You can tell how old people are by whether they remember the smell of an Ogilvie Home Perm.

I was just scrolling through Facebook and I saw a photo of this really unfortunate-looking girl, and I was like “Jesus, that girl’s awkwardness is giving me second-hand 80′s nostalgia-shame from when I was that age and had the same-OHMYGOD THAT’S ME.”  Because apparently my cousin Joycie decided to upload old family pictures.

So this me, age almost 14, between my sister and cousin:

ohgod

Let’s break this picture down, shall we?:

1.  Those glasses were so big they literally end beneath my nostrils.  It’s like someone made a scuba mask but forgot the nosepiece.   Luckily my eyes continued to worsen so I got to pick out new glasses the next year.  I got the exact same enormous glasses but with bright red frames because that’s how Sally Jesse Rafael did it.

2.  You know what smells like teen spirit?  Me either, but I bet it’s the opposite of a baby-blue, high-necked sweater with kitties on it.

3.  I paid to have my hair look like that.  It was an eight dollar Ogilvie home perm but my mom didn’t do the bangs because we ran out of perm solution.  It smelled so bad I had to burn my pajamas later.  I don’t know if there’s a name for this particular hairstyle but there should be.  It’s as if a drunken poodle impregnated a mullet.  A “poollet”, perhaps?  Or maybe a “moodle”.  Either way, I’m wearing that poollet -moodle with motherfuckin’ panache, y’all.  And by “panache” I mean “quiet, unrefined desperation.”

4.  I’m playing dominos.  On purpose.

5.  Over my left shoulder?  Velvet painting of Jesus at the last supper.  Also, what seems to be the visible stench of my fake Debbie Gibson perfume, or possibly The Ghost of Christmas Past asking future-me what the hell I was thinking wearing culottes with a sweater.

Honestly, it’s like I mugged an elderly librarian and then took over her life.  At first I was going to claim this wasn’t even me but my sister had already tagged me on Facebook while laughing hysterically.  Of course, she’s wearing a shirt with Pooh all over it so she’s really not in a position to talk.   Frankly, it’s almost like I was trying to look terrible.  Like Terry Richardson, but less pedophiley.

The good thing though is that pictures of you at your most awkward are always helpful to give you perspective for when you think you’re currently too fat or too old or too skinny or too whatever.  You can keep those horrid pictures to remind yourself that you probably look better now than you did during those uncomfortable, adolescent years when you didn’t know how to wear your face right, and your body was rebelling against you in every possible way, and you had no clue who you were or what to wear or which terrible fluid was going to start leaking out of you next.  And that’s a good thing.  And that’s why I’m keeping this picture and it’s also why you need to not delete those awkward photos of your own children.  Print that shit out, y’all.  Hide it in a book.  Then when they’re grown and get dumped and eat too much ice cream and tell you they feel ugly you can pull out those pictures and let them see just how far they’ve come.

It’s all about perspective, you guys.

PS.  Many of you are insane and have expressed an interest in my blue cat sweater.  It has gone to bad clothes heaven but this seems like the next best thing.

Women Who are Ambivalent about Women Against Women Against Feminism

So...yeah.  Right now there’s a lot of talk about a tumblr called WomenAgainstFeminism.  It’s just pictures of some women holding up handwritten signs entitled “I don’t need feminism because...”  Some of the reasons they give for not needing feminism almost seem like a parody (“How the fuck am I suppose to open jars and lift heavy things without my husband?”) and some (“I don’t need to grow out my body hair to prove I’m equal to men”) just make me wonder where in the world they got their definition of feminism.

At first I considered starting my own “I Don’t Need _____ Because” tumblr with people holding equally baffling signs.  Signs like:

I don’t need books because YOU KNOW WHO WROTE BOOKS?  HITLER.  HITLER WROTE A BOOK.  NO THANK YOU, NAZIS.

I don’t need money BECAUSE I HAVE A CHECKBOOK, ASSHOLE.

I don’t need air because LOTS OF IT IS FARTS.  I’M NOT BREATHING FARTS.  YOU BREATHE FARTS.

But then I remembered that I’m too lazy to make a tumblr and that this whole thing was a bit ridiculous. Here’s the thing:  Do you think men and women should have equal rights politically, socially and economically?  Then you’re probably a feminist.  There are a million tiny aspects of this to break off into and I get it.  It’s complicated.  There’s not just one type of feminist, just as there’s not just one type of Christian or Muslim, or man or woman.  Hell, there’s not even just one type of shark.  Some are non-threatening and friendly.  Some get sucked up into tornadoes and viciously chew off people’s faces until that guy from 90210 stops the weather with bombs.  (Spoiler alert.)    The point is that sharks, much like feminists, are awesome, and beneficial, and the world would be a worse place without them.  Plus, they’re incredibly entertaining and even if you sometimes think they’re dicks for eating cute seals you still yell “HOLYSHITLOOKATTHAT!” when Shark Week comes on.  I think this is a bad analogy.  Lemme try again.

