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Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! (A Saturday Rant)

I’m so frustrated! It’s hard to put into words, and you all know how I am, that means a LOT of words will follow.

Everyone I know would probably agree that I’m one their biggest cheerleaders. I’m mostly around writers, and I’m a strong believer of encouraging these other pen monkeys. I want them all to succeed. I try to make them feel like they are worth something.

I spent too many years with a foot on my neck being told subtly and not so subtly that I shouldn’t write, that I wasn’t good enough. That it wasn’t something, I should take seriously. Or that I would never succeed. Those people in my life eroded my confidence, exploited my fears, and generally frakked me up mentally. You can see why I don’t want others to fall victim to this.

So, I made it a practice to encourage other writers. To make them feel welcome among the various groups I’ve been a part of. To show them they are good enough. To make them feel a part of something important. Or more accurately, that they have the right to be a part of it.

I did this to the exclusion of myself.

Now, (actually for months) the writing group I go to is in the process of destroying itself. The group as a whole seems to be less important than Marsha ONE, Marsha TWO, Marsha THREE and so on. (This may sound minor but it is not. The details don’t matter here as I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.)

Each Marsha is so wrapped up in themselves or is busy being snide to each other, they don’t even see the Kristi’s of the group are suffering from the fallout.

I really want to indulge in some constructive selfishness, but I’m the only one in the group not allowed to do so. I’ve learned the hard way, if I, who is expected to stay in my role as cheerleader, express an opinion, I’ll lose friends or at least offend everyone for calling them out. Or I’ll be the final straw that breaks the group. Dammit ONE, TWO, and THREE, cut your shit!

The last time I said how I felt everyone acted like I’d grown horns then screamed it over a global intercom and shook my demon finger in their faces. No one could believe I had feelings other than encouragement for Them.

The other response is denial. It’s quite frustrating when someone tries to convince you your feelings are not legitimate because they refuse to see the problem. Pretending there is no issue doesn’t absolve one from being part of it Marsha.

Hell, I’ve felt like I’ve been on the outside for so long I don’t know what I would do if that changed. I know other people have felt this way, but that only meant they didn’t notice I’ve been going through it. So I keep my mouth shut about me and cheer-lead them. It’s strange to try to convince someone to not listen to those inner doubts when the same fears float around the top of my head.

I’m left with a new dilemma. Say something or stay home. Who am I kidding? I’ll keep going and keep repressing and keep getting angry. Then option two will bubble up, and I’ll have to spend all my time fixing all the Marshas’ hurt feelings at my audacity for having feelings!

Like most rants, this one rambles around and probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to those reading it. However, getting the words out, especially on ‘paper’ helps me more than I can say.


 

Stop Bringing Me Down!

You know the type. The melancholy girl, the persecuted guy. That one person you know who spreads their own brand of misery wherever they go. Maybe you’re unlucky enough to have several of them in your life.

There are a few for me, and each one is unique, and I have to handle them differently. Quite frankly, it’s exhausting and potentially detrimental to me. What does that even mean?

Let me give you one of my examples. One of the biggest downers in my life, we’ll call her Sarah, has affected me in ways I am only now realizing. Between her negativity and ‘poor me’ attitude, she tapped into my overly developed empathy and brought me so low I’m not sure how to pull myself back out of the hole she dug for me.

I’ve barely written in months. For some reason, every time I sat down to work doubts, fears, and sadness overwhelmed me to the point of immobility. I stared at my pen or screen and did…nothing. Why should I? It was going to suck anyway. Why bother to try when I would fail in the end. Why move that pen when only junk would come out of it.

WHAT THE BLOODY HELL? That wasn’t me talking! Well, it was the old me, but not the me who wrote steadily for many years now. Nor the me who overcame those fears long ago. So who was it?

