Monday, September 28, 2015

two years, four months, and sixteen days (give or take a few days...) or ode to a fish

There once was a family that was pet-shy. Though the parents had grown up in families that included dogs and/or cats throughout the years, they themselves were not quite over the shared emotional experience of approximately seven years caring for a cat with digestive issues that required special food and mental health issues that required an antidepressant.

"No pets," they said. "But we want a pet!" the children said. Back and forth. Forth and back.

Until a day in May when it seemed that the then five, seven, and twelve year old might just be at-least-momentarily satisfied with a little fish in glorious reds and blues.

Names were suggested, and a pull-from-the-hat was conducted, with Cornelius winning out over the other, now-mostly forgotten other names. A feeding schedule was created, and in the beginning, there were arguments about whose turn it was to feed Corny because everyone wanted to be the one to do so. Eventually that wore off, until the visiting toddler friends would be the ones to remind the children in the morning. "Whose day is it to feed Corny?" said in an adorable toddler tone would be just the prompt the children required to remember to tend to his needs.

The mom tended to his cleaning needs, perhaps not always as often as she should have, but always before it got to be a problem. She, perhaps, was the one who interacted with him the most, in as much as one can interact with a fish. But she will swear that their fish had personality. When the food container was shaken over the tank, she would notice his quick ascent to the water's surface, sometimes while puffing his gills in what she would call his "intimidating" act. She would giggle and talk to him in a way that might have appeared silly for a scene containing only an adult and a Betta fish. She frequently joked about his lazy qualities and the fact that they had in common a love of lying down, for the fish did often swim into his floating log and appear to settle onto the surface, resting his lower fins and not moving for extended periods of time. She would reassure folks upon seeing a nervous expression on their faces, "No, no, don't worry. He's alive. Just relaxing." A shake of the food container would usually be enough to get him swimming around again.

Time marched, or perhaps better said, swam on. Corny's novelty definitely wore off, but the children still took time to feed him, always waiting to see if he would do his dramatic big gulping movement with his face coming up out of the water for a split second as they dropped his food in. The daughter even fashioned a hanging toy from twine and colorful buttons that she suspended in front of the fish tank so that Corny could have something "for entertainment."

He wasn't a pet to snuggle. He wasn't a pet to cuddle. He wasn't the pet they had wanted.

But he was loved.

Two years, four months, and fourteen days after Corny became a part of the family, the people went away for the weekend. Upon their return, Corny was no longer a part of the family. No tapping on the side of the tank or shaking of a food container would get him moving again.

The parents waited until morning to break the news, trading what might have been a tough bedtime and night's sleep for a rocky, emotional morning before school on Monday. As soon as the words, "We have some bad news. Corny --" escaped their mouths, both younger children, grown to seven and nine, burst into loud, unapologetic tears. Their eyes darted to where the tank still sat, as always, and their wails took on the tone of confirmation. The parents tried to ease the blow with the knowledge that Corny had actually lived longer than the average life span for his kind of fish, but they knew full well that death at any time is still a hard pill to swallow.

When given the chance to choose how to handle Corny's body, the children's vote was a unanimous three for burial in the garden. The father, trowel in hand, prepared a small hole near the back of some bushes, and the children watched as the mother placed his body onto the paper towel they had prepared for him.

He was only a Betta fish, but he was their pet. Thank you, Cornelius, for giving them that.

Monday, September 21, 2015

if you continue reading this post, turn to page 43

As a kid, I loved the Choose Your Own Adventure books, but I couldn't ever be satisfied by following just one or two story lines. I had to systematically follow each possibility, each turn that was available. It was an undertaking, re-reading to each fork in the story and keeping track of each way already followed while pursuing new paths.

By the end of all possible stories, I was exhausted. But I knew all the paths, all the endings. No stone left undisturbed. No story left untold.

Dammit if life is nothing like a CYOA book in that sense. While we can ponder all the what-ifs, we can't truly see what our lives would have been like had we made different choices at key moments in our histories.

Don't get me wrong; I don't want to go back and change any of my important decisions. But I still have a curiosity of how different things would be had I pursued a different course of study in college, or if we hadn't taken the vacation with friends whose darling baby gave us the reassurance we needed to try to grow our family beyond just one child. What if I didn't have the liquid courage to kiss the tall, cute guy at the college party freshman year?

Like I said, I don't want to live those other lives, but I'd love to read them as stories or watch montages of them on the screen, just out of curiosity. Alas, that's not how life works. Instead, we make decisions and move forward, each moment in time forever sealed with that one fateful choice.

