“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~ Lao Tzu
As influenced by all of you who commented here and Facebook that you would be interested in seeing a weekly feature with interesting folks who I find inspiring and you might too.
Don’t be thrown off by the tile of the following author’s blog, that’s right, author (inspiration point 1 – check!) While she is a self-admitted horror fan, her blog is not just full of typical monsters, it goes deeper than that tapping into all of our proverbial monsters but with a lens full of wit, insight, healing, love, and humor. As I have been following her journey, I felt as if the quote above is a lovely depiction of the place from which has come to where she is now…full of grace in the way that grace involves making peace with your ghosts, haunts and monsters so that you can, as Deb will tell you, invite them in for a cup of coffee.
I first encountered Deborah Bryan when she started dropping by my blog leaving lovely comments. Her ability to share little bits of herself here intrigued me so I wandered over to check her out, and was blown away by what I found. There were a few things that struck me:
1. Things we have in common: We are both from Oregon, she grew up in Eugene where I went to college, she taught English in Japan like me, she has a two year old like me, and the fact that I too have some monsters in my closet from long ago with people I care not to mention today, but in some ways our experiences are not far removed.
2. The power of her writing. Her ability to vacillate between humor, healing, sarcasm, and addressing her own Monsters is truly magical.
3. Her strength, spirit and gratitude are so inspiring.
4. Her smarts, commitment, and willingness to somehow organically ride her coattails. I have learned a great deal from her about this space in a short time. I work in the space and so while theoretically I knew what to do, as is always the case, execution is where things happen, and thanks to her, I got a very special nudge and am now flying a little higher.
Seeing her name in the comments on my blog and support on Facebook, helps give me that special ‘newfavoriteday’ aurora that makes each day better! So without further adieu I give you, The Monster in Your Closet.
Shannon: Why is your blog called, The Monster in Your Closet?
TMiYC: At first I wanted something linked to the title of my first book, The Monster’s Daughter. I’m a horror fan, so I decided to use the word “monster.”When I thought of monsters in the context of my own life, I thought of how people have often been shocked when I talk nonchalantly at my past. This is linked to a facial expression that I caption, in my brain, as: “Holy wow, there are a lot of monsters in your closet!”We’ve all got monsters in our closet. I personally find they’re much less scary when we say “rawr” back, then invite them for coffee.
Shannon: If someone joins you now in your blogging journey, where would they find you now from where you came/started?
TMiYC: I started a “public journal” in 1995. There wasn’t any way for people to comment directly, but a lot of folks emailed me. One email that sticks with me was from a man who said he never thought he’d see anything so human come out of a machine.That’s one starting point of my online journaling journey, but I was such a different version of myself then, it’s hard to see that as the beginning of my “blogging” journey. I started my blogging journey because someone advised that for new authors. I’d meant TMiYC to be a writing blog, but found quickly that I (a) didn’t really enjoy reading writing blogs and (b) had other things I wanted to write about.I wrote one post about abuse early on, but I still saw that as linked to my first novel. Later, as I started meandering away from the topic of writing, I found an amazing sense of catharsis at writing about those monsters in my closet. It wasn’t just organizing my thoughts that made me push further and more passionately down that path. Rather, it was seeing how people responded to that honesty, and getting to see myself and my past–allof the world, really–through commenters’ eyes.I can honestly say blogging has been the best therapy of my life, not just for the release of setting words free, but for the connections it’s allowed me to develop with bloggers and readers. I love it.
Shannon: You have been through some significant and challenging experiences, how do you feel about sharing those in your blog?
TMiYC: The first time I wrote something that felt like I’d just cut open my chest and laid out my heart for the world to see (“The love inside, you take it with you“), I fretted about clicking “Publish.” I feared I’d get a bunch of inappropriate comments or find people going, “Um, wow, that was awkward.”The responses in comment, on Facebook and in email were so positive and beautiful, I felt empowered. I decided I’d take more risks. Taking those risks resulted in even greater rewards of freedom and peace.Every time I’ve debated whether to post something sensitive, I’ve found only support, encouragement and love. I’ve gotten some thank-you emails that help me see my words have touched others, and that inspires me to keep doing it. If someone else feels a burden lightened through my being open in this way, it’s worth it!And yet, I still sometimes hesitate to publish!
Shannon: What inspires you in your daily life?
