Like A Greased Watermelon

I believe that when we write and we tell the truth, then no matter what the writer is saying, the story will be compelling. Our truth is what connects us. We want to connect with each other.

I believe that when we feel uncomfortable and think “No. No I can’t say that” that we’ve stumbled on exactly what we should be saying. I’m not talking about being vulgar, which I can be, or shocking. I’m talking about being honest, even when we are afraid of being judged or exposed.

I have this place in my center. This little dark space and in this space resides the real me. This place in me dictates how I feel and the decisions I make. This space defines who I am.

I have been trying for years to put my hands around this space. But the space is hard to find and when I do find it, I can’t grasp it. It’s like a greased watermelon.

I attended the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop this weekend and many amazing things happened in a short period of time. I will say that first, over everything else, I am honored and grateful to have connected with some giving and talented people. Holy shit, you guys, I made some amazing friends.

This morning, I am sitting in my dark bedroom. My batteries are completely dead. It was worth it, though.

A few minutes ago, Randy came into the bedroom and I was sobbing.

He asked me what was wrong.

Nothing. Nothing was wrong.

It’s just that I was able to find that space in me. That dark little space that has never allowed me to feel good about myself. I found it, and I grabbed it and I forced it to admit something.

Maybe I don’t suck. 

I have no idea what I’m going to do with this information. I know it scares me a little.

I wasn’t going to write this because I couldn’t possibly share this realization with anyone. I can’t let anyone judge, or misinterpret, or try to change the realization.

I realize though, that is my truth. This is who I am and I have my hands around it. Maybe, it will slip away again. In fact, I am nearly sure it will. But that’s okay. Because I know now that I can find it and I can hold it. Showing who I am to other people can’t jeopardize this, because I exist. I exist no matter what other people think. No matter what I think. I exist.

I spoke in front a crowd twice over the weekend. First, I was lucky enough to be selected to participate in Pitchapalooza. This is a contest where people give a one minute book pitch before a panel of judges.

I didn’t win, but I don’t care. I fucking nailed it. I felt good about my pitch and the feedback  was positive. The woman who won deserved the win and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. But I won, too. I won because I did a good job. I also won because I was truly happy for the woman who won. I appreciated her talent more than I felt bad about not winning.

I was also fortunate enough to be selected to perform stand up the last night of the conference. I was terrified. I got through my 4 minutes without stumbling, without a shaking voice, and I got laughs. I think there might be a video that will be posted on YouTube, but I don’t know when.

So anyway, I thought I would share my pitch and my stand up routine. The stand up is derived from the story I posted recently about Joey and how I made him cry once when I was trying to be funny.

Here’s the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop stand up:

My husband and I trade barbs as foreplay. I like to think of us as Nick and Nora Charles, but in reality, we’re probably more like Ralph and Alice Kramden.

We use sarcasm like hot sauce, we put that crap on everything. Our sense of humor runs along the Edward Gorey side.

Three of our 4 children rolled with the punches. My baby boy? Not so much.

My two boys are 11 years apart. . When my older son, zach, was 3 years old, we visited the zoo. We stopped to look at the lion.

Zach: “Mommy, is the lion sleeping?”

Me: “No, baby, the lion is dead.”

Zach laughed. I laughed. We understood each other. The woman next to us didn’t understand us and she looked at me like I had just boiled a puppy. Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop stand up 2016

What did I care? My kid and I understood each other.

Joey, my younger son, was more sensitive. I didn’t understand him..

He was five and we were watching a movie where a woman cried after having a baby,

Joey: “Mommy, why is she crying?”

Me: “Because she is so happy her baby is here.”

Joey: “Did you cry when I was born?”

Me: “Yes, baby.”

Joey: “Because you were so happy?”

Okay, I’m not going to say that I’m a bad mom. I’m just saying that sometimes, I‘m not that good at being a mom.

So, Joey asked me if I cried because I was happy when he was born.

Responses that would have been better include, but are not limited to:

“There is no Santa. Feel free to spread that around at school.”

“Grandpa smells like sour milk and olive loaf, but don’t tell him I said so.”

“You might want to start checking under your bed and in your closet before you go to bed at night.”

Did I say any of those things? No…No, I did not. I said  “No baby, I cried because you were so ugly.”

