• Do some pull-ups. If a man saunters by, keep doing them, but take one hand and at least three fingers off the bar and sneer at him
  • Make any and all decisions with the same gravity with which Nicholas Cage delivers “I’m going to steal the Declaration of Independence”
  • Get yourself at least one outfit that makes you feel as if punching an Austrian terrorist is just the warm-up
  • (Because it is)
  • Invest in one of those showers with the sexy glass doors, so that your lovers/enemies can see your hazy yet undoubtedly sleek figure do that hair flip thing
  • File all of the heels of your stiletto shoes into actual stilettos.
  • Find one of those Gentlemen’s Clubs wherein pipes are smoked and brandy is swirled; kick down the door wearing a leathery boobs-akimbo outfit, light up a cigar with a propane torch, and hiss, “I am no man!”. Have a Youtube clip of that Eowyn scene queued up on your phone in case someone doesn’t get the reference.
  • Learn how to say “Enchanté” and “I bet your wife couldn’t do this” in at least 17 languages
  • Carefully mark your regular lipstick so you don’t confuse it with your poison one
  • Make sure your leg can travel a vertical 180 degrees
  • Always carry a wig
  • Ride a tiger around sometimes
  • Practice your backflips in the mirror so you don’t make that weird backflip face in the heat of the moment
  • When you meet Beefchunk McRipplechest, immediately find out what his hobbies, skills, and aspirations are, and flawlessly do everything he loves with cool nonchalance. Then set his car on fire, just ’cause.
  • If you find yourself locked up in a Cambodian prison with no chance of release, simply shift into your natural form (this is almost always a large anaconda) and facilitate your own escape. Allowing others to help you in any way is punishable by death, in accordance with Hippolyta’s Sacred Code.
  • After completing any badassery, ensure that one foot lands directly in front of the other as you walk away so that your hips take out the eyes of any gawkers

Words and I have a mercurial history.

There are times when I’m graced with literature; I make friends with sepulchral and lugubrious and exsanguinate. Chewy, silky words that are teetering piles of ideas and nuances, distilled into a single, pure drop of conveyance. These are the words that sit patiently under the distant tree, waiting for me to come over and join them in the blissful shade. They are in no hurry, with no agenda but their meaning, and it worries them little if my brain stumbles on their articulation.

But sometimes I find myself locked in an elevator with a snarling, arrogant fiend. Lyricism rarely graces spoken words, but that’s beyond their concern. They are not here to make me feel good. They do not care about my inner chaos. They will snicker at my misplaced emphasis, invite others in to mock. They seek only to get their point across, vociferously, and whether or not I wish to hear them is irrelevant.

I am thoroughly shackled with the former; I have not been graced with any gift of the oratory. Asking; telling; forcing people to listen–hear–me, is done not by speech or elocution, but with inky black claws. I must be allowed to toggle ideas in my head, switch and delete and rearrange my thoughts into something coherent. Words must drip and ooze down the page, collecting scraps, before coalescing at the bottom to form a plump, shining image.

If I am one who shies away from talking, who runs away into the embrace of bounded pages and pens fast running out of fuel, then I can be sure I have an antithesis. One who burns and crackles like a firework, whose patience for my sedate, measured expression runs out faster than a hummingbird’s heartbeat. They exult in breakneck banter, in letting words tumble out of their mouth quicker than they can catch them. When they speak to me, I might have to sift through clutter, glide over iterations of “um” and “like” and “y’know”,  to grasp substance and sense. My dramatic brain has turned listening into both a chore and a respite, a bittersweet cacophony.

(There is another creature out there; one that scares and exhilarates me.  One whose charm is a black hole, who sucks the air out of the room with their entrance. They leap onto wobbling desks or languish barefoot in pastoral fields, trailing captive throngs wherever they go. They have harnessed the power of both realms, easily snatching complexity, poetry, and insight out of the esoteric cranking of their brain and splashing it across brick walls and billboards and open air. They are pied pipers, beloved and terrible with their heady influence. For it is a fearful beauty; they are the ones who wrench open the scribal cages and set words free into the auditory realm like doves into a battlefield. Everyone stops; everyone listens; everyone is spellbound.

But, I think we agree: no one man should have all that power.)

And so, to those at whom I howl, growl, yip and squeak, I say this: Wait. Pause. Don’t dismiss or be fooled or put me on a shelf somewhere. Let me write you a sonnet, an essay, a strongly worded note. A manifesto two hundred pages deep bound with twine and delivered to your front door by a woman in a trenchcoat.

I have things to say. I just can’t say them.

At least not out loud.