later on, I reflected on how there was no hesitation on her part. And when she got out of the car and proceeded in trying to shove my bike in the back of her car, there was no judgement or annoyance. She didn't even ask me what happened. We sat in the car for along time. Not really talking. Just sitting. Being in her presence in that moment started healing me. It was as simple as being next to her.

There's been countless other times, some very recent, where I've turned to her for help and all it took was being in her company to settle me down and clear my head. I can't describe all the things she does for me. Words do her no justice. There are no lines to be crossed. No judgements to be had. And certainly nothing deemed too taboo to say. She makes me laugh even when I'm crying and that truly says it all. 
 Happy Birthday, Patricia! I love you more than a fat kid loves cake. And I'd know. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Little Things

The other day I helped a woman carry her groceries to her car after she dropped a flat of cat food on the ground. She was really apologetic over it. I told her she didn't need to apologize, that I didn't mind giving her hand. This woman clearly hadn't been offered help in awhile. My help flustered her, but by the end, she gave me a bright smile and thanked me. I didn't even need to be thanked, the smile was enough.

Isn't it funny how the littlest things throw people completely off their track. Chances are, I will never see that woman again. I won't lend her a hand or wish her a good day for a second time. The moment we interacted was so fleeting. It only took me a matter of a minute to help her out, but her day was shifted because of my presence in it. At the time, I didn't even think about it, but as the day wore on, I began to wonder why people don't do these little things more often.

You know, why don't we help each other out?

Just yesterday, I helped a woman with a stroller through the doors at the mall. I was buying crackers and vitamins, in case you were wondering. She was probably heading in to start her holiday shopping. The automatic doors didn't work so I, in a rather awkward display, pushed the doors open for her. We exchanged a couple of words and then went on our ways. For just a blip in time, we connected. We came together and then we parted. People come in and out of our lives all the time, but so rarely do we strive to make the interaction positive.

The sad part is, we don't do the little things enough.

Is it fear? There seems to be this underlying theme to humanity that you can't help people because it makes you vulnerable to sickos, weirdos and axe murderers. Do we blame Silence of the Lambs for this? The girl gets tricked into helping Buffalo Bill move his couch into the back of his van because he has a broken wing. This is a fictional example, but people like Ted Bundy preyed on the generosity of others so he could take advantage of them. But these horror stories are far and few between.

This is going to come as a shock, but most people aren't going to murder you.

Some people say, "Yeah, but there's still a chance."

I don't live with that sort of fear. It's like when my mother gets a phone call and her first thought is that something terrible has happened to one of her kids or that someone has been in an accident. I can't live like that. It makes me feel as though I am being suffocated.

I'm not saying get in the back of someones van. Oh, God. No. Please don't get in the back of vans! Vans are dirty, scary places. Especially white cube vans. You know what I'm talking about. Every time I see one I think a girl is tied up in the back of it. That's my morbid imagination running rampant though. All I am saying is maybe offering a bit of kindness to the people we brush past on a day-to-day basis will do us more good than averting our gaze to the ground and hustling past. 

The funny bit about offering kindness, it comes in all shapes and forms. It can be as simple as a wall post, an email, a smile as you pass someone, a kind word or a compliment. It's holding a door, offering someone a tissue if they sneeze, and letting the bus driver know someone is running for the bus.

In fact, I had a bit of kindness on my chair when I got to work this morning. A friend of mine left me a note. It's a simple note, but it put a smile on my face and helped get my day off on the right foot.

And then I thought, what if we all left similar notes on the chairs of the world?

What an impact it might have!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Think I Like You

Last night as I was soaking in the tub after a stint at the gym, I found myself reading Noelle Pierce's latest blog post entitled: Pssst. I Hear He Likes You. It was a short little piece. A blip. Not even two hundred words, but something about it got me thinking. Like really thinking (not fake thinking) which was odd because I enjoy spending my time void of any thoughts. (That's a joke. I appreciate thinking just as much as the next person.)

The main idea of her blog was that we like those who like us. If someone leans over and tells us so-and-so has a little thing for us, we end up looking at them in a different light. We keep the company of the people who compliment us, think highly of us, yadda yadda.

Now, while I, like everyone else, enjoy it when people appreciate me, whether that's physically, mentally or emotionally, these are not the people I always appreciate back. That's in real life and in the virtual world. Of course, the reverse exists as well. There have been several people I've fancied, thought highly of, complimented, who didn't feel the same way about me. And, rather sadly, there have been people who I've simply adored and when they actually noticed me I ended up realizing I didn't like them at all. Then there was the awkward moment when they started showering me with compliments and I ended up wishing I never showed interest at all.

