Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

One of the nicest compliments I've ever received...

Wasn't when my 27-year-old stylist assumed "we were the same age" (and this was just last year).
Wasn't when my dermatologist told me I had "fabulous" skin (yes, he frequently used the word "fabulous" and said this during a full-body skin cancer check).
Wasn't when a good friend of many years sent me a birthday package addressed to "Kelly Love Johnson, Rock Star."
Wasn't when I got a "fan email" recently - two years after my book came out - from a lovely 25-year-old woman who told me that my book gave her the courage to ask her boss for a raise after 3 years on the job - and she got it.

I've been on a lot of job interviews in the past few months because I'm searching for the perfect day job (something I can be passionate about, challenged by, creatively stimulated, etc.). I'm interviewing the interviewer as much as they're interviewing me (because of all of the above, I wouldn't accept a job if I didn't think it would be my perfect day job). In one of these interviews, the woman conducting the interview told me she Googled me (good for her!) and found this blog. I don't hide my blog...it's actually on my LinkedIn profile...but I'm always a little nervous when someone I meet for the first time brings it up (as in "oh crap, have I dropped the f-bomb recently? Did I say I hate pork and her family owns a pig farm? Do I talk too much about watching TV? Does she think I'm totally neurotic?").

Anyhoochie, what she said (and I'm paraphrasing) is that she spent a good bit of time perusing my archives here, found them amusing, but what impressed her the most is that I (a) never trashed my then current day job and (b) when I talked about work, even in a funny way, I kept it professional. In other words, I walk the line. I'm honest, but not so honest I'd get Dooced. I was really flattered, but I had to be honest: I've never had a day job that didn't encourage me to be creative, be myself, and when I have been in situations (hello politics) that require me to keep my mouth shut, I'm smart enough to do it.

After our interview, I really started thinking about it. I've had bad days at work. I've written about them, but not in such a way that disparaged my employer (my bad days at work had everything to do with me and nothing to do with them anyway). I've had jobs go wrong, but I had the sense to make a graceful exit and not use this site to bitch about it. And other than cancer, death, and 3rd degree burns, everything is funny - EVENTUALLY. So yes, I've been in bad work situations. I've had to leave jobs with a broken heart. I've had bad bosses. I've found myself curled up on the living room rug in a fetal position, sobbing into my dog's fur. But I didn't write about it at the time. Because it wasn't funny at the time.

It is now. I talk to a friend and former co-worker occasionally about a shared boss's craziness (this is from YEARS ago so don't get all bajiggity thinking I'm referring to you) and we giggle our asses off. Would I write about those stories here? Probably not. Maybe at some point. I don't know. I've gone a little soft as I've gotten older and I no longer enjoy hurting people's feelings. But it's funny now. It wasn't funny when it was happening and I had to step out of the office, get in my car, make sure the windows were up, and scream my head off. The stories are too damn good to keep hidden away forever and ever, so I'm writing them down - as personal narrative that I may or may not include in my second book.

BACK to my point: I've been blogging here for more than 7 years and through 3 or 4 day jobs. And the fact that someone noticed that I can write, maintain a sense of humor, not whine about my job, and protect my then employer's privacy all at the same time was nice to hear. I didn't end up taking the job, but I took the compliment.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


For the past 10 years or so, I've always made a "mega list" of New Year's Resolutions. For example, in 2002, I made 102 micro-resolutions. In 2004, I made 104. I wasn't the only one...there's a whole community of people who break their resolutions down into categories and smaller, more manageable increments. I also created titles ("Get it Done in 2001") for each list, printed them out, and carried them with me in my day planner. I even highlighted each item as it was accomplished. Cleaning out some files (one of my resolutions) earlier this week in my desk, I came across 10 printed out lists from the past 10 years. Frankly, it just made me tired. If I stuck to the old pattern, this year, that means I would have to make 111 resolutions. Not going to happen.

