The Truth About Jen

21 Nov

Yesterday I played “5 Truths and a Lie” to test you, my readers, on your knowledge of the real Jen. As a recap, your options were:

  • I’m an emergency preparedness nut
  • I know a martial arts technique which focuses on pressure points
  • I placed in a state free throw competition
  • I worked at a collection agency
  • I was dropped on my head as a kid
  • I have ear problems that cause church bells to go off in them every once in awhile

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the majority of you guessed correctly. I am not, in fact, a martial arts badass who could take you out with the touch of a finger. A girl can dream.

I suppose the plethora of correct answers means that you are learning more about me from reading this blog. This shows how far I’ve come.

When I first began Sips of Jen and Tonic, I only wanted to post humor here. I like writers who have strong writing voices, and whose work is consistent. I recently told Le Clown that my goal has always been to write one way so well that you could identify my work even if my name wasn’t attached to it.

I think I’ve always focused on humor because it’s safe. You tell a story, you make people laugh, you bond with your readers. You’re able to make a connection from behind the safety of your own walls.

The first serious post I ever wrote for this blog was titled “Tears of a Clown” which was actually written during last year’s NaBloPoMo. It was the first time I openly discussed my struggle with anxiety and depression.

I almost didn’t post it.

I mean, it was exactly how I was feeling at the time. I believe in living authentically, and being completely honest about the crappiest parts of yourself is as authentic as a person can get.

So I posted it.

But I was terrified. It wasn’t so much that I thought readers would judge me; most of the people who frequented my blog wrote about their own struggles on their individuals blogs, or blogs like Black Box Warnings. I was afraid people would be disappointed.

“I came here for the LOLs and she’s talking about her sadsie life?”

“Did I miss the punchline?”

“Unfollow!”

I love making people laugh, and I enjoy writing in a way that brings a little bit of fun to someone’s day. I’m a free spirit, and I think life is meant to be lived out loud. I enjoy watching terrible reality television shows, and I have a potty mouth.

I am also a person who likes reading educational texts, and appreciates a good documentary. I love discussing philosophical theories, and Scrabble is my favorite game. I like to spend a lot of quiet time alone, and prefer going to bed early than to partying.

I am definitely two sides to the same coin.

It’s why I’ve always hesitated to post more serious or reflective material here. It’s not that I haven’t had the ideas or motivation; rather, I assumed people only wanted to read about one side of the coin. I had become embarrassed of the other side of me.

This blog is beginning to be a true reflection of who I really am. Sometimes there are laughs, sometimes there are tears, and sometimes there are meaningful conversations. For the first time since I started writing 7 years ago, my readers are finding out the truth about Jen.

•••

Thanks to Laments & Lullabies and A Heart on the Matter who played 5 truths and a lie on their blogs yesterday.

74 Responses to “The Truth About Jen”

  1. donofalltrades 11/21/2013 at 8:12 am #

    I sort of struggled when I wanted to go beyond what passes as humor and ranting and into more serious crap on my blog, but did finally come to peace with just being myself and people can take it or leave it. I don’t really visit any blogs looking for something particular. If I went to a a food blog and the writer had posted something about her struggle with a neighbor’s dog instead of a recipe, I’d still be interested. That’s just me, maybe, but I am pretty awesome.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:35 am #

      First, you ARE pretty awesome. And yeah, I think it’s better if people just decide to write about whatever it is they want to write about. I think it lends itself to better writing overall.

  2. nobodysreadingme 11/21/2013 at 8:17 am #

    5 truths and a lie should have 6 claims in the list.
    Ergo I know you can’t count.

    • saradraws 11/21/2013 at 9:52 am #

      she’s gotchya there, J&T

      • nobodysreadingme 11/22/2013 at 1:12 am #

        Errrrmmm, saradraws, I’m a he. But never mind.

        • saradraws 11/23/2013 at 11:23 am #

          oh boy. my extra thorough research must have missed that. apologies…

          J&T, please edit my aforementioned derp.

          • nobodysreadingme 11/23/2013 at 11:30 am #

            I have to say I’m not that bothered, saradraws.
            ‘Aw gee ma’am Ah was juss joshin’ ya.

          • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:36 am #

            This blog doesn’t see gender. You are all “It” as far as I’m concerned.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:35 am #

      I iz bad at maths.

  3. nobodysreadingme 11/21/2013 at 8:20 am #

    And the anxiety/depression thing? Well done for having the nerve to face it, and to make sure others know about it. That’s one of the prime functions of my blog, but it’s almost a subliminal message.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:36 am #

      Subliminal might work well for some people. There is a lot of overt discussion around mental health, and to have a more subtle voice may actually help some people.

