adding ginger to your sass

GingerSass - adding ginger to your sass

Autumnal Glory

Instead of Tanka Tuesdays for the month of October, I will be participating in OctPoWriMo 2013…So enjoy!

Writing Prompt: Imagine yourself in the midst of an Autumnal setting. Using prose, describe what is all around you; what you see, hear, feel, smell, touch. Tell us about the glory of the season.  It need not rhyme of course, just put yourself in the setting and through your imagery, take us there too. 

I close my eyes and try to envision peace, whatever that may be. A cool breeze. Crunching leaves. A pumpkin spice latte. Sweater weather. Instead, I am plagued by the nausea in my stomach and the ache in my head. A friend jokingly suggested I may be suffering from morning sickness, as it seems to be going around work. Unless I am the latest victim of immaculate conception, my discomfort is caused by something far less glorious than the creation of life: I am the daily inn keeper for a zoo of adolescent gremlins. They are a breeding ground of illnesses I haven’t even heard of, and despite my recent attempt to gain healthiness by starting a vitamin routine– otherwise known as taking the cheapest once a day gummy vitamin for adults I could find– I am falling ill. The gremlins have won. My stomach is plagued by an inexplicable, unrelenting turbulence, and my head is submerged under an unidentifiable sea of germs. The school year has begun, and, despite my educational background, not even textbooks could prepare me for the Autumnal illnesses of being a first year teacher. This is my newfound glory.

Last year's Autumnal glory involved quite a few Groupon and Living Social deals and wine tastings at local vineyards.

Last year’s Autumnal glory involved quite a few Groupon and Living Social deals and wine tastings at local vineyards.

I found my voice again…

In Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” there’s a scene where Ariel gives up her voice to Ursula, the evil sea witch, so that she can walk on land and be something she’s not.

While I haven’t negotiated with the devil, and I never had a singing voice to give up, I’ve spent a lot of the past year or two in a funk. I gave up my voice to my own worst enemy: myself.

During college, poetry was my escape. Imagery and rhyme scheme allowed me to convey the emotions I couldn’t communicate in everyday life. I coped with love, loss, and even episodes of Glee. Then, life got chaotic. I struggled with all the stress in my life, encountered situations I didn’t know how to handle, and went through a minor meltdown upon graduating undergrad and starting The Real Life Pit Stop Known As Grad School And Student Teaching. Amongst all this, other than when it was for a poetry class, I couldn’t find the desire to write poetry or perform at poetry readings. I felt like a part of me had died, and I threw all my writing energy into GingerSass.

On Friday, something within me changed. I thought about collapsing on my bed and watching depressing episodes of Grey’s Anatomy or Private Practice, but, on a whim, I decided to attend Out of the Box, a local open mic I last attended over 3.5 years ago.

Attending OotB felt like a homecoming. It was hosted in the basement of a church by Pandora Scooter. (She’s fabulous; I actually want to try to arrange for her to perform at school for my students as a part of our performance poetry unit.) I read my post about Coming Out Day, and the poem I wrote in response to my students attending Dodge for the first time. After I was finished, Pandora shook my hand and thanked me for what I do. I also had quite a few people come up to me afterwards and compliment my piece, and I even connected with another teacher dealing with some of the same issues and feelings I have been dealing with.

Listening to the various poetry, musical, and other sorts of performances really warmed my heart. For the first time in a very long time, I felt like I was getting my voice back. Everything seemed right in the world, and it really meant a lot to be a part of such a wonderful, inviting group.

Oftentimes lately, I’ve felt like I’ve lost my voice. I haven’t had the time to write, and when I have, it’s usually been posts about something involving my student teaching internship. I’ve written maybe 2 poems since April, which is devastating to me since I usually write 2-3 poems a week. I’ve been having a bit of an identity crisis with the loss of my voice and my lack of writing. All of this combined with going to Out of the Box on Friday has helped me realized something: I really am my own worst enemy, and I am definitely the only person preventing myself from embracing my voice as a writer and a poetic performer. I have nowhere else to go but up, and I am so extremely grateful that I decided to go on Friday night. Without OotB, I don’t know if I would’ve found the desire to find my voice again. I’m finally getting closer to being the me I want to be.