Fork in road - - 1142202
Dave Spicer (, via Wikimedia Commons 

Thinking in a forward direction, however, we do get to choose. I have wondered if marriage itself could be compared to a CYOA book, because each day we make choices that can affect where we're going. I've been making a concerted effort to keep this frame of mind in my day to day behavior, especially toward my husband. After being a couple for over twenty years, it's easy to take him for granted, and we may not always think about what we're saying or doing in our interactions.

It's funny, because I know what I want our "ending" to be, for we have talked at length about what we want out of life when we no longer are responsible for caring for the kids. (Yes, there will come a day, even though it feels a million years away.) For us to get to the part of our story where we travel around the country in our tricked out RV (with some DIY hacks, I'm sure), we have to make the right choices now. Gotta get to the correct page numbers, right?

I guess, in a way, marriage is like a CYOA book, though we only get one shot to work our way to the end of the story. There are no true take-backs or do-overs in relationships, though we certainly are human, so we sometimes need to ask for and to give forgiveness as an old path is reconciled.

But, I do believe that we're trying our best to make the decisions that will lead us to our ultimate goals. Not that I'm in any hurry to make it to the final pages of our shared stories, mind you. Hopefully this is one thick book, with tons of chances to turn to a new page.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

peace be with me

Upon waking this morning-- and waking naturally as opposed to the dreaded weekday alarm clock surprise-- I knew that the day held many responsibilities. Our small house was a wreck in every room. Mt. Laundry was to be a monumental task. A pending book review was hanging over my head. Pretty much a typical Sunday.

For a long time, those typical weekend days would be a source of stress for me, bringing forth a heavy feeling of anxiety if I couldn't get right to work in the morning. If I got a late start, or if we had other out-of-the-house obligations, no one else might know it, but my insides would be churning the entire time. I make these expectations for myself, and I need my home environment to be "reset" each weekend so that Monday morning brings a fresh start. If that didn't happen all the way, or if the worry was there during the weekend that it might not be able to get completed, the anxiety would creep in and take hold.

Today, however, things went a little differently. And it was fucking lovely.

Hubby and I had talked about going down to our town's farmer's market to finally try the crepes about which we'd heard nothing but rave reviews. When I awoke first before 7:00 am, I knew that was simply too early to be acceptable. Resettling under the covers as the wonderfully welcome chilly morning breeze blew through the open window, I quickly fell back asleep for another couple hours.


Take two came at 9:30 am, at which point we got moving. I took my time showering and getting ready, deciding to put on something a little nicer than my usual t-shirt and baggy shorts. I applied mascara, another rarity. I paused for a moment before leaving to survey the mess that awaited me upon our return, but even then, I put it out of my mind after locking the door behind me.

As I shoveled the deliciously light and airy crepe filled with peanut butter, marshmallow, raspberry jam, and bananas into mouth, I didn't picture the hours of work that would come later. (And yes, I did order a crepe fitting a five year old. With pride.) I sat on the grass under the shade, chatting with Hubby and a friend, smiling and laughing with ease, not needing to hide any tightening in my chest or nagging thoughts racing around in my head.

I was happy.

The kids ran off to play foosball and ping pong in the youth center while we grown-ups walked around the market. Choosing my favorite asiago french bread from the bakery tent made my smile grow. Holding my love's hand while strolling in the sunshine felt peaceful.

Eventually, we needed to leave, but even on the walk back to the van, I didn't feel a rush of the familiar "oh crap, I just wasted too much time" feeling. Getting started on the housework happened, and I even had a moment while elbow deep in dirty dishes that I realized was still happiness. Music blasting and singing loudly and totally off-key, I could still feel calm about the big tasks ahead.

What a difference four months can bring. That's how long it's been since I went back on an SSRI, and though I've had mixed feelings about needing to go this route again after almost a decade off of any anti-depressant, I'm not afraid to say publicly that this is what is helping me right now. Today, I enjoyed time with my family and felt able to relax knowing that a bunch of responsibilities were not being addressed immediately. It may not sound like much to most folks, but this is a game changer for me, and I hope it lasts.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

we worked hard over Labor Day weekend

Three day weekend. It's a lovely phrase, conjuring up leisurely images, maybe a hammock and a book involved in there somewhere. Three whole days sounds so much better than a typical two-day weekend that can too often be a blur of household chores, grocery shopping, and prepping for the week to come. But THREE days? Holy cow, that'll have to involve some relaxation, right?

