Church on Sunday

“Going to Church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.” – G.K Chesterton. 

I was raised Catholic, as the seasoned reader may already know, and spent about fifteen years in Catholic school, going to church every Sunday with my family and every other Friday with my classmates.  Around age 25, I completely dropped the “act” I’d been running since I was fifteen and first saw the quote above.  I’m not saying that one quote changed my outlook on things…it just gave voice to an opinion I could not find words for. 

I remember being young and telling my Aunt Ka, a Sister of Mercy, that I wanted to get married at the Botanical Gardens because it was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.  She told me that I couldn’t, that I was Catholic and therefore had to have a wedding inside a church…I could have the reception outdoors, though, she claimed.

This concept was a hard no for my ten-year-old brain that wanted what it wanted when it wanted it.  I had been taught, almost daily, that God was in every living thing, including trees and grass and sunshine.  So why on earth did I need to CELEBRATE in front of statues of dead people, under a roof made by man?  It was nonsense then; it’s nonsense now.

I had a friend get married a while back and a priest came and did the vows, outdoors.  But it wasn’t an “official” wedding, according to the church.  The priest was just blessing them.  I thought maybe someday I could do something similar to appease my Catholic family…I was not yet telling my mother I was done with the whole shebang.

By the time I did get married, she was well aware of my opinions on the Church, and we butted heads a little.  She wanted some Christianity in the ceremony, and I had to keep reminding her that my husband was not a Christian, and all that would be weird for him.  Not to mention, I wasn’t feeling it either.  In the end, I got married in a little gazebo, outdoors.  The readings were all literary, the music was secular, and the officiant was my uncle who got a license online.  My mother won in the sense that I allowed her to say a prayer before the meal.  I was cool with her doing that because she mentioned Ka, who had passed by that time.  But that was it: one prayer.  That’s all the God I invited.,

But he was there, you see.He was in the trees and sun and grass and breeze.  Nature, that is where I believe God lives.

On Saturday…in the beforetime…I caught a giant fish in the Buffalo Creek.  It was a smallmouth, but there was nothing small about it.  I don’t have a picture.  Mark snapped one, but I accidentally deleted it.  Just believe me when I tell you it was a monster.  I fought the thing, hard…I’ve never really fought my fish before; usually I am far stronger. This guy gave me a run for my money.  When I finally flopped him onto shore, I felt immense pride.  Mark helped me unhook him, and I thanked him for the challenge and sent him back on his way in the stream.  Then I went home, and the world changed.

So, on Sunday, after the events, I was getting a hankering for prayer.  I’ve been arguing with my ancestor’s spirits as of late, over this mess with my mother. One of my favorite authors, Paulo Coelho, said that “Praying is talking to the Universe. Meditation is listening to it.”  So, I figured, why not try a little listening?  I’ve ben talking so damn much.

I went back to where I caught the big fish.  All I caught that day was a pumpkinseed, but it was still worth it to sit there and look and listen.  I saw God all around me, from the fish in the water to the no-see-ums buzzing about to the big tree with all the fishing line and old bobbers caught up in it.  I watched the water of the creek lap upon the rocks and focused on the word “Peace.”  I needed peace.

On the way home, I remembered it was Sunday and thought of church.  I had the same feeling then that I had when I was a child leaving Mass.  Yes, when I was small, I was relieved that the sitting still and being quiet portion of the day was over, but I also always felt that feeling you get when you visit am old friend.  Also, I always kind of felt it hearkened the start of a new, fresh week.  A clean slate.

That’s when I realized: I go to church ALL THE TIME.

Fishing is church for me.  That might sound ridiculous, but where else would I rather be on a Sunday morning? And every time I go, every time, I think of God.  I didn’t even realize it until I examined my thought pattern closely this past week.  I tend to remind myself of God in nature whenever I fish.

Now, no, I no longer believe in a stereotypical Christian God in the sky…I think God is more of a universal fabric, with an understanding that we have not yet evolved to know.  Yet…I find God in the sky, because I find him in the earth, too.

Where do you find God?

Anyway…that’s just the thoughts running around in my head right now.  That’s all for today.  Happy Thursday!

