If you only read one of my blog posts ever, make it this one

*I’ve never used my blog for this purpose before, so I hope you’ll forgive me – thanks in advance for taking a few minutes to read through this.

I’ve made no secret of how wretchedly awkward I was as a kid. (And as a teenager, and as an adult.) I was a pigeon-toed, bookish, hyperactive dweeb who on any given day could be found participating in a number of cringe-worthy oddities… like crab-walking my way from one class to the next, or accessorizing my backpack with keychains the size of dinner plates. I was, to put it kindly, a spazzy little weirdo.

Which is to say, making friends wasn’t always easy.

However, when I was 12 years old, I met my now best friend Jessi – who introduced me to Young Actors’ Theatre. It was a marvelous nonprofit organization, founded by Jessi’s own mom… which existed to take spazzy little weirdos like me and expose them to the absolute miracle of theater.

The several years that followed were peppered with performances – during which I learned to sing, dance, act, and bring ancient masterpieces to life on stage. More than that, I was taught some priceless life lessons: Dedication, when I stayed late to perfect my high kick as a dancing napkin in Beauty and the Beast. Commitment, when I had to turn down social activities for rehearsal. Humility, when I didn’t always get the part I wanted. And of course, appreciation for the arts – and the creativity, talent, and genuine hard work that goes into them.

But most of all, friendship and fun, and the satisfaction of contributing to something bigger than myself.

Not to mention – these experiences introduced me to a group of truly wonderful, talented people… who didn’t appear to care what an awkward dweeb I was (and in fact, were pretty awkward and dweeby themselves)… many of whom I’m still lucky to call my closest friends today.

During the very last scene of the very last performance of the very last show I ever participated in at YAT, my character was supposed to cry. I was playing Lady Capulet in Romeo & Juliet, and was supposed to bawl when I discovered my daughter’s lifeless body. The thing is, crying on command is actually a pretty sophisticated acting skill… and one I didn’t possess. Therefore, in all the performances up until that point I heaved what I’d hoped were convincing sobs, screwing my face up with contrived, tearless emotion. But on that night, for that show, it struck me that this was likely one of the last times I’d be performing with this group… and I didn’t have to pretend one bit. Thinking about how much I would miss it, I clung to my friend playing Juliet and cried actual, flowing tears – likely one of the better moments of my young stage career.

All this to say, those years and experiences were some of the best of my life.

Young Actors’ Theatre taught me that it’s not only okay to be spazzy and weird… it’s actually encouraged. We need more weirdos, more rebels, more dorks – because those are the people who grow up to make the world a brighter and more interesting place to live. And it’s through continued commitment to the arts that we can foster this among future generations, and make sure that every child has the same opportunity to grow and thrive.

As a nonprofit, YAT only exists because of contributions from the community, and people who share a passion and commitment to their purpose. Which is why on this #GivingTuesday, I’m asking that my followers consider donating $5 (or more) to this organization which has played such a huge role in my life – and the lives of countless others.

Even with my relatively short tenure there, I credit YAT with shaping much of who I am as an adult – and it is my sincerest wish that it continues on forever… to give kids like me a creative outlet to develop character, and become the best versions of themselves.

Please click here if you’re interested in donating, every little bit helps! If you do, I can personally promise that it will go to good use – and you’ll be helping some spazzy little weirdo like me find a place in the world. ūüôā

What They Don’t Tell You About Life

Here’s what they tell you about life:

You can do anything you set your mind to. Good things happen to good people, and vice versa. When you fall in love, “you’ll just know.” Cursive is an important thing to learn. Humpty Dumpty is an egg, even though absolutely nothing in the nursery rhyme ever indicates this.

But I’ve come to learn that while the adults who shaped my formative years certainly meant well… they left a lot out.

And so, in no particular order, here are the things they forgot to mention.

1. There isn’t just right and wrong, good and bad, black and white.¬†In children’s books and movies, you’re often spoonfed the appropriate reaction¬†to every ethical or existential dilemma. We know we’re supposed to hate Ursula because she stole Ariel’s voice and tricked Prince Eric. She did bad things which made her a bad character.