Sarah. Poor sad, despondent Sarah. The woman who enjoys living in her hell and spreads her misery in all directions. We all have some degree of empathy. For me, it’s so stupidly strong that I will start actually to feel the intense emotions of those around me. It sucks. I don’t see Sarah all that often, but it’s enough that her wretched aura got to me. For months.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming everything on the girl. I’m fully capable of screwing myself over with writing. However, in this case, she shares some of the blame. The truth is, she’s brought down my entire writing group. All of us have been down for months. Empathy is real people, and we have little control over it. She doesn’t mean to bring those around her down, but damn, she’s good at it. Just like I don’t intend to let it get to me.

Ironically, she complains when others do it to her. She once told a group I was in that she hates people exactly like her. HA!

Anyway, what can one do to guard against someone else affecting you in this way? Wish I knew. I do have some guesses though, things I will try to put into action.

Avoid the source of misery. Sometimes this is mostly impossible. What if it’s a close friend or family member? Unless you live with the person, you can limit the time you spend with them. No matter how you feel about someone, if they are toxic, you need to get away at least some of the time.

Tell them. Okay, this one is hard, and I won’t be doing this. It will only add to her problems. Guilt won’t change her anyway.

Encourage them. This won’t work. Not if they don’t want it to. Some people are content being down. It can be a comfortable alternative to effort and accountability. Still, if they are in your life, you probably care about them, and your good will might mean a lot. Besides, empathy works both ways. Maybe your positivity will fight against their opposing attitude.

Recognize what is happening and do whatever you can to counter it. Now that I know that part of my issue is others bringing me down I can tell my negative feelings to suck it! When I say to myself that writing is a waste of time because I’ll fail, I can remind myself those are not MY words. That aspect of myself is small and tied down. I’ll always have doubts, but they will not cripple me the way they did in the past.

Share your story. I’m well past some of the bad feelings I’ve picked up from others, but they are Not. So I can tell them what I went through and how I overcame these things. It may or may not help them, but at least the effort is there on my part.

If all else fails (in my case), use ear buds. Doesn’t make sense, right? Empathy is about feeling what others are feeling. However, loud music and putting my head down to write can distract me from what is being said and felt. Something is better than nothing when the misery in the air is loud.

What a rant! I’m not as angry as this sounds. I’m simply drained and tired of it all.

As much as I’ve been affected by some others in my life, what I choose to do is my responsibility. Like I said before, not every writing difficulty is 100% Sarah’s fault. But it’s important to acknowledge the effect she’s had on me. I advise you to do the same with the people in your life who did the same to you. If you don’t realize what’s happening, you can’t take steps.

Don’t feel guilty for not wanting to be brought down. Know it’s not your responsibility to fix someone, whether they want to be fixed or not. All you can control is you. I’m choosing to do something about the situation. I have enough roadblocks in my life as it is. I don’t need this one.

File it under self-care and convince yourself that taking care of you is the most important thing.


Writers Are Mean…

All writers are mean. We are abusive, bullying, nasty, horrible people. We are overly critical, judgy, and our standards are too high. We cause crying, anger, yelling, sadness, depression, anxiety, and sleeping problems. Writers do and are all these things, to ourselves, often.

Therefore, why on earth should we allow other writers to do the same to us? Too many times I’ve seen a writer trying to bring another one down. In most cases the perpetrator is doing so to make themselves feel better – superior. You know what makes me feel good when reading another writer’s work? Telling them the good things I see.

I’m more than happy to critique something when requested but generally most writers when they put themselves out for the world to see, i.e. a short story on their blog, or a Facebook post, etc, need encouragement.

Personally, I know sometimes I need the motivational push or someone to tell me it’s not terrible, or something else positive. So I have to assume other writers need the same.

Why can’t we hold each other up and be supportive instead of mean and judgemental? There are a few people I know who like to tear others down and it is clearly based on a lack of confidence on their part. Maybe no one helped them or encouraged them early in their career. I know that even when I or other writers in my community try now, these people don’t notice.

