Random bits of awesome and broken.

This morning I had a rough time and was stuck in my messed-up head. On the way to my shrink I saw this and knew things would somehow be okay. Maybe you need it too so I’m leaving it here.

Today is my sister’s birthday. She is 18. Or at least that’s how old she is in my head. And that makes me 21. Drinks for everyone! Here is a picture of me sharing my stash with her:

I'm the blonde. That lasted 5 years until my body remembered it was slavic.
I’m the blonde. That lasted 5 years until my body remembered it was Slavic.  Also, I think it’s a totally legal cigar I’m giving her, but all bets are off because we lived in Austin then and Austin is weird.

You’re welcome, Lisa. Also, thank you too, because Lisa is often the person who says, “I can’t believe you didn’t write about Jenkins” and I’d be like “Huh.  It honestly never occurred to me that having a vicious pet turkey terrorize you isn’t a normal early childhood experience.” So lots of chapters and stories end up in my books because of her. Also, Lisa has my same fucked up sense of humor and is just like me if I wasn’t broken in the head, so if I ever die she could take this shit over and you’d never know it. Except suddenly “I’d” be taking circus lessons and homeschooling a pack of kids and welding and sewing 1950’s clothing and running miles in tough mudder marathons. Which is sort of a sign of being a bit fucked in the head too, now that I think about it.  My craziness makes me hide at home and hers makes her run through miles of swamps and barbed-wire carrying sandbags for a free t-shirt. And now I sort of have an appreciation for my own brokenness because intentionally running when you’re not being chased by roving packs of dogs is the kind of crazy they can’t even medicate.

Also, don’t yell at me for giving my sister a trucker hat and a cigar because – first of all – trucker hats ended up being huge and I put her way ahead of the trend, and secondly, this is a picture of my fantastic grandfather sharing his beer with me. BECAUSE WE ARE A FAMILY WHO SHARES.

me and papaw

Except I suspect that beer was empty, because there is a limit to our generosity and beer doesn’t grow on trees, y’all,

So happy birthday, Lisa.  Thank you for being there even when I’m crazier than normal.

me and lisa
She stayed blonde. Probably because she belongs to the mailman.

125 thoughts on “Random bits of awesome and broken.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Awww yay! Happy birthday to Lisa. My brother’s birthday was on Saturday. And I was in Ohio hugging you. So I made a happy birthday video with some of my new besties in a hotel room singing happy birthday to him. It was awesome. He responded with, “Who ARE all those people?”

  2. Happy Birfday, Lisa. Bless your parents for giving you both your wonderfully fucked up sense of humor. ❤️😜❤️

  3. Happy Birthday Lisa!

    Wishing you a good evening Jenny 🙂 Bad days pass.

  4. Thank you for the smile. I needed it today. Being broken kinda sucks.

  5. I think those photos and how fabulous you both are shows that cigars, beers and trucker’s hats must be very good things for babies.

  6. 1) Your sister looks happy with the hat and ceegar, and B) You’re only as old as you feel. If you are having one of those days where you feel 110, then CONGRATS! you’re going to outlive all of us. Oh, and Thirdly, I don’t know if I can process two people with your sense of humor!

  7. Happy Birthday to your sister! You are so lucky to have each other..do not take it for granted. I recently lost my sister and really it is like losing a piece of yourself. She was the younger one and I picked on her non stop. But she loved that because she knew I loved her. Enjoy each other..we are all messed up in one way or another…

  8. Wait if I run through swamps and barbed wire carrying sandbags I can get a free t-shirt? Sign me up…except I don’t think we have swamps in my part of Canada. How about I run through tundra, bear traps and carry an elephant seal that should be worth an article of clothing.

  9. Aw, Happy Birthday to Lisa! I met her at one of your signings in the Bay Area. She is just as delightful as you are!

  10. Happy Birthday Lisa! Like my sister, you two can’t claim you’re related. And you’re both gorgeous. 😀

  11. Happy birthday Lisa! (Random fun fact: our neighbors had two daughters named Lisa & Jenny when we were growing up. Must be a 70’s thing :)) And my little sister is also 3 years younger, and I still picture her as 18, too. 24 years later.

