Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Keeping it Real

Most people who know me in real life would *ahem* consider me to be a rather opinionated person. And they'd be right. I have lots and lots of opinions that I'm not terribly shy about sharing with anyone (and everyone) who will listen.

Okay, fine, I share my opinions with people who don't listen too. (Um, like my husband.) I'm the oldest sister. I'm bossy. It's just who I am.

And here's the thing, my opinions are really very consistent. In fact, if I had to boil down my philosophy on life into three words it would be as follows:

Keep it real.

I simply do not do fake. In fact, I've taken some pretty extreme measures to eliminate anyone with even a whiff of insincerity from my life. I simply can't deal with it. My rules are pretty simple. In order to be someone I consider a friend you must meet the following criteria:

1. You must listen without judgement when I fail as a mother/wife/sister/daughter/friend/human being. I make loads of mistakes and I'm not shy about admitting it. When Jack rolled off his changing table when he was 9 months old and had to get a CAT scan, I practically took out a billboard informing the world that I was the WORST MOTHER EVER. Or that time when I was forced to break into my own home only to be completely humiliated at Jack's preschool when he spiked a cupcake on the ground (um, maybe a delayed side effect of the fall from the changing table?), instead of pretending like I was mother of the year, I wrote a blog post telling the world how badly I suck. Bottom line: I'm not perfect and I don't want to have to pretend to be perfect. Ever.

2. You live by the golden rule. Know when to tell the truth and when to lie like a dog. Okay, so it's a little different than the traditional version, but it works. I'd want to know if I had a huge chunk of lettuce in my teeth. Or if I was way overdue for an eyebrow wax. Real friends are honest when you need them to be. More importantly, they lie when they realize the truth can only hurt. Yup, that's why your real friends will tell you you're "glowing" when  you're only 20 weeks pregnant and look like you could theoretically pop out a 9 pound baby at any second.

3. You absolutely must be able to laugh at yourself. This might actually be my single most important rule. I can't stand people that take themselves too seriously. We all suffer day-to-day humiliations. Your kid pees in the check out line at Target. Your first attempt at writing a novel gets more rejections than you even thought possible. (Seriously, I didn't even know there were that many literary agents in the publishing industry.) You publicly obsess over boys who portray high schoolers on popular television shows. Innocuous comments from your husband reduce you to tears. Instead of sweeping it all under the rug and pretending you're perfect, LAUGH. And guess what? Your real friends will give you a hug and laugh right along with you.

So that pretty much sums up why I'll always choose the Tina Feys over the Gwyneth Paltrows of the world.



P.S.
Please go congratulate our friend (and agent mate!) Stasia Kehoe for landing an agent AND a book deal in 10 days. Holy. Crap. We can't wait to read AUDITION! 

53 comments:

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Laughing at myself used to be sooo hard. It can be, you know, to us super-sensitive author types. But for the past few years, some of the mistakes I've made are so amusing, how can I not laugh? And in the end, it makes things easier, doesn't it? :D

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Great post. I'm a keeping it real kinda gal too. And yeah, Tina over Gwyneth any day! Great symbolism there.

salarsenッ said...

Oh my stinking root! You and I are in the 'changing table' shame group. Yup, bad mummy. And I had to laugh with #3. Just because...'didn't know that many agents existed?' (Why do I take comfort in other's failures like mine?)

And the school boy thang...shamefully hiding my face. Where the heck where those dudes when I was in school?

Thanks for helping me 'lighten' up this morning.

Sheri~

Matthew Rush said...

Wow congrats to your friend, that's amazing.

Now about your rules: Excellent.

The three most important attributes I want in a true friend: Honesty, Humility and Tact. And that's just a simple way of saying:

What you said.

Piedmont Writer said...

Great post. You can't get any more real than peeing in a Target check-out line.

Christina Lee said...

LOL--awesome. And THIS line: "Your first attempt at writing a novel gets more rejections than you even thought possible. (Seriously, I didn't even know there were that many literary agents in the publishing industry.)" SIGH, no kidding!

Jen said...

This was great! I think it's important to have friend requirements in place otherwise the blinders are up and you don't realize you chose poorly until they repeatedly screw you over... trust me I have experience with that!

Christine Danek said...

This is a great post. I try to laugh at myself it does seem to make life easier. I too prefer the Tins Feys over the Gweynth paltrows.

Sara B. Larson said...

