Thursday, January 29, 2015

Writing like it's my job

I recently submitted a piece of my writing to a writing contest. It cost me 20 smackeroos.

When I went to (not sure if y'all use this site, but I love it) to categorize my purchases, I made a specific decision with the $20 I spent on the writing contest entry.

I labeled it "Business Services."

This was new for me.

I had used the Business Services label when making copies of my clips to hand to an interviewer, or to print off my resume when I didn't have a printer available at home.

Even then, "Business Services" sounded a little too much like I had my own business, but I let it go and moved on to something else on the Internet.

This recent decision had me holding my head a little higher, however.

This year, I have a New Year's resolution to spend one day each month working on a chapter of my book.

Is this frightening?

You bet your bottom making-it-as-a-writer dollar it is.

But I did it, this past Saturday. I honestly felt like whining a fair amount of the time. And I wrote eight pages of journal pages, rambly pages, things that had nothing to do with the mental health/spirituality story that I want to write.

Finally, the last two pages were actually book...ish. Where I think my story should sorta-kinda start. Minus flashbacks to childhood that I'm sure will pop in.

Yikes! Book! I'm getting nervous just writing about the task.


Remind me this is a good idea.

This week I've sought out some writing contests (via, and decided to submit some stuff to those. Generally the prizes are cash (holla) and publication, and the publication aspect is pretty great.

So when I was hanging out on mint, I decided to deem my payment as a business expense.

Because I'm a writer. And I want to get paid for it. And I would love for it to be the primary task of my day.

Thank God I've chilled a little in my feeling of "I must be a full time writer NOW!!!!" Because the reality is if you're a single person without super wealthy parents and it's important to you to live on your own in a big city and eat while you're at it, well then, you might have to do something else in the meantime.

And work on your writing on the sidelines, which might make you (me) whine.

But lately I've got this fever in me, or something, that's like, "Let's do this!"

I'm not really sure what's gotten into me.

Maybe I got sick of saying I was a writer and then just not writing very much.

Maybe I told too many people about my book and felt more and more like a fraud having, well, no book to back up my talk.

Maybe that most recent freelance piece tasted pretty good.

So I counted the writing contest entry fee as a business service.


Not changing it back. Not to hobbies. Not to entertainment.

Don't get me wrong, I haaaate business books and business talk and blah blah blah. It literally makes me yawn when conversations get too corporate at work. I just want to get back to the busy work and the overall reason why we're doing our work (I work at a mental health center, so for me the answer to that is helping people overcome their anxiety and depression and managing their schizophrenic symptoms and getting off the streets, yay!) and then take a coffee break and laugh with my coworkers.

But then someone asks me about myself and I say "I'm a writer" and then I feel that non-book nagging at me.

Business Services.


$20. Not in the red. In the zone.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Novel Advice

When I flew to Chicago in October, I forgot my book(s) for the plane.

This was very out of character for me, and I'm still a little disgusted with myself for letting this happen.

But I think it was serendipitous, or part of my life's plan, or something, because I met a precious new friend in Chicago who gave me a book to read while I was there.

This book didn't fit my typical reading genre at all. It was close, as I'm a big fan of children's books, and it was young adult fiction. But it was science fiction, and I'll be honest, when the plot was first described to me, I thought, "Really?"

The book is "Life as we Knew It" by Susan Beth Pfeffer, and it's about an asteroid hitting the moon, thus throwing off the tides and all kinds of weather and creating chaos worldwide.

It didn't sound like me at all. The only thing that remotely sounded like me, sadly, was when my new friend twisted up his face and admitted, "It's kind of depressing." Depression is more my language. More so than asteroids and tides, that's for sure.

I accepted the book and politely gave it a secretly skeptical (I was being polite) whirl.

And then I was hooked.

I stayed in Chicago for several nights, and before I left town I was already gushing to my friend about the 100 pages I had already torn through.

"It's so scary!!" I said.

"Wasn't it so smart of [the character's] mom to buy all those groceries?!" he quickly answered back.

Others in the room were clueless to our literary enthusiasm.

I finished the book and quite loved it throughout. It kept me concerned, attentive, and worried, start to finish, but in a good way. If there can be a good way. I guess being wrapped up in something generally feels good.

Since then, I've checked out the sequel, called "The Dead and the Gone."

Seriously, if someone had suggested a book to me called "The Dead and the Gone," prior to my reading of "Life As We Knew It," I'd be like, "Pass."

I actually had to return this second book of the series to the library, since this has been perhaps my busiest January on record, and I have hardly been reading, and I am racking up fines at the LAPL and it needs to stop.

But before I somewhat regrettingly took the novel to the book drop, I looked over a particular page again.

The main character in this book, Alex, uses a technique on his high school debate team as well as in his own life, to kind of center himself and regroup.

What he does is this:

He makes three lists, side by side.

One is the "What I know" list.

The second is "What I think."

And the final one is "What I don't know."

This stopped me in my tracks when I first read it. And before returning my paperback copy, I had to jot down the three list titles on my bookmark.