TMiYC: My little boy, and memory of my mom as a child myself! I was terrified of becoming a parent, but since the moment I met my son, he has been my inspiration. Through him, I remember how much my mom loved me, and know that my living well–as a mom and as a person–allows my mom’s light to keep shining.
Shannon: What do you think is your greatest accomplishment and why?
TMiYC: I’ve accomplished many things, but I don’t think of them as “accomplishments” usually. They’re just things I’ve done because they seemed fun, or interesting, or because I was very bored. Most of the things that feel like accomplishments to me have been emotional undertakings.From that perspective, I would say that my greatest accomplishment was choosing hope. I spent most of my younger years not sure I’d even survive them, let alone do anything of note. I thought happy people were stupid and scorned them, loudly and proudly.There came a point where that wasn’t enough. I realized that I couldn’t change everything that had happened or would happen to me, but that I could change my perspective. I started being thankful for things, and saying kinds words, until bit by bit I built a life that’s sometimes a struggle but always a blessing.
Shannon: What are 3 things you hope people will take away from spending time your blog?
1. The fact you start out broken doesn’t mean you won’t ever be whole. It just means you’ll enjoy all the more every glued-together piece you get closer to whole.
2. Forgiveness makes the world better. Forgive others. And definitely, absolutely forgive yourself, knowing you can and will do better next time. You’ll be happier for this, and that happiness will flow into everything you do.
3. There are very few situations that can’t be made at least a little funny by stick figure illustration!
Shannon: What are you grateful for today?
TMiYC: I’m grateful to have been offered the chance to be interviewed for your blog, and the hour I got “off” to do it!
Shannon: Would you please leave us with a pearl of wisdom to help make it our readers ‘newfavoriteday?’
TMiYC: Find something to feel thankful for. Once you’ve found one thing, it’s easier to find others.
This shouldn’t be at the cost of feeling sadness or anger. It’s important to feel these things as part of releasing them; if you try suppressing them, they’ll just fester and grow even uglier.
Face them, grieve, rant, scream into your pillow, and then look yourself in the mirror and say: “I don’t need to be perfect to be perfectly awesome.”
So there you have it. “mnfd’ friends, please do go take the time to check out http://deborah-bryan.com/ you can also head over a like her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/yourclosetmonster.
I hope that you feel inspired and grateful and all around good today as you read about Deborah and TMiYC. Thanks for being here and making today ‘mynewfavoriteday’ I hope it is yours too!
40 thoughts on ““‘Mynewfavoriteweek’ ly Inspiration”: Inspired by Monsters, but not the kind you think.”
Thank you…for many reasons. Your wit, your sincerity, even your leadership. Many of us have monsters in our closets that we would rather not get into today…at least I do.
Thank you for reading, and for your wonderful words!
It’s amazing to me how much my willingness to face these has grown over the last 8-9 months. I started out willing to address only a tiny portion, only to see that tiny portion grow increasingly larger.
Many of the things I don’t hesitate to post now would have given my hives to even think about posting when I started blogging. 🙂
Li’l D awakened me at 4:27. I laid him back down and meant to go back to sleep, but my phone alerted me to my morning WordPress digests.
It’s a good thing that digest got me wakeful, or the frequent interruptions since might’ve been a little more grumpily met! 🙂
Thank you so much for interviewing me! It’s an honor, and it was a delight to to assess these different questions and see the road I’ve traveled in their light.
Ahhh yes, I know this all too well as I was basically doing the same thing at that time.
It was my privilege to interview you and help to spread your light:)
Your intro brought tears to my eyes today and for that I thank you. It’s not always that easy to channel to find the bit that can make today ‘mynewfavoriteday’ but with people like you who come along and share bits of your story and self with me, I can always find the beauty in that which pushes me to find the nugget I need.
Thanks for everything. Xo and quack quack!
Deb, you are just wonderful 🙂 I hope you already knew that!
I’ve begun to suspect it recently–in a confident, happy way, not a cocky, I’m perfect way! In a way I wish everyone felt about themselves. 🙂
“I realized that I couldn’t change everything that had happened or would happen to me, but that I could change my perspective. I started being thankful for things, and saying kinds words, until bit by bit I built a life that’s sometimes a struggle but always a blessing.” I kind of like the misprint “kinds words”. Kindness multiplied (kinds) does modify your gracious take on so many things, blessings and words.
I am sure this was meant for Deb but I feel a kindred moment so I am going to seize it. I made this decision long ago when I was a freshman in highschool. I remember distinctly making the decision to not be a victim of my circumstances and that it would be my own perspective and actions that would need to change.
