Love Thyself

It seems very trendy lately to “love yourself.” I’ve noticed an influx of headlines, quotes and articles that tout the importance of putting yourself first, and loving who you are—seemingly above most other things. I’ve seen, “Love yourself first and everything else falls in line,” and “If you don’t love yourself, you’ll never be able to love anyone else.”

Yeah, I’m not really into this “movement” at all. First of all, as we’ve discussed, I think it would repulse our forefathers. Second of all, you—above all others—know what a jackass you can be. Even when you have the restraint to keep it to yourself, you still know you’re kind of a tool. You know the wretched things you think about people:

“Ever heard of a little thing called ‘exfoliating’? Let’s get on that.”
“Nice blinker, Turd-Waffle …” (as you speed up to see if they look as fill-in-the-blank as you expect) … “Yep, just what I thought.”
“Blech! Her breath smells like sewer and hot socks.”

Love yourself? I can barely tolerate my thoughts, much less my self sometimes. Do you understand what I’m saying here?

Why is no one saying it’s OK—actually quite normal—to hardly be able to stand yourself? Can’t you be quite selfish? Petty? Hateful? Snide? Shallow? I’ll answer for you—YES. So you’re not actually all that lovable sometimes.

You know it and I know it.

deserve

Deserve? I deserve to be slapped upside the head for the grace I don’t always extend and the hateful thoughts I sometimes have.

“Is that cat pee I’m smelling? I smell cat pee. Why do I smell cat pee? WHO IS ALLOWING CATS TO PEE ON THEM?!”

But as always, the most offensive part about this meme is the design itself. Appalling kerning, leading and spacing.

loveyourself6

It’s a project? Loving myself has been elevated to an actual project? Is it gonna take time away from loving someone else?

“Wow, I’m having so much fun—thank you for a perfect night.”
“Of course! I love spending time with you. Let’s go find dessert and coffee—maybe some bread pudding?”
“Gosh, I’d love to, but I have this project I need to work on. Rain check?”

loveyourself5

OK, maybe eventually. But we needn’t be too hasty in our forgiveness. Sometimes we need to let ourselves sit in the selfish mess we made, and take a hard look at our less-than-honorable motives.

love thy self 9

I’d much rather read an article titled, “50 Easy Ways To Get Rich That Involve Pizza.” But as it is, I did click into this piece—and promptly went on an eye-rolling marathon.

Side Note: I got online to order myself a 26.2 bumber sticker, set in the image of a rolling eye, but sadly, my search came up short.

One of the ways to supposedly love yourself more is to wear red lipstick and heels “just because.” I know I’m only 80% Girl, but that’s the best way to get me to break up with myself.

Another one was, “Put your fork down between bites.” I’m sorry, but are you trying to cause a divorce?

Another, “Buy yourself roses on Valentine’s Day.” Great, now I’m single, pathetic,  broke—and not into myself at all.

Also, “Give yourself a day off.” Well, that pretty much completes it—I was supposed to be loving myself, but have instead found myself fired and in need of couples’ counseling for all my bad choices.

love thy self 7

I’m sorry, what? What does this even mean?

love thy self 6

This meme lists seven ways to love yourself. This list also contains seven pieces of fiction.

1. Some negative thoughts should be accepted. More than likely, you really are a lazy sack—at least some of the time. It’s OK to accept this thought.
2. You should apologize for what you like from time to time. Case in point:

rawpasta
3. It’s a misnomer that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others. Comparison isn’t always the “thief of joy,” as they say. If done maturely, it can be a healthy motivator.

Monkey see; monkey do. Please.

Monkey see; monkey do. Please.

4. No; try to work on them. The shape of your eyes is uniquely you—but, being a guilt-tripping gremlin or a judgmental jerk is just you being a total turd.
5. OK yes, fine—but if you reject the media’s expertise in that arena, please also reject in it in all the other super-suspect ways, too.
6. Perfection is unattainable even with acceptance.
7. Some acceptance happens even quicker than overnight. It took me approximately 30 seconds to accept that I like food and fun more than dieting and deprivation.

love thy self 5

This is abjectly false. Sometimes bad thoughts about yourself come from your subconscious—because your subconscious knows what a petty, self-serving slime you can be.