What if they were told the good stuff when they first started out? Would they feel the need to be crappy to other writers today? Maybe so, but also, maybe not.

Think about this. If you’re only surrounded by harsh comments, negativity, unwarranted criticism, and unfavorable comparisons for years, you’re probably going to be a pretty miserable human right? Since, as a writer, you’re going to do this to yourself and be unable to escape it, wouldn’t it be great if someone, preferably many someones, was there telling you what you did right? Saying how you are great with dialog or description, or how your writing voice is so clear. Maybe just telling you they love your stories.

Now what if it were other writers telling you the good stuff? As writers we can’t help it, we value what other writers say over everyone else. I mean, sure, your mom, or spouse, or best friend can say every word you write is perfection but you know they love you and that makes their credibility a little shaky (even if they are correct). When someone else who practices your craft gives you positive feedback, WHAM, it hits you in the ego in the best sort of way. Little tendrils of goodness invade your subconscious…maybe I’m not the worst writer on the planet…yeah, that is a damn good sentence…perhaps I can do this, etc.

I believe, as a writer, I have several jobs to do.

1: Write, as often as I can.

1.5: Finish what I start writing.

2: Always try to improve my craft.

3. Help other writers as much as possible.

The third one is very important to me. When I first started writing I was alone in it. One person encouraged me but only as a hobby. I was a stay at home mom with a husband who thought I should never do anything for me. My job was to be a mom and nothing else. Throughout the years I was actively discouraged and ignored when it came to writing. Everything from being told my writing sucked to being accused of being irresponsible for even trying. Once I was divorced and then married again I was the victim of subtle undermining. My confidence was shot and my desire to write was nil.

Then one day I realized something. My exes were A-holes who played on my real issue with writing: fear. I always worried I wasn’t good enough at it, that I was wasting time only to fail. I feared succeeding as much as failing. I was afraid of what others though or might think.

So I took the first steps toward writing regularly. Eventually I married a man who actually wants me to write. I found other writers in my community, most of which were encouraging and welcoming. The ones who aren’t, well, they can’t touch me after the stuff I heard from the exes.

Being around others like me changed everything. Now I write all the time. I have more confidence in what I do and I’m constantly improving.

When I meet new writers, or people trying to get back into it, with fear in their eyes, everything I went through comes back to me. So I step up and try to make them feel welcome. I share my story when needed and always have something positive to say about their work. I do the same for people who are actively writing. All I want is to be as supportive as I can. No one should have to feel bad about writing.

There will always be the negative writers around so I hope my attitude and others who think the same help to balance out the bad things we all have to hear. It takes so little effort to do these little things to help others and everyone benefits.

I’ll save my mean writer side for myself. Speaking of, after rereading this I spotted tons of complicated or shaky sentences and am fighting the urge to fix them. See? I don’t need anyone else to tell me I suck. Maybe someday I’ll even stop listening to myself.

So, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to encourage at least one writer this week. I hope this message doesn’t self destruct!


Photo by Ryan McGuire

Bad Day? Maybe, Probably, Okay Yes.

Well, I just compared a specific human to a tapeworm so I’m thinking yes, I’m having a bad day. Have you ever had one of those days where anger, or irritation, crept up on you?

I didn’t know it was happening. It started with wanting some information. Before too long I came to the conclusion the info should have been forthcoming long ago. A vague grumpiness at the situation developed, then the universe produced a figurative air pump it became full-blown irritation before I had really analyzed what was bugging me.

Some attempts were made to defuse the situation but when my direct question was answered with words that equaled nothing, it got worse. Finally I realized I’d been irritated for quite some time about this junk.

The problem is I despise negativity. I can’t handle it for very long and as a result I either try to resolve issues quickly (too quickly some would say) or I push them away (mostly this one). So I quietly and unknowingly let it all build up for weeks into a just as quiet explosion.

I’m sitting here pissed off and besides some lengthy text complaining to a friend, I’m not really doing anything about it. Pretending a tapeworm doesn’t exist only helps the tapeworm though. Unfortunately I’ll probably just walk away from the situation.

