Posts Tagged: personal

Maybe I Should Just Burn Them All

When I was moving my boxes of books and supplies up to my new home office, I found my box of journals. I’ve kept a journal off and on through good and bad (mostly bad) since fourth grade, so it’s a pretty big box. There are notebooks of weird writing attempts from college, my 7th grade complaints about how terrible junior high was (the most terrible), stressed out and desperate post-college writing, and truly over the top dramatics from high school. A few Saturdays ago, I sat down on the floor to go through the box. I was excited because I thought I’d come across all sorts of crazy, hilarious memories and spend the whole evening laughing. I was ready to have a good laugh at Kerry of the Past’s life, while also realizing that I’ve always been a precocious yet lovable weirdo.

Instead, what I found out was that I’ve always just been super weird and depressing. If anything, I used to be even more weird and depressing. Nothing about my weirdness is quirky or cute; mostly, it’s just annoying. I am a horror, and it took reading through almost 20 years of journal entries to realize that.

Things started out with plenty of promise. On January 20th, 1996, I began my journals with a declaration of self:

“This is the first page of this diary. Hi! Here is some stuff about me:
I like to read.
I don’t like gym.”

Both statements would remain true for the entirety of my childhood (and presumably for the rest of my life). I also appreciate that I said hello. I was nothing if not polite.

Things took a turn for the weirder soon, though, when I wrote the following entry:

“Today I got a phone call from somebody that said they were my secret admirer. I hung up. I think it was just one of my friends.”

Did I get prank called in the fourth grade? I did! I’d actually mostly buried that memory, but the pink polka dotted pages of this diary brought it right back. I still remember the bitch who did that and then sneakily tried to ask me if I “got any phone calls” the next day. Smooth as always, I just said no. I was pretty much the James Bond of fourth graders. I still won’t add that girl on Facebook.

Writer’s block quickly found me, however:

“I don’t have much to write. It’s only morning. I’ll probably have something to write later. Like I was saying, just give me some time–I’ll come up with something to write.”

I get it, Young Kerry. The insistent pressure to get words on the page! Whether it’s a work deadline or a self-imposed journal deadline that you get strangely defensive about, the struggle of the writer is all too real.

My January 29th entry proved that my anxiety about completely inconsequential things was there from a young age:

“Today in school, I forgot my assignment book. It was terrible!”

How did I even deal with the stress? But it wasn’t all lost assignment books and prank calls. There were good times, too, like on February 14th:

“Valentine’s Day! The dance was cool. All my friends were there. The best Valentine’s Day of my life!”

You want to know why all my friends were there? Because we were in the fourth grade, and dances happened during the school day. They didn’t have any choice. It’s sort of impressive that it was the best Valentine’s Day of my life. Even better than third grade? Impossible.

I have a lot of affection for fourth grade Kerry. She was weird, she wrote a lot (even when she faced immense pressure from her journal), and she was steadfast in her hatred of gym. If only all of my journals had been so sweet! Things quickly took a turn for the “Oh, God no” when I got to junior high and high school. First, I talked about boys approximately 95% of the time, despite the fact that most of my male classmates were dirtbags, and not even the sexy kind of James Dean (or even James Deen) dirtbag. Just, like, the kind of guys who call people “retards” and don’t read books and DEFINITELY do not care about a girl who spends most of her time writing in her journal about how much she hates gym (that didn’t go away until I took my last gym class in freshman year of high school).

And in college? Well, let’s just say that’s where things got really bad. Frankly, my college journals were so bleak that they actually made me wonder if I was depressed at the time and just didn’t know it. Why was I always so sad? Why was I never excited about any of my classes? Why was I so hung up on that dirtbag I dated, the one I was totally in L-U-V with even though he wasn’t going to college and listened to a lot of Avenged Sevenfold and smoked and liked to drag race for fun? Oh, because I thought he was really hot? I was 18, so pretty much all we did was make out in his basement and I considered that, like, a solid relationship, but that didn’t stop me from journaling my weird little heart out about him. He was, truly and objectively, very good looking in a dirtbag sort of way. Reading through my journals prompted me to look him up on Facebook and his face is now swollen in the way of a guy who drinks too much, which he probably does. To quote a poem he has definitely never read, nothing gold can stay.

