Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Christmas Card to You!

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest New Year!

An early snowfall here in Southern Berks County, PA in late November, 2012

Thank you for your support of All Things Audry.  I am so grateful for every “like”, “share” and comment.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Guest Post: Amy Ferris: "S is for Shame-Less"

Welcome Amy Ferris, co-editor of the anthology Dancing at the Shame Promsharing the stories that kept us small.

S is for Shame-Less

By Amy Ferris

I can now list my shame alphabetically. 
I can. 
A is for abortion(s), B is for bad, bad boyfriends, C is for countless nights waiting for the phone to ring and cigarettes, D is for drugs...

And on and on and on...

When Hollye and I ventured out in the world - the publishing world - with our anthology, Dancing at The Shame Prom, we both knew the essays we were going to contribute for the book. We had talked, and talked, and shared and talked some more. Both of us are straight forward in terms of speaking and writing our truth. It's become our individual and collective mantra: Speak the truth, write/right your life.  
We both write blogs about writing and living our truth.
We don't hold back. 
It's not in our nature. And since Hollye and I are great at talking through life issues, the more we talked, the more at ease, more comfortable I was with putting my shame - my personal shame essay - out in the world.

But what happened after the book came out in the world was unexpected. 
Holy cowsville.

A whole new wave - a tsunami - of shame manifested. 
It was like an infestation of shame starting with A.

I started remembering every little single detail of every single 'bad, awful, unpleasant, horrifying, embarrassing thing" I ever did, said, and yes, thought. I wanted to hide in a corner, stay in bed, change my phone number, and yes, even run away. Like far away where no one knew me, and I could wipe my past away with the stroke of a Bounty paper-towel.

It was as if writing about one shameful experience sparked all and every shameful experiences I ever encountered. The cork was out of the bottle. I remembered guys I slept with whose names I didn't know, I remembered the lies I told my mom, I remembered driving without a driver's license and getting into an accident, I remembered dying my hair vermillion, and shaving my eyebrows. I remembered the boy I loved madly and passionately who didn't even know I existed.
A floodgate opened.
And then I was filled with more shame. 
Buckets of shame. 

But, Hollye and I have a huge desire and goal. 

We want to wipe shame off the planet. 
We want girls and boys, men and women to awaken to their greatness. 
We want folks to shed the coat of misguided personal beliefs that keep them small, keep them from being intimate.

We want this book, this anthology to open hearts and create dialogue.

We want women to stand tall, be proud, wear their imperfectly perfect lives with joy and hope and unlimited self-esteem.

We want folks to know that every single god awful mistake can be transformed into a mighty powerful mission.
We want regrets and worry and fear and self-loathing to go the way of dial-up connections.
We want every single human being to know that what drives us, motivates us, clings to us... is love. 

And just like that tsunami of shame took over, there was a moment of understanding, an epiphany of sorts. I knew with every fiber in my being that every single shameful thing I ever did, or believed I did, or felt I did, was because I wanted to be loved. 
Wanted to feel important. 
Wanted to be noticed. 

A calm after the tsunami.

And just like that I started loving me, imperfectly perfect me, just a bit more. 

Amy Ferris
Author. Writer. Girl.

Book: Dancing at The Shame Prom, sharing the stories that kept us small - Anthology, Seal Press (2012)
Co-edited by Amy Ferris & Hollye Dexter

Book: Marrying George Clooney, Confessions From A Midlife Crisis,Seal Press (2010)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What the “Ho-Ho-Ho” were you thinking???

from the movie, "The Christmas Story"

Every year I say the same thing, “Yea! It’s the holiday season.  Play the Christmas music! Break out the decorations! Let’s shop!  Let’s bake and drink and be merry!”

 I love it …  I hate it!  Why is most Christmas music so annoying – stop yelling at me in song that it’s “the most wonderful time of the year”!  And shopping – the pressure of expressing my love and affection for people through a personalized travel mug or something equally unnecessary that makes the gift receiver ask, “What the Ho-Ho-Ho were you thinking?” And, who has time to bake when I can’t decide what to buy and who has the best sale prices!  Of course, there’s always time to drink – and be horribly hung over while listening to obnoxiously loud Christmas music! 

Oh the guilt of hating it – Actually, yes, I do love it!  Family memories and traditions and the “there’s always next year to buy you something better” mentality and the children and, oh yeah, all that religious stuff, of course – the true meaning of Christmas…

Three phrases that sum up Christmas are: Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men, and Batteries not Included.
English Proverb 

I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included.         
Bernard Manning 

Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice."
Dave Barry, humor columnist

Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer.... Who'd have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously?
Bill Watterson, cartoonist and creator of Calvin and Hobbes 


And finally, a nice quote to put all the madness into perspective:

As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December's bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same.
Donald E. Westlake, crime fiction writer