Pinky Rules.

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My Dad is my hero. His given name is Paul B. Lowry… he told me the “B” stood for “big” and I believed him… until snooping through his cufflink case I found his birth certificate and discovered it actually stood for Beverly. Wanna make your Dad squirm…call him Beverly, especially in front of people!  He had a face full of freckles topped with Bozo the clown fire engine red curls. We were two peas in a pod and proper name aside, I only ever called him Pinky and he only ever called me Patrick (his little Saint).

Pinky skipped to the beat of a very different drum.  He set the ultimate example of endurance, resilience and individualism with a spirit for joy that was contagious.  He stood for the very thing I strive to be everyday – someone who is authentic to their core and comfortable in their own shoes – no matter how different they are.

He made me believe that being unusual, uncommon, and eccentric was incredibly rare and special and something he encouraged and fostered in me for as long as I can remember.  He taught me there is no greater gift than your imagination and it in itself can manifest the most impossible and magnificent realities.  And so be it.  The faeries that lived in our chandelier were real, animals do speak, the wind has a heartbeat, colours had a taste, singing is an emotion, words can move mountains and magic absolutely exists.

Pinky was part man and part child.  He was our family’s provider and our playmate.  He was his own man – tired and true and you never had to guess how Pinky felt about anything – he called a spade a spade.  He was lit with a sparkle in his eyes, a devilish smirk and an insatiable desire to tease and to play tricks.

Pinky taught me to be me.  He taught me that you can’t keep a Lowry down and a Lowry never gives up.  He taught me to look closely, to see the beauty that surrounds us – because life can be tough – but there is always something magical to balance it out. He taught me to always believe.  I am my father’s daughter and darn proud to be it.

Here are Pinky’s top 11 Rules to Rebel by:

  1. Be a cherub on the outside and a mad trickster on the inside.
  1. Talk to all animals and bugs. Make eye contact. Wink. Let them sniff you and return the courtesy. Name each and every critter and creature you meet…it puts you on a first name basis.
  1. Every single thing in nature has a spirit and soul. Respect it.
  1. Learn to swim…it will come in handy when you are drowning. (He use to call me The Mermaid)
  1. When all else fails – eat your favourite comfort food. (His were a cold tin of beans with chopped up wieners and cheesies on the side to dip in).
  1. Always be prepared to “scardiate” someone…(Defn: intensely hilarious, immature, well thought out acts causing a total out of body frightful freak-out).
  1. Screw caring about what anyone else thinks. Own your Silly Billy, be a super freak, wear your Clan of the Cave Bear outfit, bunny ears, sing at the top of your lungs in the mall, believe in Santa, The Easter Bunny and everything you can’t actually see.
  1. Always take the dare. Hence the expression….”never dare a Lowry”. Covet adventure.
  1. Be bravely free! Rant and rave about everything. If you don’t know something – make it up.
  1. Your imagination is your greatest super power. See words as if they were pictures. Listen to the silence. Touch emotions. Taste the elements and smell colours.
  1. You are never alone. The faeries are always with you.
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It’s all good.

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So you’ve had a hard day. A particularly bumpy, fire-breathing, dragon slaying, had to save the world only to have the floor fall out from under you at the last minute leaving you plummeting face first into a cesspool of sewage curbside and not a knight in shiny armor anywhere within reach to help you get up… so you let loose some seriously unladylike obscenities that frighten the small child waiting with his mother at the bus stop (who could offer to help you get up…. but doesn’t…so you give her the “you ain’t no mudder of the year award” look and huff loudly)… so you get yourself up, and instantly feel drops of rain pelting your face, you open your umbrella and it blows inside out,  just as the fourth OUT OF SERVICE streetcar passes …so you spew some more unladylike obscenities and stare at the horrible raincoat protected dry child. The slothcar finally comes so you stagger on and said small hellion child sits in front of you and engages in a freak show tantrum that makes your ears bleed and eyes roll inside out, so you clench your teeth because it is taking every ounce of restraint not to make a scary child- eating monster face at peewee… you bite your tongue, roll your eyes and mutter Tourette-like groans under your breath until you escape the streetcar named demonic with one last evil eye glare at Madonna and child….who of course follow you off the streetcar….so you quicken your pace, looking back every few steps to make sure the swat team isn’t following you until you walk smack dab into a massive recycling bin filled with empty containers that once held pickles because you can smell that horrible pickle smell and worse there’s some of that disgusting putrefying pickle juice on your hand; so you run, horrified, arms flaying, slightly hysterical, just keeping it together for one more block until you can reach safety and let the insanity loose in the privacy of your own home…only the front door is jammed again so you call it a Dickhead and plea bargain with it to just fricking open or else its destined for firewood…the third kick gets you in where the cats are performing an opus inspired by starvation as I remove my boots only to step in still warm hairball barf, as utter repulsion overcomes me I feel it seeping between my toes, hopping on the other foot to my kitchen where I collapse on the floor in fetal position, letting the cool tiles lull me back to a sense of emotional stability. Minutes…perhaps hours pass and I slowly open my eyes, returning to a sense of calm, after surviving a war.  A flicker of light catches my eye from under the fridge, I blink, and wiggle a few inches closer, now eye-to-eye with the under the fridge world, a flotsam and jetsam of crumbs, dust bunnies, forsaken cat cookies and my lost emerald ring.

Like I said, it’s all good.

Dyslexics of the world untie.

