12 Feb 2019

Here Are Some Random Paragraphs.

Written by sally @ 10:33 am — Section: sally

I had a dream recently that I was telling someone this story, so here you go. I am literally making my dreams come true, just like Laverne and Shirley! That guy’s Facebook posts continue to entertain me, but he has gone blonde and it’s not that cute.

Speaking of Laverne and Shirley, I was just reading about Cyndi Grecco, who recorded “Making Our Dreams Come True,” and how she also recorded the theme song for another Happy Days spinoff called Blanksy’s Beauties that did not take off.

I love a dumb project no one cares about, so I have endeavored to tweet the entirety of the 1892 comic novel The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith. Why? I don’t know. I haven’t read ahead and so only know what goes on as I’m tweeting. Since it’s in diary format, I post one entry a day. It’s really taking off: I have FOUR followers. Follow me at @pooterdiary if you want to be the fifth. (The nobody’s name is Charles Pooter.)

I’ve read a lot of self-help stuff lately (see also: midlife crisis) and the single best piece of advice I have learned and am attempting to apply to myself is to just let an emotion be without reacting to it. Feel sad? Don’t kill it with distraction. Feel overwhelmed? Don’t run away into the hills. Feel happy? Dear lord, enjoy it. It requires a level of self-awareness that is extremely difficult to maintain, but I’m trying it, and so far, I’ve found that if I just acknowledge that I feel terrible/everything is awful, it will pass. Whereas if I DO something in response, or try to make it go away, it’s just going to come back and get me later, with interest. Is this…is this what healthy people have been doing all along?!

There’s a miniseries version of Howards End on Amazon Prime right now. Apparently I’ve gotten it confused with Sense and Sensibility. Sisters, a house, etc. All I remember is that someone may or may not get crushed by a wardrobe at the end. I’m only an episode in so I’ll have to report back.

Speaking of Amazon Prime, yesterday an important item arrived. I ordered some of those little triangle things you stick on your wrinkles and I tried one out last night. While I didn’t awake 30 years younger (ok, thank god for that), for a couple of hours this morning I had a furrow-free forehead! I call this a $15 temporary success story.

It’s fitting that I have returned to blogging about boring things just in time for theohreally’s 15-year anniversary!

6 Feb 2019

Social Media Policy.

Written by sally @ 6:43 am — Section: sally

I have been unfollowing people willy-nilly on various social media platforms lately. Here’s a partial list of reasons:

–posted a picture of their feet
–asked for advice on placemats to go with plates (THE PLATES WERE WHITE OMFG)
–was interested in a Confederate Flag Day event
–author I admire was making me not want to read their work ever, ever again
–too much complainin’ about boring things
–too many medieval-themed retweets
–gross food picture
–too many posts
–didn’t respond to my comment

Here is a partial list of reasons to keep social media people forever:

–posts about drama with ex-husband, boyfriend, ex-boyfriend (it goes back and forth)
–shares things about creepy mansions/Parisian apartments
–posts screenshots on Twitter of their Facebook fights
–quality cat pics
–the Reddit Relationship account and the inevitable 200+ DUMP HIM replies
–posts about how men suck posted by married women whose husbands are not on social media
–interesting stuff

28 Jan 2019

Extremely Prolific Writer Update!

Written by sally @ 7:40 am — Section: sally

Update: I did finish and submit the story! The way it works is that all 4,500 people who entered the contest are assigned to various heats that dictate the genre, subject, and character in the story. Then if you win that heat you move on to the next round. I was assigned comedy, incompetence, astronomer. (I learned a lot about interstellar medium in this process, mainly the fact that there is something called “interstellar medium.”) It wasn’t very good, but it got done, and now I can proudly say I have written two stories ever.

25 Jan 2019

I’ll Wrap Around You.

Written by sally @ 5:06 pm — Section: sally

I’ve mentioned my freakout dreams before, which are technically called hypnagogic hallucinations, though I think “freakout dreams” is more descriptive and less showoffy. I haven’t had many recently, though apparently it’s either a pen floating merrily through my room OR it’s camo-clad men and their dogs climbing through a painting.

