I wonder about a lot of things.
Like, how long a bottle of vodka lasts in someone else’s house.
Whether it’s really been a day shy of four years since Jason died.
If I’ll ever tire of using the word “fuck” in new and exciting ways. Or even the same ways.
Whether people want to truly understand or if they simply prefer to yell — whether it be about a brave young woman with an aggressive, cancerous brain tumor or the alleged sexual transgressions of a celebrated Canadian host?
If yelling has become the new norm.
Why it took me 37 years to feel as if I had permission to be me.
Why, even 4 (going on 5) years after that, I still feel like I’m not “there” (aka, at “me”) yet.
I wonder if I ever want to be “there.” At critical mass, ME-level.
I wonder if that’s called complacency.
What it would be like to skydive, even though I’ll never jump out of a perfectly good airplane.
If I’ll ever publish a blog post without a typo.
I wonder whether he’s sleeping well when he’s not in my bed. And whether I should be spending more time in his.
If the happiness I feel will last.
If I have the wherewithal to endure the legion of hatemongers that populate the internet as I grow a digital brand where I — my brain, my thoughts, my life, my ideas, my fuckups, my YAYs — am the product.
I wonder if I’m a hypocrite for having written a book about the strength in unpopularity and sometimes wondering how much bullshit I have to deal with from the people who will never (ever) pick up what I’m putting down.
Whether the difference in our ages is an issue — whether I’m taking something from him or he’s giving me the gift of a lifetime.
I wonder if Small Dog will stop peeing on the floor when my man is over.
If Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert ever wake up in the morning — wildly popular and unpopular all at once — and think, “What the fuck am I doing?”
I wonder who the hell greenlit John Mullaney’s sitcom.
If I could ever see The Big Lebowski “too many times.”
I do. I wonder.
What do you wonder about?
I categorized today’s post as a Bitch Slap for a few reasons. First, I think it’s okay to wonder. I think it’s so incredibly okay that wonder should be a synonym for okay and I’m shocked that Gwyneth Paltrow didn’t name one of her kids Wonder.
Secondly, I know that life gets interesting when we move our Wonders (Stevie?) over into the What Ifs.
And I know I don’t do this nearly often enough. Hence…slap.
In the past month or so, I’ve made some massive strides and none would have been possible if I’d left my Wonders in the Wonder column. From a few more voiceover bookings to shooting a pilot for a web series to an incredible speaking engagement where I shared my vision of NEXT to an audience who drank it in like a frat guy on a free keg with final exams a month away — amazing.
And I also closed the door on Redhead Writing — the brand I’ve essentially hidden behind for 7 years — and decided to become….me.
So this morning, I’m sitting here in my bed (which is quite possibly made of unicorn essence and one of the great loves of my life aside from my other great fictional loves like Clive Owen and Robert Downey, Jr. and John Oliver) crying a little bit. It’s happy crying. Not like Niagra Falls kind of shit but good tears in periodic need of a sniffle and an arm swipe across the peeper region.
Becoming me. It’s so funny that nearly 42 years have gone by (December 10 — holler) and I’m writing about becoming ME.
Many of you have been around this joint since the 2007 time in some form or fashion. Others are newer (hello). Others might pop in and out when your Wonder takes hold and you can’t help it but to click.
But the coolest part is that each of you are responsible for my becoming more and more ME. And it’s an incredble journey.
I remember the days where being a good person wasn’t at the top of my list — rather, it was what can I yell about and how loud might I be able to yell? Redhead Writing (ranting) was good at that. And damn it if lots of folks didn’t come along for the ride. Some readers have even unsubscribed, saying they miss that ranty-as-hell redhead and that I’ve “lost my edge.”
Oooookay. Well, if that’s the thing you miss, you’re missing a persona — not a person.
But the past few years, I’ve been restless. Oh, darlin’ — my loves — I’ve been restless. And it’s mostly because I’ve come to realize that I hate yelling.
I hate the people who build brands and lives on tearing down others (though I will mercilessly call out those who feel the need to come into my house and tell me how to decorate the place).
I hate the thieves, the stealers of ideas, the ones who create names based on nothing but cheap bastardizations of the efforts of others.
And hate’s a funny thing. It’s helped me discover what I love.