Because that's good stuff right there.

Scary stuff, but good.

I'm one who has a lot of heart -- I think, I hope -- but whose head gets so damn in the way of her heart.

I overthink. I worry.

I can't tell you how many drinks I've had with friends over the years in which something along the lines of, "You've gotta quit worrying" has been uttered across bar stools, in my direction.

"I know," I nod. And continue to worry.

The mother of one of my friends once said to her daughter and I that we should never assume someone doesn't want to work with us. She was explaining how, unless we receive explicit verbal confirmation of such a thought, we shouldn't assume that someone discredits our work, or who we are.

I wrote that one down, too.

It's so easy to let what we think cloud what we know. And it's so easy to let what we don't know become a cloud so dark that we almost allow it to be translated into a false "What I know." (Example: you could be so certain, in your head, that you blew an interview, that you could convince yourself you know you didn't get the job, when in fact, plain and simple, you don't yet know if that's the case. Not until -- and unless -- you get that explicit confirmation that my friend's mom was talking about.)

I'm writing this at 2:30 a.m. because I'm awake and worrying about something.

Some things.

And here's what I know:

I have someone behind me, who's willing to listen while I figure things out.

Here's what I think:

That I'm afraid I won't be able to figure things out.

What I don't know:

Whether I will figure it out.

I also don't know how long the offer to listen will keep. I suspect it's quite a while, but I'm tempted to place in that "think" column that it will expire after X amount of time.

But that's probably an assumption that should remain here in this "don't know" column, and not meander over to the "know" column.

I'm realizing how powerful it is to honestly look at what I know versus what I think.

What we think is valuable, and can certainly be trustworthy and helpful and a guidance. But so much of what we think can hurt us, I think (ha -- I can't even have the thought without thinking about thinking).

In fact, if there's anything I do too much of, it's think. I've spent years battling it, or embracing it, depending on the moment, or my mood, or my fears surrounding my ever-changing moods.

I'm not here to publicly list all of my fears -- at least not at this moment. I realize I do share a lot of my fears here, and it is my aim to be transparent with you. But I just wanted to share this food for thought that I've been munching on lately, and plan to nibble on in days here to come.

This is very hard for me, as I imagine it can be for you. But I think, like separating out fibers for a worthwhile purpose, this exercise can serve us. Even if they're going to be woven back together, it's good to lay out before us what we're working with. You can knit together a beautiful multicolored item, but you can't work successfully with three wads of tangled yarn; the thread would never slip onto the needles, for the knots.

I have a lot of knots. I am realizing a lot of them all at once, which is very overwhelming, and has me questioning my instincts, trying to figure out what is an instinct and what is a fear.

And there are a lot of fears in my wads of yarn.

What I think:

I am scared that I won't have the courage, or the presence of mind, to properly untangle the knots.

I probably can't do it alone.

What I don't know:

What my final product will look like. A hat? A scarf? Something with stripes, or something kind of tie-dye looking? Something with three shades of the same hue?

What I know:

I have a listener who is willing to hear about the knots.

I have to untangle the knots myself, but I don't have to be alone as I do so. Because I have an offer, at least for now, that hasn't yet expired.

Good luck to you all with your knitting, and the sorting that comes first.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Asking to be loved

I'm not sure how I made it out of childhood still believing in God, given my rampant doubts and questions of adulthood.

On the one hand, it makes perfect sense. I had an entirely loving family and very supportive and fun youth mentors at the churches we attended. Why wouldn't I believe something that was discussed and practiced in such great environments?

On the other hand, growing up wasn't simple. Of course it isn't simple for most people, but I had a lot of hurdles. Hurdles that I'm still processing years later. My family moved every 2-5 years. I was an overthinker. I was the new kid. I was sensitive. I felt a strong calling to be weird and be proud about it, making me an outsider yet sometimes accepted and applauded for my "bravery."

Believing that a God loved me could have been really hard. It's the age old question: if He loved me, then why do I feel so bad? Why do I have struggles? Especially if I was trying to be on His side?

But maybe it was comforting enough that it was made easier to believe in something so lovely. God loving me. Ahhh. Sit back and enjoy. Be a weirdo. Be loved. Be loved by an invisible man in the sky.

Today I find it hard to believe that a guy who died a long time ago is alive and loving me. It's weird to think about. It doesn't make intuitive sense with what we have before us and can see and feel.

Yet I wonder where all those things -- plants that grow, people that look in each other's eyes -- and feelings come from. I don't think they're an accident. I think it's a cruel thought to just imagine we're pawns in a game. This is not Jumanji. It's something bigger.

So then I swing back to the believing end of the spectrum.

And back to thinking it's all so very weird.

All at once, often.

My pastor, Rankin, says something very often to us at church. It's along the lines of: God's love for us is not dependent on our understanding of it.

I was sitting on my porch several months ago, on a Saturday morning I believe, and I was feeling guilty and the day hadn't even started. I had a lot of things I could do, should do, what to do?? I wondered if what I was doing was selfish, if it was serving God, serving others.