  12. Wow. Your sister looks just like you except you know this because people tell you this everytime they see you together. Also “running is the kind of crazy they can’t medicate.” A-freaking-men.

  13. Happy Birthday Lisa! Thank you for reminding Jenny of the crazy shit y’all dealt with as kids!

    PS: Jenny, I’m thinking of letting my Mother-in-Law (who is AWESOME) borrow Furiously Happy. I want to tell her “This is my brain in book form.” I’m kinda scared because once she reads it she’ll know how fucked up I am, but she’s one of the few people that accepts my fucked-up-edness.

  14. Happy Birthday Lisa! And Jenny, you two look very much alike…that must have been one busy mailman.
    I have the same fucked up sense of humour as one of my daughters. She’s the one who never returned my copy of “Furiously Happy”…the bitch.

  15. My big sister is often at the top of the list of reasons to keep moving forward when I want to never crawl out from under the covers. Her birthday was yesterday and I loved how happy she was. That shit feeds my soul. <3 Happy Birthday to your sister!

  16. In my Stash Of Embarrassing Photos, there’s one of my son at age 2, beaming behind a margarita almost as big as his head.

    I posted it to his Facebook wall on his 21st birthday in January. Because that’s the kind of mom I am.

  17. Happy Birthday Lisa! It’s so wonderful to have a person you love to remember the growing up days. As I get older, I cherish the people who have been there through thick and thin.

  18. I was deprived- as in, no siblings or friends nearby, so I dressed up my reluctant, scratchy cats… often. I never dressed up our angry rooster. Yes, like you experienced an angry chicken, we had an angry rooster. Some time around the time my parents bought a goat for milk (and discovered it was a male…after purchasing it…this is why drugs are bad…) they also bought a rooster. My uncle went out and clucked at it and, according to my parents, the rouser went berserk and clucked back, vehemently, and began to chase everything in sight, pecking everything like a devil-rooster. He didn’t sleep for days and my parents had to kill him and with his head cut off he still ran around angry, they claim. So from one angry fowl-survivor to another, keep your chin up and happy birthday to your sister.

  19. As a sister to a sister we know how turn each other’s crazy switch on and off like a lightbulb.
    Sisters are the best.

  20. I’m 47 and yet my fingers can still remember the exact texture of a playpen just like the one your sister was incarcerated in.

  21. The BEST!!! I love my sisters. They make my crazy seem sane and I’m a better woman because of them. Happy birthday to your sis!

  22. I have to add a point of clarification. People pay money (an absurd amount I might add) to run miles in tough mudder marathons, then they are “rewarded” with a t-shirt. So it’s even more messed up and baffling than you described. Your sister is truly crazy. Happy birthday crazy sister Lisa!

  23. Please wish Lisa a Happy Birthday, and you need to thank her ( from all of us ) for reminding you to include Jenkins. I’m still waiting to see Jenkins on a coffee mug in your shop. 🙂

  24. ROFL that makes me think of my family. My brother used to feed me like a pet. There’s a pic of me eating out of his hand like one and my mom took the pic in our old backyard. Then there’s the time my dad was babysitting me at a company picnic for his job. He was with the guys, I’m up on his shoulders and he’s drinking one of the few beers I ever saw him drink. I, in my innocence, ask “what’s that?” and he tells me “beer.” and I ask him about the taste, to which my dad does this look around for my mom apparently, doesn’t see her then hands the bottle up to my tiny hands. LOL I remember I took a sip and almost spit it out on the back of my dad’s head but I was smart enough not to even at 3. His friends were laughing and joking about it. Then he takes the bottle back and quickly says: “That’s right honey. This stuff is bad for you. Don’t ever drink it and don’t tell your mom.” 😉

  25. It’s totally a candy cigar. They had those, just like candy cigarettes, right?

  26. in my family, the blonde was said to be from the milkman. As a kid, I thought that was because milk is white and, duh, that would give you blonde hair. I was in high school before I realized “Wait, that means my mom’s a tramp!”

  27. When I was about to turn 26 my 5 year old daughter asked if I was having Birthday cake. I told her I was not- she was absolutely horrified by that because ” if you don’t eat birthday cake you don’t get a year older, Mom!” She was in a panic at the thought and I was thinking ” Eurika! My kid just totally made me 25 forever ” and I have not had birthday cake on my birthday again. I have birthday pie. Hence, I am 25. Even if she is now 21.