What a great post, I love it!! Go Tina Feys of the world! ;) keeping it real (as per your definition) is the only way to stay happy and sane in the face of the inevitable humiliations & highs & lows we all experience. The only thing is, I'm not sure I'd tell you that you were overdue on an eyebrow wax if you were "glowing" @ 20 wks preggo at the same time... Those hormones could make a comment like that turn into "you suck at everything, you're ugly & fat, and your eyebrows are the least of your problems & faults. In fact your baby is probably going to be born with a unibrow." No? Oh, maybe I'm the only one who gets a tad sensitive during pregnancy, ha ha. ;)

MissV said...

Great post. I agree with you! See? We could sooo be friends!

An agent in 10 days? Whew, setting the bar pretty high!

Candyland said...

Yes! Candyland hates fakes. Real is awesome and so are the Tina Feys. And so are YOU:)

Gwenyth can suck it.

Lisa said...

I adore Tina Fey! You girls never fail to make me smile. Thank you!

Oh, and congrats to your friend. That's awesome!

Katie said...

Lemme try to keep it real for minute...

TEN DAYS?! WTH??!!!! My very "real" side is both insanely curious, and green with envy.

oh lawsy, this news has thrown off my very "real" mojo this morning.

However, my jealousy was rebalanced by the hysterics I felt, remembering your breaking into your own house! HA!

Ommmmm

Kristi Helvig said...

As a fellow oldest sister, you sound eerily similar to me - and Tina Fey rocks! Congrats to your friend. :)

Kelly said...

Tina Fey so trumps Gwyneth! Every time!

Alissa said...

Hooray for real people everywhere! Real is always cooler than fake.

Falen said...

Yay! I meet all those criteria! Also i'm the oldest too (by two minutes. But hey, it still counts!)

Michelle McLean said...

LOL oh yes, if I didn't laugh at myself and the shambles my life is often in, I'd be in the looney bin in a total depressive catatonic state. Permanently. One of my favorite movie lines is "You shouldn't take life too seriously. You'll never get out alive." ;-)

And huge congrats to Stasia!!! Holy cow. :D

rae said...

Great post, and concluding with Tina v. Gwyneth was pure authorial gold.

storyqueen said...

If you can't laugh at a kid who spikes a cupcake....well.....that's just sad.

I love how you keep it real. that's why soooo many of us stop by each day.

Real=the best.

Shelley

A. Grey said...

After reading this post I'm pretty sure we could be total BFFs.

I'll tell the truth even when it makes me look like a schmo (probably because I WAS a schmo in whatever situation occurred, although I try really hard NOT to be a schmo. And I fail sometimes.)

I'll tell a total stranger that they have lettuce in their teeth, even if she's sitting with her girlfriends - who DIDN'T tell her about the lettuce.

I laugh at myself, and the completely crazy things that happen to me all the time. There is nothing so awful that can't be laughed at, even if it hurts at the same time.

Heidi Willis said...

Great life advice! I agree with all of it... along with the Tina Fey choice. Much rather be/hangout with Tina than Gwyneth.

(and my daughter rolled off the couch when she was 3 weeks old. Oy!!)

(and I had something like 5 concussions by the time I was five. My parents joked about it by saying, "Think how smart she would have been if we hadn't dropped her on her head all the time!")

Sarah Bromley said...

Such sound advice! Congrats to your agent mate!

just call me jo said...

You are so my kind of lady. I'm sarcastic and say it like it is. My daughter hates it (and me) most of the time. (My son-in-law REALLY hates me because I sigh!) Oh, get over it. I HATE phony and those two are the phoniest. I need to work on laughing at myself. I know I'm awkward and clumsy; it's just so much easier to laugh at other people who are the same.

Corinne O'Flynn said...

Loved this! I too prefer living in the real category. I would add to this list: "We live in our house" and it shows. I don't keep a showplace to win friends and influence people. We have four kids and it is messy. When a new potential 'friend' sniffs at the socks on the floor, I write their number in pencil.

AWESOME for your friend's deal...

SWK said...

Woo-hoo. Thanks for the shout-out, Lisa & Laura. With you on the Tina Fey thing, too :) Stasia

Hardygirl said...

Keepin' it real. I'm with you.

And, I totally want to kick a hole through my computer screen--seriously? Who has legs like Gwyneth's???? I want to shove a muffin in her face.

Hmm. Is that "real" or just hostility.

And, I"m with Katie about the ten day book deal. Green city over here!!!

sf

Lori W. said...