I had discovered some months before that my porch was a nice place to sit and quiet the F down. The most I would take out there was a beer, or a cup of tea. Maybe a blanket. And I would just sit. No reading, no talking on the phone (I of course engage in these activities on my porch on occasion, but not when it's quiet time).

So on this morning a while back I went to the porch.

And while I was out there I started thinking/praying that I would just feel loved. Loved by God. And eventually I went back inside.

And I could be misremembering, but I think I had an OK day after that. I know at the very least that my guilt dissipated. I was able to breathe again, and move, and make a decision and not feel badly about it.

I'm not always sure about this prayer thing, and whether anyone is listening, and what's the point if we're not guaranteed to get what we ask for.

But I do know that it feels good to say Thank you. And I know that I pray for some weird stuff sometimes, and I often feel better when I do.

This past fall my cat was having some bowel issues, and it was costing me money, causing him to shed, causing me to worry. We were at the vet way more often than we wanted to be, even if Mr. Office Max was greeted with love at the check in desk, because he's so lovey dovey and wonderful.

He was having persistent diarrhea, and we had tried one drug ($) and then moved on to another ($$). I would brace myself every time he moved his way into the litter box.

And when, one night, he didn't have diarrhea, I found myself with a huge grin on my face, thanking God that my kitten was OK.

See? Sometimes we pray about weird things.

But it feels good.

It's weird to believe in this stuff. And I feel like a fraud 95 percent of the time.

But I think I might sit on my porch tonight, with a blanket for sure, tea maybe, to quiet down. And ask that I feel loved. Because a lot of the time I don't know what else to ask for. But I think that there might be Someone to ask my questions of. And to say Thank you. For the people in my life. The cat. The love and the sunshine. The rest, the nourishment, the...


There is a term I rarely utter. In fact, until, well, maybe last night, I never have. I don't even like to encourage it being uttered by others when talking with my writer friends.

(That makes it sound like I have a posse of writer friends. Uh, I don't. But I do know several writers, here and there and everywhere in this screenwriting city.)

The term is this: Writer's Block.


So cliche. So negative.


I feel that it's like giving up.

Not that I'm not a quitter. Another discussion for another time.

I was with my friends Stephen and Sonya last night, catching up on life, and this term that I hate came up. And I admit, I brought it up, I dared to utter the words without prompting.

We were having a lovely time, Sonya scuttling about, setting the atmosphere for our bonding time. In her search for the key to the fireplace, she suddenly said, "Ooh! Candle!" and grabbed a little scented thing off the mantel (I thought it smelled like cinnamon rolls, Stephen would comment that it smelled like the perfume in cat litter -- who's more romantic between the two of us?) and placed it in the middle of our living room dining table, where our Trader Joe's microwave meals and cabernet sauvingnon awaited us.

Sonya turned on the CD player (still using CDs, my people) to see what Stephen had been listening to, and some booming classical stuff filled the room. "Oh, we're going to have to make a change," Sonya said, and put on some Latin somethingrather that had each of us instantly dancing in place.

So there we were, catching up on life, cats popping in and out of my lap, cat litter scent wafting in the air, and Stephen just had to go and ask about my writing.

He's a writer himself, so I couldn't just give him a surface answer. We writers are on to each other. It's the good and bad news of our coexistence.

So I decided, skirting around the term, justifying why I was using the term, to finally just go ahead and utter the term itself. I admitted I was having some writer's block.

We talked about some theories -- I'm super hyper happy these days, and distracted, and busy. We talked about how maybe when I've been in darker times that perhaps my concentration for overanalytical writing was better. This is sad, but maybe true. (As a writer and a human, I urge you to heal the pain in your life rather than hold on to it for the sake of being a better writer. I don't know that I'm a "worse" writer right now, I'm just in a season of distraction).

And then Stephen, with enthusiastic urgency (this sums him up in many ways), disappeared to get books about Tchaikovsky, promising to return.

He came back, with two books about or by Tchaikovsky, and a plaque that read, "Be Tchaikovsky."

He then proceeded to read to me about the importance of just working, working, working, even if what you are producing is crap. Just. Keep. Going. Tchaikovsky apparently abided by this theory, that his composition masterpieces were not the result of genius but rather of sitting his ass in a chair and continuing to slog through terrible music he was writing.

So Stephen encouraged me to write about my writer's (block) and to let that be my next topic.

So here you have it.

I'm struggling, world. I feel like my writing is whiny and hyper and here and there and not deep enough and blah blah blah!

I don't wish to be depressed again, no thank you. I wish my thoughts and feelings would quit rattling around like a child with candy (or an adult Bailey with coffee) and settle down already onto the page in a nice essay.

I wish I knew what my book would look like. Well, if I knew exactly what it will look like, then that would make the process of writing it pretty tear-your-eyelashes-out dry. But you know what I mean. Maybe you don't. Maybe I should write about it so you know how I imagine that would feel.

I want to write a memoir, or a series of chronological-ish, or at least themed, essays. I want them to tell my story of mental health struggles and victories. Of learning through growing. Of my spiritual doubts and fears. Of what keeps bringing me back to church, and the Bible, and Jesus. Of how I beat up on myself.