  28. Happy birthday Lisa! And I didn’t get the license plate, but I’m really glad it made you feel better. And it’s probably a sign that I just spelled license correctly the first time for probably the first time in my life.

  29. Omgod. My grandfather fed me beer too. Same brand!!! I know I have pics of that somewhere.

    waits for the research study results to come out linking infant drinking to social anxiety and random silliness

  30. Baby you looks pretty serious about that beer. Like you would cut a bitch if they tried to take it away.

  31. Hope things feel better inside (and outside) your head! 😘💖🍻 Happy Birthday Lisa!!!🎉🎂🍷 Sorry for those having a tough day. At the moment I am feeling triumphant…I actually called and scheduled the mammogram my dr has been on my case about getting! My first (& last) mammogram was in 2008😨 Now all I have to do is follow through and go to the appointment! The hard part is over for now, at least until the anticipation of the actual appointment surfaces a few days ahead of time😱

  32. I’m a mix of your crazy. I’ve run two Warrior Dashes and I sometimes hide at home. I was also blonde for a while as a kid. I think I might be your long lost brother.

  33. Aw, I loved this post. Sisters. I always wanted one and then my Dad got re-married and at 37 I became a big sister. She’s turning 12 on Thursday and she brings a lot of joy to my life since I don’t have kids of my own. Sisters are the best. Hope you feel better. I’ve been up and down lately as well. Spring makes me like that.

  34. happy 18th birthday, Lisa!!!
    we should all find that happy age and be that forever. according to my family, I’m 12. (I’m 52, lol) and although I grew up in Houston not Austin, children got an occasional sip of beer or wine…and we’re all (relatively) normal. I’m a bit agoraphobic and paranoid, but I can still manage going to he grocery store if I absolutely must. go me! 😻

  35. I stopped counting at 18 and it seems to help.

    My 37th Birthday/Optional Cake Day was on Sunday. I feel like April is just the best month 🙂 Still, was feeling really reflective, but quite rough. So a fav reflection helped me smile a bit more.

    Around the time I was 14, the old man would occasionally call out to me and brother “Want to split a beer?” So often on a weekend, we would be splitting a single bottle of Labatt Lite when I was staying down at Dad’s. So I started to write bits in high school about lowering the drinking age…..

    On the day I did my final walk through of Dad’s House before it was to be turned over to the new owners. I brought in two bottles of Labatt Lite. Drank one for him, one for me and brother. Left the empties on the counter, took a picture of it and closed the door for the final time. Seemed like a fitting tribute.

    Have a good rest of the day, week and beyond.

  36. Happy Birthday Lisa. I said a brief Hi to her at the reading in Marin, CA. She’s pretty awesome. Even if she has the runner-insanity thing.

    I live with one of those crazy runner people. Marathons aren’t long enough for him anymore, he needs to find longer races.

    Sorry you got stuck in your head, glad something knocked you back out of it. I’ve been having Fibromyalgia related depression, and I’m really getting my ass kicked lately. I know it’s my body and my meds, and I know it’s going to pass eventually, but boyhoo does it give me so much respect for you Jenny and the rest of the tribe. If you’re here and reading this you won! You are fantastic.

  37. Adorable! My little sister is also 3 years younger than me, raising little kids and just as wacky as me. Our grandpa made his own kahlua and other spirits. Occasionally we’d get a micro sip with hot cocoa. Silly sister bonding powers unite! (High 5)

  38. “…intentionally running when you’re not being chased by roving packs of dogs is the kind of crazy they can’t even medicate.”

    i’m going to have this made into a magnet to hang on the refrigerator for my insane husband.
    he not only runs (marathons, etc.) but lures other would be sane humans into the craziness as well. he says he’s a coach but i think he means purveyor of soul-sucking insanity.
    he’s SPREADING the crazy around like it was delicious chocolate icing!

  39. Happy Birthday Lisa!! My oldest baby (not including my husband) just turned 21 today! I don’t know how, when I’m 21.. only I have 25 years of experience. Jenny, so much love to you. Allonzy!!

