You will call bullshit on me before you finish this sentence. You’ll roll your eyes. I know you will. But bullshit you not, it’s true: I’m the shiest extrovert you’ve ever known. Maybe you get it; probably you don’t.
I am a shy extrovert.
“You should meet so-and-so, she is extroverted and bubbly just like you!” Huh? Or one from this week, “You’re not afraid of anything!” And to my face once, “You’re such a people person!”
You don’t know one.single.thing.about.me.
I am a shy extrovert. I’m not sure how I came about it, but if you know me well enough, you know that I am deathly afraid of crowds, am wildly over-sensitive in social situations and can’t stand to be without @la_gringa at events. I can see myself sometimes, removed from the Me that is chatting away to a stranger whose name I will never remember. I know that I can hold a good conversation and tell a great story of this-or-that. I know that I say too many potty words in public. I can tell a dirty joke. I get hugs when I leave an event — probably from the busboy. Busboys aren’t selling themselves, they’re just working. I like busboys: they are human to me. I’m way to shy to connect to anyone else.
God only knows how many years of cotillion, etiquette class and social scenarios I’ve been presented with. I’ve conversed with Paul McCartney and the cook from Bill’s Cafe. I have interviewed celebrities from here to kingdom-come and had heart-to-hearts with some of the foremost brains I could ever imagine. But that’s work. I’m not my work, as most of you are not.
I’m tired of being called an extrovert. I try to not be offended by the title. You want to know what? I am deathly afraid of people and even more, animals (I am terrified by animals). They both freak me out. I never can figure out what people are thinking. More importantly, I don’t know what they are thinking of me. Extroverted people scare the crap out of me. They come right at me, full of bouncy eyes, electric handshake, calling me by name. I can never compete. I don’t do names, my eyes cross easily and I’m not certain at all of why someone wants to speak with me. People are just not my thing.
Engaging people is work. And, unless you are my spouse or one of my dearest friends, you’ll find me super bubbly! bright! conversational! Jesus, how annoying. Want to know what I’m thinking? I am counting the seconds to sitting at a quiet barstool with my pals, not one of which finds me bubbly.
I’m a quiet extrovert. I don’t like chit chatting any more than you do.Read More
All hell has been breaking loose for a few months now. As most of you know from my posts at SV Moms, I’m pretty open about most of my life and it’s awesomeness and even crappiness, at times, but not this. This is just personal and hard.
Every morning for four months, I wake up wondering how, and if, my mom will wake up today. My mom is really fucking sick. And, truth be told, she really is the only thing that matters to me minute-to-minute right now. My life is on automatic-pilot. I get done what I have to get done and go where I should and do what I should at the bare minimum I can do it. Everything is stopped.
My mom doesn’t have a disease you’ve ever heard of and there aren’t really any cool races you can do to donate money for a cure. There’s not a t-shirt or a fund, there isn’t a sparkly skirt to wear in her honor. It’s not cancer where everyone knows someone who has it. It’s a lonely, mean, shithouse disease called Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating PolyNeuropathy, an unpredictable disease that attacks the body at-will. One day you might walk, the next, you are bound to a wheelchair. For hell’s sake, she was *just* dancing at my brother’s wedding six months ago.
Everything in our world has come to a stopping point. That is, until last weekend.
Last weekend I joined a group of 12 mom bloggers for a 200-mile run from Napa Valley to Santa Cruz. We’re not talking diapers-and-cheerios-type moms, we’re talking serious female writers who are on the forefront of a leading influential industry. As exciting as the run sounded, by the time I made it to the team dinner, I was convinced that I’d made a huge mistake. I truly didn’t feel it was wise to leave my family. It’s just not a good time.
We left for Napa in the wee hours of the morning, and by the time @la_gringa set off for the first leg of our two-day journey, I understood that it wasn’t only a good time to be doing this race, it was The Time to be doing this race. It hit me that the Universe had given me these specific women, during this specific weekend, for a specific reason: they were here to let me GO.
And Go, I did. I ran four legs totalling 17.2 miles in 30-something hours at a pace of about 9:50. Every time I’d hop back in the van, I wanted to hug every single team member. They didn’t know the immense gifts they were giving me by the moment. They teased me about my runner’s high — every tree, person, view from the third row of the GMC van was more beautiful than the next. But, it wasn’t the endorphins at all, it was the joy of being in-motion. I’ve done a lot of racing in my time, every po-dunk 5k, four marathons, a haphazard 31-miler and dozens of 1/2 marathons. Each race comes with something special, but this one was different, it wasn’t a race I ran, instead, it was a freedom to run when my mom cannot walk. A freedom to GO when my whole world is STOPPED.
I’ve been home from the race for two days. Mom was admitted to the hospital this morning. She’s not well. It’s not good. As I pack up to head over to the hospital for the umpteenth time this afternoon, I take with me new gifts of GO. From my Heather, the ability to laugh through this; from Marie the excitement of working things out; from Christine the ability to steadily put one foot in front of the other to get to tomorrow; from Linsey the wisdom to walk, not run the toughest of hills; from Jane the subtle ability to stay-the-course even on the windy road; from Van 2, that lying under the stars can inspire; and from my dear @la_gringa the reminder to put my shoulders back (or in, as the case might be) and keep GOing.Read More
I woke up this morning reading an NDA and a Gigya report, Social is the Next Search. By the time put the T-disc in the coffee maker, things were awry. My bangs sucked (and I even used Bumble & Bumble styling spray); my kids were sick but had to go to school anyway for school testing; my fridge so empty that the lowly apple in the back make an echo. It was a long day by 7:20 a.m.