This post sounds passive-aggressive in its vagueness right? I’m not trying to be, I’m simply trying to not call people out.

The point is I let something negative grow until I’m miserable and it’s affecting everything. For example, this morning I decided to work on a quick timeline for my novel. Well, it didn’t end up being anything resembling fast but it was helpful. I found some holes that need to be filled in my plot and I changed the order of a few events. I planned on doing actual writing after lunch but haven’t because I got pissy.

At this point I’m not sure how to turn the day around. I don’t want to wallow in self-pity. My plan is to make some new plot cards and take a look at the story as a whole on a story board and from there I hope I’ll write.

If you want some free advice, don’t bottle up emotions or you might also find yourself comparing people to parasites and trust me, it feels as ridiculous and petty (if a tiny bit satisfying) as it sounds.

 

Apparently I’m Unattractive, Unless I Buy This Product…

The world is changing and some people are having trouble keeping up and/or changing with it. I don’t get offended very often by sexism, stupid comments or ignorance. I just shake my head and move on. Today however I actually reacted. I wasn’t exactly pissed off, it was more like “seriously?”

There was a suggested post on my Facebook for some product that will make you grow/regrow long luxurious hair quickly.  I was a little confused why I was targeted for such an ad since I cut my hair off this year (probably asked and answered). I haven’t looked up anything to do with long hair or hair products of any type, plus I don’t experience hair loss (the ad does not really target this, it barely mentions hair loss). Normally I ignore ads on FB unless they are writing related but this one grabbed my attention.

BS

Really? I had an irritated moment. I immediately thought “I don’t give a shit what 93% of men prefer.” Then I laughed. I clicked on the ad and it got even more ridiculous. Besides the misspellings there was only bold unsubstantiated claims and ego wrenching statements. The first line of the ‘article’ said that a woman’s hair is her livleyhood. Yes spelled that way. Then added:

According to a recent survery 93% of men agreed that a women’s hair is the most important attribute over all others.

Again, yes with the spelling. The reader is called girlfriend, which implies it’s written by a woman (for shame) and apparently researchers were stunned by the results. FFS people. It’s offensive that they are saying most men won’t find me attractive unless I use their product and grow my hair long. It’s more offensive that they think I would be swayed by this.

Do they think every woman with short hair is going to read their ad and say ‘Guess I better get to growing it out or I’m gross?’ Oh and I better tell my daughter to cut her long hair off since she doesn’t like men. That way she only has to fend off 7% male attention. The ad stated women with longer hair are more confident. GIRLFRIEND, do you know how much confidence it takes to pull off a pixie cut?

I don’t care what anyone else thinks I should look like/be/think. Ads don’t manipulate me. Not even Jif commercials work on me (choosy moms…). It’s a dumb way to market a product. It’s like saying “93% of women prefer men who don’t wear skinny jeans.” Wait, maybe that’s just me…Ignore that last part and Justin if you’re reading this, PLEASE don’t buy skinny jeans just because I was being hypocritical!

Now I’m not going to lie, I believe it’s probably true that the majority of men like long hair. I hope most women don’t care. My husband likes my hair long or short but even if he wanted it long I wouldn’t grow it out again. I prefer it short so short it stays. I can’t be short hair shamed. Even if it affected my ego I remember what it’s like to have tangles and I’m never going back! How I look shouldn’t be determined by the wishes of anyone but me.

Unfortunately since curiosity got the better of me and I clicked the ad, I will be getting more and more ads like it. They will fit right in with all the other unusual things popping up after doing research for stories. I’m writing about a war with ghosts so you can imagine the kinds of stuff I’ve looked up.

***NSA I am a writer, I only want to know how to make homemade weapons with salt ammunition and how long it takes to drown a possessed person for my book!***

If nothing else good came of this the ad got me writing when I didn’t feel like it. So thanks dumb sexist ad.