  40. Happy Birthday, Lisa!

    My brothers were blonde as kids and went dark brown as they got older. I had coal-black hair and now it is dark brown. Genetics are weird.

  41. My little sister turned 50 and everything is weird about that. My sisters are my besties. We’re having a family reunion soon and I can’t wait to spend a whole week with those chickies. Here’s to people who help you out when you’re crazier than normal. We just take turns.

  42. I’ve been stuck in my not so happy head today too, now I feel less alone. Plus, I know I’ll be better soon. 🙂

  43. Ha! I love that you wish your beloved little sister a happy birthday while also calling her fucked in the head. My little sis and I are also conjoined at the sense of humour and are constantly piling shit on each other. (metaphorical shit. you know, taking the piss, poking fun? not actual shit.) And she is also ridiculously supportive of my writing, and pushed me to do it even when I didn’t believe I could do it. Little sisters are fucking awesome. But super annoying when they are right.

  44. And for my next trick, I shall don a trucker hat and pretend to smoke a cigar in honor of Lisa’s birthday!

    We lived in Austin when I was that age, too. I’m pretty sure weird was (and is) pumped in the water supply, but then again we might have caught it from the monkeys they sold at the dime stores, or perhaps the shrunken heads at the museum. (did you get to go see those? Because they were both awesome and terrifying)

  45. Love the pic of you and your grandpa. I allegedly got drunk on my 2nd birthday, walking around taking sips of everyone’s drinks till I tumbled to the ground – fast asleep! Happy Birthday to Lisa!

  46. Thank you for sharing. I’m facing some cyclical depression right now and reading your post helped me feel less alone today.

  47. Jenny, you have made me feel like it’s okay for me to be broken. For me to love myself even when I hate myself. You have reminded me again and again that depression lies. You make me laugh, you make me cry, and I love you. I LOVE YOU.

  48. “intentionally running when you’re not being chased by roving packs of dogs is the kind of crazy they can’t even medicate.” Thanks for so succinctly articulating my life’s motto!!

  49. I have 3 sisters like Lisa – how lucky am I? Oh, and I’m not normal either. But I really wanted you to know that the episode of Jenkins at your school is the funniest thing I’ve ever read. I cried, snotted, snorted and made so much noise at 3:00 a.m. my family came downstairs to see if I was alright.

  50. You failed to mention she birthed a beautiful and talented singer and you birthed a beautiful and talented scientist.

  51. My brothers are both in their mid-40s but when I think of them, I always think of them as little kids. Somewhere between 9 and 11. I miss those little guys! Even though I adore the adults they became, I would love to go back in time and play with them again! And now I’m very wistful and shall email both of them.

  52. Happy Birthday Lisa. The picture of your grandfather reminds me of my childhood . My godfather would let us have a sip of his beer nand a puff of his cigarette occasionally . Non of us are alcoholic and we don’t smoke. At least I’m not (not sure about the other siblings),

  53. You know the more I read you the more I don’t think you’re broken. I think you perceive things that most folks ignore or try to avoid. You are overwhelmed by the wholeness of life … a life well lived o might add. You are afraid because you have consequential thinking. You are anxious because you’re the only one paying enough attention to realize that things are not the way they always seem. I love your take on life. You cope incredibly well and in public. I don’t know anybody who is as brave as you are to announce all your foibles and invite us to laugh with you. Please continue. You are an inspiration and a savior to many many folks.

  54. Happy Birthday, Lisa! I enjoyed meeting you at Vromans. (BTW, when are you going to convince your sister that California is waaaaaay better than Texas?) 🙂

    My grandfather at least had the good sense to hide the bourbon in the cookies he baked. Dad, of course, just gave me Coors straight out of the can, although never before he let me steer the car on the mountain roads. (And my mom always blamed me for her grey hair!)

  55. There are so many pictures of me as an infant with beer cans or bottles. Once they even put a nipple on a beer bottle with formula in it.

  56. My birth certificate confirms that this is the best day of the year to have a birthday. Trust me. I’ve done extensive studies on it. 🙂

    Happy mutual birthday to your sister.