They started in the summer of 1996 when I lived in Starkville, and like I said in that older blog post, started with spiders. Because look, if you thought there was a spider on your pillow, that’s believable, right? It was just that the spiders multiplied, and then became tarantulas, and then mice, etc. Anyway, I haven’t seen a spider in a freakout dream in 20+ years!

Last night I was listening to the Velvet Crush song “Time Wraps Around You,” which, incidentally, is very much tied in my brain to the summer of 1996 and the person I was dating then. I turned it off, I went to bed, and THEN GUESS WHAT HAPPENED?

There were spiders! A cone shape of light was shining on the bed kind of like a cabaret and silver spiders were turning and glistening in their Liza Minelli moment! I screamed, I turned on the light, the spiders disappeared, and I think it’s best I stay away from the Velvet Crush.

22 Jan 2019

Cool Your Operations.

Written by sally @ 2:42 pm — Section: sally

I stupidly signed up for a short story writing contest, even though I have only written one (1) short story in my LIFE, and it was in 1994. They assign you a genre, a situation, and a character, and you have a week to write it. It is due on Saturday. I have written 341 words and all of them are terrible. However, if I at least finish, I will have written two (2) short stories in my life, and that is a good thing.

I saw The Favourite, and I loved it. Then I saw on Facebook that an older lady I know also saw it, who said, “I don’t know what to say about The Favourite. It was a different kind of movie for me.” #lesbians

The Prime version of Vanity Fair was awesome, and I loved it. It took me a couple of weeks to watch the whole thing because my stress level just can’t take anything these days. Mild stress brought on by an adaptation of a 19th c. novel is just as real as whatever it is you people with real problems get stressed about, ok?

A coworker was talking about her crummy husband and said, “As my mama would’ve said, he done tore his britches with me.” I like that, and while I will not be saying it, probably, I will certainly be thinking it when people cross the line. Do you bite your thumb at me, sir? You’ve torn your britches with me, sir! She also said her mother was fond of saying, “He’s not worth the salt that goes into the bread,” but that’s a little wordy. I didn’t say anything because her mother died recently.

I routinely interact with someone who can’t pronounce words correctly, and you know I find this amusing. A few weeks ago she said, “We’ll have to give them coodles for that,” and it took me a moment, but I eventually got there. I gotta give her coodles for screwing up kudos so charmingly.

My beloved Mary Oliver died last week! She is everyone’s beloved Mary Oliver, or should be. She’s a model for how to appreciate and be astonished by the world. In a weird way her body of work reminds me of the Catherine Wheel song “Here Comes the Fat Controller” (bear with me here) and its instructions for how to be better:

Don’t you think that it’s about now
that you cooled your operations
and be generous somehow?
Don’t you think the sarcasm’s a little hard to stomach?
Your cynicism’s boring!

A search reveals that the last time I referenced this song here, I was full of joy for the world. I was also newly in love, but hadn’t quite realized or admitted this fact. Oh, baby Sally of 2013. I wish I could bottle that feeling for us both, or at least invent a time machine that sends you back in time via blog post. I’m not regretful, but I am wistful. (Updated to add: apparently they’re synonymous? Ok. So I guess I mean I don’t regret anything that’s happened, but maybe I wish I’d enjoyed it more while it lasted?)

17 Dec 2018

2018 Roundup.

Written by sally @ 8:35 am — Section: sally

What a year. 2018, you were something! I’ve never cried so much in my life, but even though things were often rough, there was still so much good, and so much to be grateful for. What all happened, you ask? Let’s recap!

In the health arena, I had a breast lump situation (it was fine), I learned I have uterine fibroids, I flirted with the gluten thing, and I had heart surgery. I mean. That is a list. The worst part about all of it was that the heart surgery did not totally correct the issue, and I spent a lot of time grieving that fact. I guess I’m over it, as much as I can be. Maybe I’ll be more over it when I’m done paying off my medical debt? (Oh, let me tell you how grateful I am for health insurance.) Oh, and also I am most definitely in perimenopause, which is a wild ride. 19-day cycle, 33-day cycle, 28-day cycle…every month a new situation! There is no way to predict what will happen, or why my emotions are insane! Am I crying because I am truly hurt and upset…or is it my uterus trying to kill me? WHO KNOWS. NOT ME. I DO NOT KNOW. I will tell you this: it’s keeping me on my toes. Edited to add: I posted this, then immediately discovered that I bled through my dress. Haha!

