Category Archives: Women In My Corner

Women in my Corner:The Story Circle of Love: Chrisa Passes to Julia

 

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It’s Christmas Eve, a wonderful, magical and hopeful night.

It leads to the gift giving and love of CHRISTMAS DAY, so what better time to add to my circle of incredible women and bloggers?

When I started the Story CIrcle of Love earlier this year it was because I knew so many women that had LITERALLY changed my heart and mind through their words. Getting to know them through their blogs and then becoming their friends was such an enourmous gift to me. I wanted other women (and men) to share their stories of it too.

Unlike the Proud Mommy Moments I share on this blog (new ones coming in 2013), where I shared my words about  a certain mommy and blogger, I wanted others to
Write a love letter of thanks to another blogger, someone who has changed your life since you were introduced” 

The circle gets wider, along with my smile and my heart expands with the amount of love, support, friendship and companionship that has flowered in the wake of it.

I have been introduced to three bloggers I didn’t even know before and my hope is that as we join hands and add to the corner, I am given the gift of even more new friends.

 This is an exercise in LOVE.

An experiment in SUPPORT.

and a REAL world example of how the people inside our screens have become our most trusted “sisters”.

 

I couldn’t think of a better day to ADD TO THE CIRCLE , than the night before Christmas.

I give you Miss Chrisa who is writing to JULIA ROBERTS (no, not that one!!)  of  Kidneys and Eyes.  

 

When I started blogging I did so to preserve my own sanity.  I am the mom of a teenager with Schizoaffective Disorder; in the simplest of terms, a disorder that combines the “best” of both Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder.  Tim was 14 years old, on his ninth inpatient hospitalization since the age of 11, and our home life was an experiment in terror.  Tim had attempted suicide once seriously, once half-heartedly, and contemplated it in stark and scary terms several more times.  He threatened to kill me, his father, and others because the voices in his head screamed at him to do so.  He wouldn’t bathe because he was convinced that the water was poisonous.  He’d been on more than 20 different medication combos, met with and burned out three child psychiatrists and three therapists, and could  not get through five hours of school without a screaming, swirling meltdown of anxiety and psychosis that invariably ended with his classroom being cleared and a pile of desks being thrown into a corner.

So I started blogging as a personal record.  I was sure I was the only one living with the constant fear that my child’s life would end by his own hand, or our lives would be irrevocably damaged by one of his violent, psychotic rages that injured us or resulted in his incarceration.  We stood on the precipice of a future that offered us the equally unappealing choices of long-term residential treatment, electroconvulsive therapy, or medication with so many side effects that the FDA requires the patient to register the results of blood tests in a National database. I sent my words out into the ether, assuming they fell on deaf ears.  Then one day, a blog post got a comment from another parent like me.

I began to venture out into the virtual world of social media, looking for others who might understand.  And I found them.  I began to realize that the confusion and fear I felt wasn’t a singular experience. I had peers who were living lives like mine, and they encouraged me to keep sharing.  Bolstered by the realization that I had a voice others wanted to hear, I agreed to be interviewed by the Chicago Tribune about stigma and mental illness.  I felt confident and strong. Until the hate mail came.  Hundreds of emails condemning me as a thin-skinned killjoy hell-bent on sanitizing the world to satiate my fragile psyche poured in from all over the Midwest, and then snowballed into thousands of emails as the article was reprinted in the United Kingdom and one of the world’s largest Spanish language papers.  Many encouraged me to glue my mouth shut.  Some encouraged me to end my own life or let my son end his. A select few offered to end my life for me.

But amongst the tidal wave of hate were a few notes of love and support. One of those was from Julia Roberts.  When I saw the name I had the fleeting thought I bet you’re having now.  Not THAT Julia Roberts.  A much more important Julia Roberts.  A mom from Georgia with two children of her own, including Gage, an impish young man with a head of beautiful blonde curls, a face peppered with freckles, and the dual demons of polycystic kidney disease and deep, dangerous  depression (PTSD, Clinical depression rage etc) .  Julia’s words were a soothing salve to the flaming hatred I had received, thanking me for standing up to those that trivialize mental illness and encouraging me to continue.  Julia understands my pain because she lives it.  But she doesn’t wallow in a cloud of despair. 

Julia’s blog, Kidneys and Eyes, is a love letter to the children she loves and the daily war she wages to keep them healthy.  I explored Julia’s posts and meekly reached out to thank her for the letter of love amidst the sea of bile I’d received.  And as we continued to correspond, her fierce yet compassionate words were the encouragement I needed to raise my voice over the hatred and continue to fight against the stigma that could relegate our children to the margins of society. 