But the thing is, the world is a chaotic¬†tapestry of all colors and shades, and not every action will be purely good or¬†bad.¬†People, likewise, aren’t conveniently plopped into precategorized buckets of good and evil. There are veritable saints¬†who do terrible things, and murderers who commit good deeds. There are people who do bad things with good intentions, and those who have just lost their intention along the way. In your post-Disney-movie life, expect to encounter a lot of gray area.

2. Some questions¬†don’t have a right answer.¬†In school, and particularly with the invention of scantrons, we were taught that there is¬†ONE accurate response to every question, while the rest are incorrect. And so we were primed, at an early age, to believe that every situation has one correct path – and that with enough preparation and intuition, we’ll know which one it is.

But in reality, sometimes when you’re making a decision, both options¬†will have an equal list of pros and cons.¬†You’ll survey everybody in your life, get a ton of conflicting advice, and be even more confused than when you started.¬†There will be no clear, obvious direction and you’ll be forced to ask a question that as children, we’re never taught to answer: What do you actually want? What would make you the happiest?

3. You will make mistakes. I can’t stress this enough. Maybe this was just me – but as a child, a part of me honestly believed that adulthood meant you reached a time when you were all done screwing up. Like there was some tally being kept somewhere, and at a certain point you reached your quota, and now it was time to move forward into being a grown-up… where mistakes were a thing of the past, and instead you went around¬†punishing kids for¬†their mistakes.

But mistakes are a part of life. Without them, we’d be stagnant creatures. Never moving forward, never learning. Here’s the thing: you WILL¬†fuck everything up, and you’ll feel awful, and just when things are starting to turn around you’ll fuck it all up again. You’ll blow off friends for stupid reasons and you’ll forget to call your mom back. You’ll say things you don’t mean (or things you do, but that you should have kept to yourself anyway).¬†You’ll make messes. You’ll hurt feelings. Something important, at some point, will be all your fault. It’s just a fact of life.

4. Your heart will break. Inevitably. Maybe it’s just the kind of thing that is impossible to prepare someone for, which is why I’ve always felt so utterly unprepared. How can you tell a sunny, bright-eyed child that someday, without a doubt, they will give their heart to someone only to have it¬†thrown on the ground and stomped on?

But it will happen. The rug will be pulled out from under you, and it will be the most damnable, pitiful thing. You’ll feel like someone hollowed you out with an ice cream scoop, and there will be a big gaping hole where in your middle where laughter once was. Colors will lose their vibrance, food will become tasteless, and days will slog on like a funeral march. You will feel like you’re the only person in the history of the world to have experienced this acute pain – and simultaneously, you will know for an absolute fact that every heartbroken love song was written for you.

5. Sometimes you’ll¬†be lonely.¬†Did we even know the word “lonely” as kids? I was an only child for the first six years of my life, and I never remember uttering it¬†– I had my books and journals to keep me company. But somewhere along the way, we started needing other people around to feel whole, to obtain a sense of belonging.

And as such, there will be times when you’ll feel the twang of loneliness at your heartstrings. Maybe it will be after a breakup, or maybe it’ll just be after moving to an unfamiliar city. Loneliness will get you in a chokehold¬†and won’t let go. You’ll be so lonely that you’re sure you’re the only one left, that everyone else has progressed without you. The rest of the world matured and moved on and now lead happy, fulfilled lives – and you missed the train, it’s too late, you’ll never have what they have. Loneliness is a sickly-sweet poison, and it will taunt and immobilize you.

6. You really SHOULD do all the things your parents bug you about.¬†Sometimes I wonder what my mom and I would even talk about if I would just go ahead and get an¬†oil change already. Because well-intended or not, parental advice begins to coalesce into an annoying gray blob of jabber after awhile. Yes, I’ll take my car in. Yes, I’ll ask my boss about insurance. Yes, I’ll call Grandma. I just can’t help it – as a daughter, I assume it must be written in my DNA that whenever my parents instruct me to do something, it gets filed in a mental folder entitled “sure, when I get to it.”

But KIDS. You need to GROW OUT of this habit. You should floss, because one day teeth cleanings will be your financial concern, not your parents’. You should wear sunscreen, because there will come a time in your life when you actually do start to notice new freckles on your shoulders and it will worry you enough to start googling “early signs of skin cancer.” If someone gives you an article of clothing as a gift, you really SHOULD wear it the next time you see them. You should sit up straight. You should watch less TV and spend more time outside. You should eat your vegetables. You should say “please” and “thank you.”