In the family arena, my grandmother died. She just got worn out and then didn’t get better, but I’m grateful that I was able to see her almost every day while she was in hospice, and feed her her hideous lunch (whoever heard of pureed bread???!?!), and translate what she was saying to the rest of the family. She never lost her mind, and everything that needed to be said got to be said. I’m grateful that she accepted me as I am, and told me so. I am also grateful that during the eulogy, a die-hard-Republican family friend somehow worked in a statement about how Trump was ruining the country, which was just an unexpected gift. She was a fine old lady, and I wish I could talk to her again.

In the work arena, I had a stagnant, no-cool-projects year. I just didn’t think up anything fun to do. I did publish a chapter in a book and a book review in a newspaper, so all was not lost, and I have started a research project that I hope will one day turn into a book. I’m grateful to have a job where I have the luxury of being able to do fun projects when I happen to think them up. And I have a few planned for next year, so I’m looking forward to that!

In the relationship arena, I tried and failed. And kept trying, and kept failing. Maybe this calibration will work? Nope. Ok, let’s adjust this setting…still nope. While I’m using the word “fail,” I don’t see any sense in calling something a failure where there was love involved. What a gift to be able to love and be loved, even if it didn’t work out in the end! I’m grateful for all of it: the wonderful parts, and the shitty parts, and the parts where things just were without being wonderful or shitty.

Oh, and I know you were nervous about it, but I met my Goodreads challenge! I reread The Optimist’s Daughter for a work project (see, I told you I was starting to think up fun things for next year) and really loved it this time around. I think it was just what I needed: Laurel is a great role model for how to accept things. And speaking of reading, my favorite book this year was The English Patient.

Whew! I’m looking forward to 2019.

13 Dec 2018

Wacko, not Weirdo.

Written by sally @ 3:58 pm — Section: sally

I set a Goodreads goal of reading 50 books this year, and a few days ago I panicked when I realized I had only read 47. I enjoy setting an arbitrary goal that no one cares or knows about and then taking it very seriously, I guess. (Old schoolers: remember that time I posted every day for a YEAR?) I read Lucy Knisley’s Something New (#48! I liked it, but not as much as Relish) and then took to my shelves at home looking for a thin volume I could knock out.

I’ve always been a big reader, though for most of my childhood/preteendom I read a lot of teen garbage. All the Sweet Valley Highs. ALL OF THEM. I’d get a stack for Christmas and have finished a couple by the time we got to my grandparents’ house. I read and loved The Westing Game and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, but I really loved that teen garbage.

One of my favorites was called The Rise and Fall of a Teen-Age Wacko. (I could’ve sworn on my life it was Weirdo, not Wacko, but it’s Wacko). It must’ve been one of the books I kept at my dad’s house and really read over and over because at some point the spine broke and half the pages fell out. I bought a copy (with all the pages in it) from Thrift Books a couple of years ago and didn’t read it then, but it was perfect for my purposes this week.

What I remembered: a girl stays in Manhattan by herself with a babysitting job, which she announces to her parents like this: “I’ve a job”; she has a little sister who at one point says “I put my money in a safe place: I keep my coins in my mouth”; Woody Allen is involved; there is a part where her dad has a moped which I read as in “I moped around the house” but was actually “small lame motorcycle thing.” And that’s about it! So yesterday I read it. (#49!)

First, the cover is divine.

There was much I’d forgotten, obviously, but so much that was familiar. The narrator goes to Bloomingdale’s and buys an outfit that includes a “chocolate tee” and I remember being fascinated that a teenage girl would spend money on a brown shirt. Like, it’s a brown tshirt? Ok. But in context this time it seemed to make sense, perhaps because I am old enough now to enjoy a brown shirt. She takes her babysitting charge on truly fun-sounding New York adventures that I want to go on as well — the Morgan Library and auctions where you can buy a vintage dress for $40 and it fits you perfectly and you feel like Gene Tierney!

