1.06.2019

Dealing With The Inner Critic

There is a long and storied tradition that writers have to be tortured or crazy. Or any sullied variation that deals with being plagued by demons of all sorts.

I know plenty of writers that this holds true for. I think I know of a couple where this doesn’t.

But I’m not really here to talk about them. And you’re not here to read about them. Or, maybe you are. I’m not sure. There is a slight chance that you happened upon this blog by mistake. And, that’s OK. I get it. Happens to the best of us.  I have shelves full of un-opened Scentsy bars for a similar reason. At least that’s what I tell myself.

Here’s the deal, though. Eh.

Or is it?

I struggle with this sometimes. I struggle with how real I want this blog to actually be. I think the danger of someone actually finding out I’m human has decreased significantly since I left Facebook. There was a time in the not so distant past when I would bare my soul, or at least the part of it that I don’t mind sharing with the world. I would come up with some clever title for it and I would put that out there on the book of face. And some of you would see it. I think I got over 200 views on a post or two. It helped me feel like someone was actually reading my stuff, or caring about me as a person. Or both. Both? Both. Both is good.

Not, that’s not to say that I don’t have people in my life who think I’m human or people who care for me. If that was your takeaway, please. Don’t be silly. I know better. Most of the time.

Yeah, most of the time.

There are times, though, where things don’t seem to fire quite right up there in the old brain bucket and I feel like in a crowd of a thousand people, I am alone in the universe.  That feeling usually doesn’t last. I’m a lucky son of a bitch because my best friend is my roommate. And she has this knack for helping me get out of my own way. She usually doesn’t know when she does it and when I thank her she gives me this weird, confused look and the conversation usually ends with one of us being called a dork. Spoiler alert—it’s usually me.

I overthink things. A lot. I learned not too long ago that that is actually a side effect of the general anxiety disorder that I have. Oh.I also learned that I have a general anxiety disorder. The hard part is knowing that this happens and finding myself unable to stop it.

Take today for example. Before I went to bed last night, I made a list of things I wanted to do on Sunday, including some people that I wanted to spend time with. I got up, had breakfast, and prepared to set out. I hit the remote start on the car, grabbed my stuff and headed out.   When I got to the car, I noticed that it wasn’t running. No big deal. Happens sometimes. I know that the 10 minutes runtime that the car gives you before you have to put the key in can sometimes go quicker than I think. Got in, put the key in, and turned the starter.

The car made the sound of an asthmatic yeti and still did not start. I tried several more times, to no avail.  There was much cursing. This, apparently, also does not contribute to resolving problems of a mechanical nature.

The day was going off the rails, and quickly. People were notified, plans were cancelled. I found a battery charger in the garage (because damn near everything is in the garage, or in one of the many closets in this house. If I didn’t know better, I’d say J.K. Rowling herself fashioned the Hogwarts Room of Requirements after the many closets and garage of the Gallifrey Annex.

I digress. I connected the charger, after making sure I wasn’t going to blow up the car.  Insert some additional cursing. Again, no mechanical miracle borne of fitfully thrown obscenities. I checked 10 minutes later and the asthma seemed to be a better, but the car still wouldn’t start.

I made a grocery list. Hey, don’t judge me. Oddly enough, I find grocery shopping with a list resets my noodle. I make a list of things. I put the estimated prices of said things. I then go grocery shopping with the fervor of a Price Is Right contestant.

I borrowed the roomie’s car and hit the grocery store.

Today was a good day. With what I had on my list, I estimated that I would spend $100 of my $100 budget for this pay-period’s groceries. I came in at $89. Not too shabby. Oh, sure, I was over, so I would have lost the Showcase Showdown, but that’s OK. I definitely would have made it that far.

If you’ve made it this far and are wondering what this all has to do with the Inner Critic, you’re in luck, because I’m about to tell you.

Not much.

No, ok. That’s not quite true. It has more to do with the overthinking and the hard time I have with making plans and having them go sideways.

I get that there are things I can’t control. And I get that there are things that I need to learn to let go.

Logically I get all of that.