7. Life is hard.¬†Maybe I was told that, I don’t know, but if so it certainly wasn’t¬†spelled out. I thought “life is hard” was just a quaint cat poster pinned to an office wall. I thought I understood it, back then, as a funny little inside joke that was-true-but-maybe-wasn’t-exactly-true.

But it is.¬†Life is really, really, unequivocally, unexplainably hard.¬†Life will be so hard that you’ll feel betrayed or cheated somehow. You’ll think everyone else has it easier, that you got the short end of the stick. You’ll constantly compare yourself to others, and you will always lose. You’ll start to lose hope for the future; you’ll start to wonder what the point even is.

8. But, life is also amazing.¬†For all the trials and tribulations and confusions and heartaches life brings… it also blows your mind with its joy and surprises. The human experience is one of constant discovery and connection, and without all the crappy parts of life… we’d never appreciate the peaks.

I am writing this at a time in my life when numbers 1-7 are intimately, excruciatingly familiar to me. But the moral of the story is, there’s always tomorrow. And historically speaking, tomorrow is when # 8 rears its beautiful head.

Throwback Thursday: A Collection of Poems

Hey there, readers! Happy Throwback Thursday! If you’re new around here, Throwback Thursday is when we take a trip down memory lane with the recent discovery of all my childhood journals. Sometimes these trips are nostalgic, some confrontational, some humorous, and still others are a little haunting for me. But nonetheless, I hope they’re entertaining.

For today’s installment, I’ll start off by saying that I love poetry. I grew up with Emily Dickinson and Dorothy Parker, and was trying my hand at iambic pentameter before I could even pronounce it. However, I’ll have to admit that I was never very good at it. To quote Leif Enger, one of my favorite authors, “There was no word I wouldn‚Äôt misuse, no rhythm I wouldn‚Äôt break for a rhyme.”

So today I’ve prepared a compilation of sorts, a “greatest hits” of some of the poems I’ve scribbled over the years… with the caveat that, admittedly, none of them are really all that awesome. My hope is that by grouping them together, several mediocre poems = one passable blog post. That’s math, right?

So here they are, organized chronologically:

One:

The messenger says when he brings us good news
That we oughtn’t be happy, it’s surely a ruse.

But what will he say when bad tidings he brings?
It’s the rhythm that pulses all things, all things…

Two:

Write stories of Egyptian kings
In perfect rhythm rhyme
Disgusting are the little things
I do to pass the time.

Three:

I once had a very nice shoe.
Its brother was very nice, too.
But the left and the right
Were both lost in the night.
Oh heavens, now what shall I do?

Four:

Your heart is like some icy lake
On whose cold brink I stand
And though, for you my heart doth ache –
I’ll stay warm here on land.

 

Happy Throwback Thursday, y’all!

Throwback Thursday: A 10-Year-Old’s Take on Boys

Welcome back to Throwback Thursday! Where we explore the labyrinthine rabbit holes of Susie’s youthful brain, as documented in 16 years’ worth of childhood journals.

This week, we’ll be delving into the mind of 10-year-old Susie, upon her first exposure to a permeating lifelong challenge: boys.

On October 12, 1999, I plopped down onto my bed and pulled out my trusty green marker to write down this little gem:

Boys. Can’t live with them, can’t live with them.
(sigh)

I actually wrote that. I wrote the word “sigh” in parentheses. Dramatic literary tendencies momentarily set aside, this revelation was one that resonated with me so wholly that I felt each letter warranted the occupation of TWO lines’ worth of journal space. College-ruled just ain’t gonna do it for me this time, journal. These boys – and their insufferable nature – are a serious business.

Why do boys have to make everything so difficult??????????

I have to admire my elementary-age self for being just childish enough to want to add several superfluous question marks, but still just obsessive-compulsive enough to want to make it an even 10. (For that matter, I guess that particular trait followed me into adulthood, since I also felt the need to count the question marks when transcribing this)

UGH!

I also wrote “ugh,” because I wanted this journal entry to be particularly onomatopoeic.