I go back and forth wondering whether I should write a book from a mental health framework, and let the faith stuff sift in, or vice versa. Or if I should just tell my story, start to finish, and then let everything else fall in the crevices. Because there's no way to tell my story without telling of the heart-racing, cold-sweat, terrified moments. The moments of doubting everything I'd believed for years before. The moments of anxiety so heavy I couldn't eat. The depression that made me fear my life would end prematurely. The medication that got me past that fear for my future.

It will all end up in the story.

And I'll edit out the crap that doesn't need to be there.

But first I must stack the pages.

I must write garbage.

I must admit to my friends that what I am writing is garbage.

I must sit dutifully, humbly, quietly, while my friend reads to me about Tchaikovsky.

I must patiently wait out my hyper moments, trying my best to put words to a page while my body and brain just buzzzzzzzz.

I must write garbage. And wait for the gems to rise above the trash heap.

When I tell people I want to write memoirs, they either say "Interesting!" or they look at me sideways. "Don't you have to live a little longer?" they ask.

I wonder sometimes if they're right. Maybe I'm not old enough. But maybe that's just an easy excuse to grab. A ticket out of writing my daily garbage/maybe not garbage.

I think I just need to be a whiny, hyper, young chit chatter. Moving words around on a page, thinking and overthinking and overthinking some more. Not worrying about whether people are reading it. Not worrying about if I even put it out there for people to read. I need to quit wondering when I'll hit Ann Patchett level of fame, or Anne Lamott's level of camaraderie in the faith community.

I need to just be me. With a keyboard. Writing. And hoping the readers will be patient, and appreciative.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why I can’t give up coffee (but probably could)

A couple of years ago, I was meeting a business contact for lunch, and in our conversation I mentioned that I drink coffee more for the psychological aspects of it than the actual physical jumpstart.

“You don’t seem like you need coffee,” he said, not missing a beat.
Because I don’t. You’ve read this blog. If you’ve met me, then you know even further. My mind races, my mouth races, my feet can race on a treadmill and I can still struggle with insomnia.

Or, if I’m sleeping just fine – I can pretty much always welcome more rest come morning, hence the beauty and comfort of coffee – then when I get up I hit the ground running.

Even after nights of no or little sleep, I’ve been able to keep my mind and body racing at quite a clip.


Maybe I don’t need coffee.

If I’m being honest (and let’s keep this on the down low), I don’t really love coffee the way I used to. The taste doesn’t satisfy the way it once did. I used to be clearly a black, dark roast girl, now I try and mix it up – blonde roast, cream – to see if my mouth will respond with new fervor. Alas, not usually.

Yesterday morning I woke up and I want/needed coffee. I had gone on a seven mile hike the day before, had two (light) beers when I was done, and crashed. I woke up after a holiday weekend (so, essentially like waking up on a Monday after having extra time off) and was heading straight into a meeting. I even had to run an errand on the way to the meeting, to get bagels.

I want/needed coffee.

And the coffee helped. It snapped my brain out of the fog. It made me think I was a nicer person to deal with.

Right now I’m having an after-lunch cup. I enjoyed the bonding with my coworker to make it. I feel somewhat safe with it by my side.

Would I actually fall asleep at my desk without it? No. But it’s nice to have it there.

Do I wish, rather, that there was something else to snap me out of this post-lunch fatigue? Absolutely.

Because the reality is, while I wouldn’t fall asleep without the coffee, the coffee isn’t going to make me feel fully awake.

What made me feel best was when we were in the break room making the coffee. Why? Because I was on my feet.

I think I’m more physically active than I realize.

Years ago, when I started working at Starbucks, I feared that being on my feet all the time would make me so tired, with no energy left after a shift.

Not true at all.

The first week my feet and back hurt more than normal, sure, but I was an avid runner throughout my time at the ‘Bucks. In fact, after working my early morning shifts, I would make myself sit down before heading out for a four or five mile run simply because I thought it was a good idea to take a break.

So should I sign up for a construction job? Probably not. I like writing too much. I like sitting in front of a computer too much.

I just wish I had more control of when and how often I could get up. I’d more happily get up midday to work out and then sit down, sweaty, sans coffee, to get some work done, than to have a five minute break to make coffee and then sit back down in a stupor, only somewhat masking my lethargy.

Then there’s the teeth conundrum. My teeth are gross yellow. I’d like that to not be the case. I could drink tea. But tea tastes different. I welcome, with loving arms, tea, when I’m sick, or with the right kind of friend, when it’s rainy, etc. Sometimes tea cuts it where coffee can’t. But most of the time I find the opposite to be true.

So yellow teeth for me.

It also feels like you’re drinking dirt sometimes. It doesn’t sit well in the stomach or bowels.

Tea sits better. But it’s like drinking water.

Now I’m just whining.

I hope this waffling makes it clear to you why I’ve struggled for 10+ years now to kick this habit.

