Not that I really technically met her – I just went to her book signing (is it bad that this is the part I chose to explain first?) in Louisville a few days ago. It was amazing (seeing Jenny, that is, because the rest of the night sucked cacti), and now I get to tell you all about my day.
It all starts with my deodorant breaking off mid-use and landing on the shirt I was going to wear. If anything were to indicate that my day would be a doozy, it would probably be that. Also, I learned that it does not show up clear on black clothing, so now I have an excuse to try a different brand of deodorant (because the fact that it broke off in the first place even though it was brand new wasn’t a good enough reason).
Then I forgot my earphones before I went out, which meant I couldn’t shamelessly listen to my favorite songs while I picked up dinner for everyone because it’s seen as “uncivilized” and “rude” to play Panic! At the Disco’s Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time or Britney Spears’s Make Me on my phone while shopping (okay, I guess I can understand why that would be a problem, you party poopers). Usually I get upset when I forget my earphones because they’re like a fortress of solitude while I’m shopping – some may call it a security blanket for introverted people/people with anxiety, and they wouldn’t be wrong – but not this time. If I had remembered my earphones, I wouldn’t have heard this gem at the check-out lane:
*Venus by Bananarama starts playing*
Guy 1: *starts singing along*
Guy 2: *hums while Guy 1 sings*
Guy 3: *ignoring the other two* You know, I use to work around here. I was the guy who went to all the stores and changed the magazines every week.
Guy 4: Uh-huh. … Man, this song reminds me of shampoo.
Guys 1 and 2: *having their own mini concert*
Guy 3: Shampoo? Yeah, I guess it was in some shampoo commercial.
Guy 5: *cuts line to get with the other four guys* Hey! This song is amazing.
Meanwhile I didn’t have the heart to tell them that it was actually used for a women’s razor commercial… But who am I to stop a brotastic concert and other guys thinking about shampoo?
That was probably one of the highlights of my day, but it was short-lived after we dropped off the food and the long drive to Louisville began. Imagine, if you will, being in a car with your mother for about three or so hours while she starts mentioning painful moments of your childhood. Yeah, no, no, nope. There are some things that should not be discussed on a long car ride, and painful childhood memories are one of them. If that wasn’t enough, there was a moment when I had a stomach cramp and panicked that my monthly monster was arriving. While we were driving in the middle of nowhere. You could imagine the thoughts running through my head, but the most prominent one was, “I swear to God, I will never forgive my vagina if it does this.” Thankfully it was just from where I hadn’t eaten in a while.
Soon enough we were almost at the Gallery (though I guess it wasn’t really soon enough, was it?) so I could have a moment to recharge and relax alone for a moment. Yeah, that was short-lived, too, but I would rather not talk about it here.
Finally, we arrived at the Tim Faulkner Gallery! And there was no place to park so I had to walk through what is considered a shady area alone as it snowed. I froze my boobs off, but it was worth it because the room for the book signing was unlike any place I have been.
The whole place was full of art. Statues, paintings hanging on the walls, paintings on the walls. For $350, you could get a painting of a blue demon guy with his “little man” dangling about (because it’s not really porn if you call it art) or a painting of a naked woman looking away (she looked distressed, but wouldn’t you be if you were naked). I guess I should have put “genital paintings” instead of painted genitals, because now that I read that again…
Also, for $7,500, you can purchase a huge mural of Obama. And yes, I probably would get something like that. I miss the Obama family.
For a group of people who, most of which, would probably rather be at home hiding under their blankets, the room was full of chatter and good vibes. Strangers rejoiced, friendships were made, and awkward moments happened. Or maybe the last part was just me, because I certainly managed to embarrass myself. I had gotten up from my seat for a moment to get something only to find someone else’s copy of Furiously Happy in my seat. I wasn’t sure who’s it was, so I started to ask a girl behind the seat if she saw who left it so I could return it to them. Then it happened. I realized she wasn’t the girl who was sitting behind me before I got up. In fact, that wasn’t even my seat. The chair I was sitting in was actually a few rows up. DOY. Suddenly I understood why the girl a few seats down from where I was standing was looking at me like I had two heads. And now that I read this, I feel like you guys might get the vibe that I’m like Sheldon Cooper when it comes to seats…
I finally felt at ease when Jenny Lawson took the stage and started speaking. That was when everyone got excited, happy, and even a little quiet, all at the same time. You know it’s going to be amazing when the first words out of someone’s mouth is, “Holy shit, guys.”