Today I was holding cupcakes for Lauren, and Mike came up to ask for one. I told him they weren’t mine to give, and he said “fine” and called me mean!

Riveting stuff.

It gets better:

That right there ruined my day completely.

…Wait, completely? By a guy calling you mean? Little Susie, first of all, please treasure this life of yours… so carefree that someone calling you mean is journal-worthy – and ruined your day, no less.

But second, I have to admit that based on that impassioned opening, I expected something a little more exciting to follow… and I find myself disappointed. You’ve now reached a conclusion that would later shape romantic interactions for the rest of your life – that boys are difficult – and it turned out to be the result of one silly little cupcake-related comment? The first two lines of this entry wrote a check that this story simply did not cash.

If the person reading this is in my room right now, Mike is the guy in the black and white picture on my bulletin board.

…Wait I’m sorry, what? If the person reading this is in your room right now? Hey, psycho child, if a stranger is IN YOUR ROOM READING YOUR JOURNAL, we’ve got bigger problems than character identification.

Isn’t he cute? I think so too.

Ahhh, and the clouds part. Here we unveil the real truth to this journal entry… that I actually secretly had a really big crush on Mike but couldn’t admit it – even to myself – and the most I could do was print out a black-and-white photo and display it nonchalantly on my bulletin board. In hopes that maybe someday someone would come along, read my journal, comment on his devastating cuteness, and I could carelessly agree without anyone being the wiser.

Oh, ten-year-old me, how I wish I could impart some wisdom on your confused soul!

But alas, I would have to stumble upon these wisdoms on my own. Happy to report that, 14 years later, I apparently got over my fear of liking boys. Although, old habits die hard: I definitely have a black-and-white picture of Taylor in my wallet.

In case you’re wondering, I did some Facebook investigating and uncovered that Mike is now engaged… to a girl who is (presumably) not mean.

Throwback Thursday: A Letter to The Anonymous Sticker Bully

Hi there, readers. It’s that time again – Throwback Thursday! Which means the rest of the Interwebz is posting instagram-filtered photos of yesteryear… and I’m over here with a bucket of popcorn, entertaining myself with the recent discovery of all my childhood journals. And I’m passing that entertainment onto youuu!

This week’s installment is a little different, since it is actually NOT written by Childhood Susie. Which might be against the rules… except that OH WAIT I made the rules so it’s totally okay.

The following entry was found in my 6th grade journal, written on March 12th, 2001. I can only guess at which of my middle school friends was the culprit here, because she didn’t sign her name:

HI SUSIE’S JOURNAL I AM GOING TO PUT ONE STICKER ON THIS PAGE FOR EVERY NEW BOYFRIEND SUSIE HAS.

SUSIE’S FUTURE HUSBAND, I HOPE YOU’RE NOT READING THIS…

The second half of the page has six Lisa Frank puppy stickers on it. Six. Which – I might be going out on a limb here – but I’m guessing means that 6th grade Susie had six boyfriends.

I have absolutely no memory to support this discovery, so I am admittedly ignorant as to the surrounding context. Nevertheless, I find myself deeply upset by these findings.

And so I would like to take this opportunity to rebuttle, on behalf of my 6th grade self, to this anonymous sticker bully.

Dear Anonymous Sticker Bully,

I don’t know who you are, or what you want… but I have a very particular set of skills. I will look for you, I will find you, and I will make you pay for these allegations.

First of all, missy, your tallying skills are sincerely lacking. You don’t even have a designated time frame assigned to this venture. Was it six boyfriends over the course of a year? That doesn’t seem so bad. Six boyfriends in a week? Okay, maybe that’s worthy of documentation. But come on, dude, that’s just record-keeping 101. Get it together.

ALSO, while I don’t have any specific memory of this boyfriend streak – I was there, in sixth grade. And knowing Childhood Susie as I do… I am highly suspicious of the plausibility of these claims. I was gangly, bookish, and awkward, and didn’t even have my first kiss until two years after this was written. You do the math.

THIRDLY. Umm, hi, I’m a lowercase letter. Have we met? Here, I should introduce you to my good friend, punctuation.

ImageAnd furthermore, how dare you bring my future husband into this. This doesn’t have anything to do with him. Put the past in the past, okay? He doesn’t need to know about my scandalous sixth grade affairs.