Eulogy of an Actor

It is 9:30am on a Saturday, and my nose is running because I have been crying a little.  You of course won’t read this until Monday, but I’m writing now because the thoughts are raw and fresh, and I need to put them down on paper.

This morning I woke up and went on Facebook, as I do, and the first post I saw was my friend Tilke’s headshot.  What surprised me, was that it was on another friend’s page, not her own.  At first, I thought it must be a promotional for their new movie, but closer inspection proved me wrong-Tilke had passed away, and the photo was a memorial to her.

Wait, what?

Down the Facebook rabbit hole I went, in search of any information and hoping this wasn’t true, although this mutual friend would not have been wrong…and he wasn’t.  She was gone.

One night, many years ago, we were standing in front of a bar in the February cold smoking cigarettes and practicing Russian accents.  We had just done a show, Cowboy Mouth, and she was the female lead.  It was the first time we worked together, and I saw immense talent in her.  Really, if you asked me who in the Buffalo theater scene could have ridden the rocket all the way to Hollywood, I would have told you that person was Tilke Hill.  Anyway, she said something to me about how I wasn’t pursuing my other interests at the time, which was true.  She saw no reason why I was still stage managing without also directing, acting, writing, etc.  She had great plans for us to do a show together, where we would act and direct ourselves-we picked The Kathy and Mo Show.  This didn’t work out, because…well you know when a person is in a toxic relationship, and they’ve got a friend who calls it out?  Tilke called it out to me.  The company we planned to perform with was a problem, and she saw it before I did. 

And, as the true friend, when I left that toxic situation, she was there to help pick me up, by asking me to do props and help her direct some scenes in a show at a different theater.  It is the last show I worked on, and to this day I don’t fully understand what it was about, but I do know that it showed me I didn’t need to be tethered to something that was holding me back.

I don’t know that I would have had these realizations without Tilke.

Now, I left the theater world, and when I did, I lost some friends.  It’s no one’s fault, just that life pulls you apart.  However, there are certainly people from the theater community that hold very special places in my heart, and Tilke was one of them.  These are people you always kind of hope you will work with again someday, and that’s how I felt about her.  I always thought, maybe someday, we can throw together Kathy and Mo and achieve a dream. 

But then, life…and death.  The sudden sucker punch that takes someone out of existence and leaves you feeling hollow and sad.  Sometimes in life, people come into your world for a brief moment and set it on fire, and when you sift through the ashes, you can find the real treasure. Tilke was that sort of person. What I would not give to be standing outside a bar in the cold, having one last cigarette, and practicing our Russian accents.

Rest in peace, my friend.

Just a little note…

…to say that I now have a Tip Jar link over there on the right side of the page, if you’re interested in helping a girl out. All proceeds will go back into writing expenses, and also coffee. Thanks.

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Apologetic

Dear Blog,

I’m sorry.  I have been a terrible companion and I am here today asking for your forgiveness.  I have neglected you these past few weeks, and I am hoping I can make it up to you.  Do you want a domain name? I’ll save up, I swear.  Oh, but I know paltry gifts aren’t enough to win back your heart.

See, I was sick, and I became distant, and I am so sorry…I know it’s no excuse.  You know how much I love you, don’t you?

I loved you in 2001 when I sat in the computer lab at D’Youville College and signed up for Livejournal.  Our first platform, where we grew together over fourteen years!  I haven’t forgotten those early days, and I hope you haven’t either.  Now it’s 20 yeas later, and you’re still the one I take all my problems to.

Remember the time we tried to write every day for a year?  How naïve we were, pulling in to day 167 like we were on fire, then fizzling out on day 172.  But still, so many months we lasted, as my fingers danced over the keyboard and put my words into your mouth.

I love you so, my constant companion, my dear friend, my little soapbox.  Please forgive me.  I promise I will do better, try harder; I promise I will always be here for you. 

Well, on Mondays and Thursdays, at least.

Your best friend,

Brig

wOrdpress for lyfe.

This is a delayed post as I spent yesterday in the ER.  I’m ok now…just tired and worn down.  But I shall persevere.  Anyways…

Well, I mean, I guess.  Ok.  I’ll do it.

