Liebster Blog Award

I was recently nominated with the Liebster Award by No Clue Just Random Words and in non related news I just got a Nestle Promotion code with my Crunch bar. One of these things is awesome, the other is chocolate. Her blog is about life, Doctor Who, and a sweet bucket list that includes skydiving. Thanks for reading my blog and for the nomination!

liebster-blog-award

Here are the Rules: (We all know how much I love rules. Actually, I’m being serious here. I do love rules, why do you think being a lawyer appeals to me so much. It is all about rules, making them, making people keep them, getting around them, finding loop holes. It is all about the rules. )

  1. Thank the person/people who nominated you

  2. Answer the 11 questions they asked

  3. Nominate 11 other blogs with less than 200 followers

  4. Ask them 11 of your own questions

I’ve done number one. Which is always on every award, and I don’t understand why. I mean honestly, even people who don’t follow the blogging awards chain mail thingy that happens always thank people for nominating them even if they don’t answer the questions or accept the award. So why is that a rule? Do we really have to tell people to be thankful and kind? Because the people who are going to be kind and gracious don’t need to be reminded, and if someone needs to be reminded to be a decent human being maybe we shouldn’t be giving them blogging awards, or awards of any kind.

Rant over.

Now, the fun part (where I will probably rant some more, but as that is kind of my thing), the eleven questions I’m supposed to answer. As a caveat I never really follow all the rules for these things, it’s just not my way.

(This is an extremely long post. I didn’t mean for it to be, but I kind of got set on a topic and I used the questions to talk about something that has been on my mind for a while. Don’t feel you have to read it, but I did have to write it. )

What is something that makes you smile?

A lot of things make me smile, I’m a smiley kind of person. What made me smile today? Well, writing Pierce-y on Facebook made me smile because I know he hates when I call him that. Listening to a podcast this morning made me smile when the podcasters said something funny. My two favorite podcasts right now are Risk!, this one ALWAYS makes me tear up (in a good way) so I can no longer listen to it at work or even on the train ride home, and Sex Nerd Sandra, who comes at acts of affection and sex from a nerdy educational point of view. You should check them out!

But mostly, I’ve been smiling a lot lately whenever I get text messages from my boyfriend. Honestly, I think I need to write this stuff down and turn it into a romcom screenplay. Totes melt worthy. 

Favorite quote?

I go through quote phrases. The one that is attached to my personal email currently is:

“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” ~Thomas Merton

Sometimes when I get really frustrated with people in my life that I care about but who seem to be headed in a direction that will only hurt them, I have to remind myself that we love people for who they are in our lives in this moment and not who we want them to be. Also, I try to apply this to myself. I find myself trying to twist into a certain image that I want to show the world, and sometimes I leave behind my authentic self for a something I think people would rather want. But if they don’t want who I am, then I’m only a reflection of the world around me, and that is a hard place to live and emotionally crippling.

Something that you love? ( something you love to do, eat, so on.)

I think over the past year the thing I’ve come to love most is vulnerability. Vulnerability in the people around me, in the shows that I see and the shows where I entertain, and it is the thing in myself I try to express better. The authentic self is a vulnerable place to be. I think we should celebrate when people come to that place in their lives and we should doubly celebrate it when that is something we can do ourselves. In improv they always tell us, don’t go for the joke go for the emotion and people will relate to that. I think this applies in real life. I know I can make people laugh, I’ve done that all my life. So I go for those true and tried stories, those defense mechanisms of being the funny person, and I have a lot harder time sharing real emotions with people. However, when I find myself able to be vulnerable, when I skip my defense mechanisms and act in a way true to myself, that is such a powerful moment.

If you won the lottery what would you do with the money?

Oh jeebus, pay off my law school loans and set up a studio where I could live out my dream of being a Storyteller, not only here on this blog but in several other mediums I want to explore as well. But I’m trying to do that anyway, in spite of money problems, so having a better cash flow would probably just aid me in my life’s journey, but it is going to happen anyway.

Last thing you watched?