In fact, I just interrupted Taylor reading on the couch to say: “Hey. What would you say if you found out I had six boyfriends in sixth grade?” To which he replied, “Uhh… I’d say it was sixth grade.” So your libelous attempts were fruitless. HA.

Susie: 1; Anonymous Sticker Bully: 0

In conclusion, not only do you not have the evidentiary support to back this outrageous assertion, but even if you did, it was poorly documented and in any case made no difference to my current love life. So bite me, Anonymous Sticker Bully.

Sincerely,

Susie

P.S. It’s also not my fault, anyway, because boys were really cute back then.

Well that’s awkward.

When I was little and I came home from school, my mom would always be adamant that I tell her one thing I’d learned that day. It didn’t have to be academic – I could say that I learned my friend Lindsey’s big brother played the bassoon in the school band… but I had to be able to report something daily.

It seems simple enough¬†now, but as a child this was somewhat of a stressor for me. I would ride the bus home racking my brain, trying to come up with something I knew today that I didn’t know yesterday.

It wasn’t long before I cracked the code – that is to say, I started¬†seeking out new¬†facts so that I could have answers prepared when I walked through the door. I would walk around asking my friends random questions, and – when that got old – I would flip through trivia books and write my favorite nuggets of information in my journal.

I became so obsessed with this endeavor that I soon became¬†little flaming ball of random fun facts. I could rattle off the difference between a regular horse and an Arabian horse (Arabians have one fewer vertebrae in their back), I could tell you one of the original Coca Cola ingredients (Cocaine), and I could explain why half of hypothermia victims are found naked (blood rushes to vital organs and back, causing skin to become flush and in an altered state of judgement victims think it’s logical to peel off their clothes)¬†“Did you know…” became my favorite expression, and before long I was a walking, talking trivia reference guide.

Given my obsession with literature, I became the most interested in facts about the English language.¬†This trait followed me into adulthood…¬†and to this day I am still giddy as a schoolgirl (literally) when I learn something new about my native tongue.

Which is why I was fascinated when I came across this blog post¬†on Dictionary.com (oh, what, not everybody reads the Dictionary’s blog?), which explored the lexical history of a word I use pretty regularly: awkward.

The gist, in case you’re too engrossed in this blog to go galavanting off into another one (wishful thinking), is that the word ‘awkward’ comes from the same directional language family as ‘forward’ and ‘backward.’ And the root ‘awk’ literally means ‘turned the wrong way.’

awkward_blog

So if you lived in the 16th century and said “that’s awkward,” your fellow ruffle-collared gentlemen would probably think you were referring to your croquet ball’s perilous turn away from its target.

…Or something.

But in any case, if you go home tonight and your mom demands to know what you learned today, you know what to do. You’re welcome.

Throwback Thursday, Installment Numero Dos!

Hi there readers! In case you were abducted by aliens last week (which is the only excuse I will accept for not reading my blog), I recently started a new feature called Throwback Thursday.

What’s Throwback Thursday, you ask? (Okay, you’re probably not asking. In fact, you’ve probably stopped reading and are now off eating a sandwich. But for those of you who are with me, about two years behind the curve in social media jargon…) I’d be happy to tell you! It’s an opportunity to reminisce, once a week, via your social media platform-of-choice.

Or, to be slightly more specific – in my case, it’s an opportunity to give the world a nostalgic glimpse into my youth, thanks to my recent discovery of all of my childhood journals.

I thought it would be appropriate, as my first¬†official Throwback Thursday, to start at¬†the very beginning (a very good place to start). So this week’s installment comes from my VERY FIRST DIARY¬†when I was just a wee babe of only eight years old:

photo 1

(I like diaries that have the word “diary” on it, because there’s a chance I might be rummaging around in a drawer one day, come across a book like this, and say “Oh, perfect! A book about a cat!” But then I would open it and be immediately disappointed, because I just wasted eight seconds of my life and it is not, in fact, a book about a cat. I’m a busy lady, I don’t have eight seconds to spare for confusion like this, you know? This very deliberate labeling eliminates that kind of thing. You can’t put a price tag on that.)