But today went sideways with a big side of fuck you. Consequently nearly everything I had on my list to work on today is just chilling. I might get to some of it tomorrow after work. I might not.

And that’s OK.

The important thing is that I’m writing. I had a goal this month of getting some words in every day. If they were part of the work in progress, cool. A blog post? Awesome. Tweets? OK I guess, but I’m probably not counting it toward my word count goal.

So, here we are. Groceries put away. And the car has had 3 hours to charge.

I start it...more wheezing, as it is about to give its death rattle, I give it some gas. And then some more. I give it enough gas that the exhaust is a little angry with me (and now the mystery of why my throat feels raw is not such a mystery now).

And it stays running.

I let it run for a bit and then decide to take it to my local auto place to see if they can run diagnostics on the engine. They can. For a fee. And it might not be today. That doesn’t work for me. I head back to the car and cross my fingers.

It starts right up.

And it does so for about 8 more times. It’s as though nothing happened.

Sure, I’m pleased. The day is still spun sideways, but I’m feeling a little better.

Until I see the writing calendar on my wall. There’s a big fat nothing on the day for yesterday.

And here’s where the inner critic, and perhaps some personal wisdom come into play.

I know that if let another day go without putting down any words, then it will become easier to not write. You see, at the moment, it’s kind of hard to not write. I need to write. I need to let those thoughts, disjointed and cracked-out though they may be, I still need to put them on the page.

That inner critic was waiting for me to skip another day. I mentioned something about not hitting my words yesterday to my roomie and she said, with no hint of judginess, “So? Yesterday was Saturday. Give yourself one day off a week.”

Makes sense. And it helped spin the day back around.

And here we are. Thing about that inner critic is this. They usually don’t know shit. Find yourself someone whose opinion you trust more than the opinion of your inner critic.

It can make all the difference in the world as far as your creative endeavors are concerned.

The other thing I’m trying to be better about is sleep. So, with that my friends, I bid you a good evening.

Peace,
-AT

1.04.2019

A Brief History of The Feels

I had a thought tonight as I finished watching "The Theory of Everything." If you have not seen this movie yet, find the time to watch it. If you don't walk away from the movie a changed person with a little more insight into humanity, then watch it again-obviously you missed something the first time. That wasn't the thought, though. No, the thought was something I would tell my younger self (and younger just means "Todd that is before Present Todd" See---Younger Todd sounds better, doesn't it?

It would go a little like this.,

Dear Younger Todd,
When given the chance, always kiss the girl. There will be doubt. When the doubt clouds everything and threatens to shut you down at your core, when it threatens to steal your words, when it turns your hands into a damp washcloth on a mid-summer Ohio River afternoon, you must absolutely, if given the chance, kiss the girl. The kiss will kill doubt. For that one instant. Not for ever. But for that kiss. For that one to 17 timeless seconds, doubt will be gone.

Hold on to that time, that memory, those seconds without doubt. Call them to the foreground when doubt and fear fill your head and heart with lies. And if necessary, kiss the girl again. 

Do this until your first reaction when faced with doubt and fear is a lingering memory of an amazing kiss.  This is your armor. The lips - your shield. 

Dear Older Todd,
Same thing still applies, old man. 


Present Todd


I  have a few memories like this. I must admit that I didn't think to use them as armor until tonight. Did I mention it was an amazing movie? Well, it is.

I had a goal this month to get words in every day. I didn't worry about a word count for this goal--it seemed to me that a count goal might be a little too intimidating. So the deal is just to write. Whatever. Backstory, front story, bloggy blog blog posts, research posts from the library (sorry, I just finished watching The Librarians). Anything. Words. It didn't matter. Just that they got written.

I thought about incorporating art into that. If I do a digital painting (or a real one), does that count toward my words (not sure these pictures are worth a thousand words. Is that even still a thing?).

Anyway, here are the two pieces of art I created in 2019 so far:

I like both of them for different reasons, but I like the fact that light is rising. Seems that what I've been needed to see--the light. The weeds growing where nothing did. Greenery on the sheer face of the rock.

