message in a bottle

bottle2So I’m chatting with a blogger friend today, and we’re talking — what else? — blogs. And I say, “I feel bad — I haven’t been keeping up with anyone’s blogs lately. Even just responding to comments on my own silly site takes a lot of time . . . I really enjoy your stuff, though! You’re a good writer.”

And he says, “Thank you. You’re an excellent writer, too. And your blog isn’t silly. It’s intense.”

Suddenly, I can’t breathe. I freeze in my tracks.

There it is — that word. INTENSE.

[Banging my head against the wall] “Lol. Intense. Yeah, that’s me . . . Too much so. It’s my greatest strength and biggest flaw.”

And he says, “I only see it as a strength, but . . .”

But I cut him off. “I’m too serious too much of the time. It’s my nature . . . It’s one thing to have a strong work ethic and be a deep thinker. It’s another to not be able to relax and just breathe.”

In my mind I’m walking down memory lane, remembering all of the times I’ve wished I could just escape myself — for just a little while — just once. If I could climb outside of my mind, and be the party girl, or the silly one, or at least get lost in the moment . . . There’s a reason I’ve always been attracted to “the funny guy.”

Later, I’m driving down the freeway for my evening Starbucks fix (a decaf iced coffee with caramel), and this song comes on the radio:

And while I can’t catch all of the lyrics in the car, what I do hear rings loud and true to my heart. My eyes well with tears.

I’ll send an SOS to the world
I’ll send an SOS to the world
I hope that someone gets my
I hope that someone gets my
I hope that someone gets my
Message in a bottle
(Message in a bottle)


I need someone to rescue me — from me!

Have you ever wished you could escape yourself?


For the full lyrics, which are awesome, click here.

Image: Google


73 thoughts

  1. I often think that what makes someone a good blogger – opinionated, with a lot to say – won’t necessarily make them nice to be around. To be a good blogger intensity is definitely an asset, but I agree, living in the moment is where it’s at – just forgetting about or losing ourselves… easier said then done though. But I always thought from reading your blog that you must be a fun person! I would never – even in my dreams – think about mountain climbing! – talk about ‘in the moment!’

    • There is truth to what you say, Sreejit. For the purpose of this post, I exaggerated a bit by saying I can’t live in the moment. I can… And I definitely love adventure and to joke with people I’m comfortable with! It’s just… More often than not I view things with a serious slant. I’m… yes, intense. And while it does serve me well with writing (generally), I don’t want everything I say to be serious or heavy! Life needs to be a balance — for all of us!

      Also, by the way, you seem like a fun person, too, though generally your blog’s content seems similar to mine. ;)

  2. “Have you ever wished you could escape yourself?”

    It kind of comes and goes, that feeling that I want to jump out of my skin? But I have been in comfortable place lately; so right now, it’s taking me some time to remember how it was when I felt… intense. I found that just writing about stuff is a catharsis. Cutting back on caffeine also helped :)

    • Cutting back on the caffeine… Thankfully that’s not something I’ve had *too* much trouble with lately. I’m glad to hear that you’re in a comfortable place. Writing helps me, too — I love expressing myself in this way.

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      • It’s hard to explain. I haven’t really “escaped,” per se. I’m still neurotic, but when I’m feeling nervous and overly analytical, I pray my way through it. (Philippians 4:6-7) Also, I think I’ve mellowed with age somewhat. How old are you? I’m 33. I think something changed in my brain when I turned 30.

      • Lol. I’m 29, less than six months from 30… Philippians is a great book… I’ve mellowed in some ways as I’ve aged. Sometimes something will set me off, though, and I just get so frustrated with myself I wish I could die! (exaggerating, of course)

  3. Hi Jessica,

    Forgive me for getting into lecture mode, but:
    a. Your site is NOT silly
    b. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself for not keeping up with other’s blogs, just continue where you left off (I know I’m guilty of this, sometimes there just isn’t enough time)
    c. Intense you are, but that’s also why I enjoy Shift. I like thinkers. I like being challenged. I like people who live life and have interesting stories to tell … this is you, so stop fighting who you are. Yes embrace some fun and laughter (but you do this anyways), and when you feel it’s getting to serious in there, just let go and do something spontaneous.