Ilove thy self 4

No. No I don’t. I think God thinks, “That a girl; way to recognize how deplorable that thought was.” I also know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God would never be so neglectful in His punctuation.

love thy self 11

Be proud of mistakes?? Accept your mistakes and learn from your mistakes—yes. But be proud of them? I’m barely proud of the actual good things I do. And now you think I should be proud of choosing my own comfort over someone else’s need? Or gossiping about someone being off her meds? Or getting into a battle of wits with an unarmed person? And what’s with the unnecessarily awkward slanty lines? I hope you’re not proud of your design skills.

love thy self 12

Eww. I’m beyond tired of this phrase anyway, but now I can’t even tolerate it.

love thy self 13

So now we need an acronym for loving ourselves? How about this one: GOYA (get over yourself already.)

love thy self 14

OK, sure. Right after I finish throwing up in my mouth. Do people do this? Do people halt—mid-thought or mid-task—to appreciate how awesome they are? If you’re sitting there nodding and thinking, “I do that,” then please make a quick mental note to stay far away from me.

love thy self 15

Michael Masser? Was that Whitney Houston’s pen name? Never mind—loving yourself isn’t the greatest or even second greatest love of all.

love thy self 16

I wish people who don’t care about punctuation would stop making memes. Regardless, is it really the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Have you ever put on your own bracelet? Refrained from replying to a Facebook post that ran counter to every belief you have? Gotten too cocky in a pepper eating contest?

love thy self 3

This isn’t even 1% true.

love thy self 2

How does one do that? I don’t know how I’m supposed to be a hero. The most heroic thing I do on any given day is bite my tongue to keep my uncensored thoughts from spilling into the world.

Side Note: I also feel pretty heroic when the coffee is over—and I don’t cry.

love thy self 1

Is now a good time to puke? Who thinks this thought and documents it in a meme? I’ve eaten by myself in public many times, but I can assure you it wasn’t a date—and I certainly didn’t stroll around a museum falling in love with myself. If anything, I was like, “I’m not sure about your taste.”

becareful

That’s not true. I don’t always listen to myself. “Eat a salad.” Not listening! “Lock down that sarcastic remark.” Not listening! “Stop wishing you could write that co-worker out of your story.” Not listening!

bekind

I am. That’s why I give me tacos. And beer. And permission to love the Biebs.

affair

An affair? So I’m a side piece? The other woman? Is guilt associated with this affair? Do I hide it? Do I text myself under a different name, like, “Dry Cleaner?”

“Well look at you! You sure are glowing these days! What’s the what, Lady?!”
“Oh nothing” (coy and coquettish)
“Oh come on! Tell me!”
“It’s just … well, I met someone and … oh Becky, it’s going really well!”
“What?! Oh my gosh! Who who who!”
“Me.”

Gross.

gag

happiness

That’s what happiness means? Hmm, I was unaware. So you’re saying that if I just walk around smitten with myself, I’ll be happy? That seems plausible. Just knowing that even though I screwed up at work—as long as I love myself—it’s all good. What a comfort. I wonder if everyone else knows? This type of sound logic seems like good info to have very early in life.

loveyourself-beach

Whoever found themselves at a beach—and opted to write this in the sand—is a top level clown. “Guys! Come on, let’s go! Let’s get down there while it’s sunny and beautiful! I want to get profound in the sand! Come on!”

I guess I’m just looking for some balance here. Let’s try to equalize loving ourselves with also being a little disgusted. That’s more realistic, right? Otherwise we’re living pretty inauthentic lives—because we’re all flawed, and sometimes unlovable. I’m not proposing a turn towards sef-loathing—or memes filled with woe-is-me negativity. Please no!

balance

Let’s start a movement to be this person. One part awful; one part awesome. 100% real.