But the Woody Allen part was a much bigger deal that I remembered. I knew that she somehow fell down and was thus in a Woody Allen movie; I’d forgotten that after she falls down and accidentally gets into a Woody Allen movie, she reads that he scrapped the project and then decides to become obsessed with Woody Allen and like, stalk him around town in order to get into another Woody Allen movie. She goes to Elaine’s on a night he’s supposed to be there, she reads that he’s filming another movie and just walks down to a creepy dark park alone and some dudes on rollerskates with painted clown faces scoot out of the darkness towards her, and then a police car drives up and she runs towards it and the cop gets out and HE has a creepy painted clown face too, and it turns out someone is filming a horror movie and now she has messed up the shot. Then she goes home and her dad has come back into town and is worried about her and she has told a lot of lies and everyone is mad at her but then at the end everything is fine.

Anyway, let me end this by saying that unless you spent a lot of time rereading this book in your formative years, there is pretty much zero reason for you to seek out and read this book. Unless teen Woody Allen fan fiction featuring chocolate tees appeals to you, and you are trying very hard to meet an arbitrary reading goal, of course.

3 Dec 2018

Peach Pie, Petrie.

Written by sally @ 8:26 am — Section: sally

1. I flew too close to the sun. I flirted where I should not have flirted.

After two months of avoiding gluten, Thanksgiving came. I was mostly strong! And then my aunt said she made a peach pie. And I could not resist. And I ate of the pie, and awaited disaster. And then…no disaster came. There was nary a rumble from the gluten zone. The next day, I waited. Still nothing. So I did the sensible thing, which was to assume that perhaps eating gluten very occasionally would not disrupt my system, and to go back to not eating gluten at all.


I ate a pizza. Yes. A whole pizza. (Half for lunch, half for dinner, but still.) Nothing happened! It was a Thanksgluten Day miracle!

Over the next few days, I ate a remarkable amount of gluten. A lot of it was also garbage, like a Filet-o-Fish. And a Big Mac. A pulled pork sandwich. REGULAR BROWNIES. Flour tortillas! Lasagna!


Without going into too many details (#diarrheapartyUSA), let’s just say I am back on the gluten-free train.

2. On Saturday, Spike had a friend over. The kid was playing basketball with the world’s crustiest soccer ball we found in the yard while Spike came inside to change his shoes. Then I got a text from my neighbor: “Is there supposed to be a child peeing in your driveway???” Y’all, this kid just decided to pee in the driveway. Like, we got bathrooms, and a private yard, even, but peeing right here where another house is but a few yards away and has no window treatments — now that’s some fun. (I’m all for outside pee times. Spike even has a designated Pee Tree he is allowed to pee on because it is out of sight! Now I’m thinking of Rob Petrie for some reason.)

I went outside a little while later.

Me: Hey friends, I hear there may have been some peeing out here. Let’s use the actual toilet next time, ok?
Pee Friend: YEAH, SPIKE.
Spike: Mom, we didn’t pee!
Me: I didn’t say YOU peed, did I?
Spike: Mom, seriously!
Me (looking at Pee Friend): TOILET.

17 Oct 2018

Two Weeks of Gluten-Free Eating: Observations and Whining.

Written by sally @ 10:10 am — Section: sally

So, it turns out that gluten is in everything delicious. And not just delicious, but convenient. No wonder I had a stomachache every day for 45 years! I was a glutenophile! I’m surprised there was any gluten left for the rest of you jokers. I was eating it all.

While there is plenty of stuff out there that is also delicious, and I am eating that stuff, it is not convenient. No sandwich or burger or pizza or burrito wrapped in a delicious flour tortilla. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO EAT FOR LUNCH? I am eating a lot of stupid salads. I previously only really ate salads in order to eat croutons. This small pleasure in life is now gone.

I thought I could just break down and eat some gluten occasionally and just roll with a stomachache, but what I didn’t know is that once it’s gone from your system, if you accidentally eat some, it’s so much worse. MUCH WORSE. I’ve accidentally eaten it a couple of times and the results were not ideal. So while I think abstractly about a cheeseburger from Rooster’s, I know that that cheeseburger wants to kill me.

