I’m trying to find my humor. Remember when I could be/was really irreverent and flippant? I miss that. (Don’t you?) I’m working studiously to be okay, to go back to the parts of me I really loved, and to let go of the influences of dark forces that found their way to me over the last year.
Because I also met some beings of light. Lots more light than dark, actually.
Also: before I get back to basics, can we talk about this pill that I’m on?
The pill I take is an SSRI. I’ve been internet researching it, because I like to have all the information about things I’m putting in my body. Some worries about it I have: 1-the fact it alters your brain chemistry. It’s apparently not a medication you can just stop taking; you have to wean, or there are very very bad side effects you won’t like very much (found that out a week ago). 2-The fact that some people can gain weight on it – I’m drastically watching what goes in my body right now; I’ll be damned if I let that happen. 3-The fact it lowers libido – on the one hand, this may actually be a blessing in disguise for me…on the other? Crap. That sucks. If I knew you better, I’d tell you exactly why.
But some people experience none of those. So we’ll see. My doctor said: please take it, Amy. And I have to say I do feel calmer right now. I don’t know if what happened last weekend was just SO ridiculous my soul yanked us right back to center, or if the medication helps. Don’t really want to go on a research project with myself as the subject being studied, to be honest. Going to keep taking it and just deal. With this particular SSRI, eventually you either need to increase the dosage or wean off it and try something else; it eventually stops working.
The reason I’m writing about this is (a) I believe in being open and honest – this is my story, and story connects, and (b) we don’t talk about mental health enough in this country. And we should. My mental health is pretty run-of-the-mill…I’m not crazy, I just struggle with anxiety and out of control thoughts. Other than that and needing to lose 5,000 lbs I’m a fucking sweetheart and you don’t meet very many people like me in life (so I’m told, by a lot of people who are happy to know me).
But I’ve run into some people – on and offline – who are scary AF and I’m not sure what to do about those kinds, but I think we just put one into the office of the Presidency. (And that’s all I’m going to say about that.)
Now. Can I share some ridiculous, self-involved me me MEEEEE information? I just needed to write and self-reflect, that’s why:
1- Who is your hero?
I actually have a lot of heroes and very few of them are famous: Single parents, people who have learned how to love unconditionally, teachers and firefighters and social workers and storytellers.
2- If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I have two kinds of places I’d like to live, nowhere specific: a cute little cottage on a beach or a cute little log cabin on a mountain. I guess if I had to choose just one, I’d choose the mountain. Because hurricanes.
3- What is your biggest fear?
That I’ll end up homeless, penniless, and die alone. (Or death by fiery plane crash. Or being eaten by Jaws.)
4- What would you change about yourself if you could?
Procrastination, follow-through, too many high expectations (for self and others), 5,000 lbs, and the inability to suss out true hearts vs dangerously troubled ones. And when I get really angry, I’m such an asshole.
5- What really makes you angry?
Hypocrisy and lies. I’m not immune to hypocrisy myself, but when I catch me doing it, I rectify. And lies…y’all, I can’t lie to save my life. If you ask me if an outfit looks good on you and it’s hideous, I probably won’t tell you “NO! That’s hideous! Take it off, take it off now, before you walk outside and traumatize others!” But I’ll probably say things like, “Weeellll, I mean, I like the color on you. But do you have something that’s maybe a little warmer? I hear it’s supposed to be cold out.” Gentle. I try to be gentle with your feelings. But I can’t lie.
6- What motivates you to work hard?
Homelessness. (Thank god we don’t have debtors’ prisons anymore.)
7- What is your proudest accomplishment?
My sweet girl. She’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
8- What makes you laugh the most?
I like caustic, irreverent, ironic, inappropriate humor. And toilet jokes. Because really, on the inside, I’m just a 12 year old boy.
9- What was the last movie you went to? What did you think?