How about you? What are your thoughts on coffee? Is it feeding you the way it once did? How do you wake up, how do you keep from feeling mad at people, if you don’t drink it? How do you get through the TIREDNESS of life??? Inquiring, addicted minds want to know.

Maybe in 2016, New Year’s Resolution. Not this year, however. Don’t think it’s going to happen this year.

Hyper happy

People, I am like, too excited.

As my dear friend Sarah says, I need to calm it down.

But I can't!!!

Because Hawaii!!!

And ballet!

And...other things I'm going to keep privately to myself even though I'm bursting at the seams!

And cat! Sweetest cat in the universe who has decided to become a lap cat!!!!!!


And Taylor Swift's 1989 album that I can't stop listening to!

And crazy hike that has me crazy sore two days later but was such a badass workout!


Breathe, Bailey, breathe. Where is a meditation class when you need one? I need calming music and a dark room, pronto.

Hawaii -- so while I was spending time with my brother Riley and his wife Caitlin at Christmas, they told me they're going to Hawaii, and then they said I should come along.

"Are you suuuuure???"


I had to be sure. They were sure. So last night I booked a flight and a bed at a hostel.


Today I registered for my ballet class at a local college. I took a class five years ago (wow, five) and have been waiting to take another one. So excited.

And something else I'm not telling you about.

And cat. Seriously, Office Max has decided he loves my lap and wants to be in it a lot.

I am more than fine with this.

I miss him a lot when I'm away from him.

I'm obsessed with him when I'm with him.

I visited him at lunch yesterday. I plan to do the same today.

Plus I have leftovers in the fridge.

But cat.

And Taylor Swift. Can't stop listening. So good.

We're going on over a month now that I've been listening to this album, off and on.

And hike.

Did a 7 mile hike with elevation change of about 3,000 feet on Monday.

Yow. Za.

We were so proud of ourselves. And had Bud Lights on tap and bar food to celebrate our accomplishment.

I apologize for this crazy hyper happy post. Those kind of blogs are super annoying. I know you guys are used to my anxiety-depression-struggling-with-my-faith posts. Regularly scheduled programming may return soon.

So hyper happy. Need to calm it down.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Motorcycle diary

Today was one of those mind racing days for me.

Until I took a nap.

Now I feel a little better.

Do you ever have those days where you wonder if you're able to make a decision about anything? And I don't mean "soup or salad," I mean days where you wonder if you're living in the right place, spending time with the right people, in the right job, doing the right activities.

I've discovered some things about myself of late:

1. I beat up on myself a lot. I have a lot of hubris, to be sure, but I can beat up on myself for just about annnnything.

2. I'm not sure I'm confident about a damn thing in my life.

This is uplifting, this foot I've gotten us off on here. Happy holiday weekend, y'all!

Just as soon as I think something is great, or right, or comfy, I start to wonder. It's a lonely, hard-to-explain place to be, though I have a hunch a lot of us are there.

Right now my shirt is semi-soggy with sweat from my long nap. My legs are in a less-than-ideal position, to accommodate for a sleeping cat in my bed. (Not complaining about the cat). The legs are warm, too, because there is a comforter on them. A computer is at an awkward angle on my lap.

As I was driving home from church today -- where I was being recruited to take on a leadership position I'm not sure about, where I was prayed with to consider the position, where I dumped a lot of my life uncertainties on the people trying to recruit me -- there was a guy in front of me in a weird position on his motorcycle.

He was leaning more to one side than the other, casually gripping the steering grip with only one hand.

I immediately thought he was cocky. Gonna get killed if he's not careful.

But then I thought, "He knows what he's doing. He can sense his balance."

And I felt the lack of balance in my life.

I don't say all this to make things sound sad. I have a lot of good things, a lot of great things, in my life right now.

I just feel like they're a little out of control. I legitimately stressed myself out earlier for not having clipped my toenails recently. I mean, they're not crazy long or even embarrassing, but for crying out loud I was beating myself up for spending so much time with people lately that I hadn't clipped my toenails.

I may have been a wee bit sleep deprived while having this thought.

And I may be just a little over-stimulated and haven't had a lot of Bailey time lately.

But a little spiritual crisis is legitimately in the mix there, too. (Toenails have nothing to do with the spiritual crisis, but that is one of the things I was worrying about earlier today -- my lack of faith, my constant questioning of who Jesus was, should I believe in Him, do i believe in Him, etc.)

I haven't showered since yesterday morning. Beat myself up over that.

There is laundry drying on a yoga mat and a beach towel in my apartment. Not drying, it's dry. Not put away. Beat myself up over that.

Not writing or editing full time. Beat myself up over that.

Overthinking time being spent with new person in life. Beat myself up over that.

Blarg, blarg, blarg!

I don't know if it's because I'm an extrovert with self-diagnosed ADD, and so I just keep adding activities and people to my life, or what. Maybe it's this new person who's got me (in a good way) out of sorts.

This has been a downer post.

When I saw the guy on his leaning, Joe Cool motorcycle, I had visions of a beautiful, albeit totally disjointed blog post arising from it.