ANYWAY. I bring up the context of the¬†physical diary, because I just want you all to know the lengths I had to go to¬†in order to make this post happen. I’m not sure if you were quite as obsessed with journaling when you were younger as I was – but if so, then you should be familiar with these little babies:

photo 2

That’s right y’all, my diary had a COMBINATION LOCK on it. To hold all my TOP-SECRET SECRETIVE SECRET-Y SECRETS.

I imagine that when the children’s journal company conceived this, it¬†was meant to keep out pesky little brothers or untrustworthy gradeschool friends… But they should be supremely proud of themselves, because¬†apparently¬†the technology is also effective at keeping¬†out 24-year-old grown-up adults.

I want you all to know, I really did try to do the honorable thing. …And by that I mean, I tried to guess the combination.

But when the only available letter options are D-I-A-R-Y, there are only so many word combinations, and only so much disposable patience.

…So instead, I used my SUPERIOR WOMANLY STRENGTH to claw it open like the Hulk. And now it’s open forever, pesky siblings¬†or untrustworthy friends be damned.

This diary was a gift from my Great Aunt Ann. She inscribed the following message inside, which I thought was appropriate considering my current endeavor:

photo 3

(“Dear Susie,
I hope you will write in this diary. Not every day, but on days that something happened to make you happy or even something sad. Writing your happy or sad feelings to your “special friend” (your diary) as you are growing up helps you relive those days when you are older.
When all the pages are full, put your diary in a safe place, then when you are older you can read it and relive your “growing up years.”¬†
I love you, Susie, and I wish you the best life has to offer. You are “special” to me.
-Aunt Ann”)

Little did she know that the “safe place” would be my parents’ garage for 16 years, and “reliving my growing up years” would be in the form of a blog post on the Interwebz. But AWWWW, right?

So without further ado, here is the very first time I ever put pen-to-paper to document my life, on December 27th, 1997:

Hello,
My name is Mary Susanne Wittbrodt but my nickname is Susie.

Not totally sure who I thought I was writing to here, but apparently it was someone I hadn’t met yet.

I got this diary for Christmas from my Aunt Ann, as you probably already know from reading the first page.

I like the acknowledgement that this was probably unnecessary information. Which means that even as a child, Susie was already prone to wordiness, and already apologizing for it.

I will be writing to you hopefully every day if I am able to.

Sorry diary, no commitments here. I’ll write if I get to it, okay? Get off my back.

¬†I will be telling you secrets (hence the lock) and good or bad parts of my life. After all, that’s what a diary’s for. So, turn the page!

Things we can surmise about what I thought of my reader:

  1. They have never met me and needed to be informed of my name.
  2. They care if I write every day.
  3. They need to be told what a diary is for.
  4. When they reach the end of a page, if I don’t tell them to¬†turn it they will probably think the diary is over so I better give them instructions.

And that’s all she wrote! That wraps up al my eight-year-old brain wanted to put out into the world on December 27th, 1997. The next post was written the very next day, and starts out “Hello, This is Susie.” (Just in case my reader forgot who I was overnight. You just never know.)

Thanks for stopping by for this installment of Throwback Thursday!

(This was Susie, by the way. I forgot to mention that.)

New Feature: Throwback Thursday!

 

Okay so I know. Throwback Thursday is not, in fact, new. It has been in existence in the world of social media just long enough to become passe… so, naturally, I am just now hearing about it.

In any case, because it’s new to ME, I am going to be starting it as a new feature on my blog.

I may have mentioned that my mom is the-most-amazing-slash-also-the-weirdest person in the whole world. And this time, she might have outdone herself.

During her last visit, I mentioned that I was sad about the fact that my books didn’t follow me during my move from my hometown. I had about one box’s worth of my favorites, but beyond that they all sat gathering dust in my parents’ garage. So my mom, being the superhero that she is, took it upon herself to mail me¬†the rest of my library – to the tune of twelve different boxes traveling cross-country and hundreds of dollars in shipping.

photo 1   photo 2

Needless to say, my mother is the very best person to ever walk Planet Earth.

It took hours to rifle through the dozens of books, and proved to be a reflective and wholly nostalgic venture. But one thing I¬†didn’t expect to find, was the enormous stack of journals my mother had kept throughout my childhood.

photo 3

The very first entry I could find was written in 1997, which means I was at the wee age of eight¬†years old. And from what I can surmise, I haven’t really put the pen down since.

