Monday, October 26, 2015

It Might Still Be a Little Tiger Beat-ish.

I am fascinated by human behavior. There's nothing I love to do more than just watch people and try to decide who they are by how they behave. And I'm not talking "hang out at an airport and make random stories about strangers" (although that's fun, too). I'm talking about whatever you do throughout the day, whatever you say, I'm storing it away in my brain in a little file marked, "YOU". Actually, my brain files are marked with your names, but the file folders are all bent and piled up randomly and the names on the tags have probably been marked through a couple of times because sometimes people don't get to stay in my brain, but I believe in recycling.

Yes, I am watching. Yes, I am judging and questioning and filing for future connections. I'm like the NSA but less secretive about it. Or more secretive. Or whatever. (Hi, NSA! *waves gratuitously*)

Anyway, I watch because you're fascinating.

So to choose just one person as the person I'm fascinated by is dang near impossible. There are many beautiful and kind people in my own everyday life I could write about (and probably already have on here). There are a few celebrities that I adore, but I don't really have any personal connection with them. And that feels just a little to Tiger Beat for my taste.

So maybe there's someone somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. Someone famous enough to give me a little thrill when she retweeted me on Twitter but still seems like someone who's not so uppity that we couldn't split a Reese's and hang out at an airport watching weirdos and making up stories.

I've been a fan of Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess) for a long, long time. I cannot remember where I first found her writing, but whomever it was that pointed me to her should probably get several dollars a month from me. A "Thank You for Being Awesome" fee, if you will.

There are several things about Jenny that I love, but the fact that she and I barely missed each other at a tiny little state school in Central Texas always makes me feel like we could've been actual, real-life friends. Granted, I would've had to have been brave enough to talk to strangers first, but maybe it could have happened. If we were in the right class or had I run over her foot with my car.

I love that she swears unapologetically because swear words and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are my two most favorite vices. I love that she gives all of her animals, both real and taxidermied, clever and completely appropriate names. (I'm a big Hunter S. Thomcat fan.)

She's delightfully odd with a penchant for dead animals in costume. Even creepy-as-shit dead animals. I love that she hails from a delightfully odd family who adore her in all forms.

Jenny is kind and thoughtful, even when it's only by accident. And she spreads that kindness somehow with just a few words and the feeling that it's just the right thing to do because someone needs to do it.

She takes on challenges even when she's unsure. She finds a way even when she has to build it herself. Even when that challenge is just getting Wil Wheaton to send her a picture of himself collating paper.

And now they're FRIENDS, by God.

She fights back with 15 foot tall metal chickens. Who does that? Badasses. Badasses fight the good fight with chickens named Beyonce.

But more than anything, Jenny fights, period. She fights for the voiceless. She fights for those that cannot get out of bed. She fights for those who would rather hide under their desk than stand on stage. She fights for anyone who is coming apart at the seams. And then she rallies the troops to help sew them back together.

She fights for them because she is one of them. And she's not ashamed of it.

Because the most fascinating thing about Jenny Lawson is that she is just Jenny-fucking-Lawson. Warts and all. I consider myself to be honest, but, in truth, most of my life, I've been what I've now deemed, "Dinner Party Honest".  You know, just honest enough to be respected, but not so honest that people aren't "WTF?" when you sit next to them at a dinner party. I'm still not that honest, but I'm on the road.

I'm a people-pleaser at the deepest core of myself, and what pleases others most of all is for you to be happy -- to be good -- to be even-keeled. So, for most of my life, I tried to be happy and good and even-keeled, even when I felt like I was cartwheeling down the side of a mountain and then hauling myself back up by my fingernails.

Reading Jenny's work told me a couple of things: A) I wasn't alone and 2) There can be joy and laughter in even the most absurdly awful moments. And it's okay -- more than okay -- to grab that joy by the throat and squeeze the Hell out of it. Give it a Copernicus-level strangle.

But more than anything, it told me that being whole isn't about hiding your cracks from others; it's about letting them show and treasuring those who helped pick up the pieces. Because none of us pick those pieces by ourselves. None of us. Nor should we.

In the time that I've followed Jenny's blog, she's raised thousands of dollars, bought dozens of weird-ass but incredible dead animals, written two best sellers, and empowered hundreds of thousands of men and women around the world.

And she retweeted me once (which is really just like a modern-day grown-up version of taping a Tiger Beat photo to your wall, but I don't give one damn. Tiger Beat Twitter for everyone.)

And it made me furiously happy.

(I've linked all of these within the post above, but I know how lazy some of y'all are about clicking on the link. So I made it easy on you. Enjoy. And if you don't, you're moving to the bottom of my brain files. Maybe.)

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