Day 12: Writing Anxiety

22 04 2009

Hello, my name is teetah, and I had writing anxiety. It’s been four months and 2 weeks since my last post. During the past several months, overwhelm and perfectionism have had me freaking out about everything, especially my writing. That includes my writing here.

In an effort to alleviate this anxiety, I consulted a variety of books, websites, and other writers which only seemed to make matters worse. I read the introduction to Strunk and White’s Elements of Style written by E.B. White’s son-in-law. In the essay, he describes how White fretted over every word and punctuation mark, revising and sweating some more even as he put the envelope containing his latest manuscript in the mail. Then he’d sweat some more while trying to devise a way to get the envelope back. I won’t bore you with the other stories I’ve read from books on procrastination and some of the personal advice I’ve received. All that matters is the message I took from it all: who am I NOT to be anxious about writing?

I let things get so bad that I dodged my one editor’s calls, emails and text messages for weeks and all he wanted was a 500-word article that I’d already researched, done all the interviews for and outlined.

It’s at that point that I read this and this about labeling fears and then killing them, then promptly realized that when I was in college and even a reporter at a daily, I didn’t have anxiety. Sure I’d be peeved if I waited a long time to write something because waiting til the night before was a habit. I didn’t know how to start things early ’cause people in my house never started things early. We just stayed up late and got it done, no anxiety necessary.  And if it was anxiety, I certainly didn’t know it, but when I started reading procrastination books and all that kind of self-help literature that does more harm than good, I wound up doing just that. Those books helped me pull out all the things that were “wrong” with me, but that’s about all reading them did.

So yesterday, I pulled every single self-improvement and professional development book off my bookshelf (about 80% of the books I had left since the first time I whittled down my books in January) and donated them to the local library.

Shortly thereafter, spent the rest of my day between my futon and my dining room table cranking out that 500-word story which my editor, though peeved, was excited to see in his inbox. Today, after a brief misunderstanding about an assignment, I did a house viewing and wrote the 500-word article about it in two and a half hours. I could’ve been anxious about it, but I didn’t have the time, just like in the newsroom.

I don’t know if this means everything is cured forever and ever, amen. But I do know that as long as I’m real with myself and my expectations don’t become super high and I no longer think everything ever created is wrong with me, when really, it isn’t, I should be OK. Or so I hope.

And no, I’m not going to go back and edit this as I normally would. However random and awkward it reads is how it reads.


Out of the Loop

8 12 2008

I regret to inform anyone who actually paid attention to this blog of mine that I’m going to be offline for a while. I guess you could’ve guessed that seeing as though I haven’t checked in in about a week or so. Just know that when I come back, major progress will be made.


This Week’s Peanut Update

30 11 2008

In all the excitement of the week, I almost forgot the Peanut Update.

Miss Youdis, as Jackleen calls her, spent Thanksgiving with me at my friend Allissa’s mom’s house. Allissa and her fiance B brought their dogs Buddha and Bison with them. My little kid did just fine, but I think she was excited because Miss Pamela had so much space in her house, plus she had “outside”, i.e. a backyard, and Peanut wouldn’t have to walk around on a leash.

Still, being a visitor didn’t keep the meanie from treating somebody else’s house as her own. She invaded the second floor and tried to jump down from the balcony and into my arms. She also refused to come downstairs on her own (by means of walking down the stairs instead of jumping and breaking her neck), yowled all the way through dinner, and tried to hide a piece of muffin behind one of Miss Pamela’s chairs in the living room.

Buddha tried to hit her once and Bison’s quick and meaty jab connected, which lead to her snarling at him and ultimately leaving the boys alone. She did pretty well, mostly because she was around boys. Lord knows, she can’t stand other girl doggies. Messy thing.

Day Eleven: The Weirdness Is Staggering

30 11 2008

My intention was to hit you up with an interesting post about the best in how-to sites including my favorite videos from Expert Village (I have no idea who Rachel Dayan is or where she came from, but she is so boring, yet so entertaining. People all over the YouTubes have decried her crafts as crap, but I can’t stop watching). But then I stumbled upon the site for a South Bend, Ind.-based company called Pantalaine. According to their tagline, Pantalaine provides “America’s finest plural clothing.” I don’t know who these people really are and I can’t call to find out because there was no contact information on the site, but I want to know who thought of this and why. Mind you, I’m not endorsing said creepiness, but is worth at least a click through.

A visit to their site will net a variety of joined-at-the-hip duds such as the “Support Shirt”, three longsleeve cotton tops with the cuffs of some sleeves sewn to the back of an adjacent shirt.

Pantalaine's Support Shirt

Ahh, support. Sweet!

As much as I love my friends, I don’t love them enough to dress up in a sewn together shirt. Maybe on Halloween, but even then you couldn’t get away from one another without flashing your grand tetons to the world, and the poor person in the middle can’t even get her drink on. That’s so not worth nineteen bucks or the impending ridicule.

Then there’s this gem. It’s a slip cover! It’s a dress! It’s…a couch dress?! WTF?

Is this REALLY what's hot in the streets?!

Is this REALLY what's hot in the streets?!