Julia also runs a website dedicated to helping all parents of special needs children find the others that relate to their cries for understanding and support and change.  I hold Julia up as the example of who I strive to be – a woman on a mission to save my child by bringing us all together in a safe, warm bear hug of community, advocacy, and empathy.  She is my touchstone, and my and my son’s lives are better for having basked in the warm glow of her friendship and support.  I am the advocate I am today because of her stunning example.

 

Oh Chrisa and Julia, both of you are such AMAZING women to me.

Reading through your blogs and now having you as part of this Circle has enriched my life.

THANK YOU so much for being here.

Hoping all of you in  blogland take the time to read both Chrisa and Julia.

Their strength, determination and LOVE for their children is truly inspiring.

 

If you’d like to read more about the WOMEN IN MY CORNER you can read about it here.

Our Circle is now, Kirsten, Angela, Cameron, Mandy, Alex Adrienne, Chrisa and now Julia.

 

and for those of you celebrating today…” Merry Christmas to all, and to all a GOOD NIGHT!”

Women in My Corner: A Story Circle of Love: Mandy Passes to Alex

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 It started with me loving on Angela and her writing.

Angie passed the love onto Cameron (who gave me the idea of a Story Circle of Love)

Then Cameron piled on her love to Mandy.

It’s Mandy’s turn and she has picked a writer, woman, phenomenon that I am so excited to have here in this space.

Alex from Late Enough.

(did I tell you that I recently met Alex, hugged her, DANCED with her? )
Proof:

Carrie (The Sweetest), Me and Alex at BlogHer12

 

 

 

What I learned about her?

She’s sweet, kind and funny as hell. She is stylish and snarky and WONDERFUL. 

I always await the people the LOVE it passed to with butterflies in my tummy.

I am so glad to have these two WOMEN in my CORNER today.

 

Here is Mandy passing the Story Circle of Love to Alex:

Once upon a time, there was a blogger who didn’t realize she was a blogger. She had been tapping away on her online journal for years, but had thought she was merely keeping an online version of the pile of half filled paper journals collecting dust on her night stand.

One day, after migrating to a more “open” blog from her locked LiveJournal, she discovered her moms’ forum solicited things called “guest posts”. Nervous, she submitted a post and then nearly leaped for joy when it was accepted and then proceeded to stalk the blog where she discovered a mother from Richmond who wrote with a dry wit and finely tuned sense of the absurd.

Clicking on the link next to her name, this blogger discovered and promptly fell in love with Alex of LateEnough.

When I look at the groups of bloggy friends I have, the writing opportunities I have had, they all circle back to Alex. It was through her, that I discovered SITS and BlogHer. It was through her, I met so many of the women I’ve come to call friends. She was my first twitter follower - explaining to me that no, the little egg is not going to hatch and turn into a bird after a certain number of tweets. She was my first email subscriber, signing up so quickly my head spun. And she invited me to join Makes Fun of Stuff, her honest, yet funny, review site.

Throughout my blogging life, I’ve often felt I was winging it. I’m not the most tech savvy person and had no understanding of blogging platforms, sponsored posts, and ad space. Alex assured me I wouldn’t break the blog, gave me a run down on how to write a sponsored post, and, most importantly, never made me feel as if I was a Freshman in a class of Senior Honor Students.

Over the years, I’ve come to care for and admire Alex. Hers is one of the handful of blogs I read every day without fail. She makes me giggle with her photo captions and zombie apocalypse preparations. She makes me think with her insightful posts on tough issues. She makes me want to be adopted into her family with the snapshots of their lives. And when my own life tumbled apart, she was there, virtually holding my hand and letting me know I’d be okay.

She claims she’s awkward, but I’ve come to know her as a warm, funny woman who doesn’t blink twice when I exhibit my chronic foot in mouth disease. There are a few people who I call friends, rather than bloggy friends and she is one of them. Not only is she in my corner, but she’s cheering me on, making me laugh, and sharing in my paranoia that those people in the other corner are looking at us. Probably.

But only because we’re so awesome.

 

It is letters like this that make me so glad that I started this CIRCLE OF LOVE.

The community, the villages, the love we all share is something that I treasure in this big wonderful space.

Alex will be back in a few weeks and she will pass on the LOVE.
Until then, I encourage you to do this yourself, tell someone who has inspired your writing, encouraged your talent, supported your story.

It’s a wonderful way to PAY IT ALL FORWARD.