Proof that light brings life, always.

There’s more to say on this, but I’m tired. And I’m doing a better job about listening to my body this year.

Goodnight friends,
-AT

1.01.2019

Hashtag Not Inspired

I was going to start off this post doing that thing where you take a word and you put the dictionary definition of the word in funky font to make it look to the reader as though they are reading form the dictionary. Complete with schwa e and all that fun stuff.

But, I thought better of it at some point. I’m still going to get all up into the word I’m writing on, but I’m going to go ahead and do it without gimmicks. It’s the first day of the new year, so I figure it’s best to just be me. The real, the raw, the cunning scamp you have all come to know and love. Or at the very least that you have found interesting enough to come back to this site from time to time.

I’ve read in places that the blog is dead and that Newsletters are where it’s at. And that’s likely true. And that’s OK. If it is true, then this place will get less attention and I can be more real and honest within it’s walls of ones and zeroes.

So what is this mystery word, Todd?

I’m so glad you asked.

Inspiration.

There. That’s it. Inspiration. I find that it’s peppered throughout my life way more than I really ever noticed before. And maybe that’s not true. Maybe it’s not that there is more of it lately, but maybe it’s that I’m more receptive to it.

Part of me thinks that’s dangerous. Inspiration in itself is not dangerous. I appreciate it. And perhaps that’s a better word for it, appreciation. But if I come to rely on it, to depend on it to propel me into action, then I’m good and truly fucked. If you asked me what inspired me during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for those of you not masochistic enough to participate), I would have been hard pressed to answer honestly. I would have spouted the response of so and so inspiring me because wow, look at their word count. But I wasn’t feeling that. And dammit, I really wanted  to be inspired. I was waiting for it. Waiting for the cerebral lightning shot down from the Muses into my brain bucket so I could put those perfect words on the paper.

That’s just it, though, isn’t it. I was counting on it. And counting on inspiration to lead you to the work often leads to the work not actually getting done. At All.

And it didn’t. I didn’t write shit in November. MAYBE 3000 words on my project total. Maybe more. I don’t remember. I’m not going back and looking, because at the end of the day, I can’t go back.  So, I can only move forward.

What inspires me these days?

Nothing.

And everything.

I know, it’s cryptic. And if you have known me for any length of time, you will understand that in my mind, this makes absolute perfect sense.

Nothing inspires me. And by that I mean that I have come to realize that the things I find inspiration in are things that I have come to appreciate with each passing day. They are things I am thankful for in my life.  They are nuggets that I pick up on Twitter or Instagram from authors, friends, people I know, and people I would like to get to know. When I say that these things don’t inspire me, though, what I mean is that they don’t move me to action.

I used to think they did. I used to see a tweet by Gaiman and think holyshit, that’s awesome. I need to go write now! And I would go write. Or I’d see friends putting out books and that would push me to back in front of the keyboard with the sinking realization that I wasn’t going to fulfill my writing dream if I didn’t actually continually write.Or write on a somewhat consistent basis.

What I didn’t see until recently was there was a middle step there. None of things in themselves inspired me to act. They just stoked the flames. I had to still do the work. And this hit me one Sunday afternoon in December where I was as inspired as I think I have been in quite some time. I think it was something I saw on Facebook about what a friend and fellow author had achieved and I was super pumped. I had visions of riding the NYT Bestseller list right alonside them.

Three hours later, I was still on Facebook. Clearly I had just cracked the code. There was no causality (for me) between inspiration and action.

I have to say this was liberating. For many reasons.The main one being that I finally realized that I no longer had to wait for inspiration to strike for me to actually do the dirty work of writing. Holy crap, you mean I can just sit down and write without the Muses giving me mental handies? Seems so.

Fine, so nothing inspires me (to act).

Cool. So, how then does everything inspire you?

Good question. Simple answer. Everything is connected. And by taking the time to be present, in this exact moment, I can see the beauty in everything around me. I can see the hand of a creative presence in everything. In an argument. In a shitty Spongebob episode. Everything.