Validation that I’m Cool

I’m a fairly new blogger. I didn’t start GingerSass until this past March at the Sex, Love, and Dating Conference, and I was surprised by the sudden fanbase it had. (This was probably because some of my earliest posts had the tags “lesbian,” “sex,” “gingers,” and “AfterEllen.”) I’ve been continuously surprised that strangers– not just my friends– are fans of GingerSass on Facebook, and that I have more than 5 followers on Twitter.

Twitter is a funny thing. It allows you to interact with everyone from your best friend to your favorite soap star. Sometimes big names respond, and others don’t. I’ve been lucky enough to have had people like Amy Brenneman, Tammy Lynn Michaels, Cady McClain, and StaceyAnn Chin retweet and respond to some of my rambling responses to their tweets. These moments have made me feel incredibly special.

I’m still special enough to take MySpace photos of myself in the mirror.

You know what else had made me feel incredibly special? BlogHer12.

I had the opportunity to attend a lot of panels with some incredibly talented (and famed) bloggers. After each panel, people tended to line up to meet their blogger crushes.

I observed many post-panel meetings that went like this:

Session-Attendee: “OH-MI-GAWD!!! I’m so-and-so, I blog for so-and-so! I read your blog, like, every day! I especially loved your post about (enter post description here). I left you a comment, did you see it?! (Or ‘I tweeted you about ___________’.) Do you remember me??! I blog about _______________. ”

Big Name Blogger: (polite smile, handshake) “Oh, wow, that’s so kind of you. Thank you for following me. I’m glad you enjoyed this session, it’s so great to have met you.” (slyly moves on to next fangirl)

/end scene

Now, nothing against fangirls. I’ve been one. We all have. But really? You expect Big Name Bloggers to know who the hell you are? Big Name Bloggers get TONS of comments and tweets every day. They won’t remember you, and you shouldn’t expect them to… nor should you throw a hissy fit when they don’t remember you. Grow up!

I had a different fan girl attitude at the various blogging sessions and moments of meeting Big Name Bloggers. I didn’t expect any of them to know who I was… but I was raised in a household filled with manners. If you see someone you know someplace, even if you barely know them, it’s polite to acknowledge someone and say hi. People from the Twitterverse are kind of like friends of friends you run into at a party– you’re not sure if they know who you are or not, but you feel like a jerk if you don’t say hi.

For my first fangirl moment, I ran into a Big Name Blogger whose site I discovered a few months ago, and I’ve been addicted to since. We’ve had a few Twitter discussions, but I’d never met a Twitter friend in real life. I introduced myself, saying, “Hi, I’m Kailynn, or GingerSass–” before she cut me off, interrupted me, and said, “GingerSass?! You get a hug!!!” We drank, made dirty jokes, and hung out together at various points throughout the rest of the weekend.

It was exciting.

I also attended a panel where another Big Name Blogger was moderating. After the panel, I waited for some other fangirls to finish drooling and I quickly introduced myself, saying, “Hi, I’m Kailynn, or GingerSass. I didn’t get a chance to say hi to you last night, but I just wanted to say hi and how fabulous everything is!” I was told I was funny, that said Big Name Blogger had been following my tweets throughout the entire day, and that I had been making her laugh. I also got a hug.

Other exciting moments included going to a luncheon where, once I introduced myself, everyone said “Ohhhhhhh!”, continuously tellng people my real name, my blog name, and my Facebook name and having them say “Oh my God! That’s you?!”, running up to ‘strangers’ and hugging them because we recognized one another from the Twitterverse and Blogosphere, and telling people, “I’m GingerSass, but if you can’t remember that, remember my ass.”

I had a name badge.

People knew who I was, and it was CRAZY. It was also a really surreal form of validation that I’m doing something successful with my writing. I’m making a reputation for myself in the writing world in a way I never dreamt possible, and it feels incredibly surreal–and fantabulous– to be making my dreams come true.

(By the way, I’m sorry if this post seems any bit cocky. I just can’t believe people know who I am. It’s weird.)