My mother sent me this blog post entitled, Life is too Short to be an Asshole by Helene, a friend of hers. In the post, Helene talks about doing stand up comedy, trying to figure out what she wants from her comedy, and being inspired by Louis CK to be vulnerable in her relationship. (Can you sense I have a theme going here? Because I do, and I’m going to keep with it.)

Louis CK is a fairly well known comedian. He has been on Parks and Recreation and I love his character who is hilarious, emotional, and vulnerable all at the same time. He’s my comedy god, because he plays real emotions and it is hilarious. I didn’t realize until I read Helen’s post that he produces and stars in his own show Louis. Helen posts a clip of his show and it really got me thinking.

Not only is life too short to be an asshole, but life is just too short period. A year ago a very close friend of mine lost a family member, and it was like loosing a family member for myself. And it was hard, it is still hard, and I’m sitting here trying not to have a panic attack just thinking about it and writing about it. But I flew back home after a few really really hard days and I sat in my living room on my fold out futon couch, and I was sitting there alone. I was going to be alone for the foreseeable future because the person I was dating at the time was far too busy to even see me once a week, in fact I wouldn’t see him for three months even though he lived six blocks away.

And you know what? Life is too short for people to be too busy to spend time with me. Life is too short to be sitting alone on a futon and wondering if I am ever going to be happy again. Life is too short to be quiet about what I feel and afraid to be vulnerable. Life is too short to hold myself back from saying the things I really want to say to the people who I love for being their perfect selves. Life is too short to twist people into a particular image.

A year ago I let go of that lonely relationship, and it was hard, to let go of the known and reach out for the unknown. What if there wasn’t anything out there that could make me happy, what if that was just a fairy tale. But I let go of it and my fears, and I’m so glad, because I was wrong. And I’m happier now than I’ve ever been. Though my current boyfriend lives many miles away, I’m far closer to him than I’ve been to anyone, because I’m allowed to be my authentic self.

Favorite song?

So I had a completely different couple of paragraphs written out and I just erased them all because my boyfriend told me about a song yesterday that he said reminded him of me and I looked up the lyrics and I think they perfectly describe my recent life journey. This may not be my favorite song of all time (I’d like to listen to a cover of the song by a non neo-psychedelia band because that is not my favorite genre of music), but it seems applicable to my life right now, and the theme of this post. The song is Object of my Affection by Peter, Bjorn, and John. My favorite stanza is:

It says here we are and we all are here
And you still can make sense
If you just show up and present an honest face
Instead of that grin

Sometimes an honest face is hard for me to present. I’m much better at grinning, telling funny stories, and making people laugh. I process my emotions on my own, and present them in almost an academic way to friends and family. It is a complete defense mechanism, and while I don’t think I’ll ever be able to just emote in front of anyone, I am working on expressing real emotions as I’m feeling them, to people in my life that I care about and trust. The reward for expressing myself has been worth the fear of doing the same.

Live forever or die young?

I think the problem I have with this question, because it has sat in the back of my mind for a while, is that my philosophy about life has to do with the moments that I have now. I choose a third option. Live well. I can’t assume I have tomorrow to live past regrets, so I need to stop doing the things that make me regretful, and start doing the things I regret not doing. Be vulnerable, open to new experience, tell people how I feel about them (good and bad), and live a life that make me happy. Granted, we were only ever guaranteed the pursuit of happiness, not happiness itself. But I say pursue it! Live happiness! Choose it! Watch gag reels of Parks and Recreation and laugh until you cry. One of my favorite memories of my boyfriend is watching Youtube clips together, the computer across our touching knees, and laughing until our sides ached and tears ran down my face.

If you could have dinner with anyone who would it be? (Dead or Alive)

I would have dinner with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer. I think they are both incredibly awesome people who would be interesting to meet and share a conversation and a meal with. Amanda Plamer I’m particularly amazed and awed by. She is incredible in how she gives of herself to the people around her. Every video I’ve seen of her from her music to her TED talk has been inspirational and made me think about how I view the world, how I see the people around me, and how I react to them through that view. It isn’t always very flattering. I’m not exactly the person I thought I would be. But maybe I’m exactly the person I want to be?