  57. Happy birthday to Lisa. I’m glad she’s a terrific sister to her terrific sister. All the best to you both.

  58. Is that a Slavic thing? The whole platinum-blonde til you’re 5 and then slowly become a brunette by the time you’re 18? ‘Cause I did that too.

  59. My brother hit me on the head with a bowling pin when I was 3 weeks old, so now I blame him for everything. Although, to be fair, he was only a year, 3 weeks and 3 days old, and my parents did leave a bowling pin in our vicinity, and he was probably just trying to warn me about the dangers of their impaired judgement, so maybe I should blame them. He ended up loving me anyway because little sisters are totally adorable so he couldn’t resist 🙂 Siblings are the best.

  60. To me, there’s nothing more important than sibling relationships. If I didn’t have my brother, I’d die. We almost killed each other several times when we were younger but he’s my rock now–just not the Dwayne Johnson kind. Which is probably for the best.

  61. This? “And now I sort of have an appreciation for my own brokenness because intentionally running when you’re not being chased by roving packs of dogs is the kind of crazy they can’t even medicate.” Might just be the best sentence ever.

  62. Lisa was sitting next to Anne Wheaton at your Pasadena reading, right? And I was on the floor next to Anne, putting me only one degree of separation from the awesomeness that is your sister! Happy Birthday, Lisa!

    In other news, siblings are amazing creatures, once we’re all grown up and outta the house. I love mine to death, although not literally, because that would be scary.

  63. If Furiously Happy had been published when I still had small boys & a large, very dominating & opinionated mother-in-law, I would have read all of that marvelous explanation of a day in the life of a bipolar female (meaning like male bipolar but w/the happy monthly addition of cycles)

  64. I’d have read every word of Furiously Happy to my ex mother-in-law by sitting on her lap so she’d have to hear that people diagnosed as mentally unwell by doctors do have meds prescribed & I didn’t take “too many drugs.”

  65. A sister is a wondrous gift… happy birthday to Lisa!

    Have also been stuck in my own head today, even though it is a milestone day of one year since I have deliberately harmed myself. Lurking here, with your amazing humor and vulnerability, and getting brave enough to do the occasional post, has helped me to get to this milestone. It will always be a struggle, and I may not always win, but you make me know I’m not alone. Hugs, Jenny.

  66. Thank you to Lisa for reminding you to include Jenkins in your book. My password scheme is based on something from that chapter and it makes me laugh every time I type it. I am not exaggerating when I say that I laughed so hard at that story, I literally had to use my asthma inhaler.

  67. Happy Birthday, Lisa! I hope it was fantastic and filled with all of your favorite things. Jenny, thank you for making me smile. I didn’t want to, in fact all I wanted to do was cry before I clicked but now I’m happier. You did that. Thank you.

  68. I just stumbled across your page (seriously, I was stalking someone else’s page and your link was there and the name jumped out at me so i HAD to come visit you. Anyway…
    First I want to say… I think I love you!
    Second… thanks for reminding me that April 5 is also my sister’s birthday. She has since passed on, but it’s good to think of your siblings, especially on their birthdays.

    #AtoZChallenge E is for Elle

  69. “intentionally running when you’re not being chased by roving packs of dogs is the kind of crazy they can’t even medicate.” ah ha ha ha- I would love that on a t-shirt when I walk home past joggers!

  70. I have learned that you are only as old as you feel. Sometimes I’m 19 and then I’m 99. Take your pick. Lol.

  71. I, too, do not understand running when there is
    A. No rain and
    B. No chasing and of course,
    C. Nothing scary behind the guy you’re outrunning.
    Or if my horses get out and I’m out of grain (but just the one. She LIKES to be free range 🙂 )

    Also. Yay for sisters that take our trucker caps and cigars and pose proudly and Yay for beer-sharing Grampas. I had neither, so I am probably jealous, except I had no problem wearing my own trucker hat and posing with my beer and cigar in an old guys lap, so. You know.

    Happy ‘coming of age’ birthday, Lisa! 😉
    Happy ‘Big Sister’ Day, Jenny!

  72. I can so identify with both the broken head AND the fucked-up family. Both make this life interesting, scary, confusing and classy.

