The Problem with Being Karen

Karen hadn’t asked to be named Karen. She hadn’t asked to be dressed in modest dresses, always with tights and shoes. She certainly hadn’t asked for her parents to use the sort of psychological conditioning that led to so many people saying, “Butt out, Karen!”

Once Mom and Dad passed away, Karen decided she’d finally do something about all the negative comments. She colored her hair, bought a pair of honest-to-goodness jeans, and changed her name to Kathy.

Upon leaving the Social Security Administration, she spied a couple arguing heatedly about what their married last name ought to be. Kathy couldn’t stand to see and hear such animosity between two people in love, and walked toward them. Before she could even open her mouth, however, the woman turned to her and said, “Butt out, Karen!”

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Sunshine, Lollipops, and Blogger ‘Awards’

Kevin Parish at What Words May Come gifted me The Sunshine Blogger Award. Thanks, Kevin!

Sunshine

Here are Kevin’s questions:

  1. What verbal graffiti do you use too much? (Examples: Like…Well anyway… I know, right… Huh… Umm…)
    Ummm… Huh… I don’t really know.
    do know that I have detested “I know; right” since it first cropped up, so you shan’t hear me say that ever.
  2. What is your favorite color?
    I’m rather fond of winter shades: dark burgundy, dark blue, dark green, dark black, etc.
  3. Do you love, hate or couldn’t care less about professional sports?
    This may shoot me in the foot in terms of followers, but I am not a professional sports fan. I love to watch anyone who is a master of his craft, so I do enjoy the occasional match. Frankly, I find rooting for a team pointless since the members are not even native; they might very well be originally from the opponent’s home state or be traded there next season.
  4. What’s the name of your longest-time best friend?
    My husband is my longest-time best friend, and his name is Kevin Owens.
  5. What’s the funniest nickname you have ever heard?
    Like H.R.R. Gorman, I’ve a better story about a real name. My husband worked with a man who legally changed his name to something like Captain Yam*. The guy was a bit socially awkward as well, as in showing up to work every day in something like a bike helmet awkward**.
  6. Do you have a nickname that you can/will share?
    My mother called me Munkey as a child. Word is that I looked like a monkey but she made it sound slightly cuter than that. I also liked monkeys. Darn sticking-out-ears…
    saray-jimenez-WJw9ml1EAEk-unsplash
  7. Have you ever started laughing really hard just by thinking about something? If so, and you can remember, what was it?
    Oh, yes!! Occasionally I will engage in a comments conversation on WordPress and my friend or I will say something downright clever. I’ll think about it and laugh for days.
    I think one of the latest ones was betwixt me and masercot (AKA Charles). He mentioned Dr. Suess in response to my blog post on picture books.
    Me: “…Fish in a tree is hard to believe.”
    Him: “The worst was when they hopped on pop, right after his kidney surgery…”
    Me: “You must not hop post-op?”
    Still laughing. Though, I laugh whenever I read one of Charles’ blog posts as well. He’s dangerously funny.
  8. What are three of your “bucket-list” to-do’s?
    1. Write and traditionally publish a book.
    2. Visit Europe.
    3. Learn the violin.
  9. Would you rather have a lake house or a mountain chalet or something else?
    I’m more of a mountain chalet type. We once stayed in a house in Montana for a family vacation, when I was a child. The whole thing perched right on a lake and gave me anxiety that it would simply tip in at any minute.
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  10. What country would you live in if you couldn’t live in the one you live in now?
    I like Gorman‘s answer for this, too, but I’d probably choose Canada.
  11. Do you believe that people can change? Why or why not?
    I do believe people can change, and see that they do. Honestly, different life stages and circumstances force a lot of change on us whether we like it or not. It’s those who are able to initiate change that I admire, and those able to take surprises in healthy directions.