Once upon a time I started a blog on WordPress.com, and eventually I revamped it but stayed on the platform, and then came the day when I realized I needed a domain name like a grownup.  So, I shopped around, and at the end of the day…yeah.  WordPress.  Whatever.

I will tell you upfront that I know nothing about web hosting.  It’s all foreign to me, and all my attempts to learn something have just resulted in me banging my head against a wall.  So, the end result seemed to be obvious: just buy a plan through the site you’re already using.

But, my blog isn’t my main focus anymore.  Yes, I still update twice a week and will continue to do so as long as it is feasible.  However, I am also trying to sell a book, create another, and I have something waiting in a publishing queue that could happen at any moment.  It was brought to my attention that what I really need now is an author website.

For a few months, imposter syndrome kept me from entertaining such fanciful ideas, such that I was important enough to warrant my own website.  But the logic was sound.  I wanted a place that consolidated my blog, my around-the-web writings, and a place to hype my book.  Then one day, WordPress emailed to tell me of a flash sale, and I saw no reason not to go for it. 

Hence the debut of brigidhannon.com.

Over the weekend, I changed my social medias to reflect the new website.  In the past, they reflected my blog: the breakfast banner, the side-eye photo, the Brigid Hamandeggs moniker.  All of which I love, but are the Brigid of 2018, when I first started my blog, not 2020, where I stand now.  My handle on pretty much everything is hamneggs716 and will remain as such, but otherwise, it is time for actual representation of myself.

More than one person has discussed my “brand” with me this week, which still feels like a silly concept, but is one I have to consider nonetheless.  I am moving from my Ham ‘N Eggs brand into the brand of myself, Brigid Hannon.

This is a big thing.  See, I always kept things like my blog and Twitter and such fairly anonymous.  I did this for two reasons: 1. I was crippled with anxiety about my own abilities, and 2. I wanted to get a job.  Nowadays, I would not take a job that was not okay with the words I put out, and my expression of myself.  However, in the past, I hid my writing, because I was working with children.  You never know when a parent might see you drop an f-bomb and suddenly have a problem with your employer.  Seriously, I have seen it happen.  So, I tried to keep myself as silent as I could and even considered a pen name. 

But see…I love my name.  It’s the reason I never legally took Mark’s.  And I want my name on my work. So, a couple years ago, I took a deep breath and I submitted to a few journals, and now look.  JUST LOOK.  I have a book and a website and I was published in my hometown newspaper, and I have so much more upcoming and my Momma even wants to get me business cards.  I am no longer looking for work because I am creating work, and I feel happier and freer than I ever have.

So please, visit my site and see what I’ve got going on in the world.  And thank you, dear blog reader, especially those who have been here for a long time.  I appreciate you.  Thank you for your continued readership, because even though I am doing other things, my blog is still my baby.

Even if I didn’t buy it a domain name.

Sunshine Blogger Award

I will be frank.  I kind of think awards like this are the chain letters of the blogging world.  I mean, there’s no real award.  However, it is a great opportunity to boost up other bloggers and write about your own blogging career, so I will take the bait.

A big thanks to Recreational Hobbyist for the nomination.  She writes about all sorts of hobbies, including book and movie reviews.  Go check her out!

Now, the rules.

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blogging site.
  2. List the Sunshine Blogger Award rules and display the logo on your site.
  3. Answer the Sunshine Blogger Award questions.
  4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  5. Notify the nominees about their nominations.

My question and answer session:

  1. What is your favorite time of the year?  Autumn, by far.  Of course, here in Buffalo that lasts about a week and a half.  I cherish it while it’s here, though.
  2. If you could travel to any country, where would you go?  I suppose I would go to Ireland first, as it is the country of my people.  My parents have always wanted to go and hopefully one day I will win the lottery or publish a best seller and be able to fulfill that dream for them.
  3. What is your favorite TV show you are watching right now?  I literally have Parks and Rec going in the background right now.
  4. How often do you write other than for blog posts?  Well, my blog posts are twice a week, on Monday and Thursday.  I also just finished writing at least 1667 words a day for NaNoWriMo.  Add to that my poetry and a short story I’m toying with.
  5. Coffee or Tea? Coffee is my favorite, but tea is an acceptable substitute. 
  6. What is your all-time favorite book?  It by Stephen King, followed by Bronte’s Jane Eyre.  Very different styles, but both tales that touched my soul.
  7. What is your favorite blog post? Hmmmmmmm…I don’t have one.  I love all my babies equally.  But you should check out Poetry Month.
  8. What is the one thing you love about blogging?  It lets me share my opinions, and keep track of my thoughts. 
  9. What is one thing you can’t live without?  My computer.
  10. What is your favorite food?  Ice cream in all its forms and flavors.
  11. What is your biggest blogging accomplishment?  I haven’t got one, really.  I just want people to read my stuff and find some sort of meaning in my words.  If you read a post and think “gee, me too!” I’ve done my job.