Sidenote: If you are wanting longer, thicker, fuller hair and want to try a product like this, go for it. You do you.

Let’s Talk About Social Media

How important do you think social media is to an author? I think it’s a crucial element of self promotion for any author, whether it be one who goes the traditional publishing route or indie publishing. Without a social presence people won’t know about your writing. I’ve read many articles expounding on this, including the need to start your social game well before publishing a first novel.

I agree 100% will all that, but what about the downside? Can social media hurt an author? I think it can. Anything and everything you say on the internet is out there forever. All the time trolls comb through various outlets to bring back unwisely posted items when they want to attack someone. It seems like you have to keep all your opinions to yourself forever if you don’t want to have them thrown in your face somewhere down the road.

On the flip side of that, what about those people who post mean comments or attack people and defend their actions by saying it’s their own personal Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/etc, they can say what they want. Can they? Yes. Should they? I guess that depends on that down the road issue. I had a writer friend who attacked someone on Facebook. I’ll call her Writer One. Most of the others in our writing group were very unhappy about it and an online battle occurred. It began with another writer (Writer Two) telling her that he thought she was being unprofessional and that it could come back and bite Writer One in the butt later. She said it was her personal Facebook and she could do what she wanted. Writer Two pointed out she used is professionally too. After a lengthy ‘battle’ and some name calling Writer One stated if someone didn’t want to read her work because of what she said on her on account then she didn’t want them as her readers.

I don’t mind telling you, I’m floored by this attitude. While I wouldn’t necessary beg someone who dislikes me to review my work online, I certainly want them to read it. Why? Because I want everyone to be my reader! Obviously not every person out there will like what I write but why alienate ANY potential reader?

I know it sucks to feel like you have to censor yourself all the time but as an author who posts online you are representing yourself and if people don’t like you, they won’t want to read what you write. Even if only for selfish reasons it seems like a good idea to keep it professional.

I feel sorry for Writer One, even while disagreeing with her. Hopefully her online actions won’t come back and smack her later but they can. She could be in a position to have to defend herself rigorously for what might have been a single moment of anger and a couple of bad decisions.

For me it serves as a reminder of the double-edged sword that is social media. What do you all think? I’m choosing to be in the public eye so I will also choose to try my best not to tick people off. Pardon any previous rants, except the one about consent, I’ll never apologize for that one.

That said, I still have a lot to learn about the various social outlets. Facebook is pretty easy but can be time-consuming. Twitter is a bit odd to me but I’m learning. Google plus is completely foreign territory but has a lot of potential. I’ve never been to the LinkedIn website. I have an Instagram but nothing on it yet. Reddit, well, I’m not sure I’ll ever really have that one down but I’m trying.

Any favorites out there? Any you feel are unnecessary or you just don’t like? How do you feel about needing to do self promotion?

That’s So Offensive…

Remember when you use to be able to state your opinion online (or off) and not offend anyone? Me neither, because there were never any good old days when you could say what you want and there not be consequences. If you’re going to say something offensive then someone will be insulted. Hell, these days, someone can and probably will find pretty much anything you say offensive. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be able to state your opinion, you certainly can and if you want to, go for it. However, you should be prepared for the outcome.

One thing I’ve noticed, especially on Facebook is the shock and indignation when someone disagrees with another. If you stand on a sidewalk and shout out how much you hate a particular group you’re going to see a reaction right? Why would it be different online?

Logically we all know that not everyone will agree with us one hundred percent of the time. So why then are there so many FB fights with the person instigating it getting upset or confused? How many times have you seen someone do this and say they weren’t trying to start drama?

These people are full of it. If you post something polarizing you will get a fight. People who do this want to argue. They want to share their glorious opinion with the world, but especially with those who disagree. If you start a status with: “I know this is going to upset some people but I don’t care,” or pop in an: “If you don’t like it (or agree) you can unfriend me,” then you know what the outcome will be. Doing this is like adding on: “Bless her heart,” to the end of a nasty statement so you can say something whatever you want about another person without sounding mean. Besides, there are easier ways to make sure you’re only surrounded by people who agree with you.