"Your kid pees in the checkout line at Target." Thank you so much for making me laugh and keeping it real! The thing is we've all been there (not w/the pee, but close enough, close enough).

C. Michael Fontes said...

Too true. We have all been guilty of "stupid parent tricks" at one time or another. For that matter, we've all been guilty of "stupid human tricks," too.

I laugh at myself constantly. It's easy when you goof up a lot :)

B. Miller said...

I love your list. And Tina Fey! Thanks for posting. I think I meet your criteria... :D

JEM said...

I too would choose Tina Fey over Gwynny Paltrow (and would choose to BE Tina Fey, except maybe with less poop jokes).

jessjordan said...

I adore Tina Fey. So damn funny and intelligent at the same time.

I love that you're real. It's why we all can't wait to see what crazy, silly things you're up to every week. :)

p.s. way to go, Stasia! Very impressed. I bow down at your feet.

p.p.s. (or p.s.s.) Since you and I both love to obsess about guys who play high school boys, you might wanna check my post today. It should make you smile.

Mariah Irvin said...

Great rules to live by. Nothing I hate more than a phony!

Lisa_Gibson said...

Awesome post! I couldn't agree more. Words for posterity. ;)

Dara said...

I'm always laughing at myself. Like today, when I spilled a crapload of toner on the floor here in the office. Needless to say, I will probably be sneezing black phlegm all week because of it. :P

And there will forever be a huge black stain in the carpet because toner does not vacuum up easily. I will laugh at myself every time I see that.

Marsha Sigman said...

Hate the Fake, always have.

And if I didn't laugh at myself or at everyone else...I would be really freakin' bored.

Kelly H-Y said...

Fabulous post!!
(And thank you so much for your comment on my 'Deep Water' post ... you totally got what I was trying to say ... it wasn't just about water ... it was a metaphor for any scary stuff!)

Emily J. Griffin said...

Is this real like VHI Celebreality? I can do that.

Larissa said...

I knew I liked you. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm completely with you. Fake people or pretentious people drive me batty! I can't stand snobbery and uppitiness (probably not a real word, but it drives me nuts!). And laughing at myself is so easy to do - I get lots of opportunities to practice :)

Carolyn V. said...

I have a hard time with fake people too. Plus I'm so not perfect. Sweet! We can be friends! =)

Southpaw said...

I like your criteria!

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

See....I knew I loved you for a reason. Thank you for articulating it so perfectly for me. :)

No really, I'm all about keeping it real. How else could there be a label on my blog called Shannon Shame? And life sucks WAY too much if you can't laugh at yourself and the absurdities that happen. Thanks for the reminder.

Now off to congratulate your friend!

Laura Marcella said...

Loved this post! Laughing at myself really does make everything better. For some it needs to be learned, but it's definitely worth the energy!

I have an award at my blog for you amazing sisters!!!

Christina Farley said...

Keeping it real is so true! And did your son have a great birthday? That's so cool that his birthday is a holiday too!

Hayley said...

Laughing at yourself is hard, but I'd like to think that I'm better at it now. Great post!

Scott Tracey said...

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ADMIRING 27 YEAR OLD MEN WHO PLAY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS.

Ahem.

Sorry. I was feeling defensive. Hahaha <-- see? Laughing at myself. It's like we're destined to be BFFs.

No really. Call me. ;)

Little Ms J said...

Down with the Gwynnie's of the world!

Myrna Foster said...

I've had to break into my house, my car, my bedroom, my bathroom . . . yes, my son went though a phase where locks fascinated him. Why do you ask?

Love the spiked cupcake!

Angela McCallister said...

It's pretty darn hard to be fake where I'm at. My coworkers and I all live together for months on end. And mistakes aren't usually judged, but they are laughed at. You may never live it down! And the bonus to having a sense of humor is anything and everything you say WILL have some sort of perverted twist added to it. Hmph, Sailors!

PS-My first child took a nose dive onto a hardwood floor from his crib. He'd had a growth spurt, and I didn't know to lower the mattress. He's 17 now, getting straight A's and taking AP college classes his senior year. I vote the knocked noggin induces genius!

ASBLACKASOBAMA said...

Ooooooh! I love me some Tina Fey! But Gwyneth was very very funny on 'The Marriage Ref' the other night....

Elana Johnson said...

I'm so with you on the laughing one. I cannot deal with people who take themselves so freaking serious all the time.

Love "Keep it real."

kanishk said...

Great post. I'm a keeping it real kinda gal too
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