Tears of a Clown

15 Nov

NaNoWriNO Day 15

Topic: Third Life Crisis

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This topic wasn’t suggested, but I thought I’d give myself a pass and write about it anyway. It’s something happening in my life, and is something I really need to get off my chest. Additionally, this is my blog and I’m a tyrant.

The truth is, I’ve been in some strange downward spiral over the last few months. Maybe it’s more of a sadness black hole I’m being sucked into. Whatever it is, I want so badly to get off this train to crazy town already.

It’s not one thing plaguing me. Some people can identify that it’s their job or relationship or financial situation. Mine is…everything. I suffer from anxiety, and have a history of depression. It’s mostly under control thanks to coping mechanisms I’ve acquired over the years, but it occasionally creeps up on me. It feels like a ton of bricks crashing down on me, and then having a steamroller come by and run my ass over.

Sometimes I lay awake at night worrying about everything. I’m sure I’m going to get laid-off at work. I’m sure my parents are disappointed in me. I’m sure I didn’t pay all of my bills on time. I’m sure I didn’t lock the front door. I once got out of bed at 4 in the morning and brushed my teeth twice because I had eaten candy earlier in the night, and was convinced my teeth would fall out overnight if I didn’t. Anxiety is the mistress you wish would stop calling your house.

Then there’s the depression. Some days a cloud of malaise hangs over me, but it’s still manageable. I have a beer, or crawl into my sweats and watch reality television until it’s time for bed. Other times I wake up nearly in tears, and have to force myself to get out of bed.

Most people are really surprised to learn this about me. I’ve been told several times, “You’re the happiest person I know. What’s your secret?” My secret is that I’m a fucking wreck on the inside.

Eventually the fog lifts, and I poke my head out. Lather, rinse, repeat.

One of the worst things about these afflictions is the extreme guilt and embarrassment you feel as a result. You’ve let people see you at your worst, and you wonder if you could have done more to be better for them. Forgiving yourself is the hardest part of it all.

I’m choosing to forgive myself for this 12 rounds in the ring with my mind. I’m a good person, and I don’t deserve to punish myself the way that I do. One of the techniques I’ve used to center myself is to think about all of the good qualities I have. It’s a reminder that I am a sum of all of my parts.

Here are five things I love about who I am:

  1. I’m generous. I would give you the shirt off of my back if you needed it, and would go broke helping a friend. I donate money to good causes, and volunteer when and where I can. I send presents to loved ones for no other reason than to make them smile. My heart is open in this way, and I invite all deserving people in.
  2. I’m accepting. I talk all kinds of shit on this blog about people or things I don’t like, but it’s mostly for humor’s sake. In reality, I’m totally supportive of people doing whatever makes them happy as long as it isn’t hurting anyone. I’ve learned to love people for the things they are, and the things they are not.
  3. I’m trustworthy. I am a keeper of many secrets, some more considerable than others. I take people telling me things in confidence very seriously, and a violation of a person’s faith in me would be an egregious error. There are some secrets that are really only important to the person sharing, but there are others I’d be willing to die for.
  4. I blaze my own trail. I’ve never been conventional in the way I do anything, and I live my life for myself. Sometimes this makes life really hard, but the reward is that once I reach my goals, they’re the goals I wanted. After I got Freshly Pressed, I wrote to my parents to let them know. One of the things my dad wrote back was, “[I] admire that you’re doing your thing in your own time.” I admire that about me too.
  5. I’m funny. My childhood was nothing less than a disaster, but out of that carnage came the ability to laugh at life. I think laughter is one of the greatest things you can give another person, and is a way of sharing a part of yourself while still having fun. I hope that I bring the ha-has on this blog.

I want each of you reading this to do what I’ve done above, and post five things you love about yourself in the comments section below. You don’t need to have inner turmoil, nor do you need to worry about coming across as an egomaniac. This is about reminding ourselves that there is someone very special who lives inside the exterior we show to the outside world.

One day I want to be able to look back on this post and be proud of myself for it. Proud that I wrote it. Proud that I shared it. More than anything, proud that I did those things with people like you.

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Thanks to Jen at The Rollergiraffe for giving me the courage to write this post. She wrote this post which inspired me to write this one. She’s a great writer, and a funny lady so please check her out.

NaNoWriNO Day 14

NaNoWriNO Day 16

165 Responses to “Tears of a Clown”

  1. Le Clown 11/15/2012 at 5:10 am #

    Jen,
    I am proud of you, for so much more than just this wonderful post:
    1. I am proud of you for often being selfless, it’s a beautiful quality;
    2. I am proud of you for being honest and transparent about your feelings;
    3. I am proud of you for being outspoken when it comes to issues close to your heart;
    4. I am proud of you for being loving, unconditionally – my son will vouch for that;
    5. I love you.
    Le Clown

    • saradraws 11/15/2012 at 7:04 am #

      5 things about YOU now…

      • Le Clown 11/15/2012 at 7:09 am #

        The Ringmistress,
        I choose to play differently as A Clown on Fire is 330 posts about Le Clown. How’s that?
        Le Clown

        • Jen and Tonic 11/15/2012 at 9:23 am #

          Ahem, I’ll do it for you:

          (1) You’re a wonderful father and husband
          (2) You’re a brilliant writer
          (3) You are a very thoughtful person
          (4) You’re very smart
          (5) You’re resilient

          See? That wasn’t so hard!

      • Jen and Tonic 11/15/2012 at 9:24 am #

        I took the liberty of naming five for him since he wanted to be SO DAMN DIFFICULT

    • Jen and Tonic 11/15/2012 at 9:27 am #

      Thank you very much. It honestly means a lot. Being accepted into the Robilomas household has been one of my greatest joys in recent time. I love your little family.

      You’re a great friend to me. I will always appreciate that. XO!

  2. Christopher De Voss 11/15/2012 at 5:18 am #

    Going to hard: (In no particular order)
    1) My kids
    2) I’m “writing” again
    3) I’ve found my soul mate
    4) I can skip number 5 without feeling guilty
    5)

    • La La 11/15/2012 at 7:28 am #

      Melt. :-)

    • Jen and Tonic 11/15/2012 at 9:30 am #

      AH! I love that list. It makes me unusually sentimental when I hear people are proud parents and partners. I’m glad you’re writing again too.

  3. *HUG* Thanks for sharing this, Jen. We all have our own issues and hide them from the world. But I believe if we share our realities (the good, bad and the ugly) to the world, sometimes, we help others realize it’s not just them going through something hard, and it will be okay…soon. Every little bit of comfort helps when going through a depression. Trust me. Another *hug*

    • oops – forgot to do the list…

      1. I like helping people to make them smile.
      2. My friends are important to me and I support them.
      3. I am a nice person – not usually the standard today but I try and be kind to everyone.
      4. I’ve learned to be happy with who I am and in turn became stronger
      5. I have the best friends ;-)

      • Jen and Tonic 11/15/2012 at 9:32 am #

        You’re absolutely right about needing to share it more often. It doesn’t just benefit the teller, it benefits the recipient as well.

        #3 is so important. It seems trite, but being nice is hugely underrated. I only like surrounding myself with nice people. I don’t understand the “mean girl” mentality at all.

  4. Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher 11/15/2012 at 5:26 am #

    Jen – I, too, was surprised to hear that you suffer from anxiety and depression – it seems that many funny people have similar stories – Grouch Marx, Buster Keaton, Woody Allan etc. – but funny is a great healer and even better coping mechanism. Thank you for writing what you write – your POV is always worth the time to read it – it makes me snort sometimes. That’s high accolades in my world.

    ok – 5 things I love about myself…
    1) I love my abilty to play with words and language
    2) I love whatever it is about me that attracts the best people that surround me
    3) I love that I suck at housework but can bake like a fiend
    4) I love that I can find humor in most situations
    5) I love that I can laugh at my own funky quirks – like hatred of buttons and words with double ‘oo”s

    And I would like to repeat the same things Le Clown above wrote about you to you – but you should take him to task for not posting his own loves about himself.

    • Dani Heart 11/15/2012 at 9:16 am #

      I agree Rutabaga… Le Clown didn’t follow the rules here. lol

    • Jen and Tonic 11/15/2012 at 9:38 am #

      You’re totally right. One thing I’ve noticed is how many of the writers who write in a similar style to mine share this anxiety and depression I feel. It’s remarkable in a way. And yes, humor has been used as a coping mechanism for nearly my whole life.

      I loved your #5! I’m neurotic, but in a lovable way. I’ve learned to embrace my little quirks as well. Your hatred of words with double o’s made me laugh.

      • Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher 11/15/2012 at 9:40 am #

        Hee hee…my brain malfunctions at times…

        Better to be anxious and funny than anxious and desperate. It’s hard to climb out of desperate – but funny is a rope for climbing.

        • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 1:31 am #

          Funny is the BEST rope for climbing. At least you have a laugh while your arms are burning as you make your way up.

  5. Ruby Tuesday 11/15/2012 at 5:28 am #

    You are so brave for sharing this and you should be proud of yourself. It isn’t so hard for me to talk about my mental health, I do it all of the time. But it isn’t easy when it’s not commonly covered ground, and I respect you tremendously, even more than before.

    I respect you so much that I’ll give you my five things, even. For no one else but you and me.

    1. I’m a fighter. I go at everything that challenges me in life with everything I’ve got in me, even when I feel like I have nothing left. And I never give up.

    2. I have a capacity for love that is endless. If you are friend or family, you have my heart forever. If you are acquaintance or stranger, I will offer it to you with no hesitation.

    3. I am filled with understanding and empathy, and can see all sides to a situation, whether or not I agree with them. I forgive and bear no I’ll will toward a single soul on this planet.

    4. I am filled with thankfulness and gratitude, every moment of every day. Even when I am angry or hurt, I am still aware of how blessed and lucky I am for those feelings, and for the knowledge that they shall eventually pass.

    5. I am honest, and I never hold back the love and admiration and feeling I have for those I care about. I want them always to know how important and cherished they are.

    I hope that things get better for you soon, Jen. You are wonderful and I hate that you are suffering, but you are strong and brave and beautiful, and you are an amazing friend. I love you and I am so lucky to know you.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/15/2012 at 9:45 am #

      Talking about mental health is draining! How do you do it? I’m going to (mostly) leave this to the experts.

      I love all of those things about you too. You are an immensely wonderful person, and a great friend. I hope you remember that when you’re facing trying times.

      Always XO to you.

  6. Fern DeVilliers 11/15/2012 at 5:39 am #

    First, just let me say that anyone reading your blog can tell that you are a lovely, caring, smarter-than-smart person. It comes through in your humour and in your writing in general. What I say to my kids – this world is a crazy place. Things move so fast, this includes our brains. Computers are great for a lot of reasons, but I don’t think they help in this respect. Go easy on yourself when you are feeling down. It may not feel good, but I think that there are a lot of other people out there feeling the exact same way as you. You just have to read around other people’s blogs to know this, which I’m sure you do.

    What I love about myself? OK, I’ll indulge…

    1. I love that I love animals. Everyone should.
    2. I love that I can stick to my workouts. This makes me infinitely happier than I would be otherwise.
    3. I love that I am close to my kids. They drive me nuts, but they are my world.
    4. I love that I am creative. It is so much fun.
    And 5. I’ll give to you…

    You are a really talented person. You are honest, funny, and reflective. I think that in itself can do a lot to help. You know when you are feeling bad and you can express it – just like you did today. You will get the support you need that way. Hope tomorrow brings a little more sunshine.

    Sincerely,

    Mandy a.k.a. Fern (that was the real me talking)

    • Jen and Tonic 11/15/2012 at 9:49 am #

      Thank you so much for your kinds words, Mandy. (Love that name by the way) I do read around other blogs, and in the past few months I’ve read some seriously inspiring things. It has helped me build the courage to write this.

      I think kids are supposed to drive their parents nuts. I remember doing things I knew would make my mom mad, and thinking it was funny. Now I feel guilty about it! Moms have it rough.

      Thanks for giving 5 to me. You should add “generous” to your list.

  7. MissFourEyes 11/15/2012 at 5:54 am #

    I didn’t realize how hard this would be until I really tried. Why is it that we can’t find the good in ourselves as easily as our bad points?
    1. I love that I’m determined. I go and get what I want.
    2. I love that I care about people and their feelings. Even though sometimes it makes me overanaylze every little thing I do or say to make sure that it isn’t hurtful in the slightest way.
    3. I love that I’m creative.
    4. I love that I’d help anyone in need without expecting anything in return
    5. I love that I finished this list. I didn’t think I would
    Anxiety is a bitch. But it’s nice to just let go sometimes. This is why the internet will have my undying devotion. I’m glad you made us write this list, I guess I needed it.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/15/2012 at 9:51 am #

      It IS hard, right? It took me about 45 minutes to write the top portion, and twice that time to write the bottom part.

      Kudos to you for finishing the list! I can totally relate to #2. Being overly thoughtful is a gift and a burden at the same time.

      Glad this helped you.

  8. Emily @ The Waiting 11/15/2012 at 5:55 am #

    You are wonderful. Thank you for your honesty and for being a light on here. This was an encouragement to me this morning. Now for five things:

    1. I love that I’m a better mother than I ever could have thought. I love that I waited to have my child when I was 100% emotionally ready.
    2. I love my creativity and that I allow myself to express it. I don’t guilt myself Out of taking time for myself.
    3. I’m a good listener and I value understanding people who don’t think the same as me.
    4. I can forgive my husband when he does things that disappoint me.
    5. I am good at seeing my priorities and going for them.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/15/2012 at 9:53 am #

      I love #2, and I think in a way it relates to #1. So many moms feel guilty when they do things for themselves. That emotional readiness helped prepare you for the “me time” everyone deserves.

      I’m happy you did this exercise, and that this post was an encouragement.

  9. twindaddy 11/15/2012 at 6:16 am #

    I have always struggled with depression, too. I thought I had it under control until recently, when I was rudely awakened to the fact that I didn’t have it under control. And it almost cost me everything.

    I can certainly identify with a lot of the things you’re coping with and I hope you come out of your funk.

    I’ll try to come up with 5 things I like about myself…
    1. I believe that I’m a good father. I’m far from perfect, but I think I do a good job.
    2. I’m smarter than the average bear. I’m no genius by any means, but I’m pretty intelligent.
    3. I’m pretty funny. I have a crude and very blunt sense of humor, but I’m still funny.
    4. I’m loyal to those I love. I’m always willing to help someone in need.
    5. I’m pretty laid back. I don’t stress very easily and normally take things in stride.

    Huh. That wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 12:52 am #

      It makes me really happy that it came so easily to you! I think it shows you’re aware of who you really are. I also must say that I love that you have a crude and blunt sense of humor.

  10. aliceatwonderland 11/15/2012 at 6:24 am #

    Holy Batcrap, this post was ME RIGHT NOW. I’m proud of you for continuing on with the contest – if you check out my post you’ll see I pooped out. You aren’t funny – you are flipping hilarious fabulous great stuff on toast. IE is making comment box screwy – be back on firefox.

    • aliceatwonderland 11/15/2012 at 6:33 am #

      Back! I know you were waiting. Anyhoo, five things I love about me.

      1. I’m funny. My favorite thing to do is to make people laugh, and the best sound in the world is laughter.
      2. I have a lot of friends on wordpress that really like me and leave awesome comments. That is the best success ever, and more than I would have dreamed would happen with my blog.
      3. I’m a good mom. I have fun with my children. My kids even write papers about it.
      4. I’m smart. You really can’t be funny without being smart. Unless people are laughing at you.
      5. I’m a good writer. It is my greatest passion and always has been. I’m happy that I’ve finally gotten the courage to let others see it.

      Thanks for this post, Jen. Like I said, this post described me lately – feeling overwhelmed over nothing really, just anxious, and up and down and hiding it all under Ms. Goofypants. Thanks.

      Alice

      • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 12:56 am #

        Haven’t gotten a chance to read your post yet (but I will!) but wanted to say here you have nothing to feel badly about. You take your time for you.

        I love that you included #3. It’s apparent from your posts you have a great relationship with your children. That’s something worth being proud of.

        • aliceatwonderland 11/16/2012 at 4:11 am #

          Thanks. I hope you’re doing better. As I said, I totally get what you’re going through.

          • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 2:24 am #

            I am doing better. Thanks for checking up on me :)

  11. Justcallmegertie 11/15/2012 at 6:27 am #

    Wow! I am very glad you shared this. I also use laughter and humour to hide behind. One day I will share the story of how that started. But for now, I think laughter is the medicine that keeps a lot of us on track. You can be proud of yourself.
    Okay, when I read this I had to think a bit but here goes…
    1. I love that I have learned to be myself. I used to spend so much time and energy being someone people would like and then I decided stuff that, this is me, take it or leave it.
    2. I love that I am able to reflect on most situations and take the positive from it and move on. I don’t held grudges
    3. I love that I can laugh and see the humour in most situations. And love that I can laugh at myself first and foremost.
    4. I love being a mother and being able to teach my kids to be a better person than I am.
    5. I love people and believe that I am a very good and trustworthy friend. I treasure my friends more than anything.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 12:58 am #

      I can totally relate to your #1! Sometimes I regret spending so many years being anybody but who I really was. I’m glad you found your voice, and that you use it.