—–

Mostly I use this next part to introduce any of my readers to any of my other readers whom I find excellent to read. The main snag is that I’ve already ‘nominated’ a fair number here, here, here, here, and here. If you’re looking for some great sites, scroll down to the bottom of those links and also check out these:

  • Kat of The Lily Cafe. She writes, she mothers, she reads; she’s amazing.
  • Frank Prem, the poet. I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned him before! Frank has the gift of capturing voices in the poems he pens.
  • Robert C. Stroud of Mere Inkling. Primarily writing from observations of C.S. Lewis, Stroud expresses and expounds upon various interesting and informative topics.
  • Almost Iowa. I can’t find his real name right now (if he gave it), but these all seem to be hilarious recounts of experiences in …well, almost Iowa.
  • My Mindless Drivel. Another excellent writer, mostly sharing life stories and thoughts on how things ought to work.
  • Charles of Legends of Windemere. He’s an author and all-around good guy. We also seem to share opinions on …Bad Boys?

If any of you whom I’ve named get the notification and wish to respond, here are my questions:

  1. If you could be a type of cheese, which would you be and why?
  2. What is the strangest fact you know?
  3. Who inspires you the most as a writer?
  4. If you were King of the World for one day, what change(s) would you make?
  5. What’s your favorite cheesy joke?
  6. Who would win in a mud wrestling match: broccoli or a potato?
  7. What is the first thing you think of when you see the word collywobbles?
  8. What is the best letter of the alphabet?
  9. When two roads meet in a yellow wood, are they dirt or paved?
  10. Could you live without your left thumb? What if you needed to give something a two thumbs-up rating?
  11. What’s your favorite salad dressing and whoever thought salad was a good idea in the first place?

—–

RULES:

1. Use the sunshine blogger award logo

2. Give thanks to the blogger that nominated you

3. Answer the 11 questions given to you

4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions

Photo Credit:
Saray Jimenez
Jose Rago

* This is not his name, but is close.
** This is not what he wore, but is again close.

©2019 Chelsea Owens

A Chelsea by Any Other Name Would Still Be Sarcastic

I used to be afraid of the world knowing my name. I guarded it like I did my writing. Both were precious, unique things I should not give to the world for free.

There is also freedom in writing behind a mask. I’ve enjoyed pseudonyms in the past because I could then complain about real people in my real life with real details and how I really felt.

Besides the maturity of not-caring that comes with age, I’ve also grown to learn there is little that is private. I realized my name is not so special, and grants me little protection if when I am an insanely popular novelist.

My good friend, Peregrine Arc, recently wrote about the origins of her name and thus inspired my musings. Since I obviously do not use a pen name, I thought to list a couple I have used and their origins. I also wanted to open up the discussion to what name you think I could use as an alternate -buuut, we can cross that bridge when the story arcs to it.

  • Celine des Guimauves – In junior high school, our French teacher suggested we all choose a French name to use in class. There was a list: Monique, Elise, Natalie, etc. I chose the least odious from the list. That ‘middle name’ I added isn’t grammatically correct, but I was 12. C’est la vie.
    ‘Guimauves’ means ‘marshmallows.’ It was one of those words I flipped to in the dictionary and thought hilarious. Again; 12 years old.
  • Celine d’Espions – This was the gradual evolution of my French name over the years of French classes. Technically, the name was Céline d’Éspions, but we won’t nit-pick. The name also gave a nod to my spy-philia; I sincerely wanted to be a spy when I grew up. That may not be a past-tense wish…

P’Arc said she admired Peregrine Falcons, hence the use of the word in the first part of her name. She has an elaborate shrine at home with diving spaces and fish in streams and such, but claims she drew the line at dressing as one more than once a year.

Have I an animal that resonates with me? I loved dogs when I was younger and can bark like a German Shepherd. I definitely wanted to fly but did not want to eat bugs nor regurgitate my food for my young. Therefore, I resonated most with being a dragon. Most of the awesome fantasy beasts would do -even an imp, since I …sometimes behave like one.

Which doesn’t lead at all into my final thought: what’s in a name? I’m not attached to the one I have. I feel it doesn’t fit, somehow. When allowed any time to ruminate, however, I cannot find one that works. Even mention of the one I respond to does nothing to my soul when I hear it. Have you an idea for a name? I could use it for nom de plume purposes since legal name-changes are sticky affairs.

What do you think of pen names? Animal spirits? Your given name? Am I strange in not liking my own?

