A funny thing has happened over the last few days. For some reason, the “hits” and “views” on this blog have increased quite a bit. Since I am pretty sure no one is sitting at home checking out our blog every thirty minutes, (because that would be weird!) I will just assume we have an influx of new visitors. What better time to say a few words.
Writing has always been a part of me. As a young girl, I would write poems. Stupid cheesy poems, but poems none the less. I remember the first time I showed my parents a poem I wrote, they said “You wrote this,? Good job kiddo, keep at it!” And that I did.
Shortly after, I started writing long letters to celebrities. Do you remember the episode of “Friends” where Ross was kind of freaking out because Rachel wrote him a six-page letter…..front AND back? Well, that was me, many years before “Friends” hit our t.v’s.
Michael J Fox was my first. I wrote a six-page letter (front and back) begging him to quit smoking. I was 10.
Ralph Macchio was lucky enough to get about ten letters from me. I would profess my love for Daniel Larusso while proclaiming “Karate Kid” was the BEST movie ever made. Laugh all you want, but good ol Ralph “wrote” me back. Never heard a word from Michael though.
As the years passed, I started to write letters to my all time favorite 80’s hairbands. Sebastian Bach got many letters from a young naive 13-year-old girl. Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Nikki Six, I wrote them all. I never wrote to Mick Mars because, well he is kinda scary.
(Also, if you have no idea who these guys are, then you are too young to read my blog! Motley Crue, Google them)
I wrote to Oprah, giving her “advice” on the shows she should do. As a twelve-year-old little girl, I did not understand why she was doing a show about abortion, without giving an alternative. Never heard back from her. Imagine that.
Any of you reading this, do you remember the soap opera “Days of Our Lives?” No? Okay, well then I will not tell you about me writing the entire cast suggesting new storylines.
Your takeaway from this. There was never a time when I was not writing.
I began Vodka Calling back in 2010. Writing is my vice, my outlet. In some ways, this blog is my 5th child. As I do with my own children, I do with this blog, I put my all into them. Just as I parent every single day, I also write every single day. There are days when my parenting is spot on, there are days when I could give Joan Crawford (Mommie Dearest) a run for her money. With this blog, I have some exceptional post that has gone viral, and other days, well, my mouth gets me in trouble. Or does it?
Sometimes here on the blog, sometimes on future books in the works, and often times in private, words that no one will ever see. I am always writing.
Writing is like breathing to me. I have to put words to paper at some point during the day. I have to write daily, much in the same way one has to kiss their spouse goodbye as their respective workday begins, because if one forgets, then their day just is not the same.
Over the last seven years, I would come here, to the blog, in the late night hours, opening up about everything. My daughter’s autism diagnosis, and years later her epilepsy as well. Those were the hard post to write. For every single wall I have built up in my real day-to-day- person-to-person life, those walls are non-existent when it comes to my writing.
When I first wrote about Gracie’s diagnosis, I just knew it was my fault. For every reason I gave on why I failed as a mother, on why it was my fault my daughter was diagnosed with autism, you guys were there to rebuttal. You gave me some tough love, but it was that tough love that kept me sane.
You will also find many posts about my husband (Shout out to Joe!) One of my favorites is how he brought chicken to a family BBQ. Not KFC chicken, not deli chicken, hell, not even my pathetic attempt at chicken. No, he brought raw chicken. Chicken he bought at Fred Meyer on the way to the BBQ, with the assumption that our host would just “throw it on the grill.” To this day, we still have the same argument.
Me~ You cannot bring raw chicken to a BBQ!
Him ~ Why not, its food?!
Me~ Food that is not cooked!
Joe~ But it will be!
One post in particular that had a lot of hits, “Frank.” I bought a treadmill and I named him Frank. I thought it would be funny to say “Well, I need to go jump on Frank real quick!” My Facebook status would consist of “Time to go jump on Frank, just need to get rid of Joe.” I do not know, what can I say? I crack myself up. Frank did not make it too long with me jumping on him and all, however, he has proven himself to be a pretty cool coat rack. Shout out to Frank!
I wrote about my brother joining the Navy, my fears. Writing in great detail about having to have that “goodbye” phone call when he left for his first deployment. Not knowing when or if I would see him again. It sucked, but again, you guys were there. Some of you understood because you had been through it yourself, and others had no clue to what I was feeling, but lent a listening ear.
Things took an interesting turn when I wrote about finding out my 15-year-old son was smoking weed. Lots of feedback on that one! I was prepared for judgment. I even think a part of me needed it, I needed my outlet to talk about it, in a safe place. Clearly, I could not be the only parent who was struggling with this?