I recently read from Ann Patchett that what we have in our writing heads are these beautiful stories, like butterflies, and then when we write it all down, it's like a crushed, entomological specimen, like a butterfly getting hit by a car. It's nothing like we visualized in our head. Then we have to work to get it into the beautiful butterfly that it is in our heads.

This blog, if you haven't noticed, is often first drafts (or only drafts), so my apologies if they read like crushed butterflies sometimes.

So I guess my conclusion here is that I could use prayer. I could use hugs. Listening ears. Encouragement to enjoy some Bailey time.

And I guess, in putting this out there, that if you're reading this and thinking "Damn, I beat up on myself too! I can't make a decision about my faith, or love, or work, or lunch," then know that I'm with you.

Here's to a day off. Here's to naps. Here's to napping kitties. Here's to sweet people in our lives who root for us to be happy and content. I wish these things for you, too.


P.S. This is from when the nugget crawled on me earlier. Praise the Lord that cats can sense when we need affection. He's been keeping close most of the day.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Type B for Bailey

While spending time with my brother and his wife during this Christmas holiday, we were having a wonderful time until my brother just had to go and say something that ruined everything.

And the worst part is, he said it all casual, just glossed over it as if he was commenting that we should eat Christmas cookies.

But I could not let it slide, and when he said what he said I had to stand up in protest.

In theory. We were in a hot tub at the hotel where we were staying. I enjoyed the hot bubbly goodness around me from a seated position, but protested vocally.

Here’s what he said:

“And I mean, our whole family is Type A…”


I could not stand for this.

So I remained sitting. In the hot bubbly goodness of the hot tub.

My name is Bailey.

B for Bailey.

B for Type B personality.






He wanted to continue with what he was saying, but I challenged him instantly, asking him to explain himself, never accepting his answer until it would include a statement admitting that I was in no way whatsoever Type A. Admitting that his first set of words was not meant to include me, that when he said the whole family, he really meant all but me.

(You’re probably thinking I hate the Type A’s in the world, given my abhorrent response to his comment. I’m actually mostly jealous of you, but I’ll expand on this further down).

We eventually relocated to the hotel bar (small town Wisconsin, bar inside the hotel, total cost of a Blue Moon, rum and Coke, and a Coke -- $6.25. This caused me to shout, “I love Wisconsin!”), where I continued to bring up the topic.

Type B for Bailey, why was no one getting the obviousness of this???

We shot pool.

They said, “You have certain type A qualities…”

As if this was to make me feel better.

As if only having type A qualities was better than being a full blown Type A personality.

Qualities. Pssh.

Like WHAT.

The next day Caitlin (my sis-in-law) whipped out her phone and began rattling off Type A qualities.

When she said, “impatient,” I yelled:


Without intended irony or an attempt to work the crowd.

The whole room laughed.

I don’t understand why. I was merely explaining to her that she was wrong if she thought I am in any way impatient in life, ever.

I mean, impatient with what? Finding a mate? Traffic? Waiting for lunchtime? I never ache for these things to hurry the you-know-what up already.

During this same obsessive period of vacation, I would be on the phone with someone, suddenly rattling off the differences of phenylephrine versus pseudoephedrine and why you get ID’d at the store for such medications. Person on phone stopped me to mention how type A my prattling was. Um, more like attention to detail and 25+ years of allergy suffering showing its way to the surface. This has nothing to do with a personality type.

And now I will pause and tell you why I don’t want to be considered type A.

First, as we have already established, my name starts with B. In fact, both of my names start with B. And no, the middle initial is not A, though that would make my initials, almost, spell “BABE.”

Which would be cool.

Next – and here I’m going to bring the discussion down a notch, to a sort of sad place – I’ve been hurt by type A people. Directly and indirectly, but mostly indirectly, and mostly through my own self-criticism and comparison to type A people.

For those who don’t know, the generic descriptions of type A and B personalities, as I interpret them, tend to look like as follows:

Type A: viewed as impatient, short fuse, literally according to some research more likely to suffer from poor heart health, need to get what they want when they want it every time they want it. Organized, reliable in accomplishing tasks expected of them when they are expected, perhaps ahead of time and with great flair, most likely to take charge in a situation (such as care of an elderly parent) when others are not stepping forward.

Type B: viewed as go with the flow, loosey goosey, artistic, maybe irresponsible, calm and cool. Able to keep a cool head, but maybe not the most reliable. In a word, can keep those around them calm and in a good mood, but may very likely drive their type A siblings, coworkers, and friends in life crazy.

The above descriptions are my interpretations.

So, you see, both types have good and bad.

So let’s start with my jealousy. This would be the indirect way I’ve been hurt by type A people. I am jealous of y’all. I feel like once upon a time I was more like you all. My life in middle school, for example, was organized. My room was a mess – it always has been – but I never missed an assignment in school, my folders for each class were kept intact, I actually wrote things on the lines of my planner.

