Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012 Highlights and Kind of Like a Pep Rally

At about age ten, fourth grade, I think, I started keeping a list of all the changes from one year to the next. Not really a best of, or highlights of the year list; but just a "I was there, now I'm here" record. I found comfort in reading and rereading the items that went on in the hundreds. I'd fill sheets of paper with sentences beginning with "I used to like Star Trek but now I like Mannix," and "Purple is not my favorite color for clothes anymore."

I still do this, this documentation of shifts and backslides and growth from the previous year--though working and mothering and messing around on the internet have cut my itemized account down to 20 entries or so. But I do it, because the reflection has become addictive to me. I have to measure, in some way, the movement of my life. It opens my eyes to gratitude, it helps me to see that effort can yield results, it screams to me, "You can do more than you tell yourself you can."

I'm sharing my things, my life in 2012, with you, because I'm hoping you'll tell me what's gone from point A to point B in your life, too. Something that's hard for me to do is to take stock in the good--even if I've worked hard for it. I've been trained that sharing good news is bragging. It's not appropriate to talk about how something awesome has come your way. I want to work on this, because when the coolest things happen, we feel happy--but some of us have been told and believe that talking about it isn't the right thing to do. What do we do then, with the joy? Tell no one? How do we celebrate, without appearing to gloat?

I know you all from the blogosphere, and I'm lucky to have you in my life, and I'd like to see what you document as change and movement and enlightening from your year. Tell me.

2012, My Year in Review:

--Normal mammogram (no small thing)
--Ditto on the normal blood work, dental exam, pap smear this year: I never take "normal" for granted
--Happy to still be working ::knocks on wood::
--Great tremendous personal news for my 17 year old son (keeping private, you can email me though)
--Middlest started high school and he has found his element (love this)
--Youngest is turning into a sports rock star (despite his mother's gene contribution)
--We went to Washington DC and had a week that we recorded in comic book form (should post this-illustrated vomiting on airplane and all)
--Getting off coffee was easier than I thought (guess it was all just in my head)
--My feelings for Clint Eastwood have not changed (I am able to overlook #Chairgate)
--My years-old biker boots--amazed at how they never fail to make me feel BA
--Still trying to grow my hair out since 8th grade
--Gotta confess, disappointed I haven't taken the free drum circle class offered, I know I'd totally dig it. (barefoot, long skirt--it's practically calling my name)
--Rihanna grew on me with "Shine Like a Diamond"
--My mind has remained opened to possibility of future with Restylane or Botox or a knee lift
--Content and fulfilled that I'm still writing for Aiming Low, FunnynotSlutty, TikiTikiBlog, Milwaukeemoms
--Promoted to editor of Aiming Low Guest Posts (with lots of help from Kym-my girl)
--Still presenting to women's groups on importance of self care when a young mom (am really digging this)
--Read with Molly Ringwald at The Moth StoryTeller's Tour in May. Holla!
--Will be part of team bringing Listen To Your Mother Show to Milwaukee in May. *highfive*
--Figuring out how I got such great kids who do so well when we bring my mother with dementia here on Sundays for her visits (these three--they are so awesome)
--Presented panel at BlogHer/NYC on "Blogging For The Love of It"
--Part of Round Table Presenters at Aiming Low's NonCon in Georgia (made good good friends that weekend)
--Published in BlogHer '12 VOTY anthology
--Babble told me that I was a "Babble Top 100 Mom Blogger" (stoked about that one)
--Went to Erma Bombeck Humor Writers' Workshop in Dayton. Met and fell in love with Molly Campbell.
--Working through my own shit with this whole aging and changes process. Making peace with never being beyond Level 1 in Jillian Michael's 30 day shred.
--Still submitting to McSweeneys on a monthly basis and still never hearing back. Maybe I'll break a record of ten years straight of submissions and that's even cooler than Stephen King's 300+ rejection slips and Kathryn Stockett's 50some publisher rejections.
--My youngest still dances with me when no one else is around. My 17 year old still loves going to the movies with me, and my 16 year old still laughs at my jokes and tells me I'm funny.
--Year to year, daily appreciation for my online friend, Brian Miller, of Waystation One.