Dream job?

I have some thoughts about how I want to move forward in life and some of those thoughts are coming to fruition and some of those thoughts are not. Some projects I have been working on for four years and are still not finished. I want to do more than just sit in an office all day and pass papers around like in that movie Brazil. My dream is to be a Storyteller. Which is kind of something I made up in my own head. But that seems to work for other people, so I thought I would give it a try.

I want to tell stories, whether they are my own stories in book or blog form, whether they are other people’s stories in vocal form, or whether they are stories I get up on a stage and tell an audience. I just want to tell stories and be a part of other people’s stories. I’m not really sure how all of this works together, but one day I will have a business card to hand out to people at reunions when they ask me what I do for a living, and I’ll simply say, “I’m a Storyteller.” I’ll walk away. Leaving them with their own story to tell about their crazy niece when they go into the office the next day.

Favorite past time?

Can I say telling stories? 😀

One of my favorite things to do right is go to my improv class and do improvisational acting for three hours. Not because I laugh a lot (which I do) and not because I’ve made some good friends in my class (which I have) but because doing improv work makes me exercise a different area of my brain. What has been amazing to me about my improv acting class, is that I have learned so much about myself and my own areas of character growth. After taking these classes I started to analyze why it is so much easier for me to yell things at people than be vulnerable, emotional, and open with them. Part of it is that improv is a safe space, and we don’t make a lot of safe spaces for ourselves in life or relationships generally, but part of it is my own unwillingness to share anything about myself that is real.

I mean, I share things about myself all the time. In fact I often get told, Oy, TMI Jami, TMI. But those are things I don’t care about, those are funny things or embarrassing things, or quirky things that I’ve accepted as part of who I am and “F” off to anyone who doesn’t like that about me. But my emotions, those are mine, and those I don’t share. I get far too caught up in people’s reactions to who I am emotionally.

So, I decided that I would work on acting vulnerable, and living in the moment of vulnerability in class. And the funny thing is? Working on being vulnerable in a safe place has bled into my regular life. It isn’t as easy as when I’m on stage and being a character, but it has gotten easier. I’m working on this still, of course, and on not letting other people’s reactions to my vulnerability change what is good for me or how I feel about speaking my truth. In the end I have to live with myself, day in and day out. Being my authentic self and speaking my truths are the things that make that concept less daunting. I can live with myself for another fifty-six years if I can be that person.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” ― Ambrose Redmoon

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? (Sorry I ran out of questions… Plus I would love to know the answer.)

That’s OK, I’ve run out of answers.

Here is where I mess up these chain mail things, I like to come up with new folks who I have not given an award to yet, I may or may not have mentioned them already. Below are the folks I think you all should check out and see what they have to say about life, whether or not they have a certain number of followers. Folks, please don’t feel you have to respond. You can if you want. Or you can hi-jack the award for your own purposes, like I just did.

Lit and Scribbles: An author who blogs about many cool things and likes Doctor Who, Chuck, Psych, Adventure Time, Firefly, Smallville, and Farscape. Can you see why I followed her? (Also, I need to go rewatch Farscape like now.)

The Last Song I Heard: Who blogs about songs and life and doesn’t really like getting awards. Ever since reading his blog about Marilyn Monroe I tell people to “Hold a good thought for me.”

Spreading My Wings: A blogger I know for realzies who is going through a new stage in life and blogging about it. I love reading her posts because they make me think.

My Eleven Questions if you want to play along: (Or if anyone wants to share a thing or two about themselves in the comment section based on these questions feel free!)

Have you had a moment of self discovery recently which prompted a change for yourself?

If so what was it?

How do you stay true to your Authentic Self?

What Truths do you find you have a hard time expressing?

What dream are you pushing for in your life to become a reality?

If money were not an obstacle what is one activity you wish you could do, but haven’t been able to?

What does it mean to you to Live Well?

Have you pushed yourself to be vulnerable?

How did that make you feel?

What is one song has come along in your life that seemed to express exactly how you were feeling at that point and time?

Is there a story about yourself that you would like to share, but have been too afraid to share?

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ― Brené Brown

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