Of course, there are also the people who like me. Who compliment me. Who seem to be drawn to me. And I don't want to engage with them in the least. This isn't because I've had bad experiences (though I have). No, it's because attraction isn't always mutual. Just because someone likes the cut of my jib doesn't mean I'm going to like the cut of theirs. Actually, chances are high, I'm not going to like them at all. Don't get me wrong. I try to give the person the benefit of the doubt and, from time-to-time, I engage in conversation with them, but very few 'friendships' or 'relationships' spring from these encounters. (Truth!)

The truth is, what makes a person attractive to me as a friend or lover extends beyond whether they like me in return.  (Lover makes me laugh. Not saying I wouldn't like a lover. But I feel like I should have a silk robe on and be holding a martini as I say it. Okay, I sort of imagine myself as a cougar while using the word 'lover'. Or that episode of Sex and the City when Carrie tells her friends she's taking a lover and she keeps saying it funny. Like lov-ah. I digress.)

What Noelle's blog got me thinking about was what is it that draws me to a person. I'll even use her as an example. I love Noelle. I think she's fun, funky, sexy, sweet, talented. Both mentally and physically, I find her attractive. She's my friend. She's actually more than that, but there's no word to really describe it. She's my confidant, friend and sister.

She's my confrister.

See what I did there? I combined the words to create one EPIC word that shall rock this earth for ages to come. Or die once a few people take a perusal of this blog. Whatever.

Out of all the people I engaged with and bantered with, Noelle stuck. Over time, we cultivated a friendship, but there was something that initially interested me about her. And it wasn't because she left a glowing comment on my book and stroked my ego. It really wasn't. To be honest, I think it was her sense of humour. She got my brand of funny. That's important. If people don't get my brand of funny I come off as an asshat. And yes, it happens all the time. I'm always mistaken as a complete *insert bad word here*.

Anyways, you see it all the time. In the real world and the virtual arena, people gravitate towards each other. People pair off, both as couples and as friends. Like Bert and Ernie and Casey and Finnegan, some individuals just click. It has nothing to do with compliments and mutual appreciation. Those things come after the initial attraction.The initial spark. And when that spark goes off, it's hard to ignore.

The biggest spark I've had to date with someone is a person who will remain nameless for privacy sake. And because I don't think he even knows I write a blog. What a surprise it would be if he stumbled upon it! Regardless, before I knew what he looked like, before I even knew his name, I was drawn to him. Like completely and utterly drawn to him. Words can't even explain it. It was almost as though my soul (heart? body? mind? being?) knew I was supposed to get to know this guy. Before he ever paid me a compliment. Before he ever let know his admiration. And before I let him know mine. I was attracted to him.There was a spark. Honestly, we were playing in the same massive playground and for some reason kept finding ourselves in the same corner of the sandbox. It didn't make any sense. Instances like this make me  contemplate the likelihood of fate actually existing.

For the record, and I am setting this away from the previous paragraph for emphasis, I do not believe in destiny, fate or any of that other mumbo-jumbo. But there are things in life that make me wonder. I suppose wondering it good. At least it keeps the brain active.

I do have a point (if you were wondering) which is, the compliments and ego stroking don't really come into play until after the initial grounds have been set. Well, at least not in my world. Just because someone thinks I'm witty or pretty, doesn't mean I'm going to appreciate them. Perhaps it's because I'm a bit cynical. I have this whole idea that people often project onto me the person they want me to be, but I'll tackle that in another blog post. This one's getting a little long as it is and then someone will post in the comments about how I rambled off pointlessly for six paragraphs. Tough beans. It's my freakin' blog!

Where was I?

Oh, bother. Let's just wrap this up with me saying...

There is no better feeling in the world than finding out the person you're attracted to feels the same way in return. That trumps all other feelings. Except for love. To quote a friend, "Love knocks everything else out of the ballpark." Yeah, he used a cliche, but sometimes a cliche is needed.

Interesting enough, last night, after I read the blog post and was submerged in the cesspool of my thoughts, my sister ended up telling me someone I used to have a crush on now has one on me. It made me laugh, but there was still that little surge of "woohoo". I mean, ten years too late, buddy, but still, I did a fist pump and strutted around my house in my stretchy pants and tank top with a bit of a bounce in my step.

Attraction. It's rather inexplicable at times.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I write a blog. Every week I post a vlog. I have a Facebook, a Twitter account, a fan page and even a YouTube channel. Many strangers, people I have never met or spoken to, know what I look and sound like. People follow my blog. They subscribe to my YouTube channel. Some people even comment on things I post or like my status updates.

I am not famous, nor am I a household name. People don't ask for my autograph, except that one time, which was awkward because I still don't know who the girl thought I was. I hope she didn't sell my John Hancock on EBay. Or, if she did, I'd like to know how much she sold it for.