      And I do hope you write your story one day.

  12. Cathy Ulrich 11/15/2012 at 6:38 am #

    Jen,
    You are a brave and beautiful woman. It’s great to be able to share the humor and the challenges. We love you for that. You are being your genuine self here and that’s a powerful thing.
    I would mirror many of your five things in my list. The ones you chose are also very important to me.
    1. I’m generous
    2. I’m accepting
    3. I’m trustworthy
    4. I blaze my own trail. This one could be a mantra for me. It was harder when I was younger, left my first husband when my very best friend (my mother) couldn’t support it. Built two businesses against all odds, etc., etc. And I think I intimidate some people with this habit, but I couldn’t do otherwise.
    5. And yes, I’m funny, although it doesn’t really come out in my writing. I’m not as brave as you are and I come from a background where being funny was punished when I was a kid, so I do it with people with whom I feel extremely safe, my close friends, my sister, my husband.
    I’ll put on my therapist hat for a minute here and say that I also think that this time of year brings out more depression and anxiety. The light goes away, people spend more time inside and the holidays bring up crap that has been buried. I recommend that people get a full spectrum light box and spend 20 minutes in front of it every morning. It’s amazing how that can help – Seasonal Depression Disorder is real and it affects many, many people – more than we realize. We’re light beings and it’s hard when the light goes away. There, that’s a 6th quality – the expert (something I’ve devoted 30 years doing, learning and sharing – so I guess I’m also persistent – some would say annoyingly so)! :-)
    Cathy

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 1:00 am #

      AH! We’re so much alike. And I don’t think you need to write funny to be funny. I have lots of friends who are hilarious, but they’re poets or painters or musicians.

      I think you’re right about the seasonal change. I do get more blue than usual during this time of year. I try to keep my chin up and remind myself of that.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

  13. Paul M Chapman 11/15/2012 at 7:08 am #

    Jen,

    This post spoke to me in ways that are hard to explain. You perfectly captured just about everything I’ve had going on too over the last couple of months. I won’t go into great detail but I know you have an awareness of it- and I oftentimes feel that words fall woefully short of what it means to have you as my friend. It’s been a blessing to have shared your life’s journey thus far and that you allowed me access to your friendship. It means the world to me.

    As for 5 things I love about myself- I would have to say:

    1) Despite being as introverted as I am- once I am comfortable with someone I am free to express my sillier side. I have a weird sense of humour and love sharing that side of myself.

    2) I am fiercly loyal to those who honour me with friendship. I would go to the ends of the Earth to provide for someone- whether it be with time or anything else.

    3) I have a great capacity and thirst for knowledge. i can read 4 or 5 books at a time and still remember where I’m at in each.

    4) I love that I can play bass, drums, cello, sing and read music. It took me forever to be able to do it- but now I couldn’t live without that talent. Bass is my world.

    5) I’d like to think I was “book smart” but I struggle with making common sense, every day decisions. Still working on that- but happy with things so far.

    If there’s anything you need, you know I’ll gladly do whatever I can. Thanks for your continued friendship buddy.
    Pug Hugs,
    Paul

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 1:03 am #

      As you know, we’re alike in so many ways. Hearing you tell me about yourself has helped me even if you didn’t know it at the time. That’s the great thing about friendship– you can help me up when I’m down, and vice versa.

      #2 is absolutely true. I feel very lucky to have you as a friend. And #4 surprised me! You were hiding that you are a musical genius ;)

  14. saradraws 11/15/2012 at 7:21 am #

    Bawling.
    Jen, you are a kindred spirit, and to know that you are suffering (though not shocking because I know this of you, and I had a feeling something was up), wrenches my gut. I hate hearing that my friend hurts, and I want to take it away. I know there is little I can tangibly do, so I’ll just try to be a friend, and love you from afar (and yet strangely close).
    This post is courageous and uplifting. You ARE generous. You give of yourself, and then you give the gift of offering a step up to others who may need it by encouraging positive self reflection. That’s exquisite. And you are a beautiful soul.So without further ado..

    1) I try really hard to be a good mom, wife, friend, and person. I am learning the difference between setting impossible expectations of perfection in these areas and just learning and growing.

    2) I am generous. I have very little material stuff to give at this time in my life as we find ourselves choosing between food for the week or the electricity bill, but in the ways I can, I try to give. Drive a friend to an appointment, help my cousin move, help a neighbour with her errands. It’s what I have to offer, and I try to offer freely.

    3) I am compassionate. I strive to see the humanity in everyone, even the people I want to despise. We all have a story and we’re all fighting a battle.

    4) I’m creative. I’m not practicing much these days, but I love making art in it’s many forms. I believe I have something to offer the world this way.

    5) I love my determination. Despite what the explosion of dirty socks and drink boxes in my house might say, I work hard. I’ve worked hard at my recovery, and continue to keep moving forward, even though at times the movement is imperceptible. I didn’t let The Dark take me, and I’m still fighting.

    I love these things about me, and am proud of them. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to write them down and really look at them. Like I said before…bawling.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 1:06 am #

      Your INFJ was hard at work! You knew something was going on with me even before I knew it was. That’s a real gift.

      The hard part about being kindred spirits is that when your friend hurts, you *know* that hurt. I felt the same when you were struggling. Luckily, we have each other to help and be there and stay positive. Thank you for that.

      I loved everything you listed. You are that and so so so so much more. XO

  15. La La 11/15/2012 at 7:46 am #

    You and I are a lot more alike than I thought. Finding the humor…that is what has saved me. Selfishly, I liked reading this because I’m having one of those “I’m not alone” moments. Good for you for seeing the good during shaky times. Thank you for posting this.

    1. I am funny. This has brought me a relief to worries, a blog, more friends, and my soul mate.

    2. I have chosen light and love over fear. Getting out of the old habits wasn’t easy. I work at it every day, but I am proud of myself.

    3. I’m independent. I didn’t settle and I never thought I would be comfortable “alone,” but living my own life in my own house has allowed me to really understand myself and find what makes me happy.

    4. I’m creative. It may not always come out that way on my blog because of the “La La” thing, but creative writing is what I like and what I do and I’m happy to not be just another “blah.”

    5. I like and respect myself. Mostly. I never thought I would like me. I have my moments, but I really like me. I grew up hating me. I’m smiling like an idiot thinking about how great it is to be on the right path.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 1:09 am #

      It’s not selfish at all to feel happy that you’re not alone. It’s one of the reasons I posted this. When RG did, I felt like you do. I wanted to do the same. Just put it out there and see if someone said, ‘Hey, me too!” Humor writing isn’t much different than that. We want someone to laugh with us.

      #2 is something I really struggle with. I’m very afraid of some things, and I get in the way of myself a lot. I’m glad you’re pushing passed it.

  16. Love and Lunchmeat 11/15/2012 at 7:46 am #

    Jen, I’m so sorry to hear this. And I really like all of these same things about you too. I was listening to you on ExPats Radio last week, and got a kick out of it. My offer to sing you New York, New York in person is still open, if you ever need a change of scenery.

    I would do the five things, but sitting in my dining room (at my computer) and looking at all of my nursing books is so depressing, I can’t. See, I spent two years taking evil nursing pre-reqs, and then quit. Also, my hubby bragged about my grades to everyone we know. So… now everyone who knows me in real life thinks I’m insane. The reality was just that full-time school, plus three kids (including one who’s a high-functioning autistic) was just too much for me. I’ll do one thing, just to keep this from being depressing. Some days I think my writing is halfway good.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 1:12 am #

      What are you saying silly woman? Your writing is great! I look forward to your posts.

      And don’t get down on yourself about nursing school. You were overwhelmed, and it was probably a judgment call to quit school. That moment is not a reflection of who you are as a whole.

      And yes, I shall make my way East so you can serenade me.

  17. jmlindy422 11/15/2012 at 7:57 am #

    It’s always so surprising to me, though I surprised that it’s surprising, that there are so many other nice, normal people who feel like crap on such a regular basis. When I am not in my own “I suck” mode, I can probably find five things I love about myself. So, here goes:

    1. I love my intellect. I am deeply curious and love to delve into the reasons for things. A random suggestion to read a book has lead me into wanting to read Richard the III.

    2. I love my persistence in parenting my children. They are each challenging in their own way and I get very down about it sometimes and want to give up. But, I take a breath and get back to fighting for them and, sometimes with them, for them to grow into caring, productive, happy people.