      • nobodysreadingme 11/24/2013 at 5:22 am #

        I feel it’s a useful counterpoint. If I can be quiet and restrained, apparently harmless, it takes away the whole two headed infectious monster line of argument.

  4. Madame Weebles 11/21/2013 at 8:20 am #

    Dammit. I was really hoping that one was true. But big ups to you on the free throws.

    I heartily approve of the evolution of your blog. Mine has evolved similarly, we both do funny but also sadsies sometimes. It’s all good, sister.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:37 am #

      It is an evolution, isn’t it? I do appreciate other writers coming out of their shell a bit. I’ve especially like your more serious pieces. I think it says a lot about you that you can do both.

  5. daniheart21 11/21/2013 at 8:29 am #

    What??!!! I guessed wrong. lol ah well. I am glad you share of yourself Jen. I will never unfollow you for putting yourself out there. :)

  6. Elyse 11/21/2013 at 9:38 am #

    I guessed right — but I’m not surprised. You could kill with wit easily but I just don’t think you would be interested enough to learn other lethal means.

    I felt the same way about blogging. At first I just did funny stuff. And bit by bit, I started venturing out. There are some folks who stop by for funny stuff, others for stories, still others for rants or politics. And that’s OK. I get to write what I want, and readers get to choose what they want to read. Life is good.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:39 am #

      “…readers get to choose what they want to read.” Interesting point, I never thought of it that way. By writing whatever you’re feeling, you’re giving your readers a choice.

  7. Melanie 11/21/2013 at 9:48 am #

    I started with sharing what I was most ashamed of, and so when it came time to try something else, I struggled – so much so that I started a second blog and didn’t tell anyone. Of course, I was found out and then I outed myself, and I’m glad I did. Sharing all parts, happy and not-so, is what helps us grow as we face, analyze, and embrace every side of our coins.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:39 am #

      You’re right. By showing all sides of ourselves it does allow for personal growth. That ripping off of the Band Aid so to speak.

  8. saradraws 11/21/2013 at 9:56 am #

    I like seeing you naked. Metaphorically speaking of course (or am I?).

    You make me laugh like nobody’s business (what does that even mean?), and I dig seeing your tender parts too. Some people won’t like it, but can’t please everyone on the world wide web.

    Love you like pudding.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:40 am #

      I like seeing me naked. I’m kidding. Or am I?

      Don’t tell anyone about my squishy parts. I’ve got a reputation to uphold.

  9. -Pille- 11/21/2013 at 9:57 am #

    *peeks into the blog* Whew! So you aren’t a Pressure Points Ninja. I thought that might be the correct answer, but I was afraid to post in case I was wrong and would be punished with a Vulcan nerve pinch.
    I’m glad you’re starting to find your true blogging voice. I’m still completely clueless about mine. Sigh.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:41 am #

      I think finding your voice takes time. I’ve been writing for awhile, and have only just begun to find it in the last year or so. My suggestion? Push yourself beyond what you think you can do, and that’s where you’ll find it.

  10. talesfromthemotherland 11/21/2013 at 10:12 am #

    I may have guessed you didn’t know a marshall arts trick, but I kind of wished you had. Fun!

  11. Twindaddy 11/21/2013 at 10:15 am #

    Jen, I will always read because 1)you’re a fabulous writer, 2) you’re a fabulous person, and 3) you’re authentic. I love reading your funny posts just as much as your serious ones because they’re all you. Authenticity draws me in, I think, and it’s the reason my blog is such a mixed bag of topics. I simply write what I feel whether it’s sad, serious, or goofy.

    In short, I guess, keep on keeping on. I love your blog.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:46 am #

      “I simply write what I feel…” I do think that’s the best approach. It does lend itself to authenticity, and I think it also helps flex the writing muscle a bit. It challenges your mind to think in different ways.

  12. Katie 11/21/2013 at 10:24 am #

    I’m glad you mentioned the whole funny vs. serious writing thing. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:46 am #

      Right? I think when you write humor you pigeonhole yourself, and then sometimes feel trapped by that when you have other things to say. Based on the comments here, it seems like people don’t mind.

  13. samara 11/21/2013 at 11:27 am #

    Jen-
    In my heart of hearts, I believe you really ARE a martial arts ninja badass. So there!

    I just had a breakthrough with the whole funny vs. sadsie thing. My old blog was a big ha ha fake fest- I was SAT Girl. Now I’m me – and I’m terrified. I’m going to show the real me. Come visit.