Unless everything fun in the world is planned over the course of those three days and you have no choice but to do all the things.

That would best describe our Labor Day this year, as each of the three days had something big and eventful going on. Sure, we were exhausted come Tuesday morning when we were to assume our positions for a new work week and school week, but damn if it wasn't a blast while it lasted.

Saturday: A Time to Celebrate Books in an Environment in Which it is Totally Acceptable to Act Like Paparazzi Toward Authors and Illustrators

That would be the National Book Festival, of course, and in its 15th year, it was as good as we've all come to expect it to be. We were bummed to miss it last year, but I didn't plan well for the switch in dates to the busy Labor Day weekend Saturday, and I was wary of the change in venue from the expansive outdoor National Mall to the indoor Convention Center, which just happens to be totally expansive, as well, I now know. This year, I knew we had to give it a go when I saw too many names on the list of authors to pass by. I could give a detailed play-by-play account of our day, and it would be exhausting to read, because JAM, Red, and I arrived at the festival around 9:00 am, and JAM and I didn't leave until 10:45 pm! No, we didn't abandon Red to make a new life at various conferences. She left with a friend when the programming switched to fodder for more mature audiences. In essence, I split my day between picture book and middle grade author and illustrator presentations and discussions by cartoonists and graphic novelists. I'm happy that I enjoy what my kids adore in this realm.

For all the talks that we did get to and all the authors we had the immense pleasure of seeing, there was at least the same amount, if not more, of talks and authors we missed because of scheduling conflicts or big crowds. Hermione's time turner would have certainly come in handy!
Kate DiCamillo, who did much of her talk off the stage walking around the front of the room, including when Red asked her a question and she stood right in front of my amazed daughter. Red asked her who her favorite author was, and when DiCamillo turned the question back around to her, Red answered, "J.K. Rowling." No schmoozing to see here, people.

The awesome Mac Barnett was as gracious as he was two years ago when I last accosted him at the NBF. I used the excuse that my daughter was not with me that time, and she totally wanted to meet him, too. Sure, that was it.

We had lots of waiting time, sometimes in line because of the inside venue process for the sessions that get the most crowded, and other times just because we needed a break, whether it be with a book or a game. Huge benefit of the indoors, besides real toilets and air conditioning? Outlets!

Two of our absolute favorites- Tom Lichtenheld and Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Their collaborations never fail to make me smile, and it was fantastic to see them talk together.

There will eventually be more to come about the why behind our fun meet up with Amy Krouse Rosenthal, but for now, this picture just has to be shared. AKR let Red try on her "book jacket jacket," which is exactly what the name indicates. It fit her perfectly, and it was awesome to see so many familiar book covers!

Amy Krouse Rosenthal was so kind and generous with Red, even bringing her a signed copy of her and Tom Lichtenheld's newest book, Friendshape!

When the kids pointed out to me that Mac Barnett and the INCREDIBLE illustrator Christian Robinson were sitting down in a hallway, I couldn't help but go over. After reassuring Barnett that I would not be accosting him for a second time that day, I began gushing to Robinson how much I adore his illustrative style and the way that he represents the world in his work. I believe I went on and on before asking if we could get a picture. Absolute fan girl moment.

Red sat on the floor right in front of the stage for Cece Bell's talk, which was the one she was most anticipating and the one she said was her favorite by the end of the day. Holding her amazing El Deafo, she talked about her life experiences chronicled in her award-winning graphic novel. 

Images from the official 2015 poster, and Red's interpretation. 

He had to wait until 7 pm, but the part JAM was super excited for finally began-- the graphic novels pavilion's talks with cartoonists. Keith Knight, Lalo Alcaraz, and Scott Stantis shared a ton of their work and how their personal lives, beliefs, and experiences go into their respective strips. Keith Knight especially hit a nerve with both JAM and me, leaving us just blown away.

Two of Knight's strips that were presented that left me speechless.

One of Alcaraz's strips next to a photograph sent to him after the strip had published... life can be super eerie sometimes.

Stephan Pastis, of Pearls Before Swine, was a huge draw for the teen, and he laughed heartily throughout the whole thing that went a bit later than we expected. These cartoonists were a blast!

Pastis took requests from the audience on which of his characters to draw, but my favorite was definitely his cartoon self-portrait!

We made it! Almost 14 hours later, we walked out of the Convention Center still on a book loving high!