Somewhere before 10 a.m., I’d done an incoming Kinder tour, pushing the Spanish Immersion program like a crack dealer, and then, busted out of it to take my best friend to get a facelift. I all but peeled-out of the plastic surgeon’s parking lot before heading to a marketing meeting on how to target Latino families in San Jose. Only being half Latino and not at all a part of their community, my marketing efforts were let’s say: malo. In-between, I fielded calls on selling @la_gringa’s car. I’m not even sure La Gringa wanted to sell her car, but it was an action item and I do action items very well. By 1 p.m. I’d taken four pounds of Whole Foods mac’n’cheese to my mom in the hospital and pretended that seeing her sick doesn’t make me want to chuck her in a wheelchair and bust out of there.
Today I was reminded of who I was before being a mom, when my tasks were the most important tasks. Everything now has to fit between children and family and I like it that way. At 1:35 p.m. exactly I turned into a mommy — hugs and homework and snacks and stories. It was the happiest part of my day. I guess until the three guys showed up from their seven-hour roadtrip to buy the car. And then I did the car thing, working the deal: yesithasadent, yesithasbeenserviced, noithasntcrashed. I worked the car sale until my Vicodin-induced BFF called post-facelift. She was chatty — how a woman with a face completely wrapped in compression bandages can be chatty is beyond me.
I made the cool Pakistani guys cookies and coffee. I poured wine for one that had gone astray from Islam and got teased relentlessly by their friends about watching porn. I wish I cared. Buy the car, buy the car, buy the fucking car already. Four hours later, they did. And, just in time to pull out the Hooka pipe. They didn’t have apple flavor so I didn’t partake. Well, I wouldn’t have anyway but that was my excuse. Back to L.A. they went.
The phone rang. PTA needs a tie-vote broken. Um, okay, nevermind dinner.
Oh, and mom. I didn’t go back to the hospital to see mom.
And the pasta broccoli takes like crap with wheat pasta.Read More
…under my feet. I feel the sky tumbling down. I feel my heart start to tremble; whenever you’re around.” The lyrics to Carol King’s song keeps going through my head. I’ve been singing it for two days while the horrible disaster in Haiti unfolds before my very finger tips across the web. I laughed out-loud at a still image of a woman in her bra and underwear carrying her child through the rubble — “D’oh!,” I said audibly. And last night I watched hours of CNN’s earthquake coverage not for the story or for the massiveness of it all, but because I couldn’t stop looking at how hot Anderson Cooper looked in his ragged in-the-trenches garb. Really, honestly, what the hell is wrong with me?
I suppose coping mechanisms for disaster happen all the time. As the aid flies in toward the complete devastation zone, I think about the survivors more than I think of the dead. Not the ones that might survive or that we’ll see plucked from the rubble, but the ones who survived just fine. I have lived in California most of my life, where earthquakes are common and I’ve survived just fine but not without being shaken to my core with fear. On January 17, 1994 at 4:31 a.m., my world rattled when the Northridge quake hit my community with an angry fervor.
The mattress on my bed slid off the frame as the picture above my bed crashed onto my back. I tried to scramble out of my apartment while the seemingly endless jerking motion pushed me into the wall. The contents of my apartment were literally flying across the room. I climbed over the toppled heaps on my floor and made it to my front door. From there I could tell the power was out and a smell of sweet gas in the air. I ran down the hall toward the emergency exit, not even noticing the cuts on my feet. Before making it to the stairs, the earth shook so severely that I was knocked into a doorway of another apartment. There I found a dozen or so Vietnamese students I’d never met, huddling in the door jams, crying and shaking. We all held each other in the deepest dark I’ve ever known. I will never forget the smell. Moments later, we held hands as we tried to get down the fire escape. The stairs had separated from the building. Together we made our way down the damaged exit and ran to an open parking lot with hundreds of other apartment dwellers. I looked around in complete shock and fear and then, started uncontrollably laughing. Everyone was in their underwear! For some reason, this struck me as hilarious! Coping mechanisms, like I said before, are your brain’s way of not simply dying of fear.
In the end, my apartment was orange tagged. Most of my stuff was gone, but really, I didn’t have much anyway. And the clothes I did get out of my apartment were donated, since I couldn’t get the smell of gas out of the fabric. It made me gag. For years — literally years — I woke up at 4:31 a.m.
What will the survivors be like after the dust settles in Haiti? How long will they wake at 6:21 a.m. with the deepest fear? Will the smells change the way they breathe forever? What is the life ahead for them? I simply got a new apartment and decked it out with new things. What if there was nowhere to go? What if I couldn’t get rid of my soiled clothes because those were the only ones I had left. During the Northridge quake, we rationed food and water. Some people were selling batteries, bread and milk at a 500-percent markup; others were standing in the street handing out the items for free. There are good and bad people everywhere. Just like Haiti, the dregs and heroes of society will rise during crisis.
There is so much that Haiti will need. There are so many places to give, so many resources, social media communities and volunteer groups that will help. I feel so hopeless for them all. Not surprisingly, I woke at 4:31 a.m. this morning. For now, all I can offer is the empathy I have for the survivors’ fear, for the rattling noise ringing in their ears.Read More
We live directly between these two seismic activity sites. Red highlights earthquakes over 4.0. Red indicates the past hour; blue the past day.Putting batteries in the flashlights. After living through Northridge and losing almost everything in that quake, I’m a bit shaky over earthquakes.Read More