    3. I love my ability to write. I can write all the time, even when I’m at my very darkest. As long as I can write I think I can pull myself out of the worst spots. Of course, the writing probably sucks, but I’m getting better at letting the writing suck, too.

    4. I love being funny. I don’t know why I am, but I’m funny. I say completely honest and outrageous things because they just come to me. I also find lots of things humorous that others might not. If I can’t be funny, then I know I’m taking things way too seriously.

    5. I love my strength, physical and emotional. I am over 50, but my body is still my friend. I ran a race just a few weeks ago and came in second in my age group, though I was oldest. I’d never run a race before and didn’t start running until after 50. Emotionally, I’m better and better at allowing myself to feel a full range, not just anger and sadness.

    Whew. That last one was the hardest.
    Thank you for being so open, for reminding me that other people struggle with things like this.
    Janice

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 1:17 am #

      I’ve known for a long time that my thought process is dysfunctional. What I didn’t know until recently was that there were a lot of people like us out there. There are varying levels of “funk”, but to know others experience it brings me some relief.

      Your #5 is worthy of a high five. *high five*! I think it’s great you honor your body, and that you just picked up and start racing. Congrats on the excellent finish!

  18. Madame Weebles 11/15/2012 at 8:03 am #

    You are inspiring, Jen, and I think you’re fantastic. You should be incredibly proud of this post. And all your other posts, for that matter, because they’re all clever and hilarious. Today I’m having one of those days where I can’t think of 5 things for myself, so I’m just going to go ahead and enjoy reading everyone else’s.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 1:19 am #

      Promise me that at some point you’ll do it for yourself. You’re one of the most badass people I’ve met on WordPress, and I respect you a ton. I hope you know that I’m not alone in those thoughts.

      Thanks for the kind words Weebmeister.

  19. Erin McNaughton 11/15/2012 at 8:31 am #

    Thank you for sharing this. I can completely relate–I have a huge heart and a propensity towards depression, or as I once wrote, “my life is a perpetual existential crisis.” It’s really hard to open up and talk about it–to not only feel like a wreck and a disappointment, but to publicly admit that. I’ve done that (multiple times), and I promise you that laying of shit on the table helps. People care, we’re all here to support you.

    As for what I love about myself:
    1) I have a big heart and would do anything in help anyone. It’s like an overfilled water balloon that could burst at any moment if I’m not careful, but I sincerely care about people and I’d prefer heartbreak over apathy.
    2) I’m excited about life. Most people think I’m a nutcase, but I’m always smiling and pointing out the wonderful little nuances that no one seems to notice. That sense of excitement tends to draw people towards me and bring joy into their lives.
    3) I’m a damn genius. I’m intelligent, funny and the cleverest person I know. Though few others appreciate it, I love the realization that I meshed some obscure bits of knowledge into a brilliantly absurd joke that no one else understood. Even my mistakes are stellar–my phone’s auto-correct changed “How about a quick hug?” to “How about a dick hug?”–”umm, yes please.” said the guy at the other end of that conversation.
    4) I love that–though completely lost when it comes to knowing what I want to do with my life–I know it MUST be what I want and what makes me come alive. I could never settle for mediocracy and I love knowing that I’ll always be pushing the envelop, trying to discover who I am and what I’m meant to do.
    5) I love that I’m open-mind. I’ll talk to just about anyone, about anything, and I’m always up for trying something new. I love how novelty-seeking nature and my drive to experience new things and learn from them.

    I haven’t thought about what I love about myself in ages, so thank you for this. :)

    • jmlindy422 11/15/2012 at 8:42 am #

      I love your genius! I laugh at things all the time that other people don’t think are funny. Can I have your phone’s auto-correct?

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 1:23 am #

      “my life is a perpetual existential crisis” I can’t tell you how much I love this. I swear I’ve been going through this since I was 8.

      That autocorrect thing is hilarious! And I love that instead of being upset about it you saw what comedic gold it was.

      #2 I sensed from you right away. I’m not sure what it was exactly that made me think about it, but I remember admiring how present in life you are.

  20. TJLubrano 11/15/2012 at 9:00 am #

    Lovely Jen! I can’t recall all the things I wrote in letter to you in one of my packages, but I’ll say it again, I love and adore you for who you are and you brightened up my world in ways that I can’t really put in words! Anyone who can have you as a friend is very lucky :)

    Why is it always difficult to pinpoint things you love about yourself huh? I could totally relate to all you wrote, so I*tried* to come up with others hehe. Let’s start…

    1) I’m a cheerful optimistic. I always try to find a positive side in things that happen in my life. They brought me to where I am now and shaped me into the person I’m today. A cheery attitude brought me more than a gloomy one.

    2) I’m creative. I know lots of people know the obvious ones, like my art, writing and baking. But next to this I do like to dance and sing. And the latter are two that a lot don’t know about or would expect. I tend not to tell everyone about this as I’ve gotten remarks like “Oh. You can do it all huh?” and I despise this, because I put the time and effort in the things I love to do. They did not fall out of thin air. I’m not sure where I’d be without my creativity. It helps to make sense of a lot of things that aren’t making sense at all. You won’t see me bursting out in singing or dancing as I’m shy, but it’s a different way to be creative and they all calm me down in their own way.

    3) I’m sincere when I’m being nice or friendly. I don’t see the point in being bitchy or mean. If I e.g. compliment you or ask you how you are, I mean it.

    4) I’m independent. I don’t rely a whole lot on others and can manage to do a lot on my own.

    5) I’m happy that I’m finally starting to accept who I really am. Sometimes this involves being a bit more self-centered than I used to be in the past (or like to be), but I realized that I can’t be there for someone else, if I’m not there for myself first.

    Thank you so much for sharing a glimpse from your story. You inspire many around you by doing so. (I’ve my own piece regarding this coming up as soon as my site is done and I’m a wee bit nervous as it’s a different side of me to be read by the world.)

    *waves* and a big XO!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 1:26 am #

      Sorry I stole all of your traits! You want them back? Number 1-4 I definitely would have listed for you. Must admit, was surprised by #5 as I didn’t know you had trouble with that. I think you’ve earned the right to take care of yourself first. Never apologize for that.

      And thank you for the kind words you include in all of your packages. They always get to me when I need them the most.

      • TJLubrano 11/16/2012 at 3:42 am #

        Haha! No, I do like to share them. :)

        Yes, not sure if being the oldest at home has something to do with it as I had to set an example for others? But yeah, I did hid parts of me. Also, I’m glad that the packages come at the right time. Yours do exactly the same!

  21. Sandee 11/15/2012 at 9:20 am #

    Hey Jen I just hope you can somehow find peace and acceptance on a regular basis and glide away through a fabulous life! You have so much going for yourself. I think even when this is the case we can slip into looking for validation from somewhere else. Then there are the battles we’re fighting from years ago, which makes the load heavier.

    Every day is a clean slate. I remind myself of this to help me to get rid of the sludge of yesteryear. You are a generous soul for sharing something so real about yourself. This is helpful to me and to others I’m certain.

    I use spiritual methods to clear my head of garbage. It also helps to connect me to people and to have compassion for all of us in the struggle together on the planet. The energy I get back from opening myself up is phenomenal. I hope the same for you…

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 1:30 am #

      I love the idea of each day being a clean slate. I really try to remind myself of that because when I get down like this, I beat myself up over “wasting my life being sad”. It’s a bad cycle.

      I also agree with what you’ve said about needing validation. I believe it’s human nature to seek out reinforcement, and some of us need a bit more nurturing than others.

      Thank you so much for sharing a bit of yourself here. You always speak very thoughtfully.

  22. Dani Heart 11/15/2012 at 10:05 am #

    Wow! I think I might need another cup of coffee for this… trails off thinking what the hell am I going to say…sighs…okay back with more coffee. :) takes a deep breathe…holds it for just a moment…exhaling now… Jen I can totally relate to anxiety.. and it so sucks. I am a natural worrier and I struggle all the time to keep it in check.So many nights I can’t shut off my brain as I try to go to sleep and I too have gotten back up to check a door, or right something that I am sure was left in disarray, and I worry sometimes about such silly things. I have to say that I have had bouts of depression but they have been surrounding specific events or goings on in my life and luckily have been short lived. I cannot imagine dealing with that regularly. My heart goes out to you. You are a beautiful person, and I mean on the inside where it matters the most. :) It’s funny, in an ironic sort of way..lol that this post comes this morning as just yesterday…I was really beating myself up a bit…so maybe it’s a good time to reflect on the qualities that are worth highlighting.

