Archives for September 2017

Sometimes, you have to add a battery pack and twinkle lights

In June, I attended my fourth BlogHer conference. But this one felt strange. The last six writing conferences I attended all had a similar feel — one in which I knew dozens of people and was comfortable just…being me. That’s when I thrive.

This time, I started the conference off with a bang. After 3 flights in less than a week, and a truly amazing Disney adventure, my back was acting up for the first time in months. I was in pain, which only exasperated my desire to hide.

I know what you’re thinking. Chrissy? Hiding?

So, I’m an introverted extrovert. If you know me, you couldn’t possibly see me as shy. But if you don’t, you might think I’m the quiet one. Adding to that, I spent much of this year suffering from mild depression and anxiety, and now, I’ve got a recipe for disaster.

And so at BlogHer, only knowing a few of the several thousand people and trying to fight through pain, anxiety, and depression, I found myself hiding. Skipping sessions to nap in my room. Barely taking any photos throughout the events. Wandering the exhibitor hall by myself instead of sitting through full keynotes from really interesting speakers. Opting out of late night partying with new friends, and instead, I found myself floating down the lazy river with my roomie, Renee.

It was still fun, but it was a different kind of fun than one should have at a writing conference full of like-minded people. I found myself asking why I was even there.

On Friday night, I took a Valium for my back pain and crashed early.

On Saturday morning, Renee left, and my dear friend, Samara, was doing her own thing…so I wandered the expo for a while. I was interviewed for a Forbes podcast, and the guy looked at me — sporting a normal-ish blonde hairstyle and simple blue dress — with douche eyes and actually said, “Quirky Chrissy? You don’t look very quirky. Now, I saw this other girl who had rainbow hair and a unicorn horn. Now, THAT’S quirky.” Maybe it was the place my brain was hiding, but I wanted to simultaneously punch him and cry. But how do you defend your personality when someone mocks your chosen moniker?

I left the expo feeling down in the dumps.

The thing about being an extrovert who suffers from depression and anxiety is that you need people to help lift you out of the cycle, but you don’t want to be around people when you’re depressed or anxious.

By the time the closing party rolled around, I was ready to go home. But I told Samara I’d meet her down there. And I knew there would be snacks — I was starving, and I’ve yet to find a reason to say no to free food. So I decided I had one last chance to bust out my magic twinkle skirt.

And then I found some more of my people, and people recharge me the way the battery pack sewn into this skirt makes it light up. They bring me back to life (that’s the extroverted part of my brain). I met the unicorn girl, Elliotte, — who, by the way, is AMAZING — and she was kind and wonderful and inspiring…and she gave me a pink unicorn horn.

writers posing at the blogher17 closing party

Photo credit: BlogHer17/SheKnows Media

If I could have gone back in time and worn this fucking skirt the whole time I was in Orlando, I think I would have. Because there’s no better way to make 50 new friends than to wear a light up twinkle skirt. It was my superhero transformation and for a few hours, I wasn’t depressed or anxious or homesick. It wasn’t a REAL fix, but it helped me.

It was my superhero transformation and for a few hours, I wasn’t depressed or anxious or homesick. It wasn’t a REAL fix, but it helped me end the weekend on a high note.Twinkling Stars Skirt - Blue. 3X by ThinkGeek

I started seeing writing friends at the conference, some of whom I knew were there and that I’d said hi to, but hadn’t made a point to actually hang out with, despite my desperate need for more human interaction. I was shy and nervous. I convinced myself they didn’t want to hang out with me. I was afraid. But once I put on my magic skirt, and it was like I could hide my insecurities behind the sparkles and just illuminate the bright spots. It was a Band Aid, but at the time, I really needed a Band Aid.

selfie with writing friends at BlogHer

Eventually, I met up with Samara and she was ready to DANCE. And so I danced. And twirled. And shined brighter than I had throughout the whole conference. I felt glimmers of the me that I love to be, and I knew I had to get back there.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Marriage advice from a newlywed

So I’ve been thinking. How long do you get to consider yourself a newlywed? Since Brian and I have been married for exactly 365 days (tomorrow is our anniversary), I’m wondering if I can still consider myself a newlywed?

Well, regardless, I thought it was important to impart some very necessary wisdom about marriage that I’ve discovered in the last 12 months of wedded bliss.

Marriage is not work. I don’t care what anyone says. Maybe I’m lucky. Maybe I found the one person in this world who doesn’t drive me quite as crazy as everyone else. Maybe I’m still in the honeymoon phase. Maybe we don’t have children or money problems, which tend to be the heaviest weights on marriages according to a bunch of studies I don’t feel like looking up. But I definitely work harder to keep my laundry clean than I do to stay happy in my relationship with Brian. Thankfully, Brian’s been especially helpful with the laundry.

black and white wedding photo Eskimo kiss

Play is not just for children. It’s so important to have fun in a marriage. Whether we’re going on one of the crazy dates from our date jar, cooking together in the kitchen, putting together furniture, testing out a new game from our massive board game collection, or playing around at the park, our relationship is playful, and laughter is a cornerstone.

bride and groom sitting on a playground dinosaur eating the bridal bouquet

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. If you were following me on social media this summer, you know that I was jetsetting all over the country. From Vegas to Orlando and Boston to Birmingham, I trekked far and wide for work and play. Brian only joined me on the road trips (our kitschy cheese tour of Wisconsin and our annual pilgrimage to stalk Wil Wheaton at Gen Con). But everytime I came home, Brian was at the airport to retrieve me, regardless of what ungodly hour my flights arrived.

Supporting and encouraging each other is one of the greatest gifts you can give. I know I’m lucky to have such a strong group of friends and an amazing family that loves and supports me in everything I do. But Brian pushes me to do the scary things. To take the big leaps. He helps me remember what’s important. And what’s not. And every day, he encourages me to follow my dreams.

bride and groom cutting the top of the cheese wheel wedding cake

Communication requires patience, listening, and the occasional knock knock joke.  Not that Brian or I have ever had a problem communicating with each other. If I told you we don’t fight, you’d laugh and call, “Bullshit.” Or, worse, you’d think there was something immeasurably wrong with our relationship. They must sweep shit under the rug. Bet there’s a ton of unresolved resentment hiding underneath their smiles. And yet, I’m living proof that talking things through when you’re both calmly listening to each other…that’s how compromise happens. And that’s how you can both be satisfied with the results. And really, a good joke is almost always appropriate.

bride laughing during wedding ceremony

Making a cheese platter can relieve stress. I’m not sure this is marriage advice per-say, but it’s sage wisdom nonetheless. Whenever I had a crappy day, Brian would send me flowers…and then I’d come home and make a cheese board. And everything would suddenly seem brighter. Not sure whether it was the flowers or the cheese. But you know. Joy.

Cheese wheel wedding cake

There’s no such thing as the perfect man. But if there was, his name would be Brian…and he would be married to me.

groom with his back to the bride during first look

Happy anniversary to the kindest, smartest, and best partner a girl could ask for. This life that we’ve built together is my favorite place to be.

bride and groom kissing behind huge bridal bouquet

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!