I was thrilled to find these old lists, not just for entertainment value (in 2011, one of my resolutions was "don't leave the house without makeup." Another: "Watch less TV."), but also because I realized that they served a purpose, but it's one I no longer need. Every year, I included "read one book a week." Done. The wearing makeup thing? I now live in Austin. I go to the grocery store in my pajamas and often spend days without makeup. Another amusement: Every single list had "fall in love." I did that one year; it didn't quite work out. Also, I don't think that's the kind of thing you can put on a check list. The coolest thing is that some of the resolutions I thought were long shots actually happened: I published a book in 2008. I made a huge change in my life when I moved to Austin (just passed my one year anniversary here!). I got a literary agent and a publicist. I became my own publicist. I matured emotionally, have been able to let down some of those walls, and I tell people I love them all the time - whether they say it back or not. I finally read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead (thanks to some prompting from Aleigh). And they did change my life, or at least the way I perceive things in my life.

For 2011, I've decided to keep my list in my head. Or maybe here. But there won't be 111. I want to live in the moment. I want to be happy (I am). I want to be more social (working on it). I want to find a day job that I love so much I'd do it for free. I want to lose 25 lbs. I want to finish my second book. I want to buy some plants. But since I live in Austin now, as a tribute, I'm going to go with the flow, add resolutions as they come up, and let the Universe point me in the right direction. Maybe this year, not having a printed, rigid list will be an asset. I'm calling my 2011 list "Subject to Change." Which reminds me: Add "stop trying to control every aspect of your life."

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Best. Christmas. Ever.

I don't want to start this off by saying I have a small case of the post-holiday, missing my family blues. But there I went. I wanted to start off by saying I got to spend an amazing 10 days with friends and family back in Charleston after being away for a whole year - the longest I've gone without seeing my mom, sisters, nieces, nephew, and friends from Charleston. It took me less than a day to sink into the familiar comfort of home, curled up on mom's couch while she cooked something fabulous in the kitchen (poached eggs with fresh spinach and hollandaise for dinner? Yum.), hugging my sisters and nieces and my BFF Mary Kathryn, staying up late at night talking to my mom, shopping with my sister Katie and MK (always expeditions in hilariousness), lunch with my writer friend Angie that came with some nice inspiration, meeting my almost-6-month-old niece and namesake (Jolie Love) for the first time and getting to pinch her chubby little cheeks in person, feeling so much love surrounded my family and extended family and friends, it spoiled me just a tiny bit.

Now that I'm back in Austin, I feel invigorated, less homesick, stocked up on the family love, comforted, and so grateful that I was able to spend so much time with them. It snowed, giant fluffy flakes, the day after Christmas...like magic. I slept every single night I was there like I haven't in a year...going to bed after midnight and waking up at 7am ready to go. Why don't I sleep like that in Austin? I've been waking up earlier than usual since I've gotten back and don't want to sleep until noon, but I also wake up a lot at night here. Is it the quiet in Charleston versus living on a fairly busy street across from a bus stop in Austin? Or was it being back with family and feeling safe? After a year in Austin, I think I've done a pretty good job of getting myself into a safe space. And now I have new memories of being back home to lull myself to sleep.

It's hard being away, but I realize how much has changed in a year. I've made friends in Austin. I love this city. It's not where my family is, but they're not as far away as it felt they were a month ago. And yes, I drove - 2 days each way - and it didn't kill me. The massage I got on Sunday after I returned helped, and so did the audio books that kept me entertained on the road. But something else is different: Now I know I can come home, even though things have changed in all of our lives, what I love the most doesn't change. As soon as I arrived and my mother gave me a great big "mom hug," I knew I was home and that home will always be there - no matter where I end up.

Yes, I'm rambling a bit, but I also promised above-mentioned writer friend that I'd blog more, blog more honestly, write even when I don't want to, write about things I don't want to write about, and get back to the "old Kelly Love." The one (thank you, Angie!), who is "the sh*t."

I feel so lucky to have the friends and family I have. I don't know many people who would pick the family members they've been assigned, but I would. If my sisters and nieces weren't already related to me, I'd love them anyway. And on top of that, I have some amazing friends. The simple version of what I'm trying to say in way too many words: I feel loved. And if feels great.
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