Let’s link up on Facebook and Twitter!

Advertisements

A Better Love

Happy New Year! I know, I know—it’s almost February, but it’s still a good time to talk about resolutions. My proposition doesn’t require a yoga mat or a Ninja Blender, but it does involve removing the focus from yourself for a bit.

(I just mentally saw some of you backing away. I won’t name names.)

Um, no thank you, please.

Um, no thank you, please.

This resolution is simple: Love (the people you love) better.

Don’t cringe—you love these people! I’m not even talking about co-workers or the table full of unreasonably loud chip-eaters next to you. I’m just suggesting you start with the people you truly love and value.

Side Note: If it’s actually your family eating chips too raucously, then that is something we’ll address another day.

By no means do I want this new resolution to take the place of your original resolution to post fewer selfies—please, PLEASE do us all (and yourself) a favor and stay.the.course.

Also, go ahead and organize your pantry and back up your photos to yet another external hard drive. Give coconut oil a try and see if cauliflower really can serve as passable pizza crust; but, in and around and between all those lofty Pinterest goals, I want to encourage you to just treat your people better. Make an intentional effort to be a better spouse, daughter, mom, sibling, son, uncle, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, dad and friend.

If your head is cocked in confusion, then you’re not using your imagination. The very best way to figure out how you can do better is to ask yourself what you would regret if that loved one was no longer in the world or in your life. It might sound slightly morbid, but that’s OK, because it’s eternally important.

Here goes. What would you regret if _______ was gone?

I have a feeling you’ll say things like:
Why did I fixate on the little things? Why didn’t I encourage her more? Why didn’t I thank him for the invaluable life lessons? Why didn’t I make sure she knew how much joy she brought me? Why didn’t I take a day off work and spend it with her? Why did I let our yesterday cloud our today? Why did I tell everyone but him how amazing he was? How could I have ever been too busy to hug her?

And on a smaller, but equally important note, you might ask yourself:
Why did I continue to leave clothes in the washer when I knew it drove her nuts? Why didn’t I rub his shoulders more often? Why didn’t I put my dirty clothes where she asked me to? Why didn’t I surprise her with more dates? Why did I stop leaving him love notes? Why did I play on my phone when I could have been reading to her? Why did I always let my car get below half a tank when I knew it was his pet peeve? Why did I try to temper her spontaneity? Why did I miss his games for meaningless work meetings? Why did we stop talking for hours and replace it with texts? Why didn’t I write him letters when he was serving our country overseas?

When your loved one is gone, the smallest thing is going to send you into a downward spiral of unspeakable sadness. Yes, things like moving a load of laundry into the dryer and remembering how happy that would make her. Yes, things like seeing The Pokey Little Puppy at Barnes & Noble and remembering how she’d curl into you and giggle when you read to her.

A loss is going to be devastating no matter what, but if you can lessen the number of unnecessary regrets AND make your loved one happy, isn’t it worth the effort now? The only thing that will make paralyzing sadness worse is to stack on top of it a profound remorse for which you are now helpless to fix.

I thought we might need a smile break.

I thought we might need a smile break.

So let’s crawl out now, while we can, and resolve to do better by our loved ones. Whether it’s your relationship with your spouse or your mother or your adult child—if you search your mind—you know where you can extend more grace, be more patient and give more effort.

Does your husband do something that gets on your nerves? Like, does he always want to know the plan? “Hey, what’s the plan when your family comes in town next week?” Do you reply with exasperation because it’s a week away and you haven’t even thought about it? Does it annoy you that he continues to ask?

Here’s a tip … he’s probably a hard-wired planner and not likely to change. The quicker you accept this, the better. Just meet him halfway and get some plans going. He’s not asking you to re-shingle the roof or move cross-country. He’s just asking for something that meets his predisposed needs. All relationships are give and take, so just think what you might gain by meeting him in the middle here—this could open up a whole new world of him asking for directions and clipping his toenails in private.