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Photo Credit:
Carlos Quintero

Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-Six

“Wil!”

Wil turned in the crowded hall, but saw no one who might have spoken. She wasn’t even sure she’d heard her name at all, and felt she reacted merely at the hope of being named. Frowning and adjusting her straps, she continued on to her locker. Just past the stairwell, however, something or someone pulled on her backpack. She had just enough time to squeak a surprised, “Eep!” before disappearing into the art room.

“What the -” Wil began, turning, then stopped at the sight of Reagan’s highly-amused face. Wil let out a breath and changed her surprised expression for one of incredulity. “Reagan?”

Her carpool neighbor laughed, though in a more subdued manner than usual. “Sorry, Wil. Had to grab you since Hope said you didn’t get your note.”

Wil’s mouth dropped open, which only made Reagan snort. “I…” Reagan began, a twinkle in her eye and an impish smirk starting at the corners of her mouth, “I heard you had a busy morning.”

“How did you-” Wil asked, but a third bout of laughter cut her off.

In fact, Reagan covered her mouth and leaned on an art table for support. Several times, she seemed recovered, then resumed after looking at Wil’s ever-deepening scowl. Finally, Reagan managed to stop. “Wil,” she explained, “The whole school knows about Flasher Hurn.”

Wil’s eyebrows shot up. “Flasher?” She received an affirmative nod. “Flasher Hurn?” Another nod. “Wow.”

“Yeah. He’s not getting rid of that one for a while.”

“Wow,” Wil said again. She couldn’t help it. Poor Carl.

Reagan smiled, then pulled a pretend-disappointed face. “I just can’t believe none of you got a pic or anything!”

“You know we can’t have a -” Wil stopped, and her hand moved to her pocket. The phone she’d grabbed from that other guy was still there! They’d all forgotten about it in the excitement of Carl’s performance and the resultant fallout. Mrs. Bird had called everyone’s parents, made Carl apologize, and finally agreed to call the paramedics. Wil had just barely been released. They’d said her burns were practically superficial, bandaged the affected areas of her arm and fingers, and sent her off to lunch.

At which point Reagan had nabbed her. Wil looked at her captor.

“What?”

“That’s what I want to know. Why’d you grab me?”

The twisted smile Wil saw so often returned. “Oh, that. We’re having a meeting. Top Secret.” Reagan put a finger to her lips. “At the Top Secret blue table everyone can see if they want to, in the Top Secret lunchroom everyone eats in, at the Top Secret time of five minutes ago o’clock.”

Wil took a minute to process her friend’s rambling sentence. “Oh.”

“Yeah.” Reagan grabbed Wil’s bandage-free arm. “So, let’s go.”

 

Continued from Eighty-Five.
Keep reading to Eighty-Seven.

Wilhelmina Winters, Fifty-Seven

“However does a woman of my station get into such fixes?” sighed Wilhelmina Winters, heiress of Tara, and belle of East Dixie. The dainty, shadowed face she spoke to could not respond, but did return her wistful look exactly. In fact, her companion returned all Ms. Winters’ expressions and movements. She was limited only by the edge of the window, where the wall began.

Ms. Winters leaned against the cool glass, touching her cheek sadly to that of her mute friend. She breathed deeply, rustling the deep satin of her long, ruffled dress. She contemplated on how frequently she had the misfortune to return to this lonely room, to this forsaken institution.

Her father, the well-known army general, owner of the prosperous Winters Manufacturing Co-Op, and current master of Tara, had thoughtfully left his daughter enlightening materials with which to properly divert herself. But, Ms. Winters hadn’t the heart to read her school-book at present. She felt only the desire to brood; or, perhaps, to commiserate with the outside-elements-filled version of her own self she saw reflected back.

A door opened; a nurse came hurriedly out. He did not come to Ms. Winters, nor acknowledge her presence. The happy flurry Ms. Winters’ heart had felt now settled down deeply in disappointment. The return of the same distracted nurse a minute later settled her spirits further still.