And now for the Pep Rally Part.

What I don't talk about here is how much time I spend and how much of my writing I submit and submit and enter and enter in contests, knocking on publication doors, pitching ideas to magazines. I come up empty handed too many times to count, and I mean empty as in not even a response back.

But I can't stop trying. Because I've seen how trying is the only thing that's gotten me anything with regard to my writing.

And this is where self talk comes in. This is where comparison can be da debil. I follow funny funny all star women, and when they're featured on top sites, I follow and read more of them there. I love reading funny as much as I love writing funny. I study the sites where these women are published, and then send my work in there. I could a.) tell myself I'm not even close to that level of expertise in humor writing, or b.) just keep on emailing my work in blind hope, sending it out with a push of a key and a prayer. Which is how I do most anything on the internet anyway.

The point to this is (and if you're still here, I love you) that you never know which one, which post, will get noticed.

MyPheme is a hot humor site I began following over three years ago after I saw that Anna Lefler, Wendi Aarons (yes, that Anna Lefler and that Wendi Aarons) were published there. I submitted, I waited, they picked me up as their featured essay today.

Thank you to Robbie and Susan, for the jumping up and down you didn't see when I opened your email. I am honored, thrilled, grinning to be on your front page today. 

If you feel generous, please celebrate with me today and visit me on MyPheme.

And to all of you reading this right now--whatever it is you dream of, don't talk yourself out of it. Keep trying, keep wishing, keep taking any steps--baby ones still count--anything that gets you closer to your goal. If you don't do it, no one else will do it for you. And dreams don't come true by magic, the only way to even get a little bit close to where you want to be is to put your ass out there. Believing, it's so necessary.

Here's to 2013!



  1. 1) Happy New Year to you and your family!

    2) Love your essay over at MyPheme - and Ryan Gosling would be lucky if you even wanted to look at him ;)

    3) I am very happy for you and all your accomplishments - and I knew that your kids were awesome when you wrote about watching the Matrix together!

    4) 2013 is going to be kick-ass and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you for many more publications to come - they would be lucky to have you.

  2. i totally want to see the comic book of DC> it!!!!

    1. Ooh, B, it is one of my favorite things about the DC trip and captures all the craziness of my husband. Really really funny.
      I think I will, it's unbelievable what he had us do.

      It was a great trip...

  3. Oh Empress, can you record that last part so I can play it often and VERY LOUDLY!!!!! Share your joy, share it often with us here...we are proud to know you...and call you friend!

    1. Andrea, do you remember how we met? Please tell me, I never want to forget.

      Thank you.


    2. I think I noticed one of your comments on the sassy curmudgeon, and skipped on over to check out your blog (amused by the name as well)...and never left! :)

  4. I don't know how you sustain it. I try to write daily. I do. But I just can't seem to be as open or as free as you are. You astound me.

    And why would you put the pitch at the end?

    Go fix that.

    Right now.

    Put that at the top, pee-pee head. ;-)

    1. H! I don't think I"ve been called peepee head in 1200 years. I kinda like it.


  5. I think that workshop you went to sounds awesome! : )

    I had a hard 2012, but I know 2013 will be better!

    I love that you share with young mothers about self care. What could be better. I know you inspire many!

  6. Oh, and did you know that blogger catches spam much better now? I also get a plethora of spam comments, but blogger catches them and does not post them! It really is a pain to make readers do word verification, in my opinion : ) I am going to copy and paste the word verification just so you can see how crazy it is!

    1. I don't know why my spam NEVER got caught. Up until last week, when I installed word ver which is a pain and I HATE I was getting 10 or more spam comments on each post. EACH POST> That's like 50 a week. BUllshit.

      Don't know why, but they all got through... they're getting clever.