I was kidding. Zach would have laughed at that.  

He sobbed.

I thought, my god, we can’t afford therapy and braces.

I just started making him promises. Anything. I would have said ANYTHING to make him forget the horrible not funny thing I had just said.

I’m going to buy you a pony.

No! Wait!

I’m going to buy you a unicorn.

Your real dad?


Yes, your real dad is superman and when you’re 15 you’ll be able to fly.

He eventually forgot the incident. As far as I know, he never tried to fly.

So, yay.

I told him about it recently. He snorted he laughed so hard.

Joey turned 18 years old yesterday. He has the sharpest wit and a dark and clever sense of humor.

I’m pretty sure he gets it from his dad.

♥ ♥ ♥

I am sure when I see the video, I’ll find that a lot of this was presented differently, but I didn’t leave anything out and if I stumbled then I recovered without incident.

This was my Pitchapalooza book pitch.

We’re all narcissists. However, we don’t all have narcissistic personality disorder.

My father does have narcissistic personality disorder and I grew up damaged and awkward and aloof. I hid behind sarcasm and humor.

In my book, Symptoms Of Shark Bite, I explore anxiety, depression and the drudgery of working in a cubicle and how sometimes the pain of the life feels like I’ve been bitten.

I offer life tips by serving as a cautionary tale. I discuss relationship issues, such as arguments I’ve have had with my husband over whether we would continue having sex if I altered myself to look like William H. Macy or whether we should change our names to Mr. and Mrs. Potatohead.

My style is Tina Fey, if Tina Fey weren’t famous and worked a job she hated.

Symptoms Of Shark Bite could sit on a shelf with Jenny Lawson, Jen Lancaster, and Jennifer Weiner.

Which makes me think I should change my name to Jennifer because Jennifers write the funniest books.

♥ ♥ ♥

This was a really big weekend for me.

Today, my batteries are dead. I have decisions to make. I have work to do.

But those worries are for another day. Today is for resting.


Photo courtesy of Samara Rose



About the author


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • I am so glad you found yourself. It sounds like an amazing experience.

    Don’t worry. If you lose yourself again, you’ll have lots of people (and this post) to remind you of you.

  • Stand up seems like it would be really hard. I mean, in everyday life, I might accidentally say something that is funny and somebody else might accidentally notice.

    But with stand up, you’re expected to be funny. And that seems hard.

    I loved reading both the stand up and the book pitch, and congrats on both. You do honesty right.

  • I LOVE that I can hear your voice in here. I love that I can hear the inflection and pause and sound of your words as they flow from brain to blog. It’s like magic.

  • It sounds as if that workshop opened you up wide to your true potential! It may end up being your turning point! Yay!!! I can so totally relate to that moment where you burst into tears, realizing that you DON’T suck. All the shit that we have had programmed into our heads by other people wth their own mental baggage does such a number on your head. They have US believing their shit! And then comes the epiphany—it’s been THEIR shit all along. Nothing to do with us.

    I can’t wait to see your video! You look gorgeous in the picture! Could stand up comedy be in your future, young lady? 😀

    And just for the record, WE have known you don’t suck since we began reading your blog! XO

    • Thank you. 🙂

      Okay, I really liked performing. I liked it a lot, but I don’t know that is something I want to pursue. I actually like the writing part more. It’s just very draining for me. I am dragging ass today and I know it will continue through out the week. It just takes a lot from me to be around that many humans ESPECIALLY since there were times when the focus was on me.

    • Wait! If she does stand-up, what’s going to happen to the Douchers?
      Missed you last week, Terri Lee! Wondered where I was going to find you if we had to go rescue Rage-M 🙂

      Too bad we can’t Skype her Youtube and all watch together…
      Wait, Randy? Can we?