Secret Life of Pets. Y’all, my cinematic life is an endless series of kids movies. Right now, Netflix is airing Shrek the Musical (LIVE!) and when it’s not on that, it’s on some kind of drama queen teen angst movie.
10- What did you want to be when you were small?
So many things! But mostly Wonder Woman and the Bionic Woman and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz were the 3 most prominent career aspirations in my memory.
11- What does your child want to be when he/she grows up?
Rich, I hope, so she can help pay off my bills. But if you ask her, she’ll probably say a singer and a teacher and an actress and a cheerleader. (Translation: a high school drama teacher, if that even still exists in 15 years after education reformers are finished with public education.) Guess I’ll be working til I die.
12- If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
You know what would be a really amazing day? Wake up and read and/or write for a couple of hours with pancakes and coffee. Go for a hike on a nature trail somewhere. Come back and have a tuna salad sandwich. Do some household chores together. Take a nap in the arms of someone who really loves me and gets me and wants me. Get dressed up and go to a nice dinner and then a play or a concert or a movie with that person -or- go hang out at a dive bar and eat junk and play pool and drink beer. Go home and sleep in the arms of someone who really loves me.
(For now, though: I’m going to just say: read, write, sleep, hike, and go to the movies with me, myself, and I.) (I’ll stay out of dive bars while I’m alone.)
13- What would you sing at Karaoke night?
Well first, I’d have to be good and drunk to sing into a mic in front of adult strangers. But probably I’d sing “Trust in Me” from the updated version of The Jungle Book, because then I could use my sultriest voice and pretend to be Scarlett Johansson.
14- Which would you rather do: wash dishes, mow the lawn, clean the bathroom, or vacuum the house?
Wash dishes. There’s something hypnotic about dish washing. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but while I’m thankful for automatic dishwashers, I think dish washing is slightly meditative.
15- If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work?
I live in an apartment, so I don’t worry about yard work (hurrah!). And I’ve discovered a chain farmer’s market called Sprouts with some really tasty, healthy, affordable, just-heat-this-up single meals, so I’m good with cooking. Help with cleaning would be so welcome. Especially the bathroom. I *hate* cleaning my bathroom.
16- If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Spaghetti and salad. With cheesy garlic bread. And free flowing Pinot Noir.
17- Who is your favorite author?
My writing heroes are Elizabeth Gilbert, Anne Lamott, and Anais Nin. And Jo Rowling is someone I just admire deeply as a human being. Other than that, whoever I’m reading at the moment, if their book is fascinating me.
18- Do you like or dislike surprises? Why or why not?
Both. I don’t like the set up. The set up is where I go into my WTF is going ON?! capacity, which is never fun for me (or for whoever’s doing the surprising, quite often). But once the big reveal is over, I’m usually in happy tears and more in love with the person than ever before. But damn you! DON’T DO THAT AGAIN.
19- In the evening, would you rather play a game, visit a relative, watch a movie, or read?
Movies or read. Evenings should be for storytelling.
20- Would you rather vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why?
Hawaii. Because romantic beaches and water. But I do want to visit Alaska to hug a polar bear before Trump gets rid of climate change laws and they’re all extinct. And only when it’s sunny for 24 hours.
21- Would you rather win the lottery or work at the perfect job? And why?
Work the perfect job. Because I’d probably spend all my lottery money within a year.
22- If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?
Ancient Egypt, Babylon. Then I’d go to the Renaissance Era. Then I’d go to America in 1776 to warn the Founding Fathers about 2016. Then I’d go to the turn of the century, and be a suffragette. Then I’d travel to the Roaring Twenties and be a flapper. Then I’d go to the 60’s and be a Woodstock hippy. (I can’t pick just one year.)
23- How would your friends describe you?
Sweet, needy, complicated, intense, overthink-y, kind, fun, loving, insecure, and writerly.
24- What is the best gift you have been given?
My little girl. I don’t place too much importance on “things.” Things break, get lost, stop working. But friendship, love, and a sweet little girl who draws you pictures and writes you love notes? Those are gifts.