He entered the door he had previously exited, leaving only the memory of teal-green behind. The air disturbed by his actions blew slightly at the book Ms. Winters was to read whilst waiting, resting unobtrusively upon a table nearer to the room’s exit. Her eye, drawn by the action, finally saw a most important thing she had missed at first glance: her book sat upon the papers she had been reading when her mother first realized their need to come hurriedly to this institution.

In short, an important letter that Ms. Winters had been curious to continue reading was sitting there within her reach! Forgetting her window friend immediately, she strode briskly across the low-pile floor. Her grand black boots stepped solidly as her wide, full skirt shushed silkily atop its stiffened crinoline.

Forgetting decorum, she excitedly reached both hands toward her things, upsetting a few periodicals and a neighboring chair.

“Hel on wheels,” a sarcastic voice said from the room’s entrance. Jakob had arrived; just in time to witness Wil’s graceful rush to the table, and just in time to use one of his favorite nicknames for her.

 

Continued from Fifty-Six.
Keep reading to Fifty-Eight.

Mental-ity

I don’t read re-posts. We-e-e-e-ell once in a blue moon I will.

Accordingly, I don’t like to stick them into my own blog (the one you’re currently reading). I often read great things I’d like everyone else to see as well, but feel like I’m stealing someone else’s brilliance and pasting it over my lack of writing anything for that day.

‘Tis true, however, that I’m sometimes at a loss for time because of my dear, sweet, distracting children. Summertime’s here, which means they’re wild and free and completely under my tutelage.

I can be creative, though. I can! I’ve written some wonderful things. Some of those are contributing posts over at The Bipolar Writer.

If you haven’t been over there, go right ahead and check it out. If you’re lazy like me and don’t want to bother, I’m doing you a solid and pasting an article right here that I wrote back in April. It’s titled What’s So Normal About Labels?

 

I was conversing with my dear, oblivious husband the other night. I’d had an epiphany about my negative perspective of everything. Beginning to expound, I said something about depressive people thinking one thing, then moved on to try to finish with what other people thought.

The hubby helpfully suggested, “So, you mean what normal people think?”

Normal. People. They’re not normal. They just like to be called “normal.” Pshaw, I say.

Given that there are probably just as many wizards -er, mental illness sufferers out there as “normal” homo sapiens, things really seem to indicate that they should have the nickname, and we should be called normal.

What can we name them, then? How about “Aberrants?” “Defects?” “Outsiders?” or “Vulcans?” -You know, because they clearly aren’t feeling human emotions, so they’re overly serious aliens.

All right, all right. I’m sure we can come up with a more flattering name. In our spare time. Perhaps we can brainstorm during that extremely small window of time when we’re awake, and the sun and distractions are not.

Got anything yet? Yeah, not a good time for me, either.

Since coming over here to James Edgar Skye’s enlightening blog, I’ve felt a lovely camaraderie. It’s like the dark little corner of the party actually had people hiding there that I just couldn’t see before.

“Oh, hi!” I whisper to a fellow curled-up body. “Depress here often?” We cry a bit together, agree that cynicism is the best outlook, and part ways when one of us pretends to need a drink.

Since this discovery, I’ve been wondering how many people out there fit into one category or the other. Confirmation bias keeps telling me that most people struggle with mental illness. As I said, doesn’t that mean weshould be normal?

Checking out a more reputable site than my own mind, I learned that approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States experiences mental illness in a given year. That’s freaking high. Despite all these people hanging out in closets or staring morosely into the bottom of glasses, that still means that MOST PEOPLE (4 of the 5) are not.

Dangit.

I guess we actually are the ones out of our Vulcan mind. But that doesn’t mean that I want to be grouped in the dark corner, apart from those who think they don’t have problems.

If they’re “normal,” that makes us “abnormal.” And we ARE NOT abnormal. We are fighters. Deep feelers and thinkers. We are authentic, strong, emotional, real -and tired of being labeled as defective.

Eureka! The real problem here is that we need a label besides all the others slapped on by those 4 out of 5 liars.

I vote for Human.

So, you Vulcans: listen up. We’re not broken. We’re not useless, imperfect, or crazy. We are Human.

Now, fellow Humans: get out of that corner, and let’s show them what we’ve got.

Go ahead; I’m just going to grab some punch.