To me, all this intersnackery is a bit overwhelming and I can't honestly say why I do it. It isn't because I think I have something to say, or because I like the attention. Maybe it's because there are thoughts bubbling up in my head, needing to be released, and this is the only way I can think to do it. If I didn't post these things, perhaps I'd be loopy and weird. Or loopier and weirder.

For the most part, this whole Tee L Tyson thing is a bit surreal. The truth is, I'm no one special. Except to my mother, she thinks I'm pretty damn special. And my dad. My sister might think I am special, but that's an inside joke and really not very PC of us, so I won't share. But in the grand scheme of things, I'm just a blip on the radar of life. Not important. Insignificant.

Not too long ago I came to terms with being insignificant.

Don't get your back up about it. It's okay. It isn't a sad thing to admit. It's the truth. I am insignificant.

You see, I won't change the world. I can't change how people think. Despite my desire to free the animals, stop the pain and suffering and eradicate war and hunger, I know I can't stop these things. They are, like so many other elements of life, out of my control. Regardless if I live another ten, twenty, thirty, forty years, or if I die tomorrow, the world will keep rotating. The sun will still rise and set, the moon will continue to mingle with the stars in the night sky and people will continue to live their lives.

When I die, the world won't stand still for me. And I'm okay with that. Because someone, somewhere will. If only for a second, when my life ceases to exist, a person, one single individual, will stop and take notice. They might even offer me up a kind thought. Or perhaps even two. To me, that's all I can ask for.

For the most part, our lives and deaths won't make an impact. We won't make headlines in the paper. We won't be remembered for all eternity. Books won't be written about us. Our phrases won't be coined. And our faces won't make it onto t-shirts. We will simply slip away and cease being.

If you think about it, most of us, if not all, are only a couple of generations away from being erased from existence altogether. If I die tomorrow, my siblings might teach their children about me and perhaps their children might mention their aunt to their offspring, but eventually, the memory of me will fade.

I find people are afraid of being forgotten, but why? It won't matter because you'll be gone. Many people have been forgotten before you and many more will be forgotten after. We can't control what happens once our physical self passes on, so I find it amusing that we worry ourselves over it while we are here. What a colossal waste of time and energy.

They say life is short, but that's a vast understatement. It's a blink of an eye. I went to sleep and woke up ten years older. Why would I spend any second of my life worrying about what's going to happen after I've shuffled off the mortal coil? It doesn't make sense.

This doesn't mean that you have to stop searching for your happiness or looking for someone to love you. No, not at all. If anything, those things are more important. By embracing your insignificance, you're freeing yourself to focus on more meaningful things. Don't stress over whether or not someone will pay ten thousand dollars for a pair of your undies on the Internet and start focusing on making your heart lighter.

I'm not saying don't try to change the world. By all means, recycle, don't eat meat, protest, make signs, write blogs, do vlogs, stand up for what you believe in and fight the things you think are cruel and unfair, but don't do that for the future. Do it for the now. Because the now is what matters. Life is meant to be lived. Only by living your life, by experiencing all the joys and heartaches life has to offer, will you be able to pass from this life content. And that's all we can ask for. A nice, big slice of contentment.

In all honesty, I don't know how anyone can look up at the night sky, at all those twinkling stars, at the expanse of immeasurable space, and think they are anything but insignificant.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Last Night

I got married.
In my dreams, that is. 

A part of me feels the need to put it down somewhere.
Luckily, I have a blog where I can post whatever I damn well please. 

This fellow and I were standing in this open field where one lone oak tree stood, proud and immovable.

I swear it was Autumn because there were red and yellow leaves littering the grass,  but my clothing wasn't indicative to the season.
I wore the simplest white sundress.
It reminded me of those baby doll night gowns girls used to wear.
There was a breeze in the late afternoon that caressed my legs and played with the fabric.

My hair was down, which is unusual for me, and it ruffled around my face.
To be honest, it looked lovely and if I could get my hair to look like that I would wear it down all the time.
The man I was marrying reached over and brushed it off my face. 

For a moment, there was eye contact and I felt myself blushing. And I thought, how nice, to have those feelings for the man I was marrying.
 Then his hand found mine and he gave it the gentlest squeeze as if to say, "I'm here."

A wind kicked up and the leaves of the oak tree rustled.
We both turned our faces towards the heavens.
I remember the leaves well because they reminded me of Pink Lady apples.
And I always want to buy that type of apple, but every time I do I am disappointed with it. 

The thought made me laugh in my dream.

And there was an incredible sense of calm  to the whole thing.
Neither of us were afraid or anxious.
It just was. 