What I Love
First, I love ME. Because for so many years, I tried to be anyone but. I tried on other personas, exaggerated versions of aspects of my personality, because I saw that people like thse traits in other people. But soon, the weight of theft — of stealing from myself and the beauty that is ME in order to make something false shine — became too great.
It’s lighter to become ME. And it’s honest. And there’s not an ounce of thievery involved.
Thieves want the Easy Button. For everything to work and be a sure thing every time.
But ME? I want to try. I want to see what works. I want to bring things, people, and ideas together and put them in a petri dish with some John Legend in the background and a decent $20 bottle of red and see what I can create. I’m creating something for my business that’s so goddamn exciting I can barely contain myself. But I’ll have to. It’s not going to be ready until January 12. Because I’m trying.
I love trying.
Secondly, I love solutions, compassion, and both delivered with a sense of abruptness. I’m never going to be the gal who holds your hair back while you puke up last night’s mistake. But I will be the gal who reminds you that, even in your shittiest hours, the tile is cool and there’s nothing wrong with crashing on the bathroom floor (because we’ve all done it). I’ll never (again) be the gal who rants on and on about someone doing dumb shit (yellers) without offering a solution as to how it might have been done better.
I will be the gal with the potty mouth who uses the word “fuck” for good instead of evil — never to tell other to go fuck themselves or Fuck You in any other sense than the general (kinda like here, for those who take issue with my vocabulary choices). I’ll poke you and ask just how many fucks you have to give this or that. I’ll ask you how you’re spending the limited number of fucks you have to give in this lifetime.
I’ll remind you to stop being so fucking mean to yourself.
And I’ll always be the gal reminding you that, in a world full of people waiting to tear you down, steal your puppies, and leave the office coffee pot empty because they “couldn’t find the filters” (you. ass.) — I will remind you (and daily) that you are fucking awesome.
I never delude myself into thinking that y’all read every word of what I have to say. But I do hope that your days are better and minds brighter for having read the words you have the time/inclination/given the fucks to read. I’m grateful.
I love solutions, compassion, and cutting out the bullshit.
Finally, I love the feeling of being restless. I wake up each day with a pair of burlap Spanx on (gents, the equivalent would be a steel wool jockstrap) and I spend the rest of the day irritated.
Being restless is the moment when my bullshit becomes more important than everyone else’s.
It’s the moment of saying I ain’t got time for your bullshit because, Peggy Sue Linderman, it is high time I started dealing with my bullshit.
And while I have no idea who Peggy Sue Linderman is, she is ripe with some bullshit.
I’ve built a career on helping smart brands and the people who lead them deal with their bullshit (because they’ve built careers helping other people deal with theirs in some form or fashion). And I’ve fallen in love with being restless and helping these other restless people focus on the right pile of bullshit. It’s my WHY. And since falling in love with restless, I’ve gotten a lot of my own bullshit squared away.
Being restless is the reason that, after 7 years, I put the whole of the Redhead Writing brand to rest this week and became…me.
On Twitter, you’ll now reach me at ErikaNapo (though I still have that RedheadWriting handle, you sneaky assholes who were thinking you could swipe that because many have tried). I don’t tweet as much as I used to, but it’s a damn fine way to get ahold of me. Make me laugh. And I’ll do my best to be funny every now and again.
On Facebook, I’m Erika Napoletano. The Redhead Writing community is still a community, but Redhead Writing has never been anything other than me. Join me and nearly 28,000 crazy ass people who laugh all day long. We feel and think and the best ideas are never mine. Thank heavens.
It was high time I became me.
I love being restless.
So today, I ask you:
Who are you and are you restless?
(And may I ask how long a bottle of vodka lasts in your house?)
While a name change might not seem a big deal, it’s part of my restless. One more thing I had to do to scratch my itch. And Redhead Writing — I love her and all she’s afforded me. But I can’t be her any longer because my ME is what you deserve.
Why? Because the me that I am today (and was a few years ago) can’t be my ME forever.
That’s what restless is for. It’s there to make us each ask: How can I become that next better version of myself?
And damn — what a lovely question.
I wonder what the answer will be.
Thanks for reading. For being here. For spending 7 minutes of your day reading 1700 words. For those who unsubscribe because I’m not the ranty cunt I used to be. Or just because I use the word cunt.
You’re all fucking gorgeous. And I’ll remind you of that every. Single. Day.