Yes, ladies, when you’re ready to cozy up with your dude, just slip on this bit of sexiness made from stank, discarded crocheted blankets from the Salvation Army and get it on. All I can say is wow.

And dudes, don’t think you’re off the hook.

You can get close to two of your buddies in the most homo-erotic way possible with…wait for it…the SHAMROCKER!


Pucker up, buttercup.

Pucker up, buttercup.

Oh Mark, are Rick and Steve keeping all the kisses to themselves? Well, not anymore. Get your Chapstick and Family Guy DVDs ready ’cause you and your ‘bros are gonna be closer than ever!

Man, just the name of this thing alone screams sex toy. 

For the duetically inclined, there’s the du Punk, two worked-over, patched up jean jackets held together by an excessive number of safety pins; the Hug Jacket, which kind of sucks ’cause for $80 only one person is kept completely warm; and Hand Holding mittens and gloves. Let’s not talk about the group-length belts, elf hats, and shoes–completely ridiculous. The book mitten thing is kind of fly though. I mean, so often while reading War and Peace, my hands get really cold and I wish I had a book cover with built-in mittens. See kids, dreams really do come true.

Make yours a happy home and keep your kids from 'hanging from your tits'

Make yours a happy home.

And these pants would’ve been perfect for Diahann Carroll when she starred in Claudine in the ’70s. There’s enough hanging on space for six kids, the social worker Miss Kaybeck, and Rupe. And all of them would have to hang off of her legs instead of her tits (her words, not mine). The latter would really hurt and lead to majorly sagging boobage.

Day Ten: Turkey Lurkey Time

27 11 2008

In commemoration of Turkey Day and the upcoming holiday of holidays, I give you “Turkey Lurkey Time” from the musical Promises, Promises. Seriously, Burt Bacharach made the kind of music I would’ve secretly listened to in between soul and psychedelic platters. Is Ms. Wong of mimeograph getting down or what?

Happy Thanksgiving, kids!


Day Nine: The Listening

25 11 2008

For the past month and a half, I’ve been making it through my days and nights listening to Marvin Gaye albums—Here, My Dear, Let’s Get It On, and I Want You in particular. Maybe that’s why my Big Fish are skewed the way they are. Each person is probably two degrees or less away from the Prince of Motown. And truth be told, my favorite singer pantheon has always been limited to Minnie, Stevie, and Michael (the 1968-82 versions), but I think I’m willing to do some reorganization and clear some space for Marvin. I’m violating my rules on this one because sometimes you have to let the music do the talking or writing, as it were.

Here are my favorite mid-to-late 1970s Marvin Gaye songs, plus an extra cut I didn’t even know existed from Tammi Terrell.


“Come Live With Me, Angel” from I Want You

“Just to Keep You Satisfied” from Let’s Get It On

“Anna’s Song” from the brilliant, yet criminally underrated Here, My Dear

Bonus Jam: “All I Do” by Tammi Terrell written by then 16-year-old Stevie Wonder

Day Eight: When Acting Older Than You Are Goes Wrong

24 11 2008

It’s always a trip to find out who people think you are. I always say it, but now I know it’s true: most people who know me don’t know me. Case and point, I went to watch the Redskins/Seahawks game by my friend Tiffany’s house yesterday, which was funny in itself ‘cause knowing all the folks I know from Seattle, you would think every Black person from there somehow relocated to the D.C. metro area. Anyway, we were all talking about Bernie Mac and an article that ran in People magazine about his wife and daughter. I told them that his daughter went to Xavier, but I never saw her. Here goes Tiffany:


“You probably wouldn’t have seen her. She’s younger than you.”

“No, she’s older than me,” I said. “How old do you think I am?”



Yes y’all, a whole 34-years-old. I don’t mean this as an affront to any of y’all who are 34 or older, but she gave me an extra seven years and put me six years away from 40. I protested the age increase on the spot and I may have insulted her friends in the process. Still, I’m not taking the L on 34.


“Do I look like I’m 34?”

“No, I’ve always been around you at work and you act older. And I saw your portfolio and all the stuff you’ve accomplished, I thought you were older.”

That part I took as a compliment. Like I told Tiffany, if I were 34, I would really have my $#!+ together. I wouldn’t be so frantic and all over the place like I am now. My age discrimination aside, it felt pretty good to have someone say I’ve accomplished a lot. There are so many days when I wake up thinking I’ve done absolutely nothing with these 27 years. Then feel like a jerk for thinking that way.

If only it were this easy

If only it were this easy




Just as one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist, your everyday, mundane routine that you take for granted could be looked upon as extraordinary accomplishment to someone else. I’m not trying to brag, but not everybody’s first freelance assignment is with Black Enterprise. Most people haven’t written their way to Germany and back. Still fewer others have the cajones to leave the security of a full-time job and benefits to pursue their dreams and have the full support of their family at the same time (call me crazy or foolish or both, but I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done). So, not only should I be mad thankful, but I should give myself permission to say I’ve done a little something-something every once in a while. That’s not an excuse to rest on my laurels, but I can acknowledge that while there’s so much more I want to do, I have accomplished a lot and it shouldn’t take someone else to point that out to me.