    1) I love that I chose to get educated and do the work to stop the cycle of abuse that I suffered growing up. I am proud that as a parent I did not pass that on! For those of you who (know) that is so much easier said than done. :)
    2) I love my sense of humor. It has helped me through some of the toughest crap.
    3) I love that I love with my whole heart. It hurts sometimes but I just don’t know how to do it any other way.
    4) I love that I love to make people smile… or go hmmm. ;) We have to enjoy what and when we can and not take ourselves or life so seriously.
    5) I love that I am attracting quality people to my life. That wasn’t always the case so I must have fixed something cause now I am surrounded by many wonderful people and I am so so grateful.

    Side note: (True story) I have only been fired once from a job, and the reason is beyond ironic. I worked briefly for a tax preparation place. Believing as most of us do…that we bring our best and brightest to the work place and keep all the crap on the inside and at home, I showed up every day bright and cheerful as I could be… and one day after only maybe a week or two of work, I was called into the office and was let go. They said I was (too happy). No I am not joking. Too happy, so happy in fact that even though I had made no errors and had done everything that was required of me, they felt my happy attitude made me appear as though I did not take the job seriously. I was a fucking receptionist…wow! Well they succeeded that day in crushing me… I left in tears.. inconsolable as everyone watched. It was beyond humiliating..and the irony is…of course, that I wasn’t always happy.. I was merely doing my best not to bring my sadness to others.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 1:38 am #

      First of all, those people who fired you are DICKS. Do you know how hard it is to find people who show up every day motivated to do a good job and be happy at the same time? Seriously, very difficult.

      Secondly, I’m also happy you stopped the cycle of abuse. I’ve never been subjected to it, but I’ve seen some people I know go through it. It’s tough to break old habits, even when those habits weren’t yours.

      Lastly, you are the sunshiniest (is that a word?) person I know. Always smiles and happy and loving and open-hearted. Please never change. The world needs more of that.

  23. becca3416 11/15/2012 at 10:07 am #

    Jen, you are one of my FAVORITE ha-ha bringers. I can always expect to laugh when I come to your posts. Even when I am not laughing, like for this one, I am enjoying getting to know you. As requested:

    1. I am proud that I have faced so many fears this year
    2. I love that I can make people laugh
    3. I genuinely LIKE people in a world where it seems that the opposite is more common
    4. I consider myself a little bit of a jack of all trades… or I aspire to be, and that is cool
    5. I can imitate a pig snort flawlessly. It trips people out.

    Thank you.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 1:52 am #

      I love your #3! Seriously, LOVE it. Do you know how rare you are? You’re like a white tiger, only less hairy and won’t try to eat me for lunch.

      Also, my mom can do a really scary good pig snort. I wish I could. I would bust that out on dates. Or in work meetings. Or on the bus for no reason.

  24. Ericka @ Creative Liar 11/15/2012 at 10:10 am #

    Jen, I think I’ve found a blogging soul mate in you. I know where you’re coming from, that smile you give people so they have no clue the massacre inside your own head. I love the five things you’ve listed and can see them in myself, too. Sometimes I have to do that, list the good things about me and my life. But sometimes, I just wish I didn’t have to remind myself so often.

    Really beautifully written.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 1:40 am #

      *BIG HUGS* for blogging soulmates. And yeah, having to give yourself those reminders is such a pain in the ass. Sometimes I get so moody and default to, “I wish I was normal.” Then I wonder if that would mean losing my ability to write, or my sense of humor or extreme silliness. Part of what makes me crazy is also what helps me in a way. I try to remind myself of that too.

  25. Carrie Rubin 11/15/2012 at 10:18 am #

    What a wonderful post. I would be remiss if I didn’t respond, so here goes:
    1. I’m a hard-worker.
    2. I’m raising great kids.
    3. I picked a wonderful husband.
    4. I’m finally following my heart.
    5. I try to follow the Golden Rule every day.

    I admire your honesty in this post, and I think you made us all feel a little bit better about ourselves. And I hope you feel the same way as well, because I think you are all those things you listed and more!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 1:43 am #

      Thanks Carrie!

      Really loved your list. I see people increasingly forgetting the Golden Rule, and was really happy to see it listed. Being nice never goes out of style.

  26. Daan van den Bergh 11/15/2012 at 10:47 am #

    Well, the 5 qualities you’ve listed above are completely similar to mine, so this comment is pretty boring.

    But I hear you, bro – erm… Sister. The reason why I’m such a Happy Flappy all the time, is because of my disastrous past.

    I don’t know where this quote is from, but it suits your post (especially the title):

    “That’s Life,” said the Clown and drew a smile on his face.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 1:44 am #

      OH! Great quote! It’s so true, isn’t it?

      And yes, our pasts can help make us even stronger than before. I’m glad you’ve gotten to that place.

      • Daan van den Bergh 11/16/2012 at 2:06 am #

        Yeah, well, it’s a loose translation from Dutch. I found the actual English translation and posted it here.

        Thank your for sharing your story. I respect you for it.

  27. Ashley Austrew 11/15/2012 at 10:52 am #

    “I’ve been told several times, ‘You’re the happiest person I know. What’s your secret?’ My secret is that I’m a fucking wreck on the inside.” Yes.

    Yes to this whole post. You said it better than I’ve ever been able to.

    Here’s my list:

    1. I’m a good mom.
    2. I’m a good wife.
    3. I’m a good writer.
    4. I’m funny.
    5. I thoughtful and I try hard.

    Oh, also, I have really great blogging friends like Emily who introduce me to all sorts of other great blogs like this one :)

    • Ashley Austrew 11/15/2012 at 10:53 am #

      I’m* thoughtful, though apparently not a good typist.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 1:46 am #

      Power to the blogosphere for bringing us all together! I’m glad to see so many people, like yourself, saying they’re good moms. I think mothers have a tendency to be too hard on themselves. To see people recognizing how good they are makes me happy.

  28. Combat Babe 11/15/2012 at 11:03 am #

    I don’t know how I found your Facebook before your Blog, but I totally fell for you even with just the statuses. Things about myself:

    1- I am not just honest, I am brutally honest. Some people don’t like it and I don’t blame them because everyone of us sometimes only wants to hear what we want to hear. I’m not mean, I just will tell you exactly how I feel or think about something. Sometimes it’s asked for and sometimes I just give it. But I accept that about me.

    2- I will still love you if you do/are doing something that goes against my grain. If you are in love with a person whom I think is bad for you I will not fault you, but I will not let you complain or talk about them to me. It’s your bed, you lie in it. If you are stripping or selling yourself, I will whole-heartedly disapprove, but you’ll still be my friend. You may drive me bat shit crazy, but my love is unconditional.

    3- I put others before myself always. Most see this as a fault if they do it, too. I don’t. I may get hurt, I may get burned, but I survive and if I can help you or try to help when you don’t want it, I will.

    4- I have an internal pretentiousness. It may be considered egocentric, I try not to show it. I can spot it quickly in others and it will actually turn me off about them, one of those catch 22s. I try to be humble, but I know I am intelligent. I can read people easily, I can advise people with a finesse and will only lack confidence when I come across something I don’t know or I hit an anxiety/depression spell.

    5- I have Bipolar 1 Disorder. This doesn’t mean I don’t envy those who are not Bipolar, believe me I do. But I look at my disorder as a gift and I think it gives me more compassion towards others. I’ve gone full blown psychotic twice from mania and any kind of negative human experience that others are going through or have already went through, I want to reach out and hold their hand. Metaphorically and with words because I am a weirdo about touching and hugging and the like.

    If this sounds pretentious–I’m not sorry. xo

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I can relate to the teeth brushing thing.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2012 at 1:49 am #

      Not pretentious at all! I dated someone for a considerable length of time who was brutally honest like you are. It really took me awhile to get adjusted to someone just saying whatever it was they were thinking, but I admire and appreciate it now. You never have to guess where you stand with that person.

      I’d also guess you’re a great friend based on #2. Sometimes people get wrapped up in the “I hate this about you” part of a friendship. I know I used to.

      Funny that you found my facebook before my blog! However you got here, I’m happy you did.

  29. bringmetheheadofdaviddixon 11/15/2012 at 11:39 am #

    I like your honesty here and so maybe I should play along for once.

    1. Meditation is like medicine to me. It’s nothing exotic, it’s available to everyone.
    2. I would always rather be outside.
    3. I don’t feel natural communicating via virtual space. I might be less awkward in the real world. I said “might”.
    4. I love the movie “Nothing but a Man”.
    5. I also love this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCQfTNOC5aE

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 1:55 am #

      I like your style, very “unplugged” in a way. I’d love to get more into meditation, but I can’t seem to quiet my mind enough. I do appreciate that it’s accessible to anyone, anywhere at anytime. And yes, outside is always better. Fresh air is very healing for me.