35- What is the worst gift you have received?
Gifts. I always think it’s the thought that counts. But once, I know a teacher who received some skanky lingerie from one of her students. It was Valentine’s Day. He was 6. Horrifying.
36- List two pet peeves.
Boys who leave the toilet seat up in the middle of the night. A-hole drivers: tailgaters flashing their lights (and that’s going to make me speed up because…?) and people who honk their horns angrily because traffic stops (and that’s going to solve your situation how…?).
37- If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have?
Mind reading. Invisibility. Teletransportation.
38- What would you do if you won the lottery?
Get a lawyer and an accountant. Become very, very private. Pay off all my debts. Buy a cute log cabin on a mountain and cute cottage on a beach. Write for a living. Do a lot of quiet thinking. Take a lot of hikes in the woods or along the beach. Travel to all the places I’ve always wanted to see. Give some of my money to people who really needed it, but not if they ask for it. Buy my tribe nice things.
39- What’s your favorite zoo animal?
Zoos actually make me sad. On the one hand, I go and I’m just: WOW! Look at that amazing animal! Because I don’t have money to go on an African safari or whatever and see them in their natural environment. On the other hand: they’d be happier in their natural environment. On the other other hand: their natural environment is about to be destroyed by climate change because of Trump, sooo…gosh. Dilemmas. Not my favorite.
40- If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be?
I’d change what I majored in in college. I would not have become a teacher. I didn’t sign up for what it’s become.
41- If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?
Oh wow. JUST four?? ….I think I’d pick people I know and love but don’t get to see very often. I have 4 in mind right now. They don’t know each other. I need to invite them over for dinner right now so we can form a new tribe.
42- How many pillows do you sleep with?
I’m a pillow fiend. THERE CAN NEVER BE ENOUGH PILLOWS.
43- What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep (and why)?
About 24 hours. Insomnia. Overthinking. Sadness. Hand wringing over things and situations and people I have no control over.
44- What’s the tallest building you’ve been to the top in?
One of the World Trade Center towers. I will always, always remember it. That moment is one of my heart’s most important, tenderest memories.
45- Would you rather trade intelligence for looks or looks for intelligence?
I think intelligence matters more than looks. But what and who I find attractive is different than what you or her or he may find attractive, so saying “looks”…what does that even mean? There are women all over the world who’d drop their panties in a heartbeat for Benedict Cumberbatch, and I look at him and just go: weeeellll, he’s got pretty eyes. But meh. And yet if I had dinner and/or sex with Benedict and he rocked my world? I’d fall in love with him in a heartbeat. Looks are relative. Intelligence isn’t. I think what I’m getting at is: attraction to other people is complicated and individual and chemical. (And also: I think I made this question way too difficult.)
46- Have you ever had a secret admirer?
If I have or do, the secret is still a secret or was never revealed.
47- What’s your favorite holiday?
Halloween. You get to dress up and be whoever your heart desires and there’s candy. And your darkest feelings are justified, nay, even encouraged. This is followed by my 2nd favorite holiday Thanksgiving, which is about gratitude and being with people you love a lot and who love you a lot. And FOOD.
48- What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
Strike out on my own. Brave loneliness. Pay my own bills. Be a single mother. Stay true to myself.
49- Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?
I’ve been told I look like Ione Skye or Elisabeth Shue, both talented actresses. I’d pick one of them.
50- How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
It depends on how long I’ve goofed off or been angsty on social media. If that’s been a lot, then 20 minutes. If I have time to spend on hair and make up, 45. With coffee/breakfast – 1 hour.
51- What kitchen appliance do you use every day?
I have two: my coffee maker and my hair dryer. There are days here and there I only use one of those, and days I use neither (those are terrible, scary, haunted dark days by the way). But most days I use those, every time.
52- What’s your favorite movie?
I have two: The Wizard of Oz (children’s movie) and Living Out Loud (grown ups movie – imdb.com it).