Do we all agree that the majority of arguments start over extremely stupid things—sometimes so little and ridiculous that you don’t even want to tell your friends why your morning is off to a bad start?

Me: How’s your day so far?
Friend: Sigh, just so-so. Brett and I left the house kinda “off” today.
Me: I’m sorry, is everything OK?
Friend: Yeah, it’s fine, it’s just got me off on the wrong foot. It’ll be fine as soon as we text or talk.
Me: OK good. Wanna talk about it?
Friend: Sure, if you’re up for learning how CEREAL can actually cause a fight.

Sometimes you have to sit back and acknowledge that life is short—and grasp that being upset over trivial things OR needlessly contributing to someone’s fury, is a waste of precious time.

You: Hey, what’s the deal? You and Kirk seem like you’re in a fight.
Friend: Ugh, we’re not in a fight, I’m just so mad at him I could spit.
You: Oh no, what happened?
Friend: Grrr. He won’t use exclamation points or smileys when he texts me.
You: *stifles a laugh* Is this something you two can get past?
Friend: Who knows?! I’ve told him a hundred times that I can’t read his tone without them, but he still refuses—it’s infuriating.

I can't live like this.

I can’t live like this.

To the one who feels slighted: Is it possible that you should just always assume his tone is normal and loving, unless there is reason to believe otherwise?
To the one who refuses to text properly: Could you tap the stubborn brake and do what you can to ensure your tone is reflective of how you’re feeling? Could you reply with more than one word, so she gets the reassurance she needs?

I’ll answer these questions for you both: YES, IT IS POSSIBLE and now is your chance to compromise. I can assure you that when he or she is gone, you’re going to wish you weren’t so unyielding.

Another way you can be better to people you love is to tell them how you feel.

I think it’s potentially a big mistake to assume that everyone you love knows you love them—and to what degree. Yes, perhaps your partner (perhaps) … but what about the rest of your family? “Oh sure! I say ‘I love you’ all the time!”

Not so fast. I’ve had instances where people told me something nice or extremely loving another family member said about me and I was stunned. Like, I knew we loved each other, but the details were such news to me. Good news. Life-enriching news.

So, consider that not everyone in your close circle really knows how you feel, and by all means, tell them! It can be a conversation, a letter, a card. Don’t recoil and say it’s too hard. Fighting in Iraq is hard; watching someone suffer with a disease is hard; seeing Odell Beckman, Jr. make that three-finger touchdown catch and realizing you could never do the same thing with 20 fingers is hard … but sitting down with a pen and paper and telling someone you love them—and why—is not hard.

Even if it’s slightly awkward, it takes about 20 seconds to say, “Hey, you know I love you, but I also want you to know that having you in my life means the world to me … and I didn’t want another day to go by without telling you that you’re wonderful and one of the best parts of my life.”

Again, all you have to do is imagine what you WISHED you’d said if you were no longer able to … and say it while you can.

When you’re in your final moments, which of these statements do you think will play through your mind and heart?

A. I wish I had more Facebook likes. B. I wish I had shown people how much I liked them.

A. I regret putting the care of my aging parents first. B. I regret putting the state of my bank account first.

A. I regret spending time with loved ones. B. I regret spending time being angry.

A. I wish I’d made more time for myself. B. I wish I’d made more time for them.

A. I wish I’d spent more time on my diet. B. I wish I’d spent more time enjoying a feast with her.

A. I wish I’d kept up with the Joneses. B. I wish I’d kept up with my old friends.

A. I wish I’d worked harder to get promoted to the corner office. B. I wish I’d made more reservations for us in a corner booth.

See, you didn’t even have to study and you aced it. In our bones, we all know these things. And we’re never going to be perfect. We’re never going to give every person everything they ever wanted—but we can do better. We can be more aware. We can try harder. We can be more selfless. We can and we should.

Let’s make this the one resolution we keep.

Please join me on Facebook and Twitter!