You know what you’re doing, don’t pretend otherwise. Do you have the right to argue on your own personal Facebook or others’? Of course you do. Should you? That’s up to you to decide. Does it bother me? Actually no, unless you pretend like you weren’t trying to fight. Taking up the innocent person standard while waving a flag of war invalidates your argument for me. The point is, if you want to be confrontational and challenging, do so, but at least call it what it is.

Obviously this is MY opinion and I know a few people who would be offended by it. I’ll apologize now for provoking anyone. No, wait, I knew exactly what I was doing when I wrote it. Bless your heart.


Is anyone offended that I chose ‘me neither’ over ‘me either?”

A Sad Phone Call

I was sitting at my desk trying to find the motivation/inspiration to write when my cell phone rang. It was an old friend I hadn’t talked to in a while. Guilt set in instantly because the last time he called I was lying down and my phone was across the room. I was in too much pain to get up so I didn’t. Later I saw who called but I had to pick up my daughter from work so I put off returning the call.

Since being on all these medication and thanks to some weirdness with my thyroid, my short-term memory is awful. I kept forgetting to call back, for two weeks. I occasionally thought about it but was always too busy until it got to the point where it was completely forgotten, until the phone rang last night. This was bad because we only talk about once every six months or so. I felt awful!

When I answered I planned to tell my friend I was sorry and how he knows my memory is crap, etc, but I never got the chance. I said “hello” and he said “what are you doing”, I said “nothing much how about you” – which is how all our conversations begin. He said “I’m dying.”

I don’t know how long the silence from me lasted before I finally blurted out: “What are you talking about?” He calmly explained to me that he had a tumor and there were words like: ‘surgery’ and ‘chemo’ and phrases like: ‘moved into my lungs’ and ‘compromised immune system’. It felt like his words were bouncing around in my head and wouldn’t settle down enough for me to comprehend. Even now I don’t really know everything he said to me.

I was floored and hardly said anything at first. I eventually spouted out some standard crap, you know, the ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I hope they are wrong’ — junk people say when they don’t know what to say. Most of it I followed up with “I know it’s ridiculous for me to say that.”

I asked when he was having surgery and it turns out he’ll be in the hospital at the same time I go out of town for two weeks. I feel like the worst person ever. Right when he needs to be surrounded by friends I’ll be gone. When I get back I’ll going through the process of preparing for and having surgery myself and won’t be available much then either. It’s been so long since I’ve talked to him that he doesn’t know about any of that and I don’t know if I should tell him or not. He’ll worry but I want him to why I’ll be m.i.a. Lost time can never be found again. I’m completely at a loss about what to do.

I don’t know what I really wanted to say when I started typing this. Maybe I needed to get it off my chest. I do know that I wish I had answered the phone two weeks ago (when he got his diagnosis) or called back right away. I wish when we did finally talk that I had handled it better. By the end of the call I had him laughing, which is good because he sounded determined to stick with his out of character calm tone, but I feel like I should have done more. I guess all I can do now is be there for my friend as much as I can.

Pardon my long winded rambling.

The Making Of An Introvert

When I was young I was a show-off. I was almost a class clown but not quite. Being the baby of the family, I couldn’t really help myself. I loved attention and would go to ridiculous lengths to get it.

I have many examples. When I decided I was going to learn to play the trumpet I practiced all the time, in my driveway. My neighbors were probably extremely grateful when I finally got good at it. Once I dragged a milk crate full of very heavy petrified wood to school for show and tell because no one else even knew what it was. Talk about a terrible decision! My classmates were suitably impressed but I was exhausted by the time I got to school and even more worn out by the time I got home.