 

 

 

Essense of Now: Or: Why I Haven’t Written My BlogHer12 Recap Yet

I wonder if some of you keep checking your readers & email or you just double click on this blog and refresh hoping that I have finally decided to hit PUBLISH and tell you how

OMG, AMAZING! FANTASTIC! LIFE CHANGING!  

BlogHer12 was.

The simple truth?
I’m not ready.
I’m not ready to let go of this past weekend in NYC.

I’m not ready to let go of BlogHer12.

I’m not ready to close the book on the weekend where I finally hugged, chatted with and laughed my ass off with women I have wanted to meet for years. If I publish that post it becomes an archive and I’m just not ready for that.

So instead, I’m going to show you my life this week.

It’s crazy and chaotic and full of lots of memories.

First there was BlogHer12 itself, the sessions, me being Little Miss Fun in Yellow and drinking both yummy adult things and more than my share of Diet Coke.

For 4 days that was my NOW.

Then Sunday came and I packed my bags and wheeled my heavy suitcase out to the car to smiling faces in the backseat.

Tiny voices, yelling “Mommy!” and “We missed you” and “Look what the Nuk Fairy brought me

 (More on that later, since I am married to the most awesome man in the universe)

Then my NOW turned into a day in Central Park and drawings given to me by little hands.

My NOW was having my heart pause just for a second as I looked at a picture of Giovanni & Jacob in the front of Little Car pretending to drive and I realized that it would be happening much sooner than I could imagine.

My NOW was my family and all the smiles they give me. I swear in 4 short days, my sons grew an inch taller, their language and mannerisms became that of little boys and not baby boys anymore and because of my awesome husband my sons are no longer using NUKS.
It’s a MIRACLE people.

I saw them look into the camera again, asking for pictures instead of shying from the shutter sound.

I stood back and snapped as their faces turned in awe to the beautiful voices echoing through the air near the Bethesda Fountain.

My own eyes filling with tears at their reverence for the songs and sweet melodies.

 

 

Next week, I’m going to hit Publish and share every last detail with you.
Take you to BlogHer with me.

But for today, for NOW,  I’m just going to be enjoying the high I still get when I remember all the hugs, giggles and connections I made in those 4 days.

 

 I’m linking up with one of the women I finally got to meet in REAL LIFE, the gorgeous and sweet Mama Track and  the super Jessica of My Time as Mom for their Essence of Now meme.

Essence of Now
 

 

 

Pour My Heart Out: Why I’m Not Anxious about Going to BlogHer’12

 

 

 

Tomorrow morning I will Kiss Giovanni, Jacob and John and take a bus into NYC with my friend Nathalie.

I am attending BlogHer12 in my favorite city in the world for 4 incredible days.

I am a BlogHer newbie, but I am not anxious or scared about this conference.

In fact my insides are fizzy and tumbling with the anticipation of meeting, hugging, giggling(squeeing)  and dancing with so many of the bloggers I know only inside this screen.

I think there are 5 big reasons that I am not overthinking the whole conference.

1. I have many villages.

I say that with tears in my eyes. My blog and my life are blessed because I know that I have so many TRIBES. Just like I used to sit at different tables in high school and got along with most everyone, I know that I am capable of that now. I am NOT SHY. I am completely open, excited and ready to enjoy every single moment. *Read: GET ready for BIG HUGS, BIG TEARS, DIRTY JOKES and ENORMOUS GIGGLES FROM ME*

2.Right now, my goal is not to monetize my blog.

It takes a lot of the pressure off. Sure I’d love to meet the people from Hallmark, Proctor and Gamble and any Makeup Company that doesn’t avoid me, but I’m not going there with the thought that I must come home with a sponser. I want to focus on writing and editing my fiction stories right now.

3. I’m drinking again, I’ve lost weight, I can show off my shoes

 It doesn’t sound like much does it? But for me, being able to enjoy this conference like an adult, in clothes that haven’t fit me in years and in heels that make me feel pretty means that I’m way ahead of the game. If I concentrate on the good things in my life, the time this will give me to relax, rejuvinate and rejoice in the good stuff in life, I know that it will be worth the price of admission, so to speak.

4. I’m Truly having an INCREDIBLE year

All kidding aside, this year my life has  simply opened up.

My writing, Listen to your Mother and even the unexpected and delightful surprise of being asked to sit on a panel at BlogHer’12 with Kathy, Lori and Mel.