      • Hey, Lisa K! Last week, I had to finally bite the bullet and get my tax shit together. I’d been procrastinating. Of course, someone else handling the pension records screwed up and had to make a special trip to them to get it unscrewed up. So, now I’ll be going BACK to tax guy next week to finish up. Are we having fun yet? Ha! Don’t worry about the Douche Twizzles—we can all pursue solo projects, as well. It’ll give us time to get the plaid mini skirts and fishnet stockings washed out. 🙂

        Michelle, I know what you mean about having the life force drained from you. If I’m around too many people for too long, I need to recuperate and recharge or I end up in major anxiety mode. Strangely enough, however, I could always get up and dance in front of a room full of people and it wouldn’t bother me. Not just randomly getting up and dancing, of course—HAHAHA!!!!! Wouldn’t that be hysterical? Fancy restaurant, no music and you just pop up out of your seat and begin dancing like no one is watching! I think it has something to do with not having to open my mouth and speak and oh—the fact that I know I can dance. I’m in my element there. 😀

        • Randy 🙂 (I just LOVE it when you pop in 🙂 )
          Do you need the Magic Wand or the Easy Button?
          Oh, Yeah…and a comment section where we can type OR talk!

          • Lisa, I’m always here. And there.

            I don’t know what I’d do with a magic wand and I’d need directions for an easy button.

  • This was wonderful. Congratulations on your success, and on recognizing your own talent. And for writing about it so well. No you definitely do not suck. I love what you said about dark spaces, especially this: “I believe that when we feel uncomfortable and think ‘No. No I can’t say that’ that we’ve stumbled on exactly what we should be saying.” Food for thought. Maybe you’ve inspired me (and others) to stop avoiding the things we need to face, the things we need to think about, and write about. So thank you. Enjoy your day of rest.

  • I’m glad and relieved that Randy found you sobbing in your dark bedroom. Think of all the places he COULD have found you!
    At least at this stage of our lives, sobbing in the bedroom after pulling off an extravaganza…whether it is performing stand-up at the Erma convention or surviving a Grand Opening celebration in my black velvet cocktail dress… means we lived – just need to breathe a little ‘home’ air and let the voices get back in rhythm.
    Catatonic on the couch means we didn’t handle it well.
    I’m sure Randy checked your eyes for ‘the look.’

    I can hardly wait for the Youtube! I am going to love hearing all those peeps laugh when I usually only hear my guffaws 🙂
    I can hardly wait for the BOOK!!!

    You’re gonna look great by those Jenny’s! And, since it’s non-fiction, you probably will be the first in the shelving… Coo; Lan; Law; Wei. Some libraries gave ‘Let’s Pretend…’ a 070 classification, some a 921. Will it be more ‘informative’ journal style? Or more biographically inclined?

    Fuck it. Just write the damn thing and I’ll put it up front. No classification needed. It’s just GOOD!


    Glad you’re home and fulfilled and recuperating in your safe rooms with your lovingly supportive husband and newly famous son.
    Life is good 🙂

  • All of those activities sound terrifying, but how awesome that you enjoyed them! Gives one hope.
    And I would still buy your book, even though your name is not Jennifer

  • Yay, you. You keep that swagger.
    Glad you connected with people who buoy you and help you tune into that space. We always seem to get in our own way when it comes to confidence. Probably because those bitchy, self destructive voices our heads can be so loud and obnoxious.
    You will write that book. You will. And I will buy it!

  • It’s powerful and profound and a little sad that your greased watermelon is the thought, “Maybe I don’t suck.”
    Hold tight to that because it’s true. You don’t suck. Does it mean you’re a better person than those who, in their dark and quiet moments–moments that, ironically, tend to come in the middle of a lot of yelling–ask themselves, “Maybe I do suck”?
    I don’t know. Maybe we should all just focus on improving ourselves rather than dwelling on our current state of suckitude.
    Anyway I would read the hell out of your book and buy three copies–one for me and one for the university library where I work and one for the public library. And you don’t have to change your name to Jennifer.

    • Maybe I don’t suck doesn’t sound really positive..I know. But it is HUGE for me. HUGE. That is such a step forward that my gratitude to MYSELF keeps bringing tears to my eyes. And I’m glad I can keep my name. I kind of like it.

  • There’s no “maybe,” it’s a fact: You don’t suck. You’re going to have to take my word on this. I know a few people who suck and you’re not one of them. Go on with your badself!

    • That made me laugh. Yes. I know people who suck as well. Haha.

      Thank you. I really think you have stuck with me longer than anyone’s been over 5 years now between both blogs!

  • Wow……….thanks for sharing your soul and sense of humor. Both are beautiful, relatable and fresh! I am envisioning you sitting in the lightest dark room in the world!

