Zombies for the Troubled (Writer) Soul

Zombies represent a couple things for me.

Sure, they’re wacky creatures you see on TV or in movies. Sure, they’re the source of confusion and bewilderment. Sure, Romero’s version or the Disney musical version of them are vastly different. Or the one with Brad Pitt. Or the rom-com Warm Bodies version. There’s also the Walking Dead. (No brainer…hehe)

But, as I said before, ZOMBIES represent some things for me.

There was the time I was at the Walking Dead exhibit in Universal Studios, staring down the gate to the fake medical hospital neuroscience unit with zombies chomping at the bit and, though I knew it was all faked, you try to convince yourself that as you hear things biting and chomping at you and see creatures with severed limbs smash into a door repeatedly.

Confession time: I LOVE horror. Give me a horror movie. I wanna read about the creepy dolls and the urban legends.

Confession 2: I’m a wimp dealing with the stuff afterwards. Sure. Let me read about it. Let me watch that stuff on a screen. Let’s talk about movie magic and special effects. But, up until that Walking Dead exhibit…

“The Walk of Shame”… no, not that one. The ride one. The one where you get into line with your friends/family, see that giant-ass rollercoaster has WAY more corkscrews than you thought it did from the picture outside the gate, and then quietly slink beneath the chain-link rope and leave to go hold everyone’s purses next to the overpriced lemonade stand.

Every time I was confronted with a haunted house, I’d run crying. Or screaming. Or, worse yet, I was that leech friend who held onto the shoulders of the person in front of me, refusing to even LOOK up until I was convinced we’d left that cursed place fifty yards behind us. (Yes, usually the poor person I was holding onto usually fell flat on their face because I was the Scooby to their Shaggy, but beyond the point).

This Walking Dead exhibit… I went through it.

Don’t celebrate just yet.

It was TERRIFYING. I distinctly remember screaming. Shouting. Running because I was so scared out of my wits that I couldn’t even see straight. Swearing at the actors (sorry, actors, you just looked so real). And delivering an emphatic (in my head) speech against one of the human zombie survivors who BETRAYED us and shot at us when I had pleaded (bravely) for their protection.


Fear? Eh, not necessarily conquered, but at least I accomplished my haunted house goal. Thanks, scary-ass Walking Dead zombies.

MOMENT TWO where zombies changed my life.

I went to college. I gained the freshman fifteen (and then some). Then, wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles… I found a little app called Zombie Run.

Then I deleted it.

But then, after waking my ass out of a binge-watching YouTube induced coma, I re-downloaded it again.

And I ran.

And I found out… I actually kinda liked it.

I’m not a runner. In fact, if an actual zombie apocalypse happened, I’d probably be the first one turned for taking a breather five feet from the safe-house. But this app made it fun. Don’t judge me. I get attached to my disembodied podcast/ zombie actor voices. This made it feel like a game, a game where you could lose all your hard-earned items if you ran slower than the zombies chasing you.

But, I got fit. I’m still no MMA fighter yet, but it’s better than the couch potato I was.

And I’m happy for that.

How does all this help me as a writer?

One: I conquered my haunted house fear. And two: I’m able to get in shape.

Lemme tell you why that’s important.

I am the saddest being ever when I try to be social. Social, where is she? What is that? Why you confronting me?

But I conquered my fear of A) being in a large group going through a haunted house and B) GOING THROUGH A HAUNTED HOUSE. It’s like I finally womaned-up and decided I was too old to be scared, and conquered that milestone in my life.

And why is running important?

Hello, seasonal depression.

You’re real. You’re cold. And you’re a bitch.

I gained that weight because I eat myself into food comas. I clean out cakes. Pizzas. I get unhealthy. And that makes my seasonal sadness worse because I then lack the energy to move, and beside that, I hate myself for sinking into inhuman eating habits, surrounded by empty candy wrappers and hating that mirror. (Hey, body positivity, did you take a wrong turn at the “adulthood department”? Mind showing up? I need a hand.)

And running, while it doesn’t make me a fifty-miler, does give me the freedom to take control over my own body. At least partially.

And that gives me the freedom to create, and to find happiness again.

So, sure, life isn’t perfect.

But my zombies helped me through some things.

Now, if only I could find some brains…

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