Cancer Can’t Take A Joke

Several years ago, my sister was diagnosed with cancer—Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

If ever there was a time to vehemently deny the title of this blog and the notion that Life Is Funny (even when it’s not), it was at this moment. Life wasn’t funny and I didn’t think it ever would be again. I was devastated by her diagnosis.

It was my closest dealing with the c-monster and I was terrified of the unknown and heartbroken that it was her—my very own sister—who was stricken with the unpredictable and vengeful disease.

I wasn’t even living in the same state as her when the cancer was detected, so my first step was to come home for a few weeks while she endured a battery of tests to better categorize her diagnosis and confirm its stage of progression.

My mom also came down to stay with us, and during one of the first nights the three of us spent together, my mom and I prepared my sister a nice, huge dose of delicious barium. She had to drink an obscene amount of it for a scan she was undergoing the next day.

It looked like a jug of milk—and by jug of milk, I mean jug of wet chalk. We were a bit apprehensive about presenting it to her because we knew she’d be put off by the smell and by the fact that it probably tasted like emulsified drywall.

We found her cozied up in bed, watching Frasier, when we entered her room bearing gifts. She sat up and situated her pillows just right and pulled her long, blonde hair in a ponytail before reaching for the milky delight.

We stared, unsure, as she stuck the fat straw down in the bottle and smirked through a deep breath. She then went into some kind of freak mode and drained the barium like it was a keg of her favorite college beer. She didn’t stop ONCE—even held up her finger, as if to say, “Hold up. Lemme get this last drop.”

She handed the empty container back to my mom and opened her mouth for a well-deserved (albeit disgusting, man-like) burp and then flung herself onto her side, laughing heartily at our shocked and delighted reactions.

such a champ

such a champ

We all laughed … and laughed.

The next day, she underwent an extensive scan that was virtually painless, aside from the fact that she had to lay still for an unacceptable amount of time, ignoring intense itches and numb or tingling extremities. One wrong move and she’d have to repeat the entire process—and since the barium wasn’t actually Keystone Light—she soldiered on and plowed through.

Later, she was scheduled for a bone marrow extraction. For those of you familiar with this test, I’m sorry. For those of you unfamiliar with it, I hope you stay that way. For reasons unknown, they didn’t put her out or under for it, which I found out later, they often do.

My mom and I were sitting in the room as nurses came in with prepping trays. The loose plan was for my mom to stand by the bed with her, while I sat in the chair at her feet. But when they uncovered the tray and my mom saw the instruments, she motioned for me to take her place, as she sought refuge just outside the windowed door.

I then stood next to my sister’s head and held her hand, while proceeding to talk non-freaking-stop as they extracted bone marrow from deep in her hip bone—WHILE SHE WAS AWAKE.

Side Note: There is really no way to describe what it’s like to watch this procedure at all, let alone when it’s on someone you love dearly.

She squeezed my hand hard enough to break my precious baby bones, while I said, “Your butt looks really good at this angle. I think you’d be real happy with both its contour and finish.” She nodded her head like, “Go on … tell me more.”

I said, “I know you wanted Moma in here with you, but you need to know something—she’s a fainter. She’d be face down, scrounging for smelling salts, unable to tell you how good your ass looks while they stick you with the same syringe I’d use to inject garlic butter into a deep-fried turkey. I’m telling you, even if she somehow escaped a first-round blackout, she’d see what Dr. Awasthi is using now and be all, ‘Say Doc, why do you have a meat thermometer on that tray? Oh what pretty stars I see!’ … TIMBERRRRR!”

I don’t know how, but she laughed … and I laughed.

And then I saw my mom looking horrified through the vertical window like, “Why are you laughing?!?!!!” … and we laughed harder.

And then I just wanted to climb on the table and scoop my sister into my arms, because I’d never witnessed such resolute courage in all my life.

Days passed and a prognosis was given and treatments were planned—six months of intravenous chemo, several days a week, for a few hours at a time.

chemococktail

One of the nights she was feeling especially yucky, I wasn’t sure what to do. I mean really, how do you make someone who’s nauseous and weak feel better?