  • Not only do you not suck, you rock so hard that I’m constantly amazed that there isn’t more seismic activity in Ohio…
    And as for the slipping away aspect, I’ll let Neko Case explain it for me (from Widow’s Toast):
    You raise your glass and may exclaim
    “I’ll put my hands on the truth by God”
    But it’s faster, love, than you and me
    Faster than the speed of gravity
    That’s how it catches you from falling
    And how it always slips away

  • “Maybe I don’t suck.” Cross out that maybe, sister. You just came running through the tunnel and smashed into the big stadium. Game on! I love breakthrough stories.

    • Thank you! Maybe I don’t suck is actually a big deal for me. I’ve actually said this more than once over the course of this blog, but this is the first time that I really FELT it. It feels really good. I’m working toward “I AM AWESOME!!!”

  • I knew you would rock this and I’m so glad you found that space. I still haven’t found mine, I sometimes get a mere hint of it but then the gremlins of self doubt send it scuttling back to its hiding place, even after all these years of performing. There is no way on the planet I could do stand up though so you have my unfailing admiration for being able to do that. I’d freeze on the spot but then again I’m not terribly good at being deliberately funny so there would be tumbleweed silence if I tried it I suspect. I’ll stick to singing and playing my sax!

    I so need to see the YT video when it goes up and yes, you have to write that book. I for one really want to read it and know it would be brilliant!

    So very proud of you my sister across the pond!

    • Oh, thank you gorgeous.

      If it makes you feel any better, if I tried singing in front of a crowd it would go just as badly as you trying stand up. I suck at singing. (I mean, I do sing…but just at home and in my car).

      I am looking forward to the video. I think. I hope I don’t just cringe through the whole thing.

  • You’re just naturally funny. Period. You either got it or you don’t. Why not try your hand at more standup? If you don’t get a book deal, do like I did and self-publish. I would be happy to share with you the steps necessary to self-pub. You gotta get yourself out there, besides penning your very entertaining blog. Don’t do a disservice to mankind. Share your humor with the world. You’re so freakin’ hilarious …. you must get it from your kids! 😉

    • Thank you so much. I am so much looking forward to the day when I can hear or read a compliment and not squirm or deflect. I’m getting there. Either way, I still love it. I love to hear that I make people laugh.

      Yeah…I have a lot of work to do, but when I get to a place where I am ready to make some decisions, I will probably hit you up.

  • You definitely don’t suck !!!! I love your sense of humour and how you write even if sometimes I don’t get your points of reference (it may be a living in a different country thing !!!).
    I’m sorry you didn’t win but I get how you may want to change your name to Jennifer – maybe that could be your pen name ????
    Have the best day xox

  • You realize, M, that you’re in this. It’s not like you’re at the starting line. This is now what you do: write, blog, speak, perform, etc. You’ve got more than just a toe in the water. (We’re all on the beach screaming at you like a proud mom, “YOU’RE DOING IT!! YOU’RE SWIMMMMMINNGGGGGG!) Virtual hugs…

    • Okay, this actually felt like a hug. Thank you so much I am trying to go further in, but it’s scary as fuck. Really scary. But I’m going to keep going. I’m not letting fear win. I don’t even care how many times I fall. I have to at least try.

    • Thank you! I think I will have it in a couple weeks. I just hope I like it and I don’t cringe the whole time I watch it. I pretty much cringed through my Listen To Your Mother video.

  • You sure don’t suck. You are the furthest thing from sucking.

    I told a few friends of mine that there is NO WAY IN HELL I would do stand up. Ever. It’s pretty goddamn amazing that you did.

    I guess you have to let all of this just sink it. Man, I’m glad I hung out with you. And I got to meet Randy! That was the icing on the cake. xoxoxo

    • The whole thing was amazing. The whole thing. Randy was so happy to meet everyone.

      I might try it again. I MIGHT. There’s a club that has open mic night. If I do, it won’t be any time soon. I’d want to spend time getting five solid minutes done. So..the fall maybe? I don’t know. I might not be interested in doing that at all by then. Who knows.

      I miss your face.

  • I am so happy to know that you went and especially that you had the opportunity to catch that watermelon!! It’s huge… and I know it doesn’t mean as much as feeling it from the inside, but I hope you can feel the love, admiration and depth of caring that comes from me, out here…

By Michelle


RSIH in your inbox