It’s Impossible to Hide In Your House When You’ve Got Friends

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You Gotta Have Friends LIGHTERFriends manage to talk you into doing things, going places, and tasting life outside your comfort zone.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it againFriends can help your agoraphobia get better.  Not the ones who shake their head and tell you you’re being dramatic, just get out of the house.  Not the ones who laugh and say, “You’re a agor…ah…a WTF?”  Not the ones who try to talk you out of the house, or guilt you into stepping outside.  Those people you will eventually learn are not your friends; they’re simply people that you know.

The friends that I’m talking about are those that love you for who you are.  And if that means you don’t get out much (for whatever reason) well, that’s okay, and they’ll sit in the house with you and be perfectly fine with it.  At my most phobic, when I was terrified of so many things, a rather large space station called “Skylab” (yes, a whole space station!) was poised to re-enter our atmosphere and come crashing back to earth.

I was certain it would fall on my head.

Actually, fall directly on my head.  Nobody else would be injured, I was sure, except for me.  And boy, that did nothing to get me to budge from my couch.  The logic escaped me that perhaps if I left the house and moved around a lot, that maybe I could avoid this 169,000 pound massive missile from the skies.  No, my idea of saving myself was to become a sitting duck on my sofa in West Hollywood.

The truth was I was just too terrified to move.

So what did my friends do?  We had a party to celebrate Skylab’s return.  Well, actually, I threw the party because I was the only one with a blender at the time and we were having frozen daiquiris.  But the point is:  my friends came to keep me company.  There I was sitting on my couch, so terrified that Skylab had my name on it, and my friends came over to join me on that couch.  In my mind, they were risking their lives just to be there with me.

And that’s not all.

They showed up – all of my friends – wearing construction hard hats, an Army helmet, and my dear friend John even put a large bullseye and a magnet on top of his baseball hat just to defy fate.  Or maybe to save me from a direct hit.  I was so busy laughing and enjoying our “impromptu” party that I completely forgot about Skylab.  All that dread and terror my imagination had been feasting on simply was forgotten that evening.

My friends got me through the night.

Thanks to my friends (and 9 other things that helped me go from agoraphobic to recovering agoraphobic) I now get out of my house.  I still need help with driving – I don’t do freeways.  So if there are freeways involved, my hubbie is the one behind the wheel.  And that’s how I will be getting to Ventura this Saturday for a book signing and personal appearance at Bank of Books at 748 E. Main Street. It’s an hour away from my house so I’m calling it a road trip.  Yes I’m a little bit nervous – it’s definitely out of my comfort zone.  But I’m certain I can do it.

My friend Wayne talked me into it and he’ll be there.

And thankfully, no space stations are scheduled to fall this weekend.

(If you live in or around Ventura, please come by and keep me company.  It always helps to be around friends.  Not sure I can bring any frozen daiquiris…Will cookies do?)

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You’re Still Talking But The Conversation Is Over

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I’m going to write something today that I probably shouldn’t be writing but I’m going to write it anyway. I’m opening this up for discussion and maybe some of you can help me figure this out.

I have an “online hater.”

Is that an actual term or am I making that up?  Does anybody know?  Well, if it’s not a legitimate term, I’m now coining it.  Here’s what it means: An online hater is someone who is the opposite of a fan.  Or a friend.  Or even some nice-enough acquaintance you just met on Twitter.  My online hater is somebody who doesn’t like me because I wrote a book with Michael Jackson as one of the central characters. She thinks it was wrong for me to write it, and that I said bad things about Michael. She told me this in a brief exchange on an Amazon chat board; we actually had a discussion about it when the book first came out.  I guess that discussion wasn’t enough for her because then she showed up on my blog, on the book’s Facebook, the Amazon review site, and once when I visited a blog site for a Q & A. She just keeps showing up and trash talking me.

Is it wrong that I’m upset about this?

Because I am.  I know I shouldn’t probably admit that.   I know you’re supposed to turn the other cheek. I know that words aren’t supposed to hurt you. And yet, I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t hurt. I guess there’s just something in my double-X chromosomes that makes me want to please everybody, and to make sure everyone’s happy. Well, my online hater certainly isn’t happy.  And I’m trying to figure out how to deal with this.

I’m not good with criticism, but as I get older, I’m getting better at it. You can tell me you don’t like my writing, you don’t like my stories, you don’t like my hair, or the way I laugh, or that I laugh at the wrong moments, my eyes are too close, I wear funny clothes, or ridiculous looking shoes; you don’t like my politics, or you don’t like me because I’m not political.  There are any number of reasons you might find fault with me.  I’ve learned to accept the fact that some people just love to criticize, and they’ll do it openly, and often. My emotional skin has thickened (a little)  over the years, and I can deal with most (all right, some) disapproval thrown my way. But I draw the line when you attack my honesty. Honesty is the way I try to live my life, and it’s what I bring to my writing.

All + Everything.

To do something well you have to be passionate about what you’re doing, and you have to do it to the max:  Body and soul.  All + Everything.  That’s what I do when I write.  I give you my point of view, honestly; and I don’t hold back. And that’s what I did in my book. Michael Jackson was in my life for a brief period of time, and what I wrote about him was from my point of view.  Honest, and to the point.  I didn’t hold back anything – my observations or my thoughts. I told my story (and the key words here are my story) exactly the way I experienced it.

So for the benefit of my online hater:  If you want to find fault with me, for writing about my honest point of view, well, I guess you and I will have to agree to disagree.  You’re not going to change my way of thinking, and I know that I certainly won’t change yours. I guess this conversation between the two of us is now over.

It’s time for you to move on.

(How do you handle the haters in your life?  The ones that find meaning in attacking, criticizing, and judging who you are and what you do? Do you let them know how you’re feeling and confront them? Or do you just keep quiet and hold it in?)