If I could have been any superhero ever, it would have been Storm. I spent many hours running up and down the block pretending to fly. Somehow I managed to do this loudly. Of course when my best friends and I decided to lip sync and dance for the talent show we practiced in the front yard for weeks to music that I now think is awful.

Eventually I stopped wanting all eyes on me, especially after the last time I consciously tried to show off. I was riding my semi-new bike practicing the no hands method of steering. I was actually really good at it. I noticed all the neighborhood kids were outside and since I was the best at the trick I decided to subtly educate everyone else. Finishing up, I had almost reached my house when several kids and their parents started yelling at me. I was confused because I was already looking at them. I would have asked what they were screaming about but at that moment I connected with the side mirror of my next door neighbor’s extremely large truck, with my face.

You know, the kind that are about a foot tall and stick out really far from the vehicle. I was knocked back really far and my bike kept going, straight as could be past at least three houses. Man that was painful! It even hurt my pride. Imagine the scene, most of my neighbors crowding around me while I lay in the street dazed and embarrassed. I let someone help me up and I staggered to my house and shut the door. Someone put my bike on the porch and everyone left me alone. I was pretty beat up and it sucked to have to tell my two older brothers what happened. And for the curious, yes they bring it up every few years at family gatherings.

I’m pretty sure I started down the road to becoming an introvert that day. I also kept my hands firmly on the handles when riding my back forever after.

It didn’t take me long to start withdrawing into myself. I quit band and track and basketball within a year. I became reserved and bordered on shy for a while. I got over the shy and stayed reserved. I avoided anything and everything that would put me in the spotlight. Anything to keep from getting embarrassed. I don’t know why one dumb move as child affected me so profoundly but it did.

Deep down inside I was an attention whore for years. How else can I possibly explain all the black clothes and weird hair I sported in high school? I call it my passive aggressive showing off years. Yes, I was one of those kids. The weird ones who dress up to get your attention but get mad when they catch you staring.

I eventually outgrew all that. I’m still reserved, until I get to know someone. Now I see myself as somewhere between an extrovert and introvert.

The biggest issue I’ve carried over from that time in my life is the fear of being embarrassed by my own actions. The fear of trying something new and failing can be incapacitating. It almost stopped me from becoming a writer, but I’ll cover that issue in another post.

I will say when I write something and share it with anyone I am anticipating an oversized side mirror knocking me off my bike.

On the plus side, I’m really good at doing scenes where my characters make fools of themselves. Show-offs are easy to write and creating protagonists and antagonists who suffer due to their arrogance is a breeze.

So was I born an introvert? No way. Am I one now? Yes, although I’m a social introvert. Would I have become one if I hadn’t shown off that day? I’ll never know. Many other things contributed to this but that day all those years ago was the beginning.

Flash Fiction – What Lives Under The Bridge?

Sam planned carefully. He would say the most intelligent things ever said. He would show them all his opinion carried more weight than the idiot on center stage. His comments were more important. The sword of his words would impale the other jerk and leave her bleeding.

With each new sentence he would bully the bully who had dared to contradict him. How dare her call him immature for stating his opinion. He stamped down the guilt that reared its ugly head. It didn’t matter who started it! Sam would flay her with carefully thought out vitriol. She would walk away crying. Such thoughts reigned as he pounded out the words, patting himself on the back for his cleverness.

Wait, did she just laugh at me? Bitch. Her comment shattered his argument. This could not be allowed. Quickly he changed the focus, accusing the woman of being the real drama queen. He threw out as many of her transgressions as he could remember. That would put her in her place and stop Sam from losing the argument.

He waited patiently for the response, for the detractor to slink away, tail between her legs, firmly beaten. The notification popped up. Sam nervously clicked on it and read the comment: “rolls eyes.”

With an inarticulate gargle he threw his laptop across the room. He had been out-trolled.


This story is as dumb as the internet fights that inspired it. Now I’m going to go write something about ‘real’ troll who lives under a bridge.


Photo by Ryan McGuire