So in light of this (for me) Earth-shattering discovery, (along with the slightly less Earth-shattering discovery of “Throwback Thursday”), I will be featuring a glimpse into my youth every week.

This week, I’ll keep it brief. On October 18th, 2006, having just celebrated my 17th birthday, I contributed to my journal this enlightening limerick:

I once had a very nice shoe.
Its brother was very nice, too.
But the left and the right
Were both lost in the night.
Oh heavens, now what shall I do?

It sometimes concerns me that I will never regain the intellectual prowess I once held.

Brain Fluffies

Image

 

Well hey there, readers! I imagine you’re wondering why I’ve been MIA all week. (…Or, much more likely, you didn’t notice my absence at all. You walked around your life all tra-la-la and didn’t give a flying rat’s patootie about me and my blogging lull.¬†But I would¬†rather believe you were frantically pacing the floor, refreshing your web browser every two minutes, and cursing the skies in agony because you COULD. NOT. LIVE. without another SusiePost.

…That’s how it¬†happened, right??)

In any case, the¬†reason for said lull is that my mom was in town this week! Which means, among other things, that I am now well-versed on the life story of every obscure family member’s current whereabouts and life happenings, my house is now 1,726 times cleaner than it was last week, and¬†we are officially¬†TWO episodes behind on Dance Moms, which has only ever happened to me like once before in my entire life.

But it’s totes okay, because my¬†mother is quite possibly my very favorite person on the planet. (Sorry, other Earth-dwellers.) She stayed in our guest-room-slash-office, in which there is a Norman Rockwell calendar hanging on the wall. Today after dropping her off at the airport, I sat down at my desk to find this written on the calendar:

ImageIsn’t she¬†adorable?!

I love my mom. But I cannot deny¬†that she is also by far the weirdest/quirkiest person who has ever existed. For instance: When I was little, she¬†was vehemently against me saying bad words. Which, sure, is a pretty standard parent concern… Except that when it came to teaching me how to speak, and¬†my mom was flipping through her mental dictionary to determine “good” from “bad,” she took a red pen to a lot more words than I think was totally necessary. Among these were¬†“stupid,” “bored,” “hate,” and of course,¬†anything¬†even remotely or suggestively referring to a bodily function.

Which meant that as a child, I grew up¬†using¬†exclusively¬†creative alternatives to otherwise totally anatomical descriptions. I never had to “go potty,” I had to¬†use the restroom. And it wasn’t my butt that hurt, it was my¬†po po.

Most of these have not made the cut into my adult vernacular, but one¬†thing that did stick is that instead of saying “brain farts,” in honor of my mommy dearest, I – to this day – call them “brain fluffies.”

And I don’t know if it had to do with her visit, or Taylor’s absence last week, or if my mind¬†is just generally starting to atrophy… but I have experienced an awful lot of brain fluffies lately.

To give you an idea:

  • While writing this post¬†about my name, I literally had to stop and think about how many Ns “Susanne” has.¬†What’s my name again?
  • The other day I was typing a text to Taylor and got distracted… and when I picked my phone back up I had typed the words “I just” and I could NOT, for the life of me, remember what the end of the text/sentence¬†was going to be. “I just can’t believe it’s not butter”? “I just think the Killers are extremely underrated”? “I just saved a bunch of money on car insurance by switching to Geico”? Who knows, it could have been something life-changing and profound, and now it’s lost forever! (Although¬†let’s be honest, it was probably something more like “I just really wish I had a cheeseburger right now.”)
  • We are currently out of coffee. This is somewhat of a rarity in our household, and I guess my brain hasn’t fully adjusted to it yet – because I kid you not, on Friday I rolled out of bed half-asleep, shuffled down to the kitchen in my socks, and poured myself a nice energizing mug of milk. It wasn’t until the ice¬†cold white liquid hit my lips that I realized it was not, in fact, a cup of coffee. I wish I was joking.
  • Recently I looked at¬†my checking account balance and it was significantly lower than I expected it to be. This made Susie sad. Fast forward to two minutes later, my mind had since wandered from the minimal account balance, but part of my brain still knew that there was something to be upset about… and I literally had this conversation with myself alone in the car: “Hang on a sec, I feel really sad right now. But wait,¬†why am I sad? I know there’s a reason; I feel like it was something that happened recently… What did I do recently? OH! That’s right, I’m broke!” It’s like the two halves of my brain are on two completely different wavelengths, and neither one of them is communicating with me.