  7. You rock, Alexandra!! And "dreams don't come true by magic" - so silly that I actually had to learn those words, and I didn't do so until just recently. I really, really believed that published writers, accomplished athletes, etc. got there because they had a special boost in their genetic make up. I mean, maybe so, but I never fully appreciated the fact that even an ordinary person can become good at something through effort.

    Congratulations for all that you've done, and also for all the "normals" that one of us should ever take for granted!

    Will hop over to read your published essay now - yea!

    (And I believe it is TOTALLY okay and necessary to tell others the good things that happen to you...the ones who can't be happy for you were never your true friends anyway.)

  8. Wow, you had a great year!!! I think I can sum mine up with, less hair, more LBs and a camera. (that won't be taking photos of my fat, balding self)

  9. Yes. We truly are sisters. Please sign up for that drum circle. I can totally see you swaying in your skirt, barefoot, to the beat of the drums.

    And that darn Rihanna song is so catchy. I hate that I like it (but not really...)!

    Look how awesome you are! Top 100 Mom Blogger? Top spot at MyPheme?! GO ALEXANDRA!!!! *HIGH FIVE* (fist bump?) You are such an inspiration to me. And you're absolutely right. Without putting ourselves out there (as scary as that is), we never get to experience and reap in the rewards of our efforts and jobs well done.

    Yes. You inspire me.

  10. what an amazing year for you, Empress.

    I'm jealous. I can't get my sixteen-year-old daughter to do anything with me except for an occasional hug.

    Good luck in '13.

  11. What an amazing year, Empress. I bow in awe and respect.

    I'm jealous. My sixteen-year-old daughter won't do anything with me and occasionally i steal a hug.

    Best wishes in '13

  12. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I am so happy for you & well earned!

    Never give up. It would be a monumental loss to us all.


  13. You're all so wonderful and make me fall in love with the internet every day.

    Thank you.

    It was quite a year.

    1. This is incredibly inspiring. I absolutely LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      ok. i don't have as many as you, but as you said baby steps:
      I got a PAID, LET ME SAY IT AGAIN, PAID job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Which turned into 2 PAID jobs for next year! whoop, whoop.

      next, They asked us to be elders at church and we get to go up and front and pray for people. Totally a dream of mine.
      no ER visits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! huge awesome thing.
      running 5k's again!

      that sums it up. i like this exercise! i'll pass it on.

  14. You've had such a wonderful year and I feel privileged to have been right here, watching you glow, shine, grow and do so good. So proud of you and yay for getting featured at MyPheme! (put that at the top, no one will tell you it's immodest, because it's awesome)

  15. BAM. What a great year!

    I almost can't hear the cheering for the fear. Thanks, though.

    1. What is it about the fear? I mean, let's be like Nike and just do it.

      That's what I"m trying to figure out. GO DO IT. Why is it so hard for us???

  16. I love this - all of it - the reflection, the awesome, awesome good news, the pep talk. I needed to hear that - to keep trying. I am rejoicing with all your well-deserved good things in 2012.

  17. Meeting you and hearing you speak at BlogHer was a definite highlight of 2012! I think you are fabulous :)

    Happy New Year!

    1. You made my morning, when I saw you. You put me at peace, I knew you were there, and it made me so happy.


  18. Oh oh oh. Thank you so much for this post. Your pep rallying at the end was so very much appreciated. I struggle so much with just NOT when I feel insecure or anxious about whatever it is that I feel insecure or anxious about. I just DON'T, whatever it is. And I really appreciate your talking about submitting and not hearing and keeping on doing it - writing is that big thing for me, the big scary place. So thank you.

    And congratulations for all that you've achieved and continue to achieve. Your kindness and desire to share and support others is such a gift to the internet. Oh, and your humor. ;)

    1. Oh, it's GOOD to see you. I miss you at your place but hoping you're taking steps toward your dream. You are a very, very good writer. Don't tell yourself you're not because you are.

      I love your posts.

  19. How much do I love you for this post. How freaking much.

    I was literally -- literally -- one click away from emailing you to ask for some advice. I know we haven't talked in a while, but I feel like you're one of my core people in some way. And I just needed a little direction.