Feminists are like bees.  They are adorable and fuzzy but people run away from them because they don’t understand that they just want to make things good.  We’d be fucked without bees.  Seriously.  And yes, some bees are assholes and maybe one killed your great-uncle and there are some that you give the side-eye to when they start acting crazy but eventually you realize that you have to take the good bees with the bad bees and maybe just be picky about what honey you choose to eat.  Eat the raw honey, by the way.  It’s way healthier.  That last part isn’t part of the analogy.  It’s just good advice from my great-grandfather (beekeeper).  Also, like bees, feminists secrete a non-edible wax and are easily distracted by smoke.

I’ve lost my point.

Wait, no.  I’ve got it again.

Feminism is inherently good.  It’s not even close to perfect and still needs lots of work and sometimes it gets all fucked up and backward and awful but that doesn’t mean it’s not still worth fighting for.  Now go back and replace “Feminism” with “The human race”.  It works, right?.  That’s because feminists are made of human.  Men and women.  In fact, one of my favorite feminists is Sir Patrick Stewart.

Patrick Stewart, feminist. His mother made 3 pounds 10 shillings for working a forty hour week in a weaving shed. She was also an abuse victim and he’s an anti-domestic violence advocate.

Patrick Stewart, feminist. His mother made 3 pounds 10 shillings for working a forty hour week in a weaving shed. She was also an abuse victim and he’s an anti-domestic violence advocate.  More at the bottom.

I’m not saying you can’t choose to not be a feminist but know what you’re choosing.  Don’t make a decision about a group based on the most radical beliefs of a group.  Don’t get defensive if you get deeper and are exposed to difficult ideas about intersectionality and race and gender and colonialism and patriarchy and male liberation.  Just listen.  Some of it will make sense.  Some of it won’t.  Some of it will later when you’re a different person.  Some of it you’ll change your mind about throughout your life and the world will change too.  Some of it is bullshit.  Some of it is truth.  All of it is worth listening to.

And now you get to decide.  Are you a feminist?  Yes?  No?  Well, don’t worry because tomorrow you get to choose again.  And that keeps happening every day for the rest of your life.

As for me, I am a feminist (among so, so many other things).  I believe in equality and I think we still have work to do.  I’m thankful to the men and women who worked to give me the freedom and rights I have today and I am proud to be a part of a movement that I hope will make the world better and safer for my daughter (and for the men and women she’ll share that world with).  I’m happy we’ve come so far and I’m glad that we’re becoming more aware of feminist issues that don’t just focus on straight, white women, even though confronting those issues is sometimes painful. And I’m happy that the womenagainstfeminism tumblr exists.  Because even though I disagree with most of them I’m glad that those women have a platform on which to speak, and also because if we know what the arguments or misperceptions are against feminism then we can better address them.  Or agree with them.  Or ignore them.  Or discuss them with our sons and daughters so they can make informed decisions for themselves.  It’s up to you.

We’re all equally deserving to express our opinion.  After all, that’s what feminism is all about.*

*Or maybe not.  I got kinda confused after the shark analogy went sideways.

Oh, you.

Sometimes I look at what people are searching for that brings them to this blog, and sometimes the search term is so long that you have to hover over it with your curser to see the search phrase pop up, and then you just sort of back away slowly while shaking your head.

Below is a screenshot of a few things people were googling that brought them to this blog.  (If you can’t read the picture then click on it once to see a larger version.)

Baffled.

PS. A message to the person leaving the second search-term:  I’m not sure if you meant to write “babyshitting” or “babysitting” but either way, you’ve managed to misspell it.  Also, what is wrong with you?

****************

And in other news, it’s time for the weekly wrap-up:

(graphic by Kelly Vivanco)

Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

Shit-I-didn’t-come-up-with-but-wish-I-did-because-it’s-kind-of-awesome:

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by Tonya Wyles, a former Army chick and stay at home mom who was once laid off while in full costume.  She’s now a professional Mary Kay Beauty consultant so she gets to spend time with her family and help women discover they can have great skin.  Also, you can do an online makeover at 3am like I did.  Check her (and the virtual makeover application) out right here.
.

And that’s why I’ll never leave twitter

Sometimes people ask me why I’m on twitter:

twitter

Also, notifications like this:

punted cunt tornado

I want this on a t-shirt.