Even the parts of my journals that made me laugh also just made me sort of sad. My best friend and I used to keep lists of our “inside jokes” on the backs of my high school journals, and I was so bummed to realize that I couldn’t remember 98% of them. Some of them are so strange-sounding that I did actually laugh out loud. Behold:

-Sarah Ferguson ponders terrorism (how this could have even tangentially related to a joke, I don’t know)
-The Avril Lavigne of mental illness (again, I don’t know)
-Mr Beans and his magical early 90′s sweater (I guess our guidance counselor just wore weird sweaters?)
-Jayne’s Sam’s Club Membership (nope)
-Paul, Ringo, and George Michael (wait, this one was because one of our friends truly thought those were the members of The Beatles. I still do find that funny!)
-Spandex Hippie (?)
-Slow-hedge (??)
-Stephen Tyler (literally, just the name of the Aerosmith frontman was written on the list. ???)
-”I Can’t Spell Furnace Boy” IMs Cat (okay, this one I do understand–we made fun of this kid because he couldn’t spell furnace, which sounds mean, BUT IN RETROSPECT he was a high school boy, which is to say he was terrible, and I guess he IM’d one of my friends and that alone was funny to us? I DON’T KNOW)

Some of the items on that list were essentially just random orderings of letters that made no sense to me. Funny, but also depressing. Actually, reading my journals in general was depressing. The act of going through them ruined my entire evening by reminding me that I’ve always been an incurable, sad weirdo. I guess some things never change.

I like to read. I don’t like gym.

A Few Embarrassing Facts About Me

very-cool
As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes I get emails from cool ladies who want to ask me questions about writing or work or whatever. I love this and I’m always happy to share what I know, but sometimes I feel sort of guilty. There’s always the assumption in those emails that I have my shit together, when in reality…well, I don’t.

Can I tell you guys something? Because we’re all friends here? I am not a cool person. I have never been and, barring some sort of Steve Urkel/Stefan Urquelle situation, will never be cool. Because it’s Friday and I’m feeling particularly honest, here are ten embarrassing or sometimes just odd facts about me. None of these facts make me look cool. All of them will make you think I’m even weirder than you already do…and there’s a good chance you already thought I was pretty weird. Okay, let’s get to it!

1. I won first place in not one, not two, but three spelling bees in elementary school. Obviously, I was a big nerd.
2. One of my teachers made fun of me for always having a book with me in 7th grade. One of my teachers made fun of me for reading too much!
3. Once H. and I went to a Cleveland Indians game and the woman checking purses made fun of me for bringing a book. “Do you think you’re going to get bored?” she asked. Yes. I did think that.
4. I only really have two ex-boyfriends, and both of them pierced their own nipples…after we broke up.
5. One of those exes almost got into a physical fight in a Wal-Mart parking lot one night when I was with him. He also liked to drag race. Should I write an entire post about this ex? He was a doozy.
6. I have a terrible habit of listening to one song on repeat until everyone around me hates me and I hate the song. I think Alex almost killed me during the Float On incident of 2004.
7. I still have permanent retainers on my top and bottom teeth. I don’t want to get them removed because I’m afraid my teeth will go back to being crooked. Also I don’t really want to go to the orthodontist’s again because his gloves smell like salami.
8. I’m almost incapable of buying anything. I hate shopping and I hate spending money. I routinely wear one pair of shoes or boots until they literally get holes in them. I get so miserable, frustrated, and unhappy on shopping trips that sometimes I’m reduced to tears.
9. My high school locker was covered in pictures of Ben Folds, Zach Galifianakis, Dave Grohl, Bruce Campbell, Moby, and the lead singer from Third Eye Blind. You know, your typical high school crushes.
10. I’m, like, romcom heroine levels of klutzy. My hand-eye coordination and depth perception are terrible. The worst example of this was the time I knocked over a windchime display at a department store. It was exactly as awful as it sounds.

GUYS, DO YOU STILL LIKE ME? Or are you just filled with secondhand embarrassment because I knocked over a windchime display (seriously, I’m still cringing)? Feel free to leave your weird, embarrassing facts in the comments. We can all feel dumb together. Happy weekend!

Image via Natalie Dee

Louisiana: Pie, Fried Chicken, and Some Other Things That Aren’t Food

Louisiana Mural
A few weeks ago, H. and I had the chance to visit his hometown in Louisiana. Whenever I told people where we were going, they always asked if we were going to New Orleans. But the thing is, New Orleans is, like, 6 or 7 hours from Shreveport. Shreveport’s basically in Texas. Still, though, this was the farthest south I’ve ever traveled, and I learned that the south is weird! For one, there are DRIVE THRU DAIQUIRIS.