As I got to college, the folder system started to have a lot of backlogging (I would spend good portions of my “study” time in the library pulling scraps of paper out of my backpack and placing them in the appropriately labeled folders, then finally get down to reading the textbook). At some indiscernible time, I started to write diagonally in my planner, not adhering to the nicely printed lines.

I have a planner, currently, in which every 15 minutes is broken down. But when I know I have something scheduled for 11:30 a.m., I don’t write it on the 11:30 line. I write it wherever the heck I want.

I write “Friday!” in bubble letters, diagonally, with “Yeeeeehaw!” underneath.

I doodle. There is already a party hat drawn in the day slot of my upcoming 30th birthday.

So all that to say that when I see an impeccable day planner, good handwriting, an organized (and fashionable to boot) administrative assistant character in a romantic comedy, I get a pang of both jealousy and sweet, sweet admiration.

It tears me up inside, every time.

Rory Gilmore with all her reading, her darling dresses, her extracurriculars. How does she do it?????

She doesn’t do it. She’s fictional. That’s how she can “accomplish” so much. That’s why endless coffee actually makes her cuter and doesn’t eventually make her stomach churn and make her break down in tears (except in that episode when she cries to Dean).

And directly, I’ve been hurt by type A people. As a helplessly type B person (according to my own diagnosis AND actual tests I’ve taken), I realize that I am not always the most responsible. While one moment people love my lightheartedness, my jovial quips, my creative writing, in other moments they wonder why I am late, and why I don’t volunteer for more leadership positions, which would, oftentimes, take a load off their type A busy-busy-busy lives and help them breathe easier.

I won’t post specific examples here, but there have been times in my life when people I know who take on more than their fair share want some help and get exasperated when I don’t come to their aid. Sometimes I don’t help because I’m lazy, sometimes I don’t have interest, and in time, I’ve developed more self-awareness and learned to both focus on projects that are more in tune with my gifts and to know my shortcomings that I may not be the most responsible person to be on a project that someone is asking me to be on.

And I will say that where my attention is deficited, I have probably hurt some type A people in the world. In fact I know I have.

So I guess I don’t want to be associated with people who have hurt me. I would rather own my own issues – my occasional flightiness, my unwillingness to commit, my fear of big time responsibility – and creatively flaunt it around in my self-deprecating writing.

But I don’t want to be told by someone else (type A or otherwise) that I am doing something wrong. I must beat them to that punch. Which is both unhealthy and sad, and maybe what most of us do most of the time.


All this to say that I don’t think I am type A, and that I have only very few, if any, type A qualities.

But feel free to argue me. And I will shoot you down. In a totally nonchalant, type B manner.

Unless you say I am impatient, in which case I will yell at you that you are wrong.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Slogging through to the other side (and, a dramatic look at shopping at the grocery store)

Today was one of those days where I was so tired there was essentially no point of return. I could tell right away when my alarm went off, and when the cat got snuggly I knew I was in for a long day. The pull to the fuzz ball as opposed to getting on my two feet and moving toward the office was winning, by far. It was a sporting event with the score so uneven it was boring to watch.

Office Max the cat: 1,000,000
Office itself: 0

Amazingly I got out of bed.

I almost felt drunk during the morning, and I didn't bother with a second cup of coffee because I knew it was futile.

Finally I began to come out of it around lunchtime, and a chance to slowly eat a delicious salad was welcomed by my fibers. Vitamins in the veggies, protein in the marinated chicken, a little zing in the balsamic vinaigrette, they brought me a trifle back from the edge. The deadly edge of sleepiness.

Man, I hate being tired when I'm in a situation where productivity should be the focus. Hate it.

This year I in fact feel motivated to keep my surroundings (including, what's that? The car???) clean, to eat well, to cook, to sleep, to exercise, but so far six days into my motivational year I feel like I am all good vibes and no action. So when I woke up in a near-coma with a cat unwittingly pulling me further into the somnambulance, the irritation at my circumstances was already in place. Fatigue was certainly not going to move anything toward fruition. I calculated the beauty of staying in bed, but got up anyway.

Though it was rough this morning, I'm glad I did.

I did miss Office Max at the office today, though.

I received nuggets of wisdom from several friends and coworkers throughout the day. My nerves were a little high about something, and one friend even suggested that my fatigue could be a direct result of that. Another mentioned that the nerves would work themselves out. A third said that my normal functions were still intact, just buried underneath the nerves.

I welcomed all the words from my sages, and took a nap in my car during my morning break. I went for a walk during the afternoon.

I made a plan to make dinner. The grocery store often seems like a most undesirable place for me (unless I'm well caffeinated, well fed, and feeling chipper but not rushed -- a rarely realized chemical equation), but I resolved to dig my feet in.

The day seemed awash in many ways, and I cursed my lagging with bitter annoyance. When something small-ish went "wrong" at work, I compared myself to the long line of, well, everyone else, who wouldn't have let that thing slip. But I resolved to make a square meal, to get the items needed to do so, and to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

The nice thing about the grocery store is that it kind of kidnaps me. Despite my often not-perfectly-caffeinated and what have you state, often when I get to aisle number three I have forgotten my annoyance. I think of other things I need. I concede to the fact that I will lift heavy jugs of cat litter into my cart, that I will visit all the aisles, or, worst of all, go back to an aisle I'd already visited and forgot something in.