Unrelated, but something I probably need to address anyway…this morning I wrote about my last book being translated into several different language and a ton of you are like, “Where is your next book?  Why are you making me wait?  Look at your life.  Look at your choices.”  And honestly the next book is coming but it’s really, really fucking hard.  Writing always is for me.  It’s something I’ve always done and will always do but I rewrite and rewrite and look at a blank page for days and feel like my head is constipated with thoughts I can’t write properly until suddenly it all comes together and I end up with one perfect page that took 2 weeks.  I want it to be perfect because a ton of it is about mental illness and that’s a subject I can’t half-ass because it’s that damn important.  Additionally I want it to be insanely funny, and surprisingly mental illness doesn’t easily lend itself to quick and dirty hilarity.  It’s coming along and some parts I’m incredibly proud of and some parts I’m struggling with because I want it to be brilliant for you.  I want people who suffer from mental illness to say “YES.  THAT’S IT.  I’M NOT ALONE.”  I want people who love people with mental illness to read it and say “Oh.  I think I understand a little better now.  I never knew how important I was to those who struggle.”  I want people who are undiagnosed to read it and think “Holy shit.  This is girl is insane but she makes sense so maybe it’s not such a big deal to get tested and treated just in case.”  I want people to say “WTF.  That couldn’t have possible be true because OHMYGODTHEREAREPICTURES” and then get kicked off planes for laughing hysterically.  And I want people who are never touched by mental illness to read it and laugh at the insane stories I’ve collected over the past couple of years and recognize all the little flaws that make us human and special and brilliant.  I could have turned something in last year that would have probably sold well and I would have liked it, but I just want this to be perfect so please know that the time spent waiting is time spent making it better and shinier and funnier and more real because once it’s out there I can’t get it back.  So many people were touched by my first book and in turn they touched me right back (not that way) and I don’t want to let you down.  I have a giant manuscript filled with post-it notes in the shape of Daleks and self-made notes in margins reading “EXTERMINATE THIS.  MAKE IT BETTER.  MAKE IT STRONGER.  MAKE ME A COCKTAIL.  WHO ATE ALL THE BANANAS?  FIND BETTER PICTURES OF ANGRY POSSUMS.”  It’s getting thicker every day and that’s a good thing.

What I can tell you is that the very few wonderful (and painfully honest) people I’ve let read my drafts think it’s some of the best work I’ve done and they keep me from throwing it all in the fire when I feel like a failure, and I hope that you’ll still be here to read it whenever I finish it.  It won’t be long in the scheme of things.

It’s coming.  I promise.  I hope I can make you proud.

And for those of you struggling with your own writing, a few bits of advice that help me to remember that good writing doesn’t always come easy:

I hate writing.  I love having written. ~ Dorothy Parker

There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. ~ Hemingway

Writing is like driving at night in the fog.  You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. E. L. Doctorow

What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Hunter S. Thompson attacking writer’s block:

hst

I don’t blame him.

International Incidents

My first book just got released in Polish, and I haven’t seen it in real life but the cover looks sort of baffling and also adorable.

Polish let's pretend this never happened

I don’t speak Polish so I did a quick auto-translation to see what they’re actually saying about the book:

LET US MAKE BELIEVE THAT THIS IS NOT usually TRUE
AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Jenny Lawson,  PRIME MINISTER 27 AUGUST 2014

Hot Barbara and Wanda Gadomskie:
Jenny Lawson comes from killed desk holes in Texas. She grew up amidst a house of sensational eccentrics, insulated by asbestos. Her father – Feelin’ hairy giant  who looks like a dangerous version of ZACHA Galifianakisa – loved animals, but outside the right across … hunts and he taxidermies them. Mama was in turn a hot advocate of literate interpretation of the maxim: “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”, which could not remain without influence on psychology of the heroine and her emotional life, especially as a child that already suffers from anxiety and depression. Jenny decided to tell their story and not wrapped in cotton. Through her sense of humor, millions of people doubted their own common sense, breaking my head, for example, on the author’s mad theory that Jesus really was a zombie.

I just read this to Victor and he was like, “That sounds like a better book than the one you wrote” and I’ll admit, it sounds intriguing.  The most fascinating part is that according to the title I think I’m going to be crowned the new Polish Prime Minister on August 27th.  I’m not sure it lasts longer than that one day so if you want any Polish laws, commandments or wishes passed then please leave them in the comments and I’ll approve all of them by waving the scepter I got when I became a Czar.  I assume it works internationally.  Also, I think this makes me a foreign diplomat and unarrestable on that day so I’m saving up all of my arson for then.  Don’t piss me off on August the 26th or you’ll be fucked.