    So when it’s getting too loud in my head, I run around the house and scream and shout and let it all out; crazy I know, but liberating, yes!

    • Bupe! You are so good to me.

      First off, no worries about lecture mode. I’m grateful for any response, no matter the tone. (I’m serious about this.)
      Second, I was being facetious when I called my site silly. It is a very important part of my life right now… As far as keeping up with others’ blogs? I’ll get back there. It’s nice to know others understand…
      And last, well, it’s good to know I haven’t scared you off with my general seriousness. I *do* know how to have a good time, but sometimes I over analyze things or situations, and I end up breaking my own heart.

      So, thank you. And maybe I’ll go run around the apartment yelling now — that sounds like a great idea!


      • Haha, I guess I missed the humor re: “silly site” (had my serious hat on, lol).

        Anyways, I’m glad I can be honest with you. Do try screaming and shouting out loud, it’s great therapy :)

        Hope you’re enjoying the long weekend!

    • Wow to you, too. :) I’m glad you can relate to this… It’s nice to know that at least we’re not alone!

      Thank you. Your reading and commenting means so much.

  4. ok this is weird, I swear when I first saw your blog months ago I saw a post with that song. Major deja vu. One of my fave songs but “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” is still the top. Could be your theme song. :)

    • Hmm. That *is* funny. I promise you this is the first time I’ve posted this song on my site, though… And “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” is a great song! I feel old school bringing up The Police, but they really do have some great songs!

  5. I think you picked out the part of the song that you felt hit home to you but this:

    “Walked out this morning
    Don’t believe what I saw
    A hundred billion bottles
    Washed up on a shore
    Seems I’m not alone at being alone
    A hundred billion castaways
    Lookin’ for a home”

    There are many on an “island lost at sea.” Wanting more. Wanting better. Wanting a change or a break.

    This castaway is going for a swim!

    • Yeah, I know. When I looked up the lyrics I was impressed. They’re pretty powerful. But, yes, at that moment “Sending out an SOS, sending out an SOS…” is what really hit home for me. I’m not sure I would have written this post if not for hearing that song.

      Hope you had a great swim!

      • Well, the swim is in process…I meant that figuritavely. Swimming is the only way to get off the deserted island…or making a boat! I just have to do something and not sit and wait to be rescued.

        Thus, I am jumping in and taking off!

      • A-ha. I get it now, Steve! Since you’re such a surfer, I thought maybe you were literally headed out for a swim! But the analogy is perfect. And I can’t sit around and wait to be rescued, either. I’m going all in!

        Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  6. Then experiment with being different people on your blog. I love being intense, it’s who I am. I didn’t always get along with myself so well, but why fight such abundant creativity, which is exactly what I think it is? Do what makes you the happiest, and other people will not fail to be attracted to it.
    The message will always come floating back to you telling you to help yourself, and accept who you are. And if you don’t like it, then write about it some more until you get it out of your system :)
    Happy Sunday!

      • You know I used to have a real thing with saying the word ‘beautiful’ when I was younger, I just couldn’t. I didn’t like the word and what it implied, or at least how it really didn’t relate to me in any way. So at some point I think I decided that it was a ridiculous notion and started saying it all the time, figuring that if I made it a habitual part of my language that it would lose it’s sting. It did.
        Maybe the word ‘intense’ is like my ‘beautiful’, not that it’s my intention to give you any advice. I think your post just struck a chord because I can relate wholeheartedly :)
        Have a great week Jess!

      • Thank you, Ishaiya, and sorry for my late response!

        I can definitely see the parallel you mention… All in all I just need to learn to be more accepting of myself — intensity and all. So, you’re right! Intense intense intense. Beautiful beautiful beautiful. It’s all the same to me…

        Hope you’re having a great week, too!

  7. Intensity is a gift, consider yourself lucky :-)

    You seem to really enjoy life and your writing…and you do it well which means you get the best out of almost every situation and yourself. That is the positive part of intensity. However, you do need to escape from this scene every now and then (and I think that is the rescuing you are looking for), and not feel guilty when you do escape.