      Thanks for playing along :)

  30. Storkhunter 11/15/2012 at 11:42 am #

    Jen, this post really made me think. So far I have only seen the ha-ha side of you and it’s really ha-ha. You are definitely one of my favourite bloggers. Reading this shows how there’s so much more to a person. You never know what’s going on in someone’s life. Which brings me to my list.

    1. I am very non-judgemental. Nobody knows everything there is to know about another person. Who are we to decide what is the right way for someone else to go about their lives.
    2. I am a very positive person. I have had more shit thrown at me in my life than the walls of a monkey’s cage. Yet I manage to get myself out of bed in the morning, put on a smile and have a laugh. And you know what, most of the time I don’t have to fake the smile.
    3. I am intelligent. Okay, so this is a little braggy maybe, but I do like my intelligence. I like it that I get obscure references is books and/or magazines and I like that when I get together with friends I am referred to as ‘the clever one.’
    4. I am a good wife and mother. I’ve had ups and downs in my marriage and with the kid, but I’ve been there for my husband and I love my kid to death. Wouldn’t change him for the world
    5. I am funny. I keep people entertained with my writing and my story. It is fortunate for others that I have the balance and co-ordination of a gorilla so I end up with loads of hilarious tales to share.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 1:57 am #

      I debated about whether or not to write this. I know people come to my blog to read humorous stuff, but that’s not who I am all the time. As nice as it would be to be all sunshine and rainbows, it’s just not true. I felt like being REALLY honest for once.

      From reading your blog, I knew all of those things about you. You write really openly and authentically, and I like that about you. Don’t ever change.

      Also, good job again on your “opening up” post.

  31. trjensen 11/15/2012 at 12:02 pm #

    Jen you are amazing and so so open and it has takken some of us much longer to get to that point in our lives. I can absolutely relate to the depression and anxiety. I have had issues with anxiety/depression since I was eight and it has become part of who I am. There are positives that come out of these struggles. We learn to be stronger. We learn how to make ourselves happy. We understand ourselves. Anxiety goes hand in hand with this sort of self-obsession that can help us become better versions of ourselves. We are more inclined to dissect our behavior and work on things that we’d like to change.

    You actually remind me of a much funnier version of myself. Le CLown was right. You give so much love and expect so little in return. That is rare and a real reason to be proud of yourself. You are an outstanding example of what a human should be my dear. I am sending you all my love your way. xoxo Teri

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 1:59 am #

      I’ve struggled with it since that age as well! It’s incredible to think about someone that young experiencing something so weighty. Sometimes I think about how I made it through life by the skin of my teeth.

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m really happy to have met you here. You’ve got an edgier tone to your humor that I’ve been working towards. We all seek inspiration from each other it seems.

      • trjensen 11/18/2012 at 12:09 pm #

        When you are as young as we were when started experiencing what we have it becomes part of how our lives are. It is our normal. I can relate to the smiling through the pain too. I honestly believe that regardless of how we feel during our low points we are incredibly strong. We manage to function (sometimes just barely) no matter what. We have also found a creative release that I have found very beneficial to my emotional well being. When my son was around ten, I was watching The Aviator. My son, sat down and watched it for a few minutes then asked, “What is wrong with that man?” I explained that he had anxiety and was obsessive complusive. He said, “That is what is wrong with you.” I am not nearly that bad but something always reminds me. But we get through it and we always will. Shit! If we can make it through our teens dealing with anxiety and depression we can make it through anything. To me, that was when I struggled the most.

        You are incredibly brave and strong my friend. And thank you for being so open.

  32. rollergiraffe 11/15/2012 at 12:25 pm #

    Ms. Tonic, this is amazing. You are amazing, and i hope you internalize all those good things you wrote about yourself. Anxiety and depression are the most dysfunctional couple that I know and I am sorry that you are sucked into their vortex too, but aren’t we fortunate to at least have a community where we can write our way out? So much love your way.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 2:01 am #

      We are most fortunate for this community. I started this blog for very superficial reasons, and have gotten more out of it than I ever could have expected.

      Thanks again for giving me the courage to write this. You are awesomesauce.

  33. Human In Recovery 11/15/2012 at 12:26 pm #

    Jen,
    Kudos and much to be proud of.

    Now for the more difficult thing:
    1. I am proud of my blog: the writing I do and the down and dirty hard work of facing my truths.
    2. I am proud that despite the lies that live in my brain I am not giving up or failing at living my life.
    3. I am proud that I have made it this far in life that I have an opportunity to have relationships with my adult children, no matter how difficult they may be.
    4. I am proud that I am doing better and becoming better as a parent to my pre-school daughter.
    5. I am proud that I have not given up on anyone in my life.

    Wow, that was easier than I thought it would be. Thanks for the challenge.

    Be well,
    Kina

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 2:03 am #

      YAY for being easier than you thought!

      The things you’ve listed show me you’ve got a fighting spirit. That’s incredibly admirable, and something I’ve been trying to work on. It takes a lot to say, “This is shitty, but I’ve got this.”

  34. Miss Snarky Pants 11/15/2012 at 1:24 pm #

    Thanks for this post. I think it’s important to share this bit of yourself with your readers. Many people don’t realize that lurking behind the humor, there is often despair. Though I don’t get down too often, depression does affect some of my family members. Many people think to themselves, “That chick just needs to snap out of it,” but it’s not that easy. If it was, there’d be no mental illness in the world.

    Though my self-deprecating manner does not permit me to list my many positive attributes (all of which are buried somewhere beneath a few cases of wine and several pairs of double digit stretch jeans), I want you to know that, in my humble opinion, you and your blog make the world a better, brighter and funnier place.

    xoxo

    Miss Snarky Pants

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 2:05 am #

      Humor is definitely a coping mechanism, and I wonder how many funny people are hiding behind the despair as you put it. I wouldn’t trade my sense of humor for the world (it makes life more fun!) but I do need to manage the things that helped me get it.

      I hope you do take time to think about all of the wonderful things that you are. You have such a unique way of looking at the world, and you let us laugh at it with you. That’s something to be proud of right there.

  35. unfetteredbs 11/15/2012 at 1:52 pm #

    this was by far one of the best ideas/posts I have read. You are an amazing person to get all these people to write these wonderful things about themselves(and YOU) Pure awesomeness

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 2:07 am #

      Thanks so much! Means a lot to me.

      I’m really happy people are posting so many great things. It helps us get to know each other more personally, and also to lighten the mood. Misery loves company, but so does positive energy.

      • unfetteredbs 11/18/2012 at 4:03 am #

        you said it exactly and that is why I loved it so much. It really made my day ;)
        Your blog is awesome. You never know how or why you effect your readers but you do! Thanks for the smiles and the warmth

        • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 1:36 pm #

          Thank you for being a part of it. It really does mean a lot to me.

  36. Maggie O'C 11/15/2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Nice job Jen. I think I have been suffering from anxiety since I was 5 or 6 but no one knew what it was in 1970. This is why I love prozac. I had a bad spell this summer for no apparent reason, just very sketchy and now it’s gone. Dunno.

    There is something seemingly universal with us funny people, if I may be so bold as to include myself in your company (fuck yeah, we’re from Portland and we’re funny), anyway the crazy helps make you funny somehow. My entire family is hilarious.

    I am proud:
    1. That I live in an honest life.
    2. I am a good mother.
    3. I work hard.
    4. I’m nice (on the surface but then deeper down, not so much but then waaaaayyyy deep down, I’m really nice.)
    5. I have found true love and it is worth the wait.

    Anytime you need a beer, you know where to find me. Well no you don’t but we could meet at Chez Jose or sumpin’ :)
    xoxox
    P.S. Your dad sounds like a good guy.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 2:09 am #

      You BETTER include yourself in that group, missy.

      I love that your list is so earnest. They’re very simple things on their face, but they take work to get. It’s not always east to stay honest and be a good mom and work hard and be nice and find true love. You did it. Those are definitely things worth being proud of.

      And yes, beer. That’s in our future for sure.

  37. speaker7 11/15/2012 at 2:56 pm #

    Jen,
    You amaze me. You are the funniest writer on earth. That is a verifiable fact. And then you write this and take my breath away. Amazing.
    My five:
    1) I love being part of an amazing blogging community
    2) Mr. Speaker7 likes my oddness
    3) I love that I taught my son to want to hear every word sung to the tune of “Car Wash”
    4) I love that I can see a turd for a turd and call the turd on his/her turdness
    5) jen for president.

    • Daan van den Bergh 11/16/2012 at 2:09 am #

      But then could you be vice-president, speaker7? Because that would make me very happy. :)

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 2:11 am #

      I thought the title of funniest writer on earth went to you? Is this like Miss America when you have to hand it off at the end of the year?