If you’re from a state that offers these, you’re probably like, “Yeah, sure, what’s the big deal?” To that I say “ARE YOU CRAZY?” How is this normal? Serving alcoholic drinks to people who are operating motor vehicles? This is a preposterous idea!
louisiana drive thru
Oh, but it’s okay, because they tape the straw on top of it. Sure. That probably works. I mean, did I buy one? Obviously. But, as you can see here, I didn’t open it while I was in a car. I’m a rule follower.
Louisiana margarita

But there was more to Louisiana than alcohol…like food! H. was mostly excited about visiting Strawn’s, a restaurant he went to a lot as a kid that’s known for its pie. And he was right–it was great! Look at all that whipped cream.
louisiana pie

We also had fried chicken and black eyed peas (not the Black Eyed Peas) because, you know, we were in the south. I’m pretty sure you’re legally required to eat fried food and black eyed peas.
Louisiana Strawns

We also went to Southern Maid donuts because we saw them on a list of best donut places (whatever…don’t act like you’ve never looked at a list of the best donuts in the country) AND because I read that they’re the only product Elvis ever endorsed. Apparently he sang their jingle at one point, but it’s been lost to time and/or kept a secret? I don’t know if I believe it, guys. It sounds sketchy. All I know is that Elvis probably ate these donuts, and that’s good enough for me. Side note: there’s a donut place in Columbus (Buckeye Donuts!) where Prince once ate, and that’s even more exciting to me.
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louisiana donuts2
How much do you love that dog pushing a donut cart? Not that I’m advocating animal labor, but Miss Merry Mary (star of TV and stage) clearly knows what’s up.

We did things other than eat, too. When H. said we could visit his cousin and ride 4-wheelers, I was like, “Hmmm…no.” I know multiple people who’ve been paralyzed or seriously injured from 4-wheelers, so I’d rather keep my distance. But then he was all, “Oh, and she has a llama named Chester,” and I said, “GRAB YOUR KEYS.”

louisiana llama

And there also goats!
louisiana goats

And here I am in my natural habitat, surrounded by cows.
louisiana cows
louisiana cow and h
We got to feed them by hand and their tongues are huge.

Please don’t be fooled by my LSU attire. I still couldn’t care less about football. But sometimes relationships are about sacrifices, and that means wearing football shirts if (and only if) they look cute.
louisiana h and k

It was a great trip, but I was glad to come home and start eating food that was at least not completely unhealthy. I’m still thinking about that llama, though. Chester’s on my mind and in my heart.

The Property Brothers Didn’t Prepare Me For This: The Weirdest Things We’ve Seen While House Hunting

Property-Brothers

My husband and I have developed a sort of, I don’t know, unhealthy obsession with the show Property Brothers. How unhealthy, you ask? Well, this is our DVR:
property brothers

We call them ProBros for short, and I still can’t remember which one is which, but dammit! I love them! Recently I did some research (research equals Googling the Property Brothers) and found out that they used to do improv, and one of them was a magician. And one of them was on The X-Files! But that doesn’t really have anything to do with why I love them so much. The show is strangely compelling. It should be boring, but I get sucked in every time. It’s fun to analyze each couple’s relationship dynamic (“Are they going to get divorced?” is a common game we play) and wonder why everyone always claims to want a house that’s “move in ready” when they are clearly being helped by not one, but two Property Brothers. You don’t need a house that’s move in ready when they’re around! Just leave your reno in the ProBros’ capable hands! Also, why does everyone always want granite counter tops, an “open concept living space,” and a “spa bathroom” or “gourmet kitchen”? What IS a spa bathroom, anyway? WHAT DO THOSE WORDS EVEN MEAN? Is there a woman in there ready to thread your eyebrows and give you a massage?

But anyway, once H. and I actually started looking for a house of our own, we learned pretty quickly that it’s not much like what you see on HGTV. For starters, there’s not even one Property Brother to help us. Every time H. saw a “project” he thought he could do, I would hiss, “Are you kidding? You don’t have Drew and/or Jonathan here to help you knock down that wall. It could be LOAD BEARING!”

That being said, we’ve had a lot of weird moments so far that I sort of wish were caught on camera. Because I live to serve, here are the absolute weirdest things we’ve seen on our home search.