Sunday: A Day for Rides, Lines, and Sudden Realizations

The Labor Day Festival in our fair city is a tradition, and our kids still won't let us live down the fact that we opted to go camping a few years ago over this particular holiday weekend. Never again. We choose to get the bracelets for a few hours of rides on just one day each year, because four hours may not sound like much, but four hours of standing in lines, holding kids' stuff, shuttling back and forth between festival grounds areas, and some actual riding gets to be exhausting. There's no way that we could do it for two days in a row.

And something else that we found out this year. Apparently we will be saving $24.00 next year, as it's clear from this picture taken a few minutes after riding the previously categorized "easy" ride, the Scrambler, that Hubby and I will no longer be needing to purchase passes for the rides.
Our "Officially OLD-Old" picture.

The children, however, found their favorite rides and went on again and again. And even after getting all queasy from a simple, spin-around-on-the-ground ride, I was somehow convinced to try a spin-around-while-going-up-to-the-treetops kind of ride. Not once, but TWICE! Side note- the second time, I thought Red was going to be my partner, so I was trying to put on a good show for her, but when she changed her mind at the last minute, I figured that I shouldn't waste all the time in line, so I rode with JAM again. I had to make him stop talking about halfway through the ride so I could concentrate on NOT losing my breakfast, and when the operator woke up and finally remembered to turn off our ride, I had to lie down on the grass for at least seven minutes or so to get reacclimated to normal life being still on the ground. No joke. It was the official end of my ride riding days.

A friend's friend posted a pic of their kids on this ride, but caught me and JAM in the car ahead of them. LOOK HOW HIGH I AM COMPARED TO THAT TREE, WHICH IS ACTUALLY QUITE A LARGE TREE! It was so frustrating to actually be okay with the heights of this ride, but be totally undone by the spinning factor. GAH!

Good big brother moment when JAM did the pedals to make it easier for Pudge to drive the bumper car.

One of Pudge's favorites, on which he screams with delight THE. ENTIRE. TIME.

Look at that face, all zoomed in. Dude is loving life.

The young ones, not rendered useless by the Scrambler. JAM looks like he's just sitting casually in a non-nausea-inducing chair. Jerk.

Pudge's new favorite ride this year, which he went on multiple times during the day, including one run of three consecutive rides, with his pal by his side.

A few days after the weekend, I peeked in Pudge's writing journal to see this gem. It needs to be next to that photo.

Monday: Friends, a Bunch of Folks Walking Down the Street, and a 10,000 Calorie Kind of Morning

The Monday morning of Labor Day weekend is also steeped in tradition. We wake on the early side, for a holiday, pack tarps, blankets, camp chairs, and an assortment of breakfast eats and treats and head back down the town's center area for the Labor Day Parade. There is a particular corner we like to sit upon, and we get there early enough to spread tarps on a sufficient amount of grass to contain the group of pals who will be joining us. Over the next half hour to hour, they filter in in waves with their own assortment of even more food, and the party begins. The children likely consume as many donuts on this one morning as the rest of the year all together, and laughter rolls off our patchwork of blankets until noon. Then everything gets packed up, with one last farewell wave to summer. 

This year, I didn't even take one photo of the parade itself. None of our family members were in the parade, which was a first, so I just sat back, clapping and cheering, and repeating our state senator's name again and again because it cracks me up. (For the record, Paul Pinsky is a fine senator with a fine name, but for some reason it reminds us of an old, now-forgotten-by-us SNL skit, and Hubby and I just can't let it go.)

Donuts, donut holes, cinnamon buns, raspberry danish, apple strudels, more donuts, bagels, and more donut holes. Seriously, we do not play.

We are hard core about our parade spot. And friends, I promise we'll remember to move about 15 feet over next year so we can stay in the shade!! 

One last selfie for the weekend. I love this guy, and I love our wacky life. I even love his shirt, which he likes to remind me that I actually purchased for him.

At the conclusion of the parade, we had to return home and admit that there were actual household duties that needed tending. Three days, very little rest, but a crap load of fun. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

all good things must come to an end, apparently

I've been that parent using this trite phrase with the children when it was time to leave the playground or a friend's house, thinking that I was imparting some great wisdom upon the next generation. Or, if not wisdom, at least the understanding that life is tough sometimes. You better get used to it. Right now, I'm the one having to buck up.