Don’t get freaked out on me. I’m not anywhere close to being enlightened, and if I were, the very act of thinking that I was would simply mean that I wasn’t yet. It doesn’t happen all the time, but I can see things fitting together. And sometimes I really am just blown away by the series of events that had to happen just so in order for the me sitting here typing this blog post on an iPad was actually able to get this to you.

So, nothing and everything. And I can actually write without needing to have the inspiration. It helps, sure, but it’s not the key.

The key is writing.

And I think starting off 2019 with that particular nugget of knowledge restored is a very good headspace to be in.

Until tomorrow,
-AT


PS, not that I will necessarily be posting a blog post tomorrow, but I might be. In either event, I will be writing, as I have a goal of having a word count on each day on the calendar in January. We’ll see how it goes.

Have an awesome sauce evening my friends!



























12.31.2018

44 out of 50

I'm not going to lie. Well, I mean, I might. I'm a writer. It's kind of my thing. Let's just say that if I do lie, it will be all in the interest of telling a good story. Good. Glad we got that settled.

Where was I? Oh, that's right. The not lying.

No, wait. That's not it. I mean, it was, but that's not....phhh.

Let's try this again.

Hi. I'm Todd. I'm a writer. And this is the obligatory what the fuck happened in 2018 and what am I going to differently in 2019 post that I know you have all been waiting for.

And by all, I mean maybe like 2 of you that were wondering if I would ever dust off this blog and throw some words up here.

To be honest, I wasn't sure I would. Not just the blog, though, I mean the whole wording thing at all.

Jeesh, Todd, that's a bit dramatic, don't you think?

Well, yeah. Maybe. But haven't you heard? Drama makes for great stories.

OK. Not really. But what does make for great stories is people who are struggling. And their challenges and missteps and little victories all on the way to solving and conquering those challenges. Right? Sure. We'll go with that.

Admittedly, this is all pretty much self-inflicted, but that's mostly beside the point. Mostly.

Riding the high from a really good writer's retreat, I was pumped for National Novel Writing Month. I had a new direction for my book and I was feeling good about it. I attended a pretty kick-ass kick off event and even managed to get some words in the first few days.

And then I stalled.

Seriously stalled.  I don't know really what else to call it. I found myself coming up with some really good reasons why I just couldn't make the 60+ minute drive to attend the write-ins hosted by my base writing group. It became easier to convince myself that it didn't make sense to sacrifice 2 hours of drive time that I could be writing. And so I did. I convinced myself that the time would be better spent writing.

Only I didn't write.

I caught up on some reading. And cleared a lot of things out of my Netflix queue. And did some things around the house.  All of these were, in my mind, important things. Roadblocks that needed to be dealt with so I could get down to writing. To being a writer. You know, that thing I convinced a few of you I was way back in 2017.

Yeah. That thing.

Along around the same time, I was becoming seriously disenchanted with social media. Well, not all of it, just the book of Face, to be specific. I figured out why I left it some years back, and started to low-key loathe myself for coming back. So, add a failed  NaNo, and a dislike for the book of Face, and there's a few more steps down the spiral.

I deactivated my Facebook account sometime in December. I did it rather quietly. A week beforehand, I posted something about making sure if you wanted to stay in touch, we had a way to do so. And then I did an Irish exit and just deactivated my account. I had about 5 people reach out to me to see what happened. I had a few more than that sitting there and stewing about the fact that I didn't say goodbye personally or tell them what was going on.

And to be honest, I just couldn't. I needed to leave when I did the way that I did. I needed to do it to stay on this side of sanity and strike at least one solid blow back at the heavy, wet, wool blanket of depression that was pretending to offer me warmth, but slowly suffocating me. Whether or not you believe me, or are mad at me, or are OK with the way it went down--it's done. I can't change it. And even still, I think it was the right move for where my headspace was at the time.

So, yeah. That's a thing. Depression. I haven't really danced with depression in quite a few years. Not like this. When I would get up, go to work, zombie through the day, and do as little as possible before going to bed--not even talking more than a few sentences to my roommate, I knew there was an issue.