    One thing I have learned, is that life has a great way of working itself out – especially if you just continue to move forward (even though you may not know quite where you are heading). Cheers and enjoy this long weekend!

    • “…life has a great way of working itself out — especially if you just continue to move forward…”

      Those words really hit home for me, Randall. I’ve always known that, of course, but sometimes it’s good to have a reminder.

      Hope you’re enjoying the long weekend, too!

  8. Don’t ever stop being who you are: intense, thoughtful, introspective, open and honest. I suspect it’s why so many people follow your writing. A good slap in the conceptual face is one of the most refreshing experiences a person can have, whether they know it or not…

    (That’s a good thing, by the way…)

  9. To the question at the end, Yes I do! But I agree with the other commenters, “intense” is great. I also think that we become a bit more “balanced” as we mature, sort of adopt a mix of different temperaments. At least I hope so… But more balanced and carefree doesn’t mean one has to become less intense, right? Lol. Then again maybe I don’t know what I’m saying!

    • Riz, I think you’re right that as we age we tend to sort of mellow or balance out. There is a perspective that only time can bring… I think my struggle is to not take myself so seriously, honestly. I’ve been known to break my own heart.

      Also, of course you know what you’re saying! You haven’t been experiencing this life for nothin’! I think you’re right that becoming more balanced doesn’t necessarily mean becoming less intense. Rather, to me it’s about learning what is worth being intense about. ;)

  10. No, I honestly never want to escape myself. I’m the me I’m supposed to be. I wish I knew all facets of me, though, and I spend so much time trying to delve deeper and figure “me” out even more. That’s not to say I’m satisfied with every aspect of myself that I’ve discovered. Just to say that I never want to escape. I’d rather be chained to me, screaming to be set free. Then maybe I’d be able to have some good conversations with people who hear me and wonder who the crazy guy is.

    • Your comment reminds me of a lecture from my favorite professor in college. I don’t remember which class, but it was a literature class, and in the lecture Dr. Haluska denounced the idea so often heard throughout society: “Know thyself.” In his mind and for the purpose of the lecture, no one could ever fully know themselves and the idea that we could was a very dangerous one… To be honest, I can’t remember where he took it from there, but that really stuck with me. I for one don’t fully know myself. And I’m pretty sure that, even after a lifetime, I still won’t.

  11. I always think deeply about a lot about things e.g. past conversations, a topic I want to write about. And I always feel the need to escape from myself from these deep thoughts because 99% of the time I feel like I’m going around in circles.

    I think your site is just amazing, full of awesomeness and not silly! I love how you respond to comments – so thoughtful and so prompt! I find that I am way too serious when I’m responding to comments on my blog :)

    • I guess it’s good to have both. We definitely need people — to bounce ideas off of, to help us take ourselves less seriously, etc.

      As for my site, you are very sweet. If people take the time to read and respond to my posts, then I want to do the same for them! The dialogue and relationships with others is what makes blogging fun!

      Hope you’re having a great week, Mabel. :)

  12. INTENSE, yes that is true… Every word you write here attached to your very soul, to your innermost feelings, and that is definitely not silly…You have a great heart and these words are its reflection.

    Have you ever wished you could escape yourself?

    Yes, I have often wished for it… Sometimes I feel that I cannot live with myself anymore… Mostly in the middle of the night — those sleepless nights when my thoughts become so intense and painful and start hammering inside my ten gallon head walls — I feel so miserable, and that is when I always wished for the escape…

    Don’t stop writing… I feel your words.

  13. Each of the comments I read above I concur with about 100 percent. These people are your friends I imagine many have know you for some time. I especially liked Bupe Roses first comment. Trouble is at least for me those feelings have to be what I truly authentically feel about myself. Therein lies the rub. That song just made my heart ache. So beautiful so sad. One I’m going to say is so trite but it’s something that helps me. It is if I feel terrible, ugly, stupid, boring, if I just wait I can almost always count on feeling better. So now I sound like a mother but I feel like your mother all you kids who came along with my kids. You’re all so precious to me. The following words to a song are more cynical but I love them and the tune is pretty great too if you want to pull it up.