      (1) We love that you’re here
      (2) I bet living with you is awesome
      (3) Your son is now set for any disco he ever attends
      (4) We do love it when you call turds out
      (5) Tonic/Speaker 2016?

  38. UndercoverL 11/15/2012 at 5:19 pm #

    Sadly, I don’t have the time right now to do the 5 things I love about me. (Ironic.) But I want to give you a hug and say that I absolutely love reading your blog and you make me laugh until I cry regularly. I adore you!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 2:12 am #

      Don’t worry about not having the time to comment right now. Life gets busy! Just promise me that you’ll think about those things at some point. You deserve that.

      Thanks for the hugs and nice words :)

  39. Brother Jon 11/15/2012 at 7:18 pm #

    So…you win for being the first blogger to bring a tear to my eye. But….it is a tear of happiness, like you get when you watch a movie like “Mr. Hollands Opus”. I took a break from my carnage of a post to read this. I think reading this will make mine better. Thank you. Now, five things I love about myself.

    1. I love that people can tell that I’m genuine.
    2. I love that I can write, and people can read it….and like it.
    3. I love that I’m the best gift giver I know.
    4. I love that I’m man enough to post about my cat.
    5. I love that the how I turned my life around can be an encouragement for other.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 2:15 am #

      Oh man! I got Brother Jon all teary-eyed? I should have included Kleenex with this post.

      #4, definitely! Cats kick ass, and I think it’s really cool you post about yours. Why shouldn’t you?!

      #5 is one of the reasons I respect you so much as a person. It takes hard word and dedication and self-reflection to do what you did. I also love that you don’t hold on to that baggage, and use it as a way to help others. You have the right attitude about life.

  40. SocietyRed 11/15/2012 at 7:34 pm #

    Jen. I love you, you fucking tyrant.
    1) I help people
    2) I don’t sugar coat, I say what I think
    3) I am realistic about the future
    4) I write what I feel
    5) I feel

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 2:17 am #

      I’m pretty new to your blog, but in all of the posts I’ve read, there’s an openness to you that I like. Your list is a reflection of that. I think you get life in a way I don’t. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but it’s always how I’m left feeling when I’m done reading.

      • SocietyRed 11/19/2012 at 10:41 am #

        Thanks Jen, we all have a different set of eyes that’s for sure. I think that’s one of the coolest things about blogfriends; to see the world in little blips through someone’s words…

        • Jen and Tonic 11/19/2012 at 4:10 pm #

          Absolutely! I’m amazed at how often I’m inspired by people I’ve never met, and may never meet.

  41. jdanryan 11/15/2012 at 8:49 pm #

    This was an amazing post. You shared something very deep and personal, and I felt very deeply for you as you opened a vulnerable side and shared with the world something most of us would be too scared to admit to.

    As you requested, my five:

    1) I am patient, especially around people who make me want to scream; even when I start to lose my composure, I still manage to find some way to keep it together

    2) I am deeply analytical, and will examine every situation to find how it works, hoping to make it better

    3) I do what I can to bring justice to those who need it, speaking out on their behalf at a minimum if not doing more

    4) I keep an open mind, free of any possible preconceptions that I can dispense with, so that I may see things as they are and take the facts at hand to make the best possible choices

    6) I don’t take a lot seriously, because the world needs a lot more humor than we allow it to have; the more we stress, the worse we make things

    I wish you all possible peace of mind, and offer whatever I can to help.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 2:19 am #

      Thank you for also sharing personal things about yourself. Patience is truly a virtue, isn’t it? I’ve had to battle being impatient, and have gotten to the point where it’s under control.

      I also appreciated #2 very much. I tend to be the same way. I often say I’m going inside of my turtle shell to just figure things out. Then I poke my head out and take action.

  42. benzeknees 11/16/2012 at 12:06 am #

    I am a new follower who also suffers from Panic Disorder & Chronic Depression. This started for me approximately 30 years ago & at my worst I was experiencing over 20 panic attacks a day. I finally had to resort to medication to get my chemicals in balance, so I could finally live a somewhat normal life. I know how you feel. Despite the medication, there are times when I still suffer from depression & insommnia. If you need to talk or want some suggestions for how I have coped, please let me know, I’d be happy to help any way I can.
    My five things:
    1) I am a very good parent, even when I was parenting children who were not biologically mine
    2) I am creative & finally taking advantage of some down time to use it
    3) I am generous
    4) I am a great friend
    5) I am a great listener

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 2:21 am #

      Wow, I cannot imagine experiencing that many panic attacks in a day. How could you possibly manage during that time? I’m so happy you sought help, and now it’s under control. That is no way for a person to live.

      Thank you for offer to help if I ever need it. I’m lucky to have surrounded myself with good people like you.

  43. isawbobdylaninaspeedo 11/16/2012 at 12:51 am #

    This post was wonderful. Not so shocking. I think our ills WE think will shock others…but most people have their own giant bag of ills they carry around so, somehow it all evens out. I know it seems hopeless at times and I feel for you!!! Just keep doing what you do. You are amazing.
    my five things:
    1. I don’t give up easy
    2. I have nice teeth.
    3.I make people laugh at themselves and/or me.
    4. I don’t care if people laugh at me.
    5. I will always see the good in people. Even huge douchebags that just ruined my life…*coughcough* no really, there’s something up with each one of us…and I’m always rooting for that hero. (now put yer cape on and scram!!)

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 2:23 am #

      You’re so right. We carry things inside us we think will horrify people, and they just say, “Oh, is that it? How can I help?”

      I thought it was cool that you included that you have nice teeth. I bet you smile a lot. Do you? I love smiley people. They make the world a better place.

      • isawbobdylaninaspeedo 11/18/2012 at 7:59 am #

        I do smile a lot…hahahahaha….but I do not take my teeth for granted. I am a teeth noticer person. Its kind of a thing. : ) Hang in there Jen!!! Lots of helpy people in the world are just like you said…’Oh is that it? How can I help?’ perfect.

  44. mmkng 11/16/2012 at 2:37 am #

    *) I love it when people are sincere about themselves, since most of the time and for most of us it’s so difficult to discuss our problems in public.
    So, my five things:
    1. I’m very shy with people until getting to know them – could be seen as a defect, but I really like the feeling of getting a step closer to really enjoying someone and really being yourself.
    2. I become more and more talkative in the same order as above.
    3. I feel accomplished when I something worth spreading the word about, to help somebody, to listen so someone and give good advice, to save a dog or cat or bird or any other animal.
    4. I don’t like fights, arguments, misunderstandings and I get a really miserable feeling when some video about animal or human cruelty pops in front of my eyes.
    5. *)

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 2:27 am #

      The first part was easy to write, but it was tough to share. I never want to disappoint anyone, and I felt like I might be letting people down by showing them the real me. I underestimated how awesome my readers are.

      I could totally relate to your #1. I’ve often been told I’m standoffish, but it’s not that. I like taking people in, and just listening to them. Once I know them, I feel more comfortable, and begin acting as my true self. I like that you’re similar to me in that way. Shy people represent!

      • mmkng 11/18/2012 at 2:37 am #

        :) I really think that we should all be able to sometimes at least let go of some self- or society-imposed rules. The truth is, I do feel like walking in my shoes again when doing so. It’s a great relief not to be conditioned by ones demons, by wannabe friends or by society. If everyone did so, we definitely would live in a better world! An utopia, huh?

  45. Soul Walker 11/16/2012 at 2:57 pm #

    Without trying to sound like I’m looking for sympathy… I have never thought about this… and I can’t think of a single thing that I could honestly say I love about myself… that seems really significant… not that I have any idea what to do with that information, but…

    Thanks for giving me something to think about. Cheers.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 2:29 am #

      I hope you’ve given this some thought, or will in the future. I think we all deserve to know the goodness that lives inside of us. It’s so easy for it to get lost in the noise of daily life.

      • Soul Walker 11/18/2012 at 8:19 am #

        Oh, I have… but lets not confuse ourselves. There are “good things” that “live inside of me,” but I am looking for things to love about myself… that’s not the same thing. My ass looks amazing in tights (for instance)… but that isn’t something I love about myself.

        • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 1:36 pm #

          You’re absolutely right. I hope you’re able to do both one day.

  46. Bill Friday 11/16/2012 at 11:25 pm #

    This is probably the hardest request I have ever had to honor, mostly because I hate telling people things about me that I have difficulty even accepting myself. But because you asked… and because you’re YOU… here goes.