My Nominations:

After reading some new work lately, I nominate the following bloggers & their blogs:

  1. Rusted Honey
  2. Mommin in the real World  
  3. Caffeinated Crafting Cripple
  4. Teagues Creative Mind
  5. Phantasmagorium
  6. Sarah Day
  7. Kelly Louise Allen
  8. TammysTravelTales
  9. Mental Fitness
  10. Yeah OCD Blog
  11. Pucker Up Buttercup

I think I’m supposed to contact these people, and I know I follow a couple on Twitter, but I’m not sure of their handles so let’s just hope the pingbacks take care of notifications.

My questions for you:

  1. When did you get the writing bug?
  2. How long have you been blogging, and what is your main purpose for your blog?
  3. What are you other top three interests?
  4. What is a book you could read over and over again?
  5. What’s the best blog you’ve written?
  6. What is your favorite topic to write about?
  7. What music are you currently listening to?
  8. Who is your biggest support?
  9. If you could have dinner with one writer, dead or alive, who would it be?
  10. What’s your favorite sport team?
  11. What’s your day job?

That’s it.  Seriously, check out some of these blogs, especially if you’re another blogger.  We all need to support each other, which is why I did this in the first place. 

Also, I’m low on topics.  Whoops.

Year in Review

At the start of the year, I made some resolutions. I can say once again that I have made it through another year without eating a phone book. I did get in slightly better shape, having quit smoking (for the most part; the holidays were hard) and I lost a few pounds, but that was mostly due to my inability to eat at times and had far less to do with me actually getting to the gym. I did reach my writing resolution, however. I have certainly written more, and I have gotten some of that writing out into the world. This year was mostly hard, given my health and things like losing our automobile, but I have perservered through my writing. I have kept this blog for nearly a year. I have had my poems and a short story published. I have finished the outline for my novel. I have started assembling a small book of poetry. It has been, for my words, a good year.

Yet, I don’t have much to say tonight. I am grateful to not be spending the new year in the hospital, as I have in the past. I am happy to sit on my sofa with my husband and do tequila shots and watch Netflix and laugh about how this year has kicked our butts, and next year probably will, too. Or maybe not. Maybe we can keep on reaching for the hope a new year brings us.

At least, I’ll keep trying.

blur bokeh bright burnt
Photo by john paul tyrone fernandez on Pexels.com

So…

…I’m not in the hospital, and I’m not shirking my deadline. I’m temporarily without internet on my computer so this update is happening via phone, which is not conductive to verbosity. I do have a blog ready, I just can’t post it. Instead I sit on my couch and watch my husband play Red Dead Redemption 2 while thumb-typing this update, that is really nothing more than me holding myself accountable.

So stop reading this. Go do something with your day. I’ll get back to you soon, I promise.

Social Media Anxiety

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that I have been using it as a way to fight my anxiety.  You may also know that I have been working on expanding and promoting it.  This, my friend, is where the anxiety part really comes into play.

I have read a bunch of articles regarding promotion, monetization, and creating one’s “brand” and all I have to say is that I hate it.  It takes so much away from the writing, which is why I have this blog in the first place, and it puts a microscope on myself.  Example: there is not yet anywhere on my blog that features my full name.  This is for one reason and one reason only: I still need to work.  If a client puts my name in a search engine, I do not want them to judge my childcare abilities by my writings.  I might drop some f-bombs in my blog but I won’t be swearing around your kid, you know what I mean?  I might have a political or religious view that bears no weight on how well I change a diaper but may affect whether someone wants to hire me.  Now, I’ve got some poems that are coming out soon, or are out already (see Potatoes, up at the top,) so I know that my search engine results will soon change, and I will indeed be judged by my words.  One of these poems is about smoking pot.  I’m not exactly thrilled that a possible employer may stumble upon it and not hire me, but also, I’m not thrilled by the idea of censoring my true passion of writing for my day job, either.  I try to tell myself that this is just my anxiety, but I know it’s also a rational concern, so I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place.