    • Thank you, Terri. I love the lyrics and will check on the song next. And you are right that, no matter what anyone else says about us, none of it matters unless we ourselves feel it to be true. This is the hardest part for me… You’re also right that many of the commenters here are my dear friends! I’ve met so many wonderful people through WordPress. Anyway, thank you so much for following along so faithfully. You and your family are dear to me, too.
      With love, Jessica

  14. Intense! Just kidding.

    Intensity is wave-borne in an ocean or spectrum. You’ll hit critical wave mass in relation to the shore, then hopefully, that psychologically advanced coping skill called humor will kick in as a natural relief from the wave built, breaking, and bringing life to shore (the people whose lives you touch are like the shore, receiving these waves) in life and writing life.

    Somewhere in that spectrum you plant poems of all different hues and qualities, moods and melodies, and it is part of the sometimes calm, sometimes, breezy, sometimes volatile creative sea. The wave breaks and hisses over the slanted sand of the beach, and you sleep in that calm peace, then wake up for another day of living and writing.

    Then you get married to someone with a good sense of humor, innate sense of humility, and who has a strong work ethic; have kids, get insanely busy, marvel at the wonder of it, and pretty soon you’re riding tsunamis and rogue waves one day, and lapping estuary wavelets another with your family, and writing about it from an expanded ocean that includes more of the closer kind of relationships than before. And all along you’re still a writer.

    Otherwise, how would writers reproduce?

    • Lol, Mike. I recognized even while writing it that this post in itself was intense.

      That was quite the analogy! And a good one! We all need humor. I may be intense, but I know how to have fun, too, and it is in the combination of the two that I find peace. I would never be happy in either intensity or humor alone. “The unexamined life is not worth living,” said Socrates…

      And no matter what happens in my life, I’ll always be a writer. This is true. There’s still a lot of unpredictable life yet in the yonder great big blue!

      • You are truly tolerant to put up with my sleep-inducing comments. Thanks for responding with so many commenter and followers at your blog.

  15. There is nothing the matter with you. :) You are simply an introvert living in an extroverted world. I am also a watcher and a thinker, but I enjoy the task. Because I learned long ago to enjoy the stillness and to be patient with myself and my thoughts. (And to never take myself overly seriously). If you enjoy reading I recommend the book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. In all ways though, embrace the real you, I love your blog! :D

    • Thank you so much. I’m glad you liked my blog! It’s the all-authentic me! Haha.

      And yes… We introverts. I’m okay with my thoughts, but often I *do* take myself too seriously — hence the frustration voiced in this post… I’ll have to look for that book. The author’s name sounds familiar and the title right up my alley!

      Thanks so much for stopping in and commenting!

  16. I’m not much on “it has to be one or the other” kind of boxing up. You know Jess, if you want to be an intense introvert, that is perfect. If you want to be BOTH, that’s fine too! Be intense at them both! Be intense at being silent and peaceful! LOL

    Being true to yourself — as that evolves into something different every day, week and year — is neither right or wrong, less or best. And though it seems everyone is a “judge” of right, wrong, best, worst, etc, etc, etc….the time they’re spending judging is time wasted on being themselves and a beautiful part of this world!

  17. When blogging – just write what comes naturally. That’s how you gather followers. If people give criticism, then read it, think about it (for a while), and then move on. You can’t please everyone all the time! There is a good reason why many actors never read what the critics say about them :-)

    • Very true, Rhys! That is excellent advice. And I think you’re right that the best way to gain followers is by just being our authentic selves… Sometimes I just have to remind myself to take myself a little less seriously! :)

      Hope you have a wonderful day!

  18. Oh, I thought I was the only one. :P

    I love reading your posts. Keep writing…

    I can only say so much because I am not wise enough to be giving you a piece of advice.

    And yes, ‘Message in a bottle’ has awesome lyrics. :) I broke the replay button. :D

    • Haha, no you’re definitely not alone, Allwin!

      Thank you so much. And you do not give yourself enough credit. Your life experience is just as valid as anyone’s!

      And I’m glad you like the song! I really do, too. Hope you’re having a great weekend! :)

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