    I also need to figure out how to link to people when I write their name. I’m that technologically impaired! I referenced Le Clown without linking to him – bad Samara!!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:47 am #

      I just did a karate move just for you.

      It’s easy to hide behind the wall of humor, it’s why I only did that for so long. It IS much harder to be so exposed, but I’ve found that it’s worth it. I do hope you branch out more.

  14. Burns the Fire 11/21/2013 at 11:38 am #

    Love it, Jen. Playing both sides of your fence will allow our laughs and tears to go deeper. I’m a fan!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:48 am #

      “Playing both sides of your fence will allow our laughs and tears to go deeper.” I like that sentiment!

  15. mrmarymuthafuckingpoppins 11/21/2013 at 12:24 pm #

    Hey Jen,

    What I like most about ur posts are ur sincerity. It doesnt matter if you are being humorous or serious what matters is sincerity, now more than ever when we are starved for real human contact now that our technology has become better at giving us the illusion of being connected

    U fucking rock
    Dave

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:49 am #

      Dave, you are the man. You’ve always been a huge supporter, and I really appreciate it. I love what you’ve said about sincerity, and the need for it since technology is coming between us. You’re absolutely right.

  16. iRuniBreathe 11/21/2013 at 2:14 pm #

    Damn it! I thought for sure you had SubCommandante-like powers!
    I actually don’t read your blog because you are funny. I certainly do love the LOL I get from your posts, but it’s more “how” you write than the “what” you write. I find it to be more engaging to read about what you chose to expose, rather than skewing what you reveal.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:50 am #

      Love the how vs. what because, now that I think about it, that’s what draws me to other people’s blogs. I love great writing no matter what form it’s in.

  17. Psychobabble 11/21/2013 at 3:40 pm #

    I’m reminded again and again that people don’t only want comedy.
    Comedy is safe, and I think it takes real courage to post pieces that are sad and vulnerable.
    People crave connection, and connecting over real feelings feels so great. I am so glad you’re able to do that, both for yourself and for us, your readers.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:51 am #

      Interesting that you mentioned me showing this different side for myself because I think I do end up getting more out of it than my readers do. I hadn’t thought of it until you said it, but you’re absolutely right.

  18. georgia + darlin' 11/21/2013 at 3:48 pm #

    i didn’t guess yesterday because i am a terrible guesser, but i’m also a woman of immense curiosity, so i had to check back in — also because i love reading your posts. i can see both sides of the coin you speak of & that’s what makes your humor so poignant because it comes from a REAL person, a vulnerable person with beauty & flaws. no one enjoys laughing with a phony-mcphonster. and that, you are not! thanks for sharing it all!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:53 am #

      “…what makes your humor so poignant because it comes from a REAL person, a vulnerable person…”

      I had NEVER thought of it that way before, but you’re right. It’s those experiences and flaws that bring some of the best stories together.

  19. Vanessa-Jane Chapman 11/21/2013 at 4:45 pm #

    I was right! I’m definitely going to do this, next week, I’ve got all excited about it, and moved my planned post for next week to the following week! (Again, I’m filling you in on my scheduling plans, I hope you appreciate that).

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:54 am #

      You should just give me access to your writing calendar. Also, can’t WAIT to read yours.

      • Vanessa-Jane Chapman 11/24/2013 at 3:17 am #

        I’m going to prepare a full schedule for the next two years of my planned posting days, including time slots of when I may or may not be available for commenting. I will cross-tabulate this with my general work, study, and social diary, along with the kids’ schedules, and put it all on a spreadsheet for you. What fun!

  20. tdawneightyone 11/21/2013 at 6:43 pm #

    I started out funny but hit a wall pretty quickly. I was highly irritated that I hit a wall already and couldn’t seem to finish any of the 10 to 15 drafts I had going. It finally hit me that it was the ones I was avoiding writing that were the problem. They were taking up too much space in my head. It was extremely heavy stuff (depression and past experiences that contributed to my depression) so I was incredibly nervous about putting it out there but I did. Those posts have been viewed the most. Go figure. Sounds cliche I know but I feel free now. And I seem to have found my sense of humor again. I’m working on a piece about boobs right now.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:55 am #

      HA! Isn’t it funny how things work out like that? Some of my best viewed posts were either: (A) Serious or (B) Posts I wasn’t that big of a fan of. Sometimes you just gotta let go and press “schedule” and see what happens.

      So happy you got your groove back.

  21. omtatjuan 11/21/2013 at 7:26 pm #

    I get more out of Jen’s “sadies life”. Oh I love the funny stuff too but I like deep stuff. Anxiety and depression are my bag baby. Wait that’s not my bag baby….Sir it has you name on it…

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:56 am #

      I guess it’s a good thing I’ve got a little something for everyone here.