I was instantly cheered up. I mean, who wouldn’t be? I got to see one of my favorite authors, who is also one of my greatest inspirations to start blogging, in person. Other than AkaiCon, I never really get to have moments like this so it was a huge deal to me. What made it even better was how funny and sweet she was. The whole room would respectfully go silent as she spoke, but whenever she finished a joke the room was full of laughter and clapping. It was amazing, and I really needed those laughs.
After starting off and thanking the Tim Faulkner Gallery and Carmichael’s Bookstore for hosting and setting up the event, Jenny started reading to us pages from her new book You Are Here: An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds. It was whimsically hilarious and insightful. As she read it and explained why she made it, I realized it was something I needed. And this time I’m not just saying that like the times I say I need white chocolate Reese Cups.
While Jenny first started telling us about You Are Here on her blog, she would write about how she has/had been in a long depression. It was a time when I noticed more and more people online and around me’s depression showing. It was a time when I, too, had fallen in a long depression. Between that and everything in the world going on at once, I felt like I just needed to breath and hide away from the world, and I did by shutting everyone out. I didn’t open up about it or talk to anyone about it – I didn’t want anyone to know. I think almost no one at the time knew how I was feeling because I kept it to myself while I kept to myself. Which was hard to do when one person says, “You have the saddest eyes I have ever seen,” and when your own mother asks if you’re depressed. But instead of admitting to it and opening up, I did what I always do when I’m on the spot and feeling a rush of nervousness and anxiousness mixed together: I erratically made jokes and played it off, then I changed the subject to something ridiculous, like asking why old guys like golf or explaining the difference between anime and cartoons.
This was something that lasted for several months, and sometimes it still rears its ugly head my way. But not as often or as much as it did last year. In fact, I would like to think that it’s finally starting to go away now (and by now, I mean for now because this shit never really goes away). It was a long and difficult time, which is why I needed You Are Here. Because I was there then, and I am here now, and I need to remind myself of that. It might just be a coloring book, but it’s also a book full of moments that a lot of us have unknowingly experienced together (well, maybe at different times) whenever we were having a hard time or when our brains felt busted (maybe not literally busted, ouch).
After Jenny read the pages and the footnote (if you ask me all coloring books deserve at least one footnote), she did a Q&A with us. We learned that, yes, she finally got her bag of drugs from the police. And that Wil Wheaton is still collating. She also tried the “Hot Brown.” (IT’S A SANDWICH AND NOTHING LIKE THE CLEVELAND STEAMER WHICH WAS WHAT SHE SAID THE NAME HAD REMINDED HER OF. Then she told us not to look it up and like a rebel I did it anyways. WHAT THE HELL.) She even gave us some advice on writing and recommended that we listen to the song Die, Vampire, Die! which was nothing that I expected it to be, but still awesome.
All in all, it was a fun event that I am glad to have attended. The place was interesting, Jenny was amazing, and now I have a new coloring book that I’m in love with. The rest of the night might have been full of arguing and hatefulness at home, but at least there was a moment when everything was okay, and I’ll take it. Everything is calm now, though that doesn’t make it okay. So, for now and until things happen, I will color.
I will color my thoughts, my anxiety, my depression, my feelings, my fears, my joy, my pain, my wanders, and everything in-between. Here are the ones I have finished already. They’re messy and far from perfect (in the pictures they may look okay, but in reality they are all out of the lines and full of smudges), but I’m happy with how they turned out. I seriously recommend getting this book, especially if you have a dangerous mind.