    So thank you my friend. As usual, on my wavelength. xo

    1. I will always be here with the pep talk, Tammy. xo WHen I tell you, I tell myself.

  20. Heading over to read your essay right now! But this. Hearing that you have submitted and not heard and that you keep trying. THIS is exactly what I needed to hear today. I've been thinking about trying to muster up the courage to do this and was just so afraid of the failing. To hear that you (who I see as pretty much the epitome of writing success)are submitting and not getting anywhere lots of times means that it's totally okay and good and wonderful for me to put my toe out there this year a bit. And when nothing happens, that's just fine too.

    Thank you.

    1. You can write, Casey, believe me--that's why I'm a fan of yours.

      xo So happy I met you. Wish I remembered how, because it makes me happy I did.

  21. First, I just adored this list. But second amore important, holy shit and congrats on the mypheme acceptance! That is a big deal and I can't wait to read it. It's all about the strength of submission over and over and over again. Fucking McSweeney's. We'll crack 'em yet. :) xo

    1. Chalupa, with God as my witness, I shall know you forever. xo

    2. Oh and yeah, fucking McSweeney's.

  22. How exciting! I love Robbie and Susan. Going to MyPheme ASAP.

    1. They were adorable, I was so thrilled and they were so adorable about my reaction. Thanks for so much, Wendi.

  23. Your list makes me very happy. I hope that you won't hesitate anymore to share your joy. I will always be happy to hear it, and based on the comments, I believe your other internet friends love hearing it, too.
    Congrats on your MyPheme post. I'll head over to read it now!

  24. Thanks for the pep talk.

    It's sorely needed as I come off two weeks of (wonderful/relaxing/rewarding) family time which always makes me question whether or not I should even keep writing.

    Keep trying.
    Keep hoping.

    But I will. Because I have to.
    And also because you told me so.

    p.s. Congrats on MyPheme. Heading there now.
    p.s.s. When you said "I'm sharing my things" I first read it as "I'm sharing my thighs." A little disappointed now. Won't lie. :-)

  25. Happy New Year!
    It seems we are so on the same page in many regards. I give you so much credit for continuing to write and submit. I get so frustrated by this whole writing thing some days. I'm convinced that I'm pretty much the only one who thinks I'm funny.

    Keep on keeping on. We will meet in person one of these days.

    1. If you can make yourself laugh then YOU ARE FUNNY. We are so criticial of ourselves, really--if you crack yourself up then YOU ARE GOOD.

      xo (I am my toughest audience)

  26. took a holiday hiatus from the internet over xmas holidays & come back to this most awesome of awesomes. FIrst of all I have to say that biker boots are like a pep talk all in themselves. One of my great missings here in HotLand biker boots sit in storage (but I wore them the entire time I was home)! Maybe that should be your next Blogher panel: Biker Boot Bloggers? I *saw* that BlogHer panel...and you were, as per usual, fantastic: honest & funny wins over pretentious and poser-y ever time.
    I applaud you for this idea of listing all your good stuff (why is it so hard for women to do that?) My thereapist pointed out to me (for years) that I would take the blame for anything that went wrong in my life but anything that went well was due to "luck." Why is it, she used to ask, that you're not also responsible for the good stuff?
    Hmm, I would say. Hmm....
    2013 will be YOUR YEAR, I can feel it. McSweeneys, take a note: The Empress is IN DA HOUSE.
    (and I'm dying to know about 17's good great news)
    happy new year, mazel tov, and inshallah we will see each other soon.

    1. Man, you hit it right: biker boots ARE a pep talk in themselves.

      Thank you for your amazing comment.

      Happy New Year, dear friend. xo

  27. I read you daily and always love what you put out there. I got me some biker boots this year too and I feel completely different when I wear them. I know my opinion probably doesn't matter that much in the scheme of things, but as far as your writing goes keep it up and keep submitting, you are a fab writer.



Related Posts with Thumbnails