Today was the final day of summer break. Tomorrow ushers in a different way of life, full of early mornings, school days, homework afternoons, and squeezed-in dinners. Summer will soon be a distant memory, an unbelievably relaxed image in our heads.

I will miss many things from summer, including but not limited to:
  • 9:00 AM wake-ups
  • 10:00 AM actual get-ups
  • any time of the day reading
  • cicada crescendos in the treetops
  • busy broods of birds on the feeder all day long
  • that one Carolina Wren who would perch almost daily on our fence post and systematically sing in all four directions (man, I hope he found some love this summer)
  • mid-day board games, especially teasing Red about her ability to get a bazillion 6s in every game of Trouble
  • getting excited for the oldest's annual Youth Circus performances
  • Hummingbird Watch 2015 (we know you're drinking that red juice even if we've only seen you three times)
  • day trips with friends, with or without children (yay for grown-up time enabled by work-at-home husband!)
  • encouraging the children to go play in the rain
  • encouraging the children to go play at the playground
  • encouraging the children to go play in any space that's away from me and my book
  • eating homegrown cucumbers, peppers, green beans, basil, rosemary, and tomatoes (well, not the tomatoes for me personally, but you get the idea)
  • marveling at the variety of skinks/butterflies/moths/cicadas/praying mantises/spiders/beetles/songbirds who like to call our little homestead theirs, too
  • lazy pool afternoons with my totally independent swimmers, making the lifeguards actually earn their hourly wage
  • looking up from my pool chair to cheer on the younger two's latest diving accomplishments

That's not to say that Everything Summer will be mourned. I bid this all adieu with a one-finger salute:
  • mosquito swarms when I go on our front step to open the mailbox (I know I may have to suffer a few more weeks of patience until you're completely gone, you assholes)
  • humidity... enough said
  • my nonstop "glistening" look, which I've been chalking up to the previous bullet point rather than attributing it to any big changes on the old lady body horizon
  • day-long bickering... yes, I'm looking at you three... I still don't care who did or said what... enough already!
  • watching "this" and trying to accomplish the impossible at the pool- getting the goggles to fit the right way
  • my daily job as Time Keeper of the Electronics
  • asking particular questions dozens of times a day, like:
    • Did you put your bikes AWAY-away?
    • Whose cup of milk is this on the counter/table/shelf/bathroom sink?
    • Can you please put your socks into the actual laundry basket and not on the floor/couch/chair/stairs/toilet lid?
    • Who left this light on?
    • Why aren't you outside?
  • later summertime bedtimes (aka having to wait until 10:30 to be able to watch Orange is the New Black, I mean c'mon, we only have a few episodes left!)

If you're more a picture kind of person than a list lover, how about some of those positive bullet points in images?

Summer's end brings us to this evening, the night before the new year. New school year for the kids (though the high schooler still gets a couple more weeks' break thanks to the late Labor Day date) and a new beginning for me, too. Of course, we're all hyper-aware of our feelings tonight. The younger two whispering exclamations of nervousness along with the questions that are weighing heavy on their minds as they snuggle under their sheets: "Will my teacher be nice?" and Will my teacher like me?" Meanwhile, I am pondering my own potential inadequacies, hoping that I can rise to all the expectations that begin tomorrow. Here's hoping.

Summer, you've been pretty awesome, even if you were one of the shorter ones in our family history. You'll be missed. Fall, you've got some pretty big seasonal shoes to fill.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

moderation, shmoderation

I think I've always had trouble with moderation. At least as far back as I can remember, the things that I've loved, I've loved in the extreme. I didn't just start to enjoy to read as a child, I was apparently literally consuming newspapers in my crib. Okay, that did supposedly happen, but what I mean is that as soon as I could read, I began to read everything I could get my hands on. As a child, I read whatever was available, and I adored the Scholastic book order forms for inexpensive paperback books (and maybe a kitten poster here and there, too). Through adolescence, I read all sorts of genres, especially when my truck-driving grandfather would drop off a box of coverless paperbacks that couldn't be delivered, which is how I was introduced to Louis L'Amour westerns and Danielle Steele romance novels. I even read many of my dad's Stephen King horror and suspense novels, the memories of which cracks me up, because none of those three genres are among those that I choose today.

As a child born in the 70s, I grew up with a lot of television. A lot. The fact that I can remember episodes of shows that played before I was even 10 years old-- sitcoms made for adults, mind you-- reminds me just how much I've always loved watching a story come to life on the screen, big or little. As a latchkey kid for my teen years, that television was on almost as soon as I dropped my overloaded Esprit tote bag on the floor after school. Sally Jesse Raphael and Phil Donahue, The Monkees and You Can't Do That on Television, these were my obsessions as I conjugated Spanish verbs and hand wrote essays for English class.