Oh, I know. You—a bit of a tomboy—go into her closet and put on the most hookerish, girliest clothes and highest heels you can find and you crank up “So Fresh and So Clean” by Outkast and execute a runway show for the ages. Multiple outfits, struts, turns, hair flips and a general disregard for self-respect.

Nausea will never beat indignity in hand-to-hand battle.

her awesome laugh

her awesome laugh

I went to many, many chemo sessions with her and we fell into somewhat of a routine. We’d get to the oncology clinic and wait on them to call her back. We’d claim the best station we could find and set up shop. She’d get settled in, while the nurses came over to impale her with IVs and situate the chemo IV tree next to her reclining chair.

As soon as her drip was underway, I’d run over to Sonic and get us large drinks and cheese tater tots.

It became a bit of a running joke that I took everything way harder than she did. (Have I mentioned that she’s a strong free spirit and I’m … you know … NOT?)

Every time we walked through the clinic’s doors, I’d get nauseous and uneasy. Instantly. Every single time.

Side Note: My capacity for sympathy pain is unrivaled. I even gained five pounds during her pregnancy and feel certain my periodic hip pain is residual sympathy from her bone marrow aspirations.

I’d often need soothing after particularly traumatic IV mishaps. It was not uncommon for them to mis-stick her several times before getting a good vein, then looking over at me and asking if I was alright. My sister would squeeze my forearm and search my eyes, “You good? That wasn’t so bad, was it?”

Even on a good sticking day, I’d just hold my breath until they found purchase, then I’d put my hand up and let everyone know I was OK. This cracked her up.

one of the bad IV days

one of the bad IV days

We made the trip so many times—for check-ups, chemo, blood work, and scans. It was a good 30-40 minute drive and no matter what, I simply could not get the directions right. Normally, she’d drive, so I was fine—we’d just blast Lady Marmalade or Destiny Child’s Survivor and sing like lunatics. But the times I did drive, I’d just cringe when we got to the confusing exchanges, feeling uncertain about my internal compass. She was forever gracious in sensing my hesitation and pointing me in the right direction.

Every single trip, we passed the same huge amusement park with the worst-looking death appliance you’ve ever seen (some people call them rollercoasters). I’d aggressively turn my head away from it until we passed. My stomach was already fragile and compromised from being so close to the oncology center—I couldn’t very well look at a mobile execution chair horrendous rollercoaster, too.

I’d keep my head turned away and wait on her to tell me it was behind us, then relax back into my position before coming nearly FACE TO FACE with it. She’d LIED to me again. You’d think that trickery would lose its luster, but no, she’d laugh every time. Cancer patients can be cruel.

They can also be extremely manipulative.

I could never say no to anything without a head-tilt and, “But I’ve got cancer” reply.

“Sis, no, you can’t eat cold ravioli out of the can.”
“But I’ve got cancer coursing through my body.”

“No way. We’re not sneaking into a second movie. It’s called theft—NO.”
“But it’s what my cancer wants and I might be on borrowed time.”

don't be fooled by her beautifully contemplative look here—she's just scheming new ways to mess with me

don’t be fooled by her beautifully contemplative look here—she’s just scheming new ways to mess with me

One day we were driving back towards home after a scan, where they’d injected her with a ridiculous amount of contrast material. We were riding along on a pleasant day, just listening to music, when she immediately gripped the steering wheel at 10 and 2, and sat straight up.

Her: Oh.
Me: What?
Her: Uh-oh.
Me: WHAT?
Her: I’m gonna shit my pants.
Me: No you’re not!
Her: I’m prrrrrrretty sure I’m gonna shit my pants.
Me: Shut up! You are not!
Her: YEP, reeeeeally gonna shit my pants.
Me: You are NOT going to SHIT YOUR PANTS.
(then she paused, got really still, as if deep in thought, and then held up her index finger to confirm)
Her: Yep, definitely going to shit my pants.