  73. can I ask how to join the tribe for support? I feel like no-one gets me at all and if I tell them to not give me ‘tough love’ as my anxiety can’t handle it when I meltdown, they look glaze over and say really useful like we all get stressed!!!

  74. Dang. I didn’t end up with my first beer in my hand until a good year or so after I learned to walk. I’m super jelly!

  75. This post made me miss my sister so much! We’re complete opposites and also completely the same. How does that happen?!! My sister’s one of my favorite people in the world and it sounds like Lisa’s also yours. I hope she has the bestest birthday yet! And many more to come.

  76. Happy birthday to your sister. Thanks to her for the fun fodder. Now that I’ve finished both books, I’m in withdrawal. Just thought I’d mention it. Pat Conroy (RIP) is wonderful but nowhere near as fun.

  77. Sister love is the best love! Thank you for writing about it.

    My sister and I also have a relationship of different kinds of crazy, so this gave me very warm fuzzy feelings…

  78. Wow. First, I had a really hard time figuring out how to comment, but now that I’ve found a way in, I’m going to comment my ass off. I would send you an email, but at the Erma Bombeck workshop you explained how you don’t do very well with email, so here I am. My friend Judith and I crashed your table for breakfast. I hope that didn’t ruin the Most Important Meal of the Day for you. We did not mean to intrude, but how often does a regular person like me get to eat breakfast with Jenny Lawson? Well, NEVER. I couldn’t help myself. You have no idea how wonderful it was to hear you speak (in front of the group at a session) and speak yet again (to those of us who crashed your breakfast table). Fucking awesome. Thank you. I wanted to write because I’m almost done reading “Furiously Happy” and am loving it (of course). In particular, I wanted to express my condolences for the passing of Alan Rickman. I liked him, too, but I realize he meant more to you. So I’m sorry. Next, thank you for talking about the spectrum of mental illness. I do just fine with my 50 mg of Zoloft and Cookies on Demand, but as much as I loved the Erma conference, by the time I got home I had a spoon deficit from so much camaraderie. I’m used to living alone and working alone in my home office. I had a wonderful time and learned so much, but I had to spend most of Monday hiding under the covers in my bed, even though I wasn’t sleeping most of that time. People don’t get that. I felt that this was a place where I could admit it and not feel that someone might look at me askance. As an aside, as I write this, I think what may be the world’s fattest robin is sitting on the fence looking in at me. Maybe he’s also thinking he’s looking at the world’s fattest human. Synchronicity. Anyway. I just wanted to thank you for being brave enough to come to Dayton and share your wonderful self with us wannabe funny writers. Which reminds me, if you would like a blurb for your next book jacket, I’d be honored to write one. I think under my name you could put something like, “Just an opinion from a random person,” unless by then my book has been published and I’m famous, too. As Judy Tenuta used to say, it could happen. You are amazing and it was a privilege to meet you, dear Jenny. XOXO – – Your Friend, Kate

    Oh – and here’s my blog, even though the little icon below doesn’t think I have one. Oh, yes I DO: http://www.katemahar.com

  79. Don’t know what I’d do without my sisters. Sisters are AWESOME! And when you’re a year and a half older, than one of them, and steal their bottle and then go under their crib to drink them, they’re too little and helpless to do anything about it. (She always hated milk anyway. I was doing her a favour.)

  80. Sisters are awesome. Mine stayed blonde too, but she looks more like my stepsibs than she does like me. Happy Birthday, and happy My-best-friend-was-born Day.

  81. I have a whole pack of unbroken sisters and brothers, and dammit, I’m jealous of them! Where did they get all that fucking emotional stability? How in the HELL did I miss out??? I am jealous of their lives and of their functioning. Sorry to rant but this post struck a chord in me.

  82. The Tough Mudder races are really awesome because they are team events and the focus is on helping your team get through the race, supporting and encouraging each other. So yes it’s competitive but it is also about helping others through the tough parts.

  83. I love that you and your sister display awesomeness at each end of the awesomeness spectrum. But trucker hats…..meh. Not nearly as cool as those denim, bedazzled caps all the cool disco freaks wore in the 70s.

  84. As someone who was attacked by a rooster as a kid, I bring that shit up at every opportunity. The turkey incident sounds horrifying!

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