A woman married us in a simple ceremony.
A few other people were there, but they didn't matter, because we were there for each other, not the onlookers. 

And then there was a kiss. 
A kiss so soft I questioned whether it even happened.

Then we walked off with no direction or destination. 

And this dream was as close to a fairytale as I've ever thought up. 
So vivid and rich. 

And oddly real.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Denying The Muse

Like I've said a handful times before, I used to be the Queen of beginnings. For the longest time, I wrote stories I never finished. Beginning after beginning, start after start and nothing to show for it, except a truck load of half stories that I never wrapped up. I feel this is the curse of an overactive imagination.

A lot of writers talk about their 'muse'. This is basically what we call our imagination. Some people even name them, things like Bob and Flutterbutt DeBarnacle, and give them characteristics. The idea of a muse is a bit crazy if you break it down. A lot of non-writers don't understand why we have them. Well, a muse to a writer is much like an invisible friend is to a child. They keep us company when we're all alone, or in really boring, never-ending business meetings. In a lot of ways they keep us sane, while giving the world the impression we're completely off our rocker.

Writers, like fingerprints, are all uniquely different.

Some need complete silence while others need music. There are some people who can create under any circumstances. They have the luxury of being able to shut the world around them out. Others need to lock themselves away, burrowing themselves in a dank, dark cave as far away from humanity as possible. Some even write with their laptops precariously perched on the arm of their couch with the television playing the latest episode of something they can pay little attention to, a cat laying across one arm and a dog's head in their lap. The later might be close to what I experience on a day to day basis.

But that's all physical environment and, in reality, there is another environment writers are tested with every day. The mental environment. Humans are moody bastards. We allow the people around us to dictate our moods, as well as the weather and trivial things like how many dishes are in the sink. There are some writers out there who can write no matter what mood they are in. I hate them with my whole heart. Just kidding. Well, sort of. I just went through a very tedious couple of months where I was unable to write a word. Even the outgoing dirty emails I like to send screeched to a halt. (That's another joke.) For me, I need a mental environment like a soothing rainy day, calm, slightly gray and a total sense of not caring.

The key to becoming a successful writer (which I gauge by works completed and not books sold) is to know what environment you need in order to utilize your muse. A lot of writers will agree, if something is off in their house or mind, they won't be able to write. You hear writers talking about 'writer's block' and, if I am being blunt, I think it's a crock of crap. (Sometimes my way with words shocks even me.) As I am not one to state anything without telling you why, here's why:

No matter what a writer says, they are never completely blocked. Never. They can stream out a paragraph of complete dung if they wanted to. The thing is, they have a standard of writing they like to craft. It's when they feel their standard isn't being met that they lean back in their chair, throw their hands in the air and say they have writer's block. Creativity isn't like the heart. The arteries to the muse are never clogged with fat. There is no surgery to get you back on track. Doctors can't stick a shunt in your imagination to clear it out. The truth is, your imagination is always there, but sometimes it doesn't function the way you want it to. 

This is when you have to step back and take a look at your environment, physical and mental. I can almost guarantee you a hundred percent that something is off. Did you move your furniture around? Is the season changing? Got a headache? Did someone annoy you at work? Irritating song stuck in your head? Even something as insignificant as changing your haircut can mess with your mojo.

The key is to not despair. You can adjust your environments to get your muse talking to you again. And sometimes, it speaks a bit softly, so you really have to listen. Oh, and you might notice it strikes when you least expect it. Usually, for me, late at night when I have to be up in a couple of hours. Know when it likes to deliver its message and wait for it...it will come.

Most of us are accustomed to jumping to attention when the Muse graces us with their presence. But I believe in denying the muse. It's something I've started doing in the last two years. I don't sit down to write a novel until I've allowed the idea to fester for awhile. Unlike many writers, I don't plot or draft or outline. No. I mull. I turn the idea over and over and allow my imagination to run rampant until I've sorted the ideas out in my head. Then, and only then, I sit down and writer 'chapter one' at the top of a new word document.

Denying the muse is important for me. It has stopped me from being the Queen of beginnings and allowed me to actually end a few things. Don't get me wrong, I have a vast array of twenty page stories that I don't know if I will ever finish. But I also have a few completed novels under my belt as well. And that's all because I had the guts to deny my muse. To cultivate my idea. To water it. To let it grow until it was ready to be put on paper.

Much like a lover, the muse needs to be wooed and teased. Sometimes playing hard to get can work wonders. After all, it is the thrill of the chase. And do you want your muse thinking you're easy? Heavens, no! It's okay to make it work a little for your attention. Toss things up a bit. As we all know, variety is the spice of life. And it's always good to try new things.

Take that as will.