I still haven't talked to my doctor about going on anti-depressants. I have an appointment in February. That gives me one month to turn things around on my own. And by 'on my own' I mean that I'm not living in the bubble of 'everything in my life is great' any more. Somethings are wonderful, don't get me wrong, they are. I just need to get back to doing the things I know worked before when I was off the anti-depressants the first time.

I'm going to pause here and just mention that I was on anti-depressants for nearly 15 years. Many different ones through the course of that decade and a half. I know how my body responds to them and I know what they do to my sense of self. The last thing I want to do is to go back on them. That is not saying that I'm against them. I just don't want to be back on them. It's a very personal decision. So, I'm going to do everything I need to do before I open that door back up.

Which leads me to 2019.

There's a thing going around where you pick a word, and that's your word for the year. It's supposed to be in line with your goals and who you want to be or become in the year to come.

It's a wonderful idea, but I honestly couldn't think of a word. Which really is just more proof that I need to get back to meditation and finding my center with more of a concerted effort.

Anyway...the hunt for the magic word that is going to make 2019 awesome.

Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

And then I got an email from a kickstarter project I backed. The project was to help build a story-building/world-building system for gaming/story-telling based on using Tarot spreads. Today they drew a card for me.  And it went a little something like this:


There it was. Restoration.

Everything clicked into place.  So, my friends, my 2019 journey is about restoration. Restoring the Todd that I know I am. The man, the friend, the father, the writer, the lover (ok, ok, but I had to at least put it on the list--you never know!) that I know in my heart I am. The true me.

One of the things I did today was to reconfigure my writing desk. It was spread out on a table in my bedroom and it just was...bleh. I moved in a dresser that had been sitting in the garage since I moved in and set up my computer on top of the dresser. I saw a movie depicting a madly drunk Hemingway pacing in front of a typewriter on a dresser in a Spanish hotel. And he was moving around and he'd come back, type some pages and move around. He did this weird dance with the story as he typed. And in those frames I saw the truth of it, much of writing is a full-body, full-contact experience. So, yeah, standing desk of sorts. It looks a little like this:

So, the cool thing about this, other than taking up less space and the fact that I no longer have to use the annoyingly squeaky but cool vintage office chair, is the fact that this dresser was my dresser all through childhood. Before that, I am pretty sure it was my big brother's dresser, and my mother's dresser when she was growing up before that. So, it's got family energy. It just feels right.

And if you're wondering, the painting above it was there before I figured out what I needed to do in 2019, but it so fits. Man does it fit!

Things are truly coming together the way I always knew they could. The way I always knew they would. I guess, for the most part, I just needed to get out of my own head. And out of my own way.

And so the restoration begins.

-AT

HOLYCRAPIALMOSTFORGOT!!

44 out of 50.

I set a goal at the beginning of 2018 to read 100 books from my Goodreads list by year's end. About a week into the year, I realized that was just ridiculous and recognized my own limitations in that arena. A goal of 50 seemed more reasonable, but will still be a stretch as it had been some time since I had read a book a week.

But here we sit on December 30th...er...December 31st now and I have read 44 books toward that 50 book goal.

And I'm going to take that as a win. Because it's a lot closer than I really thought I could hit. 2019's reading goal will be 75. It's ambitious, but I think it's doable.

Ambitious, but doable. I guess most things are if you get off your ass, eh Skaggs?

Yarp.

Have a wonderful day my friends. I'll catch you sometime in the coming days, weeks, months...we'll get together, have a drink and catch up. I'd love to hear all about the latest crafting thing you found on Pinterest.

Peace,
-AT

12.05.2018

Digital Detox

Sorry if this is starting to sound a bit like a broken record, but as it's on my mind and as my words are my way of clearing through some thoughts, I don't really see a way around it.

I saw a friend tonight I haven't seen in a good little while. Since at least before the move back in March. It's cool. I got a batch of homemade Christmas cards. Like the batch of homemade cards I got last year and the year before, they will likely sit in a stack in the same place until about February when I will put them in the box with the other unsent cards.

Maybe this year will be different. I say that every year. Maybe this is the year it will be true.