PS. I just got a few copies of the Turkish version of my book in the mail and I’m giving a signed copy away if you want it.  Just leave me a comment and I’ll pick one.  Or if you prefer I’ll give you an English version.  Or I’ll pass a Polish proclamation that Saturday will henceforth be known as “YOUR-NAME-HEREday” and free cheeses will be available to all.  Up to you, really.

That's supposed to be me on the cover.  It's not really the most flattering position.

That’s supposed to be me on the cover. It’s not really the most flattering position.

FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, LOIS.

This isn’t a real post.  It’s just a quick update on Hailey because my grandparents complain that the cats get more play on this blog than my nine-year-old.  And they have a point.  This one’s for you, granny.

I’ve been a bit MIA because Hailey was at sleep-away camp and I spent each evening rocking in a fetal position while every slasher film I’ve ever seen ran through my mind.  At the end of the week, however, we drove up with the grandparents and found Hailey, alive, filthy, overjoyed and ready to show off the horseback riding skills she’d picked up at the ranch.  I was a bit nervous because Hailey takes after me when it comes to grace and she’d already good-naturedly accepted an award for (no shit) “MOST PRONE TO FALLING OFF THINGS.”

This camp was already old when Victor went there himself 30 years ago and apparently few things have changed.  It’s basically one of those camps where the kids sort of learn to fend for themselves and recover from helicopter-parents by hurting themselves a lot in the same stupid ways we did when we were kids with no real boundaries.

Hailey on a tractor made entirely from tetanus.

Hailey on a tractor made entirely from tetanus.

A few highlights from camp…

Things said by the adorable and very young counselors when they were discussing how the activities had gone:

Yoga:  “None of us had ever done yoga before so we let the kids teach us how to do roundoffs instead.  Later we found a yoga book in the van.”

Candy-making:  “We couldn’t find any supplies for candy-making so instead we just walked the kids to the store and bought them popsicles.  One day we tried to make some candy but it wasn’t cooking fast enough so we turned the oven up to 500 degrees and that didn’t work out at all.  On competition day we broke a chocolate bar into pieces to see who could spit their piece of chocolate the furthest.”

Movie-making: “I just basically turned on the camera and let them do what they wanted.”  Then they showed the movie.  It was 10 minutes of screaming girls tracking a panther by tasting the urine it was spraying out all over the place.

Skits:  We actually got to watch the skits and they were fascinating.  My favorite line was by Hailey’s nine-year-old cabin-mate who was giving helpful advice to a young girl who was pining for her lost summer camp puppy-love:  “FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, LOIS.  THIS IS CAMP.  GET TOUGH OR DIE.”  

Hailey told us about her horse (The Professor) whom she loved even though she’d originally been assigned to another horse.  When I asked why she’d switched to The Professor she told me, “It started raining and two of his shoes fell off so I had to use another horse.”  I don’t even know what to say about this.

In the end we sat in the bleachers to watch the camp rodeo and the horses all seemed lovely and healthy, and I nervously tightened Hailey’s riding helmet to help with the inevitable fall she’d probably take while barrel-racing.

I've never had that much confidence in my life.  It must skip a generation.

I’ve never had that much confidence in my life. It must skip a generation.

But she didn’t fall.

Hailey and The Professor.

She won.

SHE WON.

And this is her at the exact moment that she found out she’d gotten the fastest time in her division:

FURIOUSLY HAPPY.

FURIOUSLY HAPPY.

It’s also the same moment she begged to be able to come back again every summer for the rest of her life.

I couldn’t say no to that look of glee, even though I might not survive the worry.  But I just took a deep breath and nodded and reminded myself of some good advice I’d recently heard.  “For Christ’s sake, Lois.  This is camp.  Get tough or die.”

PS.  In these kinds of rodeos you don’t win trophies.  Instead you win belt buckles.  It’s like a trophy you wear over your genitals.  I don’t entirely understand the draw but it’s hard to argue with this face.

buckle

It’s not really that comforting.

A few days ago I wrote about comforters that make you into princesses and flamenco dancers and impossible astronauts, and I suspect that’s why today I got a targeted ad for this:

corpsey comforter

It’s like a Slim-Goodbody snuggie.  And I don’t entirely understand it but it seems somewhat helpful because when zombies break in to eat you they will probably just shuffle off disappointedly because it looks like other zombies have already eaten all your good stuff.  Also, I sort of like that the corpse is plus-sized.  You almost never see that in a corpse.  In fact, I expressed interest in being an extra on The Walking Dead last season but then I was told they were only casting for super skinny corpses because the zombies have been decomposing so long that they’d be super thin.  So once again, all the good roles go to the thin-enough-to-be-dead people.  I had a point with this but I have a sinus infection and I’m on a lot of cold meds.  I need a hot toddy.  And a corpsey comforter.

Both of them plus-sized, if you please.