-The home of a literal hoarder. I don’t just mean, “Oh, it was really messy!” I mean there were piles of stuff everywhere, covering every surface, making it hard to climb the stairs. Also there were ashtrays EVERYWHERE. And holes in the ceiling. And it smelled like bacon.

-A couple who was still in bed. “I’m sick!” the girl announced when we entered her bedroom. Our realtor said he wanted to ask if the guy with her was her doctor (he’s a regular comedian, isn’t he?).

-A house that smelled bad, for reasons that neither we nor our realtor could figure out. No water damage. No pets around. The house was completely empty. Our realtor eventually deduced that it was a combination of curry and cat pee.

-So much underwear in the middle of the floor. What’s wrong with people? Do they not have hampers? Don’t they care that people are coming through their house? CAN THEY NOT PICK UP THEIR UNDERWEAR WHEN THEY HAVE COMPANY?

-A naked woman in the yard across the street from a house we were looking at. She was standing in her front yard, yelling at someone in a car, holding a bundle of clothing in her arms. “Well,” our realtor said. “If you lived here you’d have to deal with that.” We did not make an offer on that house.

I’ve watched a lot of HGTV, but I’ve yet to see a naked person featured. Or a floor covered in underwear. Let’s hope our home search is nearly over (seriously, keep all yer fingers and toes crossed), because I’m not sure I can handle any more mysterious smells.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Being Introverted

introversion-luchie

Recently, I saw an online comic called Introversion by Luchie. I fell in love with it immediately…it spoke to me. You definitely need to read it, but basically it’s about a girl who just feel more comfortable by herself, in her apartment, than she does at a party.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been far more comfortable with a book than I have been in someplace loud and crowded. I’ve always been far more likely to stay in than to go out. And I always assumed it’s because there was something wrong with me. I mean, a more normal person would want to socialize, right? A more normal person would not spend so much time blogging, writing, and reading. A more normal person would not want to spend so much time alone with her own thoughts.

This was never more apparent than in college. My absolute favorite way to spend a Friday or Saturday night during my senior year was to go to the library. You know why? Because it was totally empty! I had the whole place to myself, and I could wander the stacks, sit at whatever cubicle I wanted, and never have to worry about hearing some bro’s music pumping too loudly through his headphones. It wasn’t like I didn’t have friends or a boyfriend, because I did. And, honestly, I don’t remember what they were doing on those nights. Probably being more normal.

On one memorable occasion during my freshman year, I was spending a Saturday night in bed watching This Is Spinal Tap. When my mom called and found out what I was doing, she chastized me about not going out more. And let me tell you guys…when your mother starts telling you you’re not being social enough in college, then you really start to think you might be messed up.

Things haven’t changed since then. Yes, there are absolutely times I want to go out, have fun, and drink a couple of strong cocktails. And every once in awhile I enjoy having all of our friends over. I love going to dinner and going to the movies. But these aren’t things I can do every night. My husband, who is still sort of a homebody but infinitely more extroverted than me, could comfortably hang out with people five nights a week. If I do that, I feel like I can’t hear my own thoughts, like I can barely breathe, like my bookshelf, laptop, and couch are calling to me.

So this comic gave me that pleasant sense of recognition: “Oh, that’s me!” And, in the same week, I read this article on Lifehacker about how introverts and extroverts can coexist. When I read it, it was the final “Oh, there’s nothing wrong with me!” nudge I needed to realize that it’s okay to be introverted. Lots of people are. Even though I feel like most of my friends aren’t and my husband certainly isn’t, it’s okay that I am. The article explains that, while introverted people do like going out sometimes and extroverted people need to stay in every once in awhile, their methods of recharging are fundamentally different. Just as I feel like I’m crawling out of my skin when I haven’t spent enough time alone, extroverts feel that way when they can’t be around other people. The article also has really concrete tips that are already helping me and H. deal with our very different interaction styles.

So if you’re an introvert, here’s what I have to say to you: don’t feel bad! I spent a lot of time feeling guilty about the way I am. I have great friends–seriously, they are the most amazing people ever–and it used to make me feel terrible that I couldn’t hang out with them every time they asked. But this is just who I am! Watching Spinal Tap in bed, reading all the time, writing way too much. My need to spend so much time alone isn’t a reflection on the people I have in my life. If you’re still feeling like you’re a weirdo, check out that Lifehacker article and learn about how you can coexist with people who are extroverted. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a book to go read.

Image via the comic by Luchie that you seriously have to go read now!