I took a risk writing about feeling alone in a marriage when you are going through a rough patch. Not because my husband is a bad guy, or because I am a bad wife, it is just the process of life. Right or wrong, I put it all out there.
Let’s not forget about my short stint at the gym, pictures included! If you go to your local Planet Fitness, you just may see my picture hanging on the wall, under the words “How NOT to use the equipment.”
My blog is a snap chat of my life. You get the good, the bad, the ugly, and if you are lucky, the crazy. (Shout out to Crazy! Thank you for all the new views!)
As much as I pretend “I am not a crier!” I cannot tell you how many times I did shed a tear or two reading your comments, your private messages, and in extra special cases even your phone calls. You guys laughed with me when needed. A few of you laughed AT me, deservedly so. When I needed to show my voice, you allowed me to do so, in a non-judgemental way.
Two years ago my long-time friend of sixteen years, Christin, joined me on the blog. We had a new opportunity that could potentially develop into a book deal. Off we went. Slowly, and cautiously, we started writing our story here on the blog. A coming of age sort of thing about two young twenty-somethings, lost, broken, and having something to prove to themselves.
I approached new, even more, controversial topics (domestic violence, kidnapping, rape, addiction) topics that some people would stay away from, topics that some would say I should have stayed away from. However, I noticed a shift was taking place in me. The more open, raw, brutally honest I was with my writing, the more I faced my demons behind my words, slowly, the confidence grew in my everyday life. I figured if I could write about my rock bottoms, my not so good “Jen Moments”, exposing myself for anyone to read, then I can get through just about anything….with a little bit of confidence, attitude, and a splash of laughter.
The more Christin and I wrote about our story, the more feedback we got. Positive feedback. Eventually, a book deal came. There was a catch, however. We had to delete all posts on the blog that had anything to do with our “story” the very stories that would make it into the book. It took Christin three days to convince me this is what we needed to do. I hated it. To know me is to love my stubbornness, and I am the Queen of stubbornness. I despise feeling as if I am being controlled, I felt even though in the bigger picture we would have a book, the puppet master was at work, telling us to delete the post we literally put our blood sweat and tears into. Many late nights of writing, exposing my most vulnerable side, putting it all out there, only to have some idiot in a fancy suit telling us that in order to snag a book deal, everything had to be deleted.
Christin, when needed, is the voice of reason, and at this time, I needed her. I needed to hear her voice.
I ended up deleting all post that would be in our book, and do you know what happened? Nothing. Life went on, as did the blog. Christin and I had an endless supply of writing material while still being able to work on the book.
Over the years, there have been about three people who felt the need to “start a ruckus” and demand that we delete a certain post. Naturally, I am flattered that they think this blog gets enough views to demand a deletion, but, I am not dealing with stable people. Asking me to delete a post would be like asking your child to “delete” their “Tuesday” at school. Not many people will get that analogy, and that is okay.
“There is nothing in nature that blooms all year long, so don’t expect yourself to do so either.”
I had to reread that quote about ten times before it sunk in. All of us know we are not guaranteed anything in life, other than death and taxes. We will have bad days, we will be challenged. We will have, as the young kids say “haters.”
Personally, I have had a handful of haters over the years. Of course, they do not matter. Sometimes, the “haters” get to me. Never for long. You see, I also have the most bad ass support system you will ever meet. You would be lucky to have just one of them on your side, backing you up, offering you advice, guidance, and always keeping it real. I am lucky enough to have a lifetime supply.
I had a moment the other day. A moment that I am sure many of us have had on any given day. A moment where I had no idea what to do. I needed guidance or else I would do something I would later regret. (A regret that may have affected my future) I needed to be assured that I was okay. I was doubting it all for a fleeting moment….and by “fleeting moment” I mean four hours. At 3:00 in the morning, I sent a message. “I have never in my life needed more help than I do now.” By 7:00 am I had a message. At 8:45 am all was resolved.
You guys know The Wizard of Oz, right? By the end of the movie, we find out that Dorothy had the power all along. This is what my support system did for me today. They showed me, in their own way, the power I had all along…despite what others would like to believe. Despite what others would like to ruin.
I will wake up Monday morning, my daily armor in its place, I will live my life just as I always do. My routine will be the same as it has been since at least September. I will continue to volunteer in an area where my passion lies, and I will not give a second thought to a select few, because, for those of you who have stuck with me over the years, you know when I am done, I am done.
Read the blog, I have been through too much to allow a minuscule of negativity get me down. Nice try, but no dice.