Taxidermy, Red Dresses, Laughter: Jenny Lawson

I’ve been sitting here for a good thirty minutes trying to find a way to describe to you the awesomeness that is Jenny Lawson — a.k.a., The Bloggess — author of the book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.

If I tell you about how funny she is — so funny that her posts move me beyond laughter to that really embarrassing snorting thing that happens sometimes — I might potentially minimize how, sometimes, she writes with such brutal, vulnerable honesty, the breath disappears from my lungs. (Like this post.)

And then there’s the kindness. She is a vast, compassionate soul who reaches out to strangers online to share inspiration (in the form of a red dress) or to donate holiday gifts for strangers when money is too tight.

Jenny has the ability to make really weird sh*t happen in the very best way possible.

Which is why I’m having a devil of a time describing her in any coherent way. And which is why I’ll just rely on the overused (to the point that it’s almost meaningless) “awesome.” But I mean awesome in the true way: “extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear; extremely good; excellent.”

Jenny has an event at Austin’s BookPeople tonight, so in a few hours, Dave and I will be standing in front of her. I’m at a total loss for words that will allow me to talk to her without sounding like an idiot. Things I think but will not say to her face:

If I could write just one blog post like you, I would be happy forever. Forever.

Remember when you made that whole Wil Wheaton collating papers thing happen? That was awesome.

Ohmygod. The red dress thing is so beautiful. Don’t you feel like a princess in that red dress and isn’t it so cool that women all over are, like, busting out and wearing red dresses and feeling pretty?! And ohmygod, wouldn’t it be awesome to have, like, a professional stylist do you up for a red carpet thing just one time so you could look like a celebrity just for one day. That would be so cool. OMG! You look so pretty in that red dress.

Taxidermy, huh?!

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, I need to figure out what I’m really going to say. It will probably be along the (boring but earnest) lines of “Thank you.”

If you’re unfamiliar with The Bloggess, her blog is a free-for-all of awesomeness, an antidote to the somewhat normal(ish) stuff she writes for other publications, like Good Mom/Bad Mom on the Houston Chronicle and a parenting column on The Stir. Her personal posts often include painfully hilarious interactions with her husband Victor, as well as her cats Posey, Rolly, and Ferris Mewler. There is also, somewhat inexplicably, a varied cast of humanely taxidermied animals. You see? It’s all kerflooey yet somehow makes sense.

Tonight she’s reading from her new book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I’m picking up my copy this afternoon, and I can’t wait to lose myself in her stories. I’m not the only one; People magazine gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars.

I’m writing this post because I want you to know about Jenny — read her blog, maybe pick up her book — but I also want you to find inspiration in what she does. She’s flawed in beautiful ways, and she doesn’t let that stop her. She’s written about her almost unbearable social anxiety but she keeps attending conferences and book signings. She battles depression, but she keeps finding the humor in life and writing about it. She feels insecure, but she decks herself out in a red dress and helps other women try it, too.

I want, just once, to wear a bright red, strapless ball gown with no apologies.  I want to be shocking, and vivid and wear a dress as intensely amazing as the person I so want to be.  And the more I thought about it the more I realized how often we deny ourselves that red dress and all the other capricious, ridiculous, overindulgent and silly things that we desperately want but never let ourselves have because they are simply “not sensible”.  Things like flying lessons, and ballet shoes, and breaking into spontaneous song, and building a train set, and crawling onto the roof just to see the stars better.  Things like cartwheels and learning how to box and painting encouraging words on your body to remind yourself that you’re worth it.

Read all about the Traveling Red Dress here and on Facebook.

More Jenny!

A wonderful conversation between Jenny and Brené Brown, author of The Gifts of Imperfection (from our book club!)

Jenny on “How To Beat Anxiety” on“… we all have stories in our lives worth passing down, stories that may or may not involve surviving brutal vampire-cougar attacks but that can make a lonely child—or adult—feel so much less alone.”)

The Wil Wheaton extravaganza

The amazing Nathan Fillion adventure

Buy Let’s Pretend This Never Happened


  • Windy says:

    I am buying the pink tutu I have always wanted TODAY! And I’m gonna wear it when I cook and clean and maybe even when I walk the dogs.

  • Lydia says:

    ENVY. She’s not coming to Kansas City. She’s not even coming close. =(

  • De23 says:

    I just read the Will Wheaton / Nathan Fillion posts and laughed so hard I was crying! I really needed a good laugh today – thanks for pointing her out!

  • Tami C. says:

    You could hand her the book to sign and say “Well, at least it’s not towels.” I bet she’s never heard that one before. 😉

    Her post on Beyonce-the-giant-metal-chicken is quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever read online. It’s also possibly the high point of the internet. I can’t see how anyone can ever top that one.

  • Mel says:

    Jenny was absolutely lovely in person: funny, self-deprecating, charming, very eloquent. She mentioned a few times that she was anxious, but it never showed. She was quite celebrity-like, in fact — only super nice.

    She read a chapter from late in the book that made my face hurt from laughing.

  • kelly says:

    Serious envy… I have mad love for her. Pre-ordered her book a few months ago and it arrived over the weekend. I haven’t curled up to get lost in it yet but plan to soon. Beyonce- the giant metal chicken is the most incredible post ever.

    I don’t catch all of her posts and totally missed her heartbreaking post on depression so thanks for sharing. Maybe you could exchange books with her… Well Fed and paleo nutrition may really help with her depression. Just a thought.

    • Mel says:

      I have posted once on her site about paleo — and I gave her a copy of Well Fed last night, so maybe she’ll read it. She was really so sweet; I’d love for her to be able to treat her depression with some paleo love.

  • JennF says:

    I just spent the last hour on her blogess blog thanks to this post. That chick is bat-sh*t-crazy. I. love. her.

  • Hope says:

    I just finished this book a couple of days ago. I laughed so hard I was in danger of injuring myself several times. This is a WONDERFUL book on so many levels…