      • omtatjuan 11/24/2013 at 6:50 am #

        Yes… I swear you are a buffet of words:)

  22. Robbie 11/21/2013 at 8:34 pm #

    You are funny but also so much more. I like reading ALL about Jen!

  23. List of X 11/21/2013 at 9:34 pm #

    I always think that it’s perfectly fine for a blogger to write anything they want on their blog. (though I still don’t think it’s ok for me). And humorous posts actually feel funnier when you can feel the writer’s inner sadness. The comedy just seem more authentic, more alive; it’s are no longer two-dimensional, because the shadows of sadness gives it depth.

    • She's a Maineiac 11/22/2013 at 4:02 am #

      Wow, I love your comment, X. So true.

      • List of X 11/22/2013 at 10:27 pm #

        Thank you – but you should have added “…but hate the grammar” – I just read it and it was horrible :)

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:57 am #

      “The comedy just seem more authentic, more alive; it’s are no longer two-dimensional, because the shadows of sadness gives it depth.” You win comment of the day for how amazingly insightful this is.

  24. elinwaldal 11/21/2013 at 10:12 pm #

    Well since I just bumped into you thanks to NaBloPoMo(shmo) I don’t have the history. Having said that I did guess right. ;-)
    I for one love both sides of the coin, it’s why I’m here.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:58 am #

      You are my NaBloPoHomie! I must say, your writing is incredible. I’d love to see you take a crack at humor because I think you could do it.

  25. rarasaur 11/22/2013 at 12:15 am #

    Woot! I was positive. I love the reflection of you that we get to read. You are beautiful. :)

  26. Doggy's Style 11/22/2013 at 1:27 am #

    Damn!
    I was wrong!
    I don’t do “serious” on my blog, because it doesn’t come out easy. The first time I wrote something serious was thanks to Le Clown too, he invited to write a post for The Outlier Collective, I was freaking out, I had a few headaches but it was a nice change.
    I personally like your style.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 12:59 am #

      I think freaking out is mandatory when you write for Le Clown. He really helps push people waaaay outside of their comfort zones.

      I’m glad you were able to get out of your own head, and take a leap of faith.

  27. She's a Maineiac 11/22/2013 at 4:04 am #

    Oh, I hear you. Whenever I get set to post something very heavy and serious, a little part of me wonders if my readers will be turned off. But then, I think, ah, screw it. It’s my damn blog! I write because I need to, not because I want to impress someone else. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to read it. Actually, I’d much rather write funny stuff most of the time anyway.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 1:00 am #

      I like what you write no matter what it is. I think even the more serious stuff tends to be a bit edgier which I love. Maybe that’s the key to writing both– having that “bite” in it no matter what you write.

  28. shreejacob 11/22/2013 at 2:56 pm #

    Isn’t that the point of well….maybe not. I’m glad that you are now comfortable enough to show all your sides because if it weren’t for all these sides we wouldn’t truly be human, right? :)

    • shreejacob 11/22/2013 at 2:59 pm #

      Oh…I also wanted to say that sometimes just one type of writing in a blog or even a book isn’t as fun…it’s nice when it’s mixed up and even though I’ve only just started following you, I enjoy the mix up..it’s like a well prepare cocktail ;) hehe

  29. javaj240 11/22/2013 at 7:58 pm #

    It’s funny — in a not that funny kind of way — but what I’ve discovered is that some of my most visited posts are not the humorous ones. Go figure! (I’ve explored the possibility that I’m not that funny, but that can’t possibly be true!)

    I think the reason for this is that people like to see others “turn their coin over”.

    I also think it’s harder for people who write humor to delve into the serious stuff — it forces us to lose our armor, to be metaphorically naked. The more you doit, though, the easier it gets!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 1:01 am #

      You’re totally right. The more you’re vulnerable the less it feels vulnerable. Also, I think when you write humor, there’s a bit of mystery and intrigue there. Like, what is going on behind the mask of funny?

  30. Claire 11/26/2013 at 6:09 am #

    I found your blog fairly recently thanks to NaBloPoMo and I think you may just have become somewhat of a personal hero for me. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pen, but translating that passion into a readable blog that people enjoy has been a somewhat elusive process for me (it doesn’t help that I’m completely socially retarded on and offline).

    I love that you’re embracing various parts of your personality. And it’s even more wonderful that people are responding to you. Rock on <3

  31. Wendy Reid 11/26/2013 at 1:47 pm #

    Great post Jen. I love you. :-) xo

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