(MY BLOG NO LONGER FITS ME: BLOGGING AFTER A LIFE CHANGE)

*if you’re attending BlogHer I’d LOVE to see you there: Hashtag for Twitter:#BH12BlogChange*

are things I never counted on, I came into 2012 with no expectations and somewhere along the way I had doors open. I don’t mess around with fate and Karma, I simply hang onto their coattails until they drop me off.

5.I am going to have INCREDIBLE roomates and meet wonderful friends.

I am going to meet women(and men) that are awe inspiring. I am going to chat in person with people I could only write to before, I am going to rock out, dance, giggle and share the same space with the ladies who have given me support, smiles, comments, love, acceptance and a place to feel less alone.

When you think about it that way, there is nothing about BlogHer is that scary.

So I’m going…with a full heart, a BIG SMILE, a Heavy Suitcase (sorry honey!) and some very pretty shoes.

 

If you’re coming to BlogHer12 I can’t wait to meet you, if you’re not…maybe next year..ok? It’s a Date!!!

 

*the ladies are taking in my pocket!! want to come with? Just let me know I’ll add you!*

 

If you want to find me this weekend: Facebook, Facebook Page, https://twitter.com/KirstenPiccini (@KirstenPiccini)

 Since I haven’t hung out with my GIRL Shell in a while, I decided to POUR MY HEART OUT  before I leave tomorrow.
Thank you Shell, for giving me a place to do that. Love you Summer Girl.

 

(and tomorrow a Perfect Mommy Moment…from a pretty perfect mom! Hope you’ll come by!)  

 

Women in my Corner:A Story Circle of Love:Cameron Passes to Mandy

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It started here, with me telling you about my friend and writing twin, Angela.

Angela then passed the love to Cameron.

Now it’s Cam’s turn to englarge our story circle of love, as she passes on her thoughts about Mandy, from Mandyland.

I love Mandy too, she’s a wise and wonderful woman who has been an inspiration to my writing and a good good friend when I really needed one.

 

Here is Cameron, telling us all about her friend and woman in her corner: Mandy: 

The first time I read your blog, Mandy, was like coming home. It was the beginning of Hidden Hollow, and I fell for your Henry like a ton of bricks. And then I laughed because my own fictional romantic hero, Will, was so similar to Henry as to be brothers.

There we were, two romance writers burning up Red Dress prompts, and we both had Montana ranchers in our stories. “Brain twins!” we giggled.

We discovered a mutual love of #excessivehashtagabuse on Twitter, and had lengthly and serious discussions about our horoscopes. You don’t think I’m crazy to want to tour the country in an Airstream, in fact, you suggested we do it together!

Fast forward two years-ish, and we are seriously considering borrowing each other’s characters and working on deeper collaborations.

You garden and preserve like I wish I could. You’re crafty and ambitious and a seriously kick-ass parent. You make me laugh. Somewhere in the middle of a recent late night Skype conversation, I realized that I hold you up as an example of how to live with grace.

You have such forgiveness and compassion and understanding in your heart, qualities I feel I often bury under a layer of snark. You are determined and tenacious. I need to follow your example. And then your irreverent humor reminds me that you’re perfectly human, and I love you even more.

We often joke about being neighbors, sharing the babysitting, letting our kids run wild in the yard, sitting up until all hours of the night drinking wine and talking. I often wish that the three thousand miles of geography could just be overlooked, so we could do just that.

You write with honestly, fun, and fluidity. It’s a pleasure to have you as a friend and a colleague, a sister of words. I’m looking forward to meeting you in the real world more than I let on—and I’m not shy about it to begin with.

Thank you, Mandy, for all of this, and for all the fun and late night tears and giggles yet to come.

 

What a beautiful way to see how much you mean to someone else. I hope you enjoyed your day in the sun today Mandy.

In 2 weeks, Mandy will pass the love along herself and introduce us to a woman (or man)  in her corner that has changed her life, view, perspective with their blogging/writing.

If you want to know more about WOMEN IN MY CORNER, you can read the first post here.

As always, I am always open to any of you doing this on your blog (just ask me or take the button). I am thrilled with the way it’s opening our hearts and lives to each other.

 

 

Women in My Corner: The Circle of Love Passes from Angela to Cameron

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 Two weeks ago I started my own little Circle of Love here in Blogland,  which was actually inspired by the woman being honored today.

I wanted to introduce us, as women, to a place where we poured thanks and goodness on each other here in the blogosphere, instead of being petty, selfish and envious. A thought was born: to tell everyone about a woman (or man) who has changed our life with their blogging, to introduce each other to our muses and our mentors, our girlfriends and our soul sisters that we have met here behind these screens.