It is this microscope on the writer that causes anxiety for me.  I am not good at bragging about myself, for one.  I’m a fairly humble individual.  Back when filling out profiles on dating sites, I was always unsure how to describe myself.  I was never good at listing my qualities.  When asked in interviews what assets I can bring to a job, I freeze up.  I need someone to tell me I’m good at something to make it real, and even then, I don’t always believe them.  This is juxtaposed by a crazy high self-esteem wherein I believe I can do anything.  It’s a dilemma.

Let’s take Facebook and Twitter, for example.  On Twitter, I never shy from anything.  I always write exactly what I think.  On Facebook, however, I am more reserved.  Why?  Well, I have significantly less Twitter followers than Facebook friends, and I think that has something to do with it. Maybe it’s the fact my grandmother is on Facebook?  And my parents?  Maybe it’s because there’s strangers who follow me on Twitter, and I know all my FB friends?  I have more questions than answers, but I know I behave differently on different sites.  For instance, I always post my blog on Twitter, but rarely on FB.  For some reason (and yes, I am aware this is the crazy anxiety-ridden side of my brain) I think that people don’t care.  Mind you, these are people I know, personally, and who seem to enjoy me as an individual, enough so as to send me a friend request.  These people are the most likely to care, and I can’t convince myself of that.

That’s what it really comes down to.  I look at all the followers I have acquired on my blog in the past year.  Like 150 people, complete strangers to me, who decided to follow my blog because they saw something they liked.  Yet, I think that if I share my blog with friends and family, those people will not see anything they enjoy.  I know I’m wrong.  I know I have people who read it, who follow me on social media, who could easily unfollow my ass if I got too boring, but no one does.  Still, my anxious brain senses that I am simply wasting peoples time.  Rational brain knows that’s a lie, because I like your posts and pictures as much as you like mine.  Still, it holds me back from expressing myself, which is what I truly hate.

Right now, I am debating whether or not to share this post on Facebook.  I am thinking of what kind of tweet I can write about my it.  I am considering starting an Instagram challenge to promote my blog.  I am streamlining my accounts to fit my “brand,” a word I still can’t say without the implied quotation marks.  I am doubting all of it, and I wonder if I always will.  Still, I take those little times when someone did say “Hey, I liked that thing you wrote,” and I keep them very close to my heart.  I remember them in my darker moments.  These little instances are what keep me writing, and make me feel like I have something worthwhile to say.  Everything else is just roadblocks.

I’ve made a terrible mistake.

When I decided to get a “real” blog, meaning something that was not a LiveJournal, I did a little research and heard great things about WordPress.  So naturally, I went to wordpress.com and signed up.  This was my last blog, mind you.  Then when I went for a revamp I moved over here, still content in my ignorance.  Recently I decided enough is enough, I need to make some money here, so I looked into purchasing a plan to sell ad space and get a domain name and Google analytics and all that jazz.  It’s about 100 bucks a year to do.  Fairly reasonable, less than my gym membership.  Then I looked into things a little deeper and discovered that…

I’M ON THE WRONG WORDPRESS.

The WordPress everyone was telling me about?  WordPress.ORG.  They have domain hosting and plug-ins and everything I’m looking for and some reports say you can get a blog started for only 50 bucks a year and now I have to re-do my entire blog from scratch over there because I am NOT paying twice as much for half as much!

So, new blog to come in January.  I will be keeping up this sham of a site until then but will definitely be moving on to greener pastures at wordpress.org come winter.

Update, later that day:

No, I probably won’t, and here’s why.  I have no idea what open source database means.  I do not know what Apache is, or a text editor, or an FTP client.  I need to take a small course in web design first, or find someone who has some knowledge of these things to help me out.  Anyone out there understand any of these words?  I will pay you in poems and cookies.