53- Is your glass half full or half empty?
Today it’s half full. It depends on which mental state I’m in. But today it’s half full.
54- What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of love?
Oh, let’s go do some whiskey shots. Then I’ll tell you.
55- What three items would you take with you on a deserted island?
Well, a lifetime supply of lighter fluid and matches – I suspect I’d suck at creating my own fires. Fishing nets and pots/pans to cook with. A tent and some blankets and a compass and rope. That’s more than 3 things, but hellooo…this is a deserted island, yo. (I think people who say things like: my favorite book, my favorite person, and a journal/pen are ridiculous. YOU ARE GOING TO GET EATEN BY THE ISLAND POLAR BEAR. Stop it and be real.)
56- Which of the five senses would you say is your strongest?
My memory. Seriously, y’all. Sometimes it’s swiss cheese-y, but you’d be surprised at the kind of shit I remember you said and/or did. Don’t go there with me. I can eventually forgive, but I don’t ever forget.
57- Are you related or distantly related to anyone famous?
George W. Bush via his mother. And one of my ancestors was archbishop to William the Conqueror. Neither one of these connections has helped me a single bit.
58- Does your family have a “motto” – spoken or unspoken?
“Amy, stop letting all the skeletons out.”
59- If you were ruler of your own country what would be the first law you would introduce?
Daily siestas and 4 day work weeks. Free healthcare for all.
60- Who was your favorite teacher in school and why?
I really liked my high school Spanish teacher Sra. Pardo. She had really interesting Spain stories. In 6th grade, I had the largest crush on Mr. Metcalfe, who I believe is why I have an inability to say no to tall men, men with very blue eyes, and/or men with accents. (Mr. Metcalfe was all 3 of these things, and I’d have married him had he asked me to. But I suppose, even though it was Kentucky, he didn’t feel like going to jail. Poop.)
61- What three things do you think of the most each day?
Miss M, what to have for dinner, and how much reading/writing time can I get in before falling asleep.
62- If you had a warning label, what would yours say?
Oh my. Oh. My. Well…OVER REACTS IN STUNNING WAYS. that could be one. Also: WORKING ON DISTRUST & ANGER ISSUES. that might be another. I have an innate sense of justice and an unfortunate, large number of betrayals in my past along with a healthy amount of insecurity. But you know. We’re all damaged, darlings. And just trying to do our very best.
63- What song would you say best sums you up?
Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
64- What celebrity would you like to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee?
I’ve already met him at Dragon*Con, but I didn’t have time to really talk to him and we ended up briefly speaking about something sad that I didn’t anticipate having to talk to one of my storyteller heroes about. So I’d like a little bit of a do over and thus I’m going with Jason Isaacs. But if he’s unavailable, I’m pretty sure my soul would be transformed by a coffee date with Liz Gilbert.
65- Who was your first crush?
Greg Brady from The Brady Bunch. Another blue-eyed boy I couldn’t/wouldn’t say no to.
66- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully debts paid off or way down, and contentedly lying in the arms of someone very safe who really loves me as is and knows me and loves me anyway. With some stories published.
67- How many languages do you speak?
I speak English, Spanish, Woman, Weird, Awkward, and Complicated.
68- Who is the most intelligent person you know?
Oh, I know so so many smarties. It would be hard to pick THE most intelligent. Some are smart in traditional ways, some are smart in other ways. I think my favorites are the ones who are Spirit and Life smart. Book smart is interesting, but hanging out with Spirit and Life smart people will change your life.
69- If you had to describe yourself as an animal, which one would it be?
A horse. Helpful, gentle, useful, and loving. But skittish and dangerous when hurt.
70- Who knows you the best?
Anyone I let in. I’m thinking of about 3 people right now who I’d say know me really really well and get me. I bet they’d all tell you I’m a piece of work, but if you’re patient with me and keep me around, there’s rainbows and exciting laser shows and amusement park rides you get to enjoy, too.