And we're back to obsessions. All these years later, I still love both reading and watching television way more than I think I should, perhaps. I can get lost in both, the passage of time becoming meaningless to my story-obsessed brain. I've read over 15 books since the beginning of the summer, and have actually picked up the Smithsonian and National Geographic magazines for poolside reading, too.

Then there's television. We recently got access to Netflix, and as a result, five little words have become the new summer obsession.

Orange is the New Black.

Yeah, so we may be a few years behind the curve, but holy crap, this show is blowing my ever-loving mind. A couple weeks ago, my darling husband took the children to his folks' place for the whole weekend. From Friday evening through Sunday evening, I was living single, and apparently also bending the confines of time. I cleaned like a banshee, spending hours organizing and decluttering, especially in a particular teenage hoarder's room. In the span of 48 hours, I had created a spotless house, hosted an eight-hour gathering heavy on cheese and wine, and watched an entire season of OITNB. Plus one extra episode. I watched over ten hours of television on that one show alone. And I slept in each day, too!

My inability to apply moderation was punished by the fact that Hubby apparently wanted to watch this show, too, so I had to wait an entire WEEK for him to catch up, before we could move forward together. If you know the show, imagine waiting seven days at the end of Season 2, Episode 1 to know what happens next!

Netflix has now enabled my obsessive personality to consume without waiting, just like discovering a book series years after all the books have been published. Kids now don't have to wait to find out Harry Potter's fate (unless they're only 9 years old and have me as a parent... perhaps not the best example for me to dole out...). Teens can follow Katniss Everdeen from start to finish as quickly as they want. Just as I can now follow Piper Chapman and her much more interesting prison mates without having to wait for anything more than the children's bedtime.

With just one week left of our summer break, before life goes back to early rising times, homework-laden afternoons, and time-controlled evening routines, I'm looking at 21 OITNB episodes remaining. Methinks there will be little sleep going on for the next few days...

Sunday, August 02, 2015

sorry, not sorry

I signed up for a yoga class last week with a friend, and upon arrival, we realized that the remaining spaces in the small studio were limited, so we settled into place in the first row. As I set my mat in place, I turned to the person directly behind me, and in an effort to use humor to manage a moment that may have a twinge of anxiety happening, I grinned and offered an apology, a quick "sorry" with the subtext of "sorry you have to stare at my fat ass for the next hour." I was apologizing instinctively because if this woman turned her gaze forward, she may have ended up staring at my leggings-clad behind, not the most visually appealing sight around.

Now everyone who signs up for these classes knows that there are ten spots for mats and that most classes are fully booked, meaning that most people will end up in close proximity to another. It comes with the experience. And sure, maybe I was trying to make light of a slightly uncomfortable moment, but my instinct to apologize was more than just humor-driven.

I was apologizing for existing in this space, a space that I paid for. I was apologizing for my heft. I was apologizing for not being fit and trim, physically attractive in all the ways that women are expected to be in order to be attractive at all.

I was apologizing to a stranger for simply being me, taking up the space on my own yoga mat.

Thinking about it later, I couldn't help but think of the brilliant Amy Schumer's take on our apology-driven female experience. (Gotta check that out if you haven't seen it yet-- look for "I'm Sorry" in season three, episode four.) Why are we always freaking apologizing?

With my last post about making amends, I've been thinking about apologies and forgiveness a lot lately, and I think a big part of that is identifying what should be apologized for and removing the lame "I'm sorry" statements from my vocabulary where they don't fit.

It doesn't make sense to apologize to someone else because my body isn't picture perfect on the mat in front of theirs. It doesn't make sense to apologize to someone for walking by them, yet "I'm sorry" might come out of my mouth instead of "Excuse me" half the time. It doesn't make sense to apologize so often that the words become like a pathetic mantra. I truly do not want to feel sorry all the time.

I do not owe anyone an apology about my body or my appearance, or for taking up space around them. I would be better off apologizing to myself for the constant pressure to try to please everyone else at my own expense or in a self-critical manner.

And as I sit here typing these words, there's a voice in my head saying, "I'm sorry I can't be more articulate, and I really hope people don't feel as if I've wasted their time with this blabber." 

Nope. Sorry, not sorry.