As something that happened “to me” as a child it became a much more challenging to make this decision yet again when my children literally fought for their lives. To not have a reason was like walking through the desert toward an oasis only to find it’s a mirage, it doesn’t exist but yet feeling so sure there must be a reason. But alas, there has never been nor will there ever be one.
But as you say bit bit of gratitude you can make your way back to give “kinds” and kindness to yourself and others.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope that today is ‘yournewfavoriteday.’
I thought about your comment a lot as I drove. I like your take on “kind” versus “kinds” in the context of multiplying kindness. That may be a typo I make “accidentally” a lot more frequently in the future!
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, here and always. ♥
I love your blog title – so inspiring! I see so much truth and sincerity in your words too. So refreshing!
Thanks so much Amy! I love yours too. I am so happy you came by and said hello, I will certainly be back to visit you as I subscribed to your RSS feed:) Your family is lovely and like I said on your site, I so look forward to the day I can take the picture you have of my twins:)
What a nice surprise. When I first opened Deb’s page, I was expecting a Halloween post.
Thanks so much Anne. Happy to offer a good surprise, and hope you are having a great day. Thanks for coming by I hope you enjoyed your visit and you are finding today to be ‘yournewfavoriteday.’
Absolutely and I’ll be back soon! I’ve been busy with a short story for Mindslam’s Write Wednesdays #2, and a cute little poem for Rumpydog’s poetry challenge tomorrow. I’m always happiest when I’m finishing something, so yes easily a newfavoriteday!
I hear you, I have a few things to be finishing so this was inspiring in itself! Would love to have you whenever you are free and good luck with your poem. I will wander over and say hello to you too!
I toyed with the title over at my blog because I figured that might be a concern. I can’t remember what the other titles were, but I may have selected the wrong title–not many people have opened the entry, by my records!
This makes me especially grateful for those who have. ♥
Oh and you are perfectly awesome, Deb! I’m so happy to have read this interview, to get to know you a little better, and amen to this: “There are very few situations that can’t be made at least a little funny by stick figure illustration!”
Amen…long live stick figures:)
You know the one thing better than that? Stick figure ANIMATION!
You’re awesome, too, lady. And I hope you’ll express that, in part, by sharing some more of your pumpkin creations soon!
THose of us who follow Deb know of her humor, wit, humanity, and grace. While I love her blog, I love her comments on my blog and others – one of the most encouraging, supportive and thoughtful commenters I know.
Thank you so much for these lovely words. My only regret re: comments is that I don’t have enough time to get everything down that I wish I could. On the other hand, I can see how that forced abbreviation would be a bonus to the people behind the blogs I comment (at length) on. 🙂
Dear Shannon (and Deb),
You guys have both cracked the riddle of life and lived to tell the tale. Now that I’m following both of you I’m going to have to find a ‘Duck Crossing’ sign for my blog to steer people your way.
Nice interview, interviewer and interviewee.
Aloha and Mahalo,
Your comment makes me smile! I am not sure (I can’t speak for Deb here) I can use cracked as past tense just yet…perhaps trying to crack:)?
I appreciate the follow very much and am going to waddle over and check you out as well after a good nights rest.
If you find that Duck Crossing sign please let me know as it most definitely deserves its own post!
Hope today is ‘yournewfavoriteday!’
Tis nice to meet you and when I find that sign I’ll send it along.
You’d better decide for yourself. Top three or four rows are pretty cool. Me, I like the old sign on the brick wall that says, ‘slow down duck crossing’. There’s a lot more if you Google just plain ‘duck crossing’ and select images. Sorry to bog you down with choices.
Hi Shannon. Nice to ‘meet’ you. It’s great to see Deb being featured here.
Deb, you have a lot of wisdom in you and thank you for sharing that with your readers. It’s nice to know more about you here and I can’t agree more with all the advice you’ve given. Great interview.
Thanks so much for coming by and saying hi…
Couldn’t agree more about Deb:) She is wonderful. I will come by and check out your blog too, I love the title already!
Excellent interview… Deborah is a sweetheart and a riot. I’m glad you captured some of that lunacy and goodness in your post. 🙂
Yes, the laughter, smiles, and tears all captured in the same post at times, is quite special.
I am very happy and honored that she trusted me with her most personal story.
Thanks so much for coming by and leaving your nice words. It means a lot to me! Have a great weekend!