I have no idea what prompted this sudden drop in mental capacity, but surely it must improve now that my life has reestablished¬†some semblance of normalcy…

…Or at the very least when I’m caught up on Dance Moms.

 

Why I Should Never Be Left Home Alone

Taylor is at a super important work conference this week, which means I have the house to myself.

For other, more functional human beings, this might mean a certain sense of freedom – a refuge from the standard routine and an opportunity to indulge.

For non-functional human beings (READ: psychopaths; Susie), this week means obsessive, distraction-geared housecleaning, replacing meals with wheat thins and Kraft singles, and staying up late sobbing over Disney movies in my underwear.

Secret’s out, guys: I’m kind-of a loser.

My pathetic lonely escapades momentarily set aside, though, have you ever actually re-watched Disney movies as an adult? I just saw Pirates of the Caribbean for the first time in a good few years – and a small detail I had previously forgotten was that at the end, (spoiler alert!) Captain Barbossa dies.

This¬†wouldn’t be such a big deal except that his¬†whole plight as a character – no less, the PLOT of the entire movie – was that he was living this half-life as an undead skeleton pirate guy,¬†trying to¬†pay the dues on his cursed existence and¬†re-join the living.

“For too long I’ve been parched of thirst and unable to quench it. Too long I’ve been starving to death and haven’t died. I feel nothing. Not the wind on my face… Nor the spray of the sea…. Nor the warmth of a woman’s flesh.”

…And literally¬†moments after he finally gains life and feeling back, practically simultaneously¬†as he resurfaces into human consciousness and emotion…¬†he gets shot! And his final words are “I feel… cold.” As in, he is finally capable of physical¬†sensation again, what he’s been thirsting for and seeking out for YEARS… and his first/last¬†feeling is one of chill and pain. Of being shot in the freaking stomach by his former co-pirate.

…I mean, WHAT?! This is a¬†kid’s movie?! Sure sure, he’s the bad guy, we’re not supposed to care… but that’s some intensely deep stuff right there. That is legitimately¬†depressing – and not in a Disney depressing-but-still-a-happy-ending kinda way, like when the winds change and Mary Poppins leaves to¬†go help another family. I’m talking serious, perspective-altering, go-sit-in-my-room-and-listen-to-Nirvana-and-write-in-my-journal, I-need-to-contemplate-the-meaning-of-life-now kind of depressing.

And it’s even worse¬†because I have a little sister who loves this movie. And I just couldn’t¬†help it: I watched Barbossa die¬†wide-eyed, imagining my innocent baby sis absorbing this¬†scene. When I first¬†envisioned Christianne watching this transpire¬†– Christianne, whose bare, chubby legs I can still see waddling around the living room, who shrieked in terror at Disneyland whenever we came within a 12-foot radius of anyone¬†in costume – I couldn’t help it. I caught myself thinking, “Does she even know what that¬†means? Does she even know what death¬†is?”

Which is a testament to just how warped my mind actually has actually become Рbecause I obviously have no comprehension of the developmental progression of a human brain. I must have been about 14 when this movie came out, which is the exact same age my sister is now Рand moreover the movie is rated PG-13, so the experts in Hollywood obviously thought that was age-appropriate material for someone just like her.

But I apparently suffer from the same delusional disease as most adults – that is, thinking that I was so¬†much older at her age. Surely I wasn’t so small and fragile and¬†little-sister-y when I was 14, right? I was different. Totally¬†mature and more than capable of comprehending this completely macabre movie ending.

…Wasn’t I?

But the fact that I, at 24 years old, gasped when this happened on the screen… leads me to believe that people¬†a full decade younger than I am are probably not emotionally ready to process it.

…But then again, considering that while Taylor is gone I have every intention of sleeping with all¬†the lights in the house on, maybe my conception of maturity is skewed.