You’ll be pleased to know she did not, in fact, “shit her pants.” But once she determined the threat had vanished (and I want to iterate that we dotted our i’s and crossed our t’s), we flip-laughed and heave-laughed and pushed-each-other-laughed until we were absolutely spent.

The way she’d announced—so straightforward and business-like—her realization of imminent danger is something that still makes me laugh out loud to this day.

She fought cancer like a champ and kicked it to the curb for nearly six years. When it reared its despicable head again, we cried and cried. We even cried all the way through her second bone marrow extraction, not even pretending to be tough. And when she received her second “six months of chemo” game plan, we left the appointment and parted ways after a long and extremely sad hug.

Then I did what any sister would do. I, who can’t even tolerate Tylenol PM and have never successfully inhaled helium from a balloon, sent her a text:

mj

And we laughed.

We also prayed.

And she kicked its sorry ass again.

So yeah … in life, there will be times of hardship, times of endless tears and times of sincere doubt and dreadful worry—but I still believe that with the right outlook, with a faith that dares to be shaken and with a bit of twisted humor—Life is Funny (even when it’s not).

I’d love for you to join me on Facebook and Twitter … it’s good for your health.

Enlightenment Is Overrated

The world seems to be changing before our very eyes. All the subtle and not-so-subtle shifts got me thinking about some of my long-held beliefs.

I intended to go about all this high-level thinking at my own pace, but my quiet introspection was shockingly interrupted when, on the walking trails, I saw a poodle roll to its back in the grass. And there it was—all his gentleman business—assaulting my baby eyes.

It shook me to my core. I thought all poodles were girls. They should be girls—you know it and I know it. Was I out of the country when boy poodles became a thing? Stunned, I stared without blinking and my heart just went out to him immediately—the cruelty of his perm, the indignity of his pom-pom legs. The duplicity of what I saw had me questioning everything.

Next you’re going tell me snakes can be girls. Please don’t insult my intelligence; I wasn’t born yesterday.

Another long-standing belief I have—that I will stick to until I’m six feet under—is what I call “The Tribe Factor.” When I worry for a child that I’m not directly responsible for (because of poor sleep habits, a dreadful diet and shoddy oral hygiene), I self-soothe by repeating this mantra in my head, “Tribes do okay, tribes do okay, tribes do okay.”

I believe most tribes have it a lot harder than the children I know, but they still manage to survive. So yeah, maybe a kid does watch too much Disney—with their haughty girls and swaggy boys—but there are tribes in Tanzania that spit on their babies and those little ones seem no worse for wear. I don’t want children to be allowed to play video games every waking moment, but if a Brazilian tribe routinely eats the crushed bones of deceased family members, then maybe it’s okay if one of my little loved ones occasionally sneaks outside to disrobe and potty.

Side Note: Conversing with a friend over The Tribe Factor yielded this gem, “Sometimes I worry about a potential problematic pregnancy or being sick and it feels so dire, but then I remember people used to give birth and get ill IN CAVES. Their survival comforts me.”

They seem to be pretty happy, right?

They seem to be pretty happy, right?

I’ve also always felt like goldfish got a bad rap just because their memory span tops out at three seconds. What we should be questioning is trees—I don’t think they’re the brightest crayon in the box. They’re lovely and I hold them close to my heart, but savvy, they are not. They strip naked in winter and bundle up in summer. Hello, beautiful oak tree, it’s 22 degrees, why did you undress for winter? How do you expect to protect yourself from the elements? On the flip-side, why would a silver leaf maple want all those extra layers when it’s 99 degrees? Maybe trees are dyslexic. Oh great, now I’m insensitive for simply asking the question.

But I have some special needs of my own. I can’t taste anything when I have sunglasses on. In fact, they dull all my senses. They hinder my ability to hear well or make good decisions. I recognized my limitations when wearing sunglasses several years ago and now only wear them when absolutely necessary—like when hearing, tasting and thinking aren’t on the docket.