    (1) I’m frighteningly “empathic”. Not “empathetic” (as I often don’t give a shit about people), I mean that I know shit about people as soon as I meet them… and that includes the internet. The good news in all that is, if I don’t give a shit about you, I will never use it on you (because I don’t give a shit). The bad news in all this is, if I care about you, you get it all from me. What the hell else are freakishly sensitive friends for… right?

    (2) I love baseball. I know that might seem terribly out of place here, but what I mean by that is, if you truly love baseball, it makes you philosophical about life… because baseball is a mirror for life. How else could anyone sit through an entire 20 inning game without getting pissed off.

    (3) I’m great in a crisis. Absolutely unflappable. Now if I should ever spill coffee in front of you, you will see that the other side of the “great in a crisis coin” is, it can turn even the strongest man in to a pissy-fit-spitting little girl in 2 seconds flat.

    (4) I’ve been told I’m a sexual superhero. And while I can nether confirm nor deny those claims (because they are not my own), I share them here now, because… if it’s true… it’s got to go in ANYBODY’S top 5.

    (5) I write a mean piece of sensational fiction. Which means everything, or nothing, of what I just wrote could be true. Just sayin.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 2:31 am #

      I love that I know the truth about this list.

      One thing you left off the list is that you’re a damn good friend. The best, really. You know how to make a person feel like anything is possible, and that the shitty gets better. You’ve been a bright spot in my life for years.

      Thank you for being you. You’re always 100%.

  47. writerwendyreid 11/17/2012 at 6:33 pm #

    I remember when I first learned these things about you and I was really surprised…although I’m not sure why. I wear a mask 80% of the time. I loved your list but cannot write one for myself. Most days I don’t even like myself.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 2:32 am #

      I hope one day you’re able to write one for yourself. My hope for you is that you see yourself the way the rest of us see you: smart, funny, caring, talented and a COOL chick.

  48. GiggsMcGill Jill 11/17/2012 at 9:04 pm #

    I respect you so much for having the courage to write this, and having people face the good things about themselves! (The answers that people have written to you are WONDERFUL!) You sound a lot like my mom, in terms of people always asking her how she’s the happiest person they’ve ever met – but she really just has big ups and downs. I think I’ll share this with her and make her say 5 things she loves about herself! (Because as it was said, it’s good for people to do that!)

    Ok, my 5 things:
    1) I love that I respect my parents and my brother, and this has allowed us to be close as a family. Friends as well as family.
    2) I love that I have a travelling spirit – that I want to have new experiences and see new places, meet new people.
    3) I love that I’m happy with how I look. I’m not seeking to change anything.
    4) I love that I don’t regret my choices in life. That I get over the bad and learn from it (like break-ups).
    5) I love that I’m easy to talk to. That people feel comfortable seeking me out and talking to me, therefore helping them feel better.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2012 at 2:33 am #

      Aren’t the responses amazing? There are some great peeps in the Blogosphere.

      Your list just made me like you a billion times more than I did before. I seriously want to be you when I grow up.

      Please always stay this amazing. The world needs more yous.

      • GiggsMcGill Jill 11/19/2012 at 12:50 pm #

        Aw! *blushing!!* You’ll turn a girl’s head with praise like that! ^.^

  49. Patty Durgan 11/18/2012 at 8:17 pm #

    I feel compelled to comment on your post. This is particularly significant for two reason:
    1) I seriously struggle to produce both written and spoken words
    2) I typically try to keep my life private

    I agree with the traits you love about yourself. You possess all of them and so much more. We all are a sum of our past experiences; both good and bad. You wouldn’t be the person you are today without the pain of the past.

    I focus most of my time on negative thoughts about myself so I decided to take a break and list the positives.

    1) My greatest source of pride is my relationship with my husband. He makes me feel loved when I feel unlovable.

    2) I’m happy that I did the best that I could raising my kids. If I had to do it all over again, I would change so many things but I hope they look back and know I want the best for them.

    3) I always try to be honest, fair, thoughtful, grateful, accepting, etc.; however, if someone responds by being a jerk, I will quit making any effort with that person.

    4) I can totally relate to other people’s pain and suffering and want to take it all away but most people wouldn’t know this as I hide behind a mask of aloofness. Feeling deeply but not able to act in a way that would be a source of comfort to others leaves me in a perplexing place.

    5) I’m content being seen as somewhat odd and prefer that over spending too much time and effort trying to behave in a manner that social norms would dictate. I do try to fit in a wee bit.

    Despite all the negatives I feel about myself (and there are many), I’m mostly a very happy person.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/19/2012 at 3:55 pm #

      Hey Patty! Thanks for commenting. I know it’s not something you normally do.

      I loved your answers! You’re such a wonderful person, and I’m very lucky to have gotten the opportunity to get to know you the last 3+ years. You should be proud all of those things, especially #5! Who else would I bond about miniatures with?!

      Thanks again for always supporting my blogging endeavors. Means a lot to me.

  50. Lyssapants 11/19/2012 at 11:05 am #

    I am proud that I am: hardworking, dedicated, passionate, opinionated, goofy, I am self-aware.
    Thanks for writing this!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/19/2012 at 4:14 pm #

      If your halloween costumes are any indication, you are absolutely all of those things! Plus, you’re a kickass writer and a funny, funny lady.

  51. Adam S 11/25/2012 at 6:35 pm #

    I’ve dealt with A&D for a long time. Man, what a struggle some days. It’s exactly as you describe. Sometimes waking up in the morning feels like unearthing myself from a grave. And despite as horrible as I feel some days, I’m still here. I guess it’s for a reason. Great post. Thanks for reminding me to remind myself…

    1.) I’m sensitive toward other people’s feelings.
    2.) I’m receptive and observant of the world around me.
    3.) I’m thoughtful.
    4.) I care about doing things well, and always put my best foot forward.
    5.) I have a sense of humor. Without it, I’d never make it back from the dark place…

    Thanks again.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/28/2012 at 12:49 pm #

      YES! We are all here for a reason, aren’t we? I think about that a lot when I get like that. My “purpose” if you will. Even this brief interaction between us is meaningful in some way.

      Thanks for posting your list! And I totally agree with #5.

  52. train-whistle 12/14/2012 at 3:58 pm #

    Thank you for reminding me that I count. Sometimes I forget that.
    1. I take my writing seriously and try to do it daily.
    2. I love and support my family.
    3. I take care of and embrace elders.
    4. I’m emotional, and it’s OK.
    5. I’m a good friend who listens.

    • train-whistle 12/14/2012 at 3:59 pm #

      ps: love the name of your blog!

    • Jen and Tonic 12/14/2012 at 6:44 pm #

      You absolutely do count. We all need to remind ourselves that we’re important too.

      And thanks for the compliment on my blog name :)

  53. Claudia Bette 05/14/2013 at 2:43 pm #

    I lay awake at night thinking just those same things. And I have recently become obsessed with whether I locked the front door or not. I’m sure midnight tooth brushing is next.

    I was going to tell you that I really can’t find 5 things I like about me, but I don’t want to be a party pooper so I will try to think of at least 5.
    1) I’m adventuresome.
    2) I like to laugh
    3) I’m fun
    4) I could probably out drink the best of them
    5) I’m passionate

    • Jen and Tonic 05/16/2013 at 12:38 pm #

      Thanks for participating in this even though the post was from awhile back. I hope anyone who stumbles upon this challenges themselves to come up with 5 things.

      I like your list, and am especially intrigued by #4. Have you thought about coming to the blogger meetup? ;)

      http://sipsofjenandtonic.com/category/blogger-meetup/

  54. mytwistedroad 11/11/2013 at 7:06 pm #

    You are brave and strong. Way to put this out there. We live in a society that ranks people day in and out. It’s time to break out of those things and just be happy with who we are!

    My five:
    1. Hard worker. I work my ass off even though it’s not always appreciated.
    2. I care too much.
    3. I’ll do almost anything for my friends. Let’s face it. I’m not going to jail for you, but will help plan something if you promise to get me an alibi. :-)
    4. I’m honest. Ladies, don’t ask me how you look in your dress if you need a pick me up.
    5. I’d like to believe that I have a big impact in the world.

    Cheers!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/12/2013 at 12:39 am #

      I can completely relate to #1, but I sometimes think the reward is in the work itself. It teaches self-discipline, and if you really want something one day, you’ll be able to go after it.

      I really love #5. Small things can make big impacts.

  55. Swati 01/20/2014 at 10:36 pm #

    There is something about your blog that makes a connection. I didn’t hit the follow button till now because I wanted to discover the element of connection, first. But now I think I don’t care. :)

    • Jen and Tonic 01/20/2014 at 11:17 pm #

      Swati, that’s a huge compliment! The reason I wanted to be a writer was to make that connection with others, and I’m happy you felt it.

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