I say that every year, too.

Anyway, in the course of conversation, I let slip that I wasn't on Facebook. Her husband said, "Again?!" and she said, "You'll be back."  Both were said in jest, I know.

Still. It got me thinking.

It's been about a week.  Just one week. There have been a few moments where I have really been tempted, but not because I wanted to see what was going on, but because I was bored and my default action when I was bored was to get on fakebook and scroll until I was not only bored, but I was bored, numb, and generally thinking most people were terrible at humaning.  So, it wasn't that I missed it per se. And I realized that tonight, rather than agree, I just smiled and said, "I don't think I will."

And I was good with that.

It's just kind of a weird headspace to be in right now.

I know I'll be past this stumbling block of obsessiveness, but for now, I'm just working through it.

But on a positive note...the Christmas lights are up outside, so that's a good thing.

And with that I bid you goodnight. Yup. Short and sweet.

Except I'm not short.

And not always sweet.

Have a good rest of your evening.

-AT






12.02.2018

You Stole From The Crippled Kids Jar!?

There's a scene in Office Space  where the efficiency experts, The Bobs, are reading the names of people they are going to fire to Peter and they get to Samir's file. "And this guy...Na-een...Na...Not gonna be working here"

That only comes to mind because it is 2 days after NaNoWriMo is officially over for the year.  For me, it was probably over before it began. I didn't really have a clear plan and didn't really account for well, life, to be honest. As with all things NaNo, there is no one to blame for it but me. And that's OK.

I can't say that I wrote every single day of the month. I didn't. I can't say that I hit fifty-thousand works at the miraculous 11th hour. My logged seven-thousand words clearly indicate that didn't happen.

But, I did have something of a breakthrough this year that I didn't have in years prior. A couple of them, actually.

The first is something I've seen at other points in my life. I need to be around people. Not really to compete against, but to draw inspiration from. The number of actual write-ins I attended this year was less than 3. My word count shows that. There were times I felt fairly isolated this month. I don't put that on anyone but me. I had a calendar of events I could have attended. I had the NaNo calendar of events close by--hell, less than 2 miles, but I didn't. Don't know why. I may dissect that later, next year when it gets closer to NaNo. I may not. Which leads to the second epiphany of sorts.

The only person putting pressure on me to "win" NaNo was...you guessed it. Me. I didn't quite have a breakdown this month, but I had a few near misses that would qualify as mini-anxiety attacks, I'm sure. I was certain that I would be letting this person down or that person would be pissed if I didn't do this thing or that in November. And in the end, I shut down. On my birthday I woke up and decided that I was doing something for me. And I did.

And it was rather liberating, if I'm being honest.

I'm going to pause here. I know that I have some friends who, like me, sometimes internalize and overthink things. I want to be very clear about why I 'failed' (and ultimately won) the whole NaNo thing this month. It had nothing to do with anyone but me. I applied the pressure. The voices I was guided (and/or misled) by were the ones in my head. No one else. Me.

That simple fact is also the reason that I won, if you will.

The ultimate epiphany was that I am traveling this writer's path for me. For the stories I have to tell. For the songs I have to write. For the pictures I have yet to pen. Don't get me wrong, I hope you'll share that with me. And if you like the yarns I'm spinning, awesome. If you don't, that's OK, too.

I think the real goal of NaNo, albeit not explicitly stated anywhere that I've seen, is that participants come away from the month feeling like, thinking like, and believing themselves to be real writers.

And I did. Because I am. I am a writer. I went through the real writer shit of getting so hyperfocused on the minutia of life that I forgot that my shield, my armor, my weapons against the mediocrity of life are the words I put to page. My way to escape this world is to create my own and play around in them for a while.

So, in that sense, NaNo succeeded. And did I win? Yes. And No. It really just depends on who's definition you're using.

If it's OK with you, I'll use mine. Well...I guess if I'm paying attention to my own epiphanies, the fact is, it doesn't matter if it's ok with you or not. I need to do the thing my way.