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Stupid. Dummy. Retard.  Just a few of the names I remember being called as a child undiagnosed with Dyslexia.  Way back in the olden days, when I was a tot, teachers and parents were not as aware of learning challenges as they are today.  Let’s just say I spent a lot of time in the “special” class.

Luckily for me I had a very unique and magical Dad who saw my peculiarities as perks. Perks that included being told that I was born on a star and that I had secret super powers. Perks that trained me to infuse my imagination with uber effervescent sparkle. Perks that lead me to hone in and celebrate my own unique way of expressing my observations, ideas and feelings.  Perks that ironically helped me to become a very clever and creative writer.

Here are interesting facts…in no particular disorder…

  1. Dyslexics are not stupid. In fact, they are gifted with a unique mindset that is more intelligent, more creative and more innovative than others. Duh.
  1. Dyslexia is not the result of neurological damage, but the product of neurological development. It’s a difficulty in processing linguistic and symbolic codes, letters, numbers and speech sounds. Translation – things get mixed up.
  1. Dyslexics think in pictures instead of words. Non-dyslexics have verbal thoughts, (thinking in words) which is a linear process that occurs at a speed of about 150 words per minute. Dyslexics have non-verbal thoughts, (thinking in pictures) – the picture grows as the thought process adds more concepts. It’s much faster, possibly thousands of times faster (a picture is worth a thousand words). Because of its speed, it happens in the subconscious mind. When there is no mental picture for a particular word, it causes disorientation
  1. Dyslexics have amazing thinking skills in the area of conceptualization, reason, imagination and abstraction. Yay unicorn thinking!
  1. Dyslexics have a strong ability to see concepts with a “big picture” perspective. I call it my “stand on tippy-toes” view.
  1. Dyslexics have excellent comprehension of the stories read or told them as well as a better sense of spatial relationships and better use of their right brain. Just don’t ask me to remember my phone #.
  1. Some of the most brilliant minds of our time have been known to have dyslexia: Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, John Lennon and Patty Lowry, to name just a few.
  1. Worse game to ask a Dyslexic to play is Scrabble.
  1. My worse Dyslexic spelling mistake – using Ingenuous instead of ingenious in a full-page newspaper ad when describing world-renowned designer and architect Philippe Stark.
  1. A Dyslexic’s BFF – a synonym dictionary to find a word used in place of the one you can’t spell.
  1. Favourite Dyslexic saying: “If life gives you melons then you’re probably dyslexic!” Or “Good punctuation means not to be late.”

 

 

 


How do you feel?

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It’s likely you’re asked this question a dozen times a day. It’s also likely you respond “fine”.  Maybe some days you choose to dig a bit deeper and share a few more expletives like “fricking awesome sauce” or “sick as a tick on the back of a flea”… but in general our answers are often robotic pacifiers that have nothing to do with how we actually feel.

It can be tough to feel; to allow ourselves to “feel real”, feel authentic, full-on emotions. And it can be even tougher to express them. Whether it’s something happy, sad, mad or glad, emotions can be really scary, overwhelming, awkward and even hysterical (like in the sighting of a baby kitten or Robert Downey Jr, for instance).

I on the other hand have always been someone who really feels things big…“turn it up to 11” big. I don’t just get excited, I get elated, and on the flip side, sadness is a plummeting pit of mud-infused despair.  It’s sometimes a bit of a rolly-coaster ride but my feelings are a big part of me and my creative self-expression.

Once upon a time during a particularly bumpy round in the ring of life, I got knocked out; broken into a bazillion bits and was down for the count. Completely shut down, shut out and shut off. Nothing could get me to open the vault.  As it turns out, sometimes it’s a good thing to be broken.  It gave me a break – from feeling – and a chance to decide how I wanted to rebuild. It also inspired me to write my book.

The long and “oh so dramatic, made-for-TV movie” of the re-opening of my emotional vault was in fact a mini-series in the making!  Blood, sweat and tears, plus a mish mash of starring roles in “Mud Gurl”, “Down & Out Damsel in Distress” and “There’s no such thing as Perfect” to name just a few.

The adventure back was very enlightening. I leaned a lot about walls, forts, drawbridges and dragons.  I learned to play with swords and shields. I explored the colours and tastes of emotions; and I found peace and inspiration in letting the rainbow of feelings in. It was a mind-bending experience and not to minimize all the work, because it was Rocky Balboa hard…but my two greatest insights that continue to help me “feel real” on a daily basis are these:  choice and the dial. Once you realize you can choose how you want to feel and then give yourself permission to take control of the dial (dial up or down), this very awareness let’s you manage a kaleidoscopic realm of emotions at your disposal.

So I ask you…how do you feel?  And may I recommend not to just think about it, but to let yourself feel it.

I feel excited, like a herd of giddy llamas stampeding down the Machu Pichu trail, because I’m following my dream. I also feel anxious, like the sound of an approaching swarm of bees buzzing, because I’m about to share some pretty personal stuff with you in my book.  But more than anything I just feel so darn grateful (bigger than the strength of 10 Grinchs + 2) to be feeling real and be just “fine” with that.

Life is amazing. What started with one emotional challenge snowballed into a Crackerjack box of over 80 “how to” lists for all the different situations that life throws at you. So whether you’re dealing with a bad hair day, looking to amp up your empathy, tune into your vulnerability, celebrate your sexiosity or manage your anger, fury and wrath – it’s all here waiting for you inside the emotion-infused pages of How to Live Like a Chipmunk and Other Tips on Living An Awesome Sauce Life!  Coming soon!!!!!