Before going to the grocery store, I aggressively remind myself of items on my bare minimum shopping list, so as to not forget anything and get out of there as quickly as possible.

Once inside, the avocado topping for the curry lentil rice bowl becomes less of the enemy and more of the cooling, calming piece of the dish that is worth an extra lap, worth pushing a heavy metal cart to gather a handful of wrinkled fruit. Once arrived, again beyond belief, I agree to squish the fruits, to see which one is ready for slicing that night.

I'm not sure how the grocery store does it, but it's a crafty little sneaker. Proven by my kindness toward the cashier at the end of my visit, my good citizenship of walking the cart back to its corralled home.

I'm not always this peaceful and nice about it, of course. Proven by the toilet paper in my trunk, that comes upstairs to my apartment a few rolls at a time, due to my impatience with carrying too many loads. The necessities, the refrigeration-required items go upstairs, leave everything else behind!


Sometimes we wake up really tired, and we stay really tired, and we get mad about it, and we stay mad about it. But then sometimes in that same day we manage to get a little work done, to make it until 5, to write a list of things we're grateful for. To walk through the grocery store until the job is done, continuing to breathe.

During my lunch hour I read in my book by Ann Patchett the importance of forgiving oneself as a writer. The importance of continuing to stack up the pages. To keep working to chip away at the coal in the mountainside in order to someday reveal the diamond, and meanwhile to forgive yourself. Forgive forgive forgive. Forgive my fatigue. Forgive my laziness. Forgive my bitter attitude, my tightly bound and pulsing nerves. To make a meal, squeeze the avocado, and move into tomorrow. Where I'll hopefully be better rested.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


I am currently in bed. Time? 8:02.

(10:02 Kansas time, which I was on just yesterday).

In bed with a Max cat. Reunited. Life is good.

I am too tired to unpack my suitcase, too awake to sleep, and too distracted? to read.

Also I'm sore, because yesterday I helped lift the foosball table at my parents' house (unsuccessfully trying to haul it out the front entry way and into the garage) and I really think I pulled something or almost right-on-the-brink-of-pulling almost-pulled something in my upper back/shoulder area. I mean, yowsa.

So that's not helping with either the unpacking or the poor posture I choose to use when reading in bed. Sure, I could sit up in good posture in bed and read and my shoulders probably wouldn't bother me, but I've never been one to break tradition when it comes to bad posture.

Also the posture I'm using to type this (lying on stomach, arms draped over pillow which is under my chin, thus tugging on the shoulder region) is really not helping things.

I am a champ and clearly a type A goal setter and achiever.

Speaking of, I've already missed the mark on one of my chief resolutions for the year. Goal: eat fast food only once a month. Number of times I've eaten fast food? Twice.

So the question is: wait until March 1st (CAN SHE DO IT) to once again have fast food, honoring at least the 1:1 (2:2 reduced) food per month ratio, or just ignore this mishap and reset the French fry calendar on February 1st? Thoughts? Not that I will necessarily listen to them, but, thoughts?

Remember that time I was lying in bed, not committing to sleep or reading or cleaning or unpacking?

8:10 p.m.

What else can I tell you?

Back to work tomorrow, oh looky there, in just under 12 hours from now.

I have located my work badge, so that's good. Step one: able to clock in. Holla.

I love to dance. Random, but I've been thinking about it lately, and one dance partner in particular I'd like to hit the floors with.

Max is sort of propped against my right calf right now -- with blankets between us -- and that portion of my leg is warm.

I am not digging this Iron & Wine song on my Pandora right now. That's unusual. Too plinky plunky (I stole that phrase from Phoebe Buffay -- points if you can cite the specific reference).

8:14 p.m.

At least I'm using this time to write.

Another resolution: write one (gasp!) book (gasp!) chapter per month. They don't have to be good -- they probably won't be, and they probably won't match up -- but I need to clear a day each month and get to writing.

Maybe I should align them with the fast food days. Salt and fountain soda can keep me company while I rehash old memories on the keyboard.

This line up likely won't happen, as I will more than likely use my fast food days on workdays when I really don't want to go somewhere and get a salad or bring a lunch or go to the grocery store for a low fat microwave meal.

I like Jim Gaffigan's voice (he just came on my Pandora station, hence the seemingly random comment).

I saw my Grams the other day. It was nice to see her. I had her all to myself, and I can't remember the last time that happened. I think it's been years. We had a nice chat.

Hmm. Should I leave you guys now? I'm thinking it might be time. And I realize I owe you an actual essay here soon. I've got some stuff churning around up in that head of mine, I've just been in holiday/travel mode, and you know how hard it is to get a moment where the blender stops spinning in order for the thoughts to settle and the fingers to land on the keyboard and stay there during holiday/travel season.

It's been good churning out some words here, though. Thanks mucho.

Muah. Happy 2015 to you.

8:21 p.m.