I didn't quite catch it happening as quickly this time, but I do seem to have something of a chrysalis forming around me. I didn't notice it, but standing outside myself, looking down, I do see that it's there. I'm usually pretty good about identifying and embracing the moments in my life when these kinds of things happen...ok. No, I'm not. Normally I think something feels 'off' and I write some blog posts where I say that I feel like I'm on the verge of something big happening. And if something big happens, I write a 'see how cool that was' post. If it doesn't, I distract you with a post on the futility of trying to compare Chicago to New York style pizzas to one another (seriously, just don't. Nobody wins if you exclude either of these pieces of heaven from your pizza repertoire).


So, here's the prediction. The change that I feel like I'm on the cusp of is the same one that's always been there. The one that is finally me embracing this life and my role in it. The scales finally falling away from my eyes, if you will. Embracing the gifts and the path and the...

Fuck it. Honestly, I have no idea.

I just know I love to write. I need to write.

So I'm going to keep doing that and let's just see where this thing goes.

Peace,
-Todd



So Long, Ass Grape

I am a writer. You can tell by my fancy blog. No, but seriously. I am.  I don't know if I've always been keen on using analogies because I'm a writer or if I'm a writer because I've always been keen on using analogies. I'm not sure which, if either of those, is actually relevant to the rest of this post except for the fact that this post is probably going to be riddled with them. I mean, it's what I do.

Now, if you're sitting there asking yourself what an ass grape is, you're in luck. You'll probably know what it is both literally and figuratively by the end of this post. Now I have to warn you, I am prone to oversharing. My roommate's daughter things that means being too nice, but in my world it means that I'll probably tell you more than you want to really want to know. If you're not keen on knowing the medical procedure associated with removing an ass-grape, you should skip ahead.

So, apparently there are a few types of hemorrhoids (look, I warned you)--one of them is external. I guess at one point, I had one. And when it went away I was left with a skin tag. And without getting too graphic (I know, too late), I'll let you draw your own conclusion why I call it an ass-grape.

Anyway...I got sick of rocking the docked tail look, so Friday I had it taken off. The crew at the Taylor Station Surgical center was amazing.  I can't tell you a time I actually enjoyed going in for a surgical procedure.  Remind me to tell you about it next time you're around. It's kind of a funny story. I've never had anyone ask me to name something they were cutting off before.

*Post-Medical Ass-Grape Removal stuff a.k.a. The Metaphorical and Allegorical Shit Starts Here*

If you skipped ahead, I'm pretty sure you made the right choice. One of the things that the nurse asked, was if I took my little tail home, what would I name it? Someone in the room suggested Quentin. This made everyone laugh and for a good few minutes took my mind off of the fact that there were no less than seven people looking at my bare backside.

I can confirm, though, that I now have sound medical verification that despite what you may have heard from anyone I've ever dated or been married to, my head is no longer up my ass.

Oh...the name I chose for the ass-grape?  And yes, I did get them to commit to at least try to get 'ass-grape' used as the new official medical term (at the very least, I'm sure they all got a good laugh from it for the rest of the day).  But yes, I did come up with a name for it.

Doubt.

You see, as a writer and all-around creative type, naming it Doubt was really the logical choice. I mean, Doubt was constantly riding my ass. And while it didn't always cause physical pain, it was always there as a reminder. And true or not, it was never a far thought from me that no matter what I did to cover it up, sooner or later someone would see. They would see that Doubt was right there. It was a part of me, no matter what. Attached, grown out of me.

No more.

After a couple of very painful, burning shots to numb my buttocks, Doubt was removed with surgical precision. The physical piece is gone. Send off somewhere to be tested to make sure the Doubt wasn't cancerous. Something I've lived with away too long

As weird as it sounds, I felt a sense of relief wash over me once it was gone. Oh, I know there will still be some figurative residual left, but I know now that Doubt has been removed to the best of the surgeon's ability.

The rest is up to me.

And with that, I'm off to bed.

Have a wonderful evening and rest of your weekend my friends.

Peace,
Todd

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There is a long and storied tradition that writers have to be tortured or crazy. Or any sullied variation that deals with being plagued by ...