I have another (admittedly morbid) assumption that I’ll hang onto until it fails me. In order to keep tragic things from happening to my loved ones, I preemptively imagine calamities, in an effort to stop them in their tracks. I have this weird theory that if I CONSIDER it, it’s less likely to happen.

I’m sure we all have loved ones who seem to be the most likely candidates for misfortune; but, how often is the player actually the one you least expect? And for me personally, I can’t think of too many things that derail me like being blindsided. So in the interest of self-preservation, I make sure to consider all potentials and not just the most reckless of the group. Now, instead of telling me how abnormal this is, how about telling me how much you appreciate my selfless efforts to keep everyone safe, huh?

Rehearsing disaster saves lives. Sometimes.

Rehearsing disaster saves lives. Sometimes.

Hey, I never said my assumptions were scientifically sound. I don’t even understand non-rhyming poetry, you think I’m going to understand the arc of a tragedy?

Come to think of it, I believe I’ve slighted myself in one particular area. I’ve always been really scared to pass out because I assumed I’d be terrible at it. I was sure I’d be the kind of fainter to go face-first into the asphalt, but then I thought, “Wait. I’m athletic. I’m not clumsy or spastic. I’m selling myself short.”

I now believe I’d nimbly pass out with the grace of a dancer—barely grazing each section of my body until I’m lying on my side with my face resting comfortably on my outstretched arm—dare I say—almost sexy even. After it dawned on me how good I’d be at fainting, I realized what a relief it was to have one less thing to worry about.

Reconciling long-held beliefs is hard work.

One of my favorite things to see is a bird riding on a cow.

lostlunch blog

He has no idea.

You know those white birds that post up on a steer’s back? It brings me unmitigated joy when I happen upon this sight, not only because it’s funny, but because of the community of it all. Two seemingly disparate creatures coexisting without regard to one another’s political affiliation or athletic allegiance—it does a heart good.

But then one day it dawned on me that the likelihood of that simple-minded cow even knowing it has a passenger is next to nil. Even if he is a docile bovine, he’d probably not take too kindly to a freeloader who deceitfully positions himself in his blind spot. I had to face the facts—that wasn’t harmony they were living in—it was a den of deception.

It made me sad and cast a dark cloud over my day, so I rejected that notion and said, “Nah, that cow totally knows. They’re friends splitting rent!” It made me happy to write their story. If you tell me otherwise, I’ll out you for the lying liar you are.

All this new awareness has me re-thinking something else I’ve believed. We built a house on a beautiful golf course lot a couple of years ago. After a few months, it became very clear how I’d die.

Our house sits alongside the fairway of the course’s signature 13th hole. It’s absolutely gorgeous, but approximately 200 yards from the tee box, which means we get more than our fair share of golf balls gifted to us through the ever-popular slice.

Proof of the 900 times I've narrowly escaped death.

Proof of the 900 times I’ve narrowly escaped death.

I became convinced I’d die by a Titleist to the temple (otherwise known as T4). Honestly, it was comforting to finally know how I’d meet my Maker, so I could stop worrying about car accidents and e coli. But then the other day, while floating in the pool—wondering if Kim and Kanye have unintentionally roped themselves into directional names for all the kids—I had an epiphany. I bet a golf ball is actually just going to hit my shin.

Crap.

Why is this bad? Because I’ll endure the worst tibial pain known to humankind—but with zero fanfare. Deep bone bruises don’t kill. They also don’t get you sympathy or time off work—and I’ll still have to worry about the west nile virus. It’ll be such a non-heroic injury.

Someone at work will say, “Hey Beautiful, why you limpin’?” I’ll light up, “Oh, thanks for asking! Get this! I got tagged with a golf ball Saturday—on my shin!” They’ll say, “Oh. Did you know the Xerox color printer is down today?”

Enlightenment is overrated. Some long-held beliefs should be challenged—simply so we’re not all stuck in the dark ages—but others should be clung to, remaining unfettered ’til death do us part.

I’d love for you to join me on Facebook … it’s good for your health.