Painting by Robert Jackson

Painting by Robert Jackson

Our grandmothers told us to eat three square meals a day. I have three square panic attacks a day instead. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. They may not be clinical panic attacks.  But they’re mental warfare and they make me forget all that I know about breathing well.  If I could find one of those vests they make for dogs that are scared of thunder in my size, I would wear it under everything. Like a bullet proof vest for my own thoughts.

I'm so messy on the inside that I could finger paint with my emotions. And I’m not talking about how artistically gifted kids or that one talented elephant paint things.  I’m talking the “way outside the lines, all over the bathroom wall and possibly myself while mom has her back turned” kind of finger painting that you would expect from a wildly undisciplined two year old.  Have you ever felt that way?  Like you were too much, MUCH? Someone out there is shaking their head yes at that question.  Because in my rational moments I know that I am far from alone in this.  But somehow we all honestly carry around the heavy belief  that we are the only ones, don't we? No one else could possibly compete with our level of insanity. We are the mayor, village idiot, AND sole inhabitant of crazy town!  If you really believe that to be true, your town is about to get crowded.  We are many.  We are a motley gang of bleeding hearts and we should start wearing our colors with honesty. Make war paint of that finger paint and wage war against the lie that our feelings aren't valid!  Be the amazing tsunami of love, kindness, and occasional righteous indignation that you are.  Be a natural disaster to the idea that holding it in, or hiding it,  is the better way to live.  Your story, the better story, is more authentic. It’s less conventional.  Live it anyway.  The world is a better place with you in it.

Let these words be the parking stamp that validates that ticket you've been holding while aimlessly wandering around the echoing parking garage of your own panicky thoughts.  Your bleeding heart is beautiful.  

“You panic button collector

You clock of beautiful ticks

You run out the door if you need to

You flock to the front row of your own class

You feather everything until you know you can always, always shake like a leaf on my family tree and know you belong here.

You belong here and everything you feel is okay

Everything you feel is okay.”

Andrea Gibson ‘Panic Button Collector’

Meet our Guest Writer


Amber is a 28 year old Chattanooga native currently residing in the mountains of NC.  She’s a yogini, a chaser of good stories, and a lover of craft beers that are so dark they hurt your feelings a little.  Her spirit animal is a Waffle House waitress named Wanda.  More on Wanda later..Amber is a chronic over-thinker who is learning to let some ambiguity exist in her life.  If there is comedy to be found in dark places, she will hunt it down.  And if there’s room for sarcasm in the sacred,  she will squeeze it in.  Grace, tact, and diplomacy have beautiful places in the world too.  Employ any and all methods to lend buoyancy to life!

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