In my own post, I wrote about my good and amazing friend Angela and today, Angie is showering Cameron of CameronD.Garriepy with thanks and love.

Cameron is an amazing writer, 3 books now available : Requiring of Care, Closing Shift and Parallel Jump (get your copies today), she is a  gifted STORYTELLER and a friend of mine. She is also one of the editors of Write On Edge and a mentor in every sense of that word.

So today,  here are Angie’s words to Cameron… 

 

Creased and bent, the spines of my favorite books cradle bits of magic. Battered covers protect the words that make me laugh or cry or sigh at a particular string of letters pieced together in a perfect way. 

But Cam? Your words build lives I wish I could live. The beauty you weave is breathtaking, whether you’re writing the food your characters are eating, clothes they’re wearing, or an entirely new world filled with magic we can only imagine. 

When I fell under your spell, way back when we were all trying on dresses at The Red Dress Club, I was a bit intimidated. Your pieces read like spun candy, delicious and effortless, with the unexpected slice of sharp sugar biting into your tongue with the introduction of a villain. 

Then I read a simple sentence that pushed aside the intimidation. 

“In the eighth grade, I wrote my first romance novel on an antique typewriter, using a stack of pink paper. “ (from the author page at Cameron D. Garriepy)

 With those words, I just wanted to hang out with you. 

Working together at Write on Edge has shattered the idea of intimidation into simple admiration and a serious dose of gratitude that the stars aligned to push our paths together. 

Your words still move me, the ones you publish and the ones that help me out of HTML corners as I learn WordPress and the ones that make me laugh after yet another night of crazy sleep issues with my youngest sleep-fighter. 

Though we’re the same age, you’ve become a mentor to me, and it’s not only because you watch shows like Downtown Abbey while I’m closing the blinds in hopes that no one spies me watching the latest Gossip Girl. 

You share your knowledge and experiences with the straightforward kind of support one can only hope to find in a fellow writer.

 You compliment without false flattery, edit with a sharp eye and ear, and temper my nerves with the type of sarcastic humor that makes me savor the idea that someday, somewhere we will share a bottle of wine and talk for four days. 

I would say you talk me down from the ledge of writing angst I find myself teetering on at least once each week. 

But it’s better than that. 

You know there’s no sense in a writer retreating back through the window. Instead, you’re pushing me off and helping me uncover the belief in my writing I’ve kept pushed down for so long – the belief that is going to help me fly.

 

Cameron, I hope you enjoyed your letter from Angie.

In 2 weeks Cameron will bring us a woman (or man) who has changed her life, writing, perspective with their blog.

I can’t wait to see who it is.

 

(as always, I encourage you to do this on your own and on your own blog if you choose, I’d be happy to share the button if you’d like to thank someone for truly being “IN YOUR CORNER” )

 

 

My Trip to Good Enough Mother

  

Things in my life are very busy right now, I have a long long list of things to get done and lots of words to write.

Next week, in this space, I am going to write about my friend Angela (Angie, my girl!) and introduce a new kind of “village” to my corner, inspired by my other friend Cam with a button designed by my friend Kim.

(see I used a village to do it!)

It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while and I’m very excited to see how it’s received .

This week is leading up to Listen To Your Mother, tomorrow I am going to post a very personal POURING of my heart about that experience but today, TODAY I am being featured over at Good Enough Mother with our PHENOMENAL and FANTASTIC emcee of the show, Rene Syler. Do you know her? TV personality, author, breast cancer ass-kicker?

Yep, she’s awesome and her series LIFE LESSONS is my new favorite thing on the internet.

 I hope you can follow me over there today to read about things like what I’d say to my 16yr old self, what I’ve learned this year and what is the one thing that keeps me grounded.

I try not to gush a lot, but LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER has changed my life. It has brought people into my life that I know will be my friends forever and it has given me something I adore…the STORIES of others. I sit and listen to them read these beautiful, touching, funny, heartwringing, introspective and PERSONAL words and I am changed every single time.

It’s something that I know I will carry in my heart for the rest of my life.

So if I gush, it’s only because I cannot believe that I am a part of this cast.

 I cannot believe that on Sunday, at 2pm, my mom and Stepdad, my sister and her boyfriend, my Brother and Sister in Law and my best friend, MY SUPPORTIVE and (OMG SO PROUD) husband are going to watch me stand up, walk to the podium and begin telling a story, MY OWN WORDS, about the children I waited so long to bring into my life.

LIFE CHANGING, right?

So today, come see me over at Rene’s and please come back next Tuesday…

if you need me I’m tapping away at the keyboard and dreaming.