Fight or…No, Just Fight: Part 1

Today, I’m a fighter, sporting a black eye and a lot of bruises. Sparring at Taekwondo was not pretty last night and my inexperience resulted in me being kicked in the face. This morning at the grocery store, between a few curious, sympathetic looks from people, I felt inexplicable shame. It took me off guard. I cannot, at times, penetrate the inner workings of my brain. Then I looked in the mirror.  I’ve seen this face before. Not my face, but the face of someone I have loved my whole life. I’ve… Read More

Being Just Right

I’ve been putting off writing about an issue that I’ve internalized over the course of a lifetime. I have no magic resolution, no pat answers. It can bring me to tears when I think of the misery and harm I’ve directed towards myself over the years. I didn’t deserve it. No one does. Much has been written about American women and body image. I am an average American woman. And eventually my daughter will be one, too. There are wonderful books and websites out there about how to help daughters develop decent… Read More

Uncommitted: Being Jack

In high school, we were forced to take an assessment called the Career Occupational Preference Survey (COPS). It was supposed to define the possible kinds of work you might enjoy doing, based on your interests. I was directed towards engineering, public relations or education career clusters. Nothing I do today remotely relates to any of those careers. My dream jobs run like this, in chronological order of when I thought “it would be awesome to be that when I grow up”: librarian, writer, English teacher, writer, architect, writer, spy, writer, accountant, writer,… Read More

Back-to-School Special: The AB…ZZZZZZZZZs

Like many parents who have spent the summer with their children, I’m counting down the hours before the start of school. I will also be participating in a school of sorts. Next week, I start a writers’ workshop that runs for a couple of months. I’ve attended writers’ workshops before and have a pronounced aversion to them. The Loft Literary Center has, with a sheer stroke of agoraphobic genius (and for those of us who loathe trying to find parking downtown), added online workshops to its curriculum. No more trying to avert… Read More

The Lint Factor

I have gazed at my navel. It is deep, but not unending. This is my 26th blog post and if I didn’t know myself, I’d refer myself to a good therapist. I’ve got another 5 drafts waiting to be rolled out.  Conventional wisdom says that you should “write what you know”. Ouch. 5 posts down the road and I might be tapped out. My blog posts started out meekly, touching lightly on subjects that I had an interest in but that were not as personal. Now I’ve got skin in the game…. Read More

The Evolution of Home

My fantasy as a child was to have a house that was all mine, where I was safe and where all the other children and animals who needed homes would live as well (it was going to be a very, very big house). It would be a long time before I could claim that some part of my wishful thinking had become reality. It wasn’t until my early 30s that I lived in a house with a yard that I owned (with my much better half). Before that time, I lived in… Read More

How I Wrestled My Sports Bra and Won

Life is hard and sometimes it’s not the big events that make it so.  Like a badly-played Jenga game, sometimes a week is mired in little frustrations stacked clumsily one upon another until all your intent to be mature and calm and put together comes crashing down around your ears. My intent this week was to be organized, efficient and productive. There’s a lot going on in our household, from remodeling to having company here to preparing for the start of the school year to senior care taking. Frankly, life is feeling… Read More

Tattoo Accomplished: The Follow Up

My post  from  earlier this month, Midlife Rebellion (or Why I Decided to Get a Tattoo) got a little “Freshly Pressed” love and now I’m here to say it’s done, here’s a picture and here’s how it went down. Let me just get the obvious issue out of the way: ouch, ouch and #$%@ ouch! Yes, it hurt. This is an expected consequence for getting needles poked into your skin. It was manageable pain in the sense that I did not pass out, vomit or wail. Childbirth has a way of putting… Read More

Don’t Forget Me When I’m Gone

I have to decide what to do with my grandfather’s military uniform jackets. When he passed away several years ago, my grandmother hesitated about giving them to Goodwill,  so I asked for them. I knew he valued the wool jackets with worn patches. They were to him what a wedding dress is for a woman – a barometer of youth and golden days. He was so proud that he could fit into them after a grandma-induced diet,  that he modeled them for me whenever I visited. My grandfather was an old-fashioned gentleman,… Read More

In Defense of Solitude: The 30/70 Rule

I come from a long line of people afflicted with social anxiety disorders. I heard the phrase “I’m not a people person” so many times growing up that I thought I was genetically destined to feel alienated and antisocial for the rest of my life. I believed the family lore and suffered stomachache-inducing anxiety in social situations. I spent a lot of my 20s in an alcoholic haze in order to cope with interactions with human beings. Sorry human beings. It was me, not you. Once I sobered up, I compensated for… Read More