There are lots of gluten-free versions of gluteny foods, and some are fine. The bread is not fine. NOT FINE. Granted, I have tried one brand, so maybe there is another brand out there that does not taste and feel like a dirty sponge, but I’m wary. It looked like bread, but so does this. Edited to add: this is my new favorite website! What the heck are people using this fake food for?!

Anyway, last night I tried a gluten-free hamburger bun. I sliced it in half to butter and toast it. I should’ve known something was amiss when the inside was kind of shimmery and translucent, like rice. I made it through half the hamburger before I gave up. I have never only eaten half a hamburger when presented with a whole hamburger in my life.

I’m sure I’ll get used to this, right? Humans are resilient and adaptable! Who knows, maybe I will start a trend when I break down and use two halves of a baked potato as a hamburger bun.

15 Oct 2018

If Your Pretty Mouth Can’t Hold It In.

Written by sally @ 7:24 am — Section: sally

I know nothing about tarot cards, but I am a big fan of signs, even if I routinely misinterpret or purposefully ignore them. Jessica Dore’s Twitter account blends tarot with behavioral science and just general kindness towards all the terrible humans. If you’re a Twitter person and want to go “oh, shit” when you see your own awfulness in these posts every day, follow her. This is today’s:

Oh, and this one hurt:

As Mary Oliver would say, “You want to cry aloud for your mistakes. But to tell the truth the world / doesn’t need any more of that sound.”

Between the tarot and the Mary Oliver and the general existence on the planet, well, I am exhausted and grateful. (Also, Mary Oliver loves to go outside and see beauty everywhere, and yesterday I thought, ok, Mary, let’s do this, and so I went outside and saw…some bees eating (?) a dead lizard, so maybe I have a ways to go with the whole “going outside and seeing beauty everywhere” part.)

14 Oct 2018

Devotions, Redux.

Written by sally @ 1:42 pm — Section: sally

I’ve made a Mary Oliver Frankenstein poem from the pages of Devotions. Oliver’s delight in the world is inspiring. I don’t want to mythologize her, but none of her poems are about how she was a real jerk that one time; they’re all about a whippoorwill and the dappled light and the crispness of an apple, and mostly unspoken gratitude for all of it. (Surely she’s been a jerk at least once, right?) Her poems make me want to be a better human on the planet. Oh, Mary Oliver Poems, you’re as close as I’m ever going to get to reading scripture.

“How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.”

Another morning and I wake with thirst for the goodness I do not have.

You want to cry aloud for your mistakes. But to tell the truth the world
doesn’t need any more of that sound.

I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.

There are many ways to perish, or to flourish.
How old pain, for example, can stall us at the threshold of function.
Memory: a golden bowl, or a basement without light.

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

We do one thing or another; we stay the same, or we
Congratulations, if
you have changed.

What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be,
darling citizen.

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

The poems, in approximate order of appearance, though I did some shuffling and now they’re all out of order):“Thirst”

“The Poet with His Face in His Hands”


“Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches”


“To Begin With, the Sweet Grass”

“Mornings at Blackwater”

“When Death Comes”

4 Oct 2018


Written by sally @ 1:23 pm — Section: sally

Whew, what a summer! I wish I meant that in a vacationy way, like whew, all of those trips to the French Riviera really wore my ass out! I mean it in more of a whew, what a pile of loss, strange events, sweetness, happiness, disappointments, all sprinkled with a shit ton of books. I suppose that mix would not be the worst way to spend one’s life.

Things I’ve Read:
The Idiot by Elif Batuman (duh, see below)
The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett (eh)
Enormous Changes at the Last Minute by Grace Paley (pow! I got Paleyed)
Still Me by Jojo Moyes (I’m not saying anything bad about this because one time I said one of her books was boring on Twitter and she replied)
The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson (do you like cholera? what about poop? what about the history of sanitation? if your answers to any of those are yes, you’ll love this book)
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (beautiful)
So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell (devastating)
A Double Life by Flynn Berry (read in one day; this is/is not an endorsement)
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh (I gave up after the description of when she quits her job/Whoopi Goldberg’s lady parts)
Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner (why?)
At Home in the World by Joyce Maynard (perfect)
Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (pretty good!)
Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves (zzz)
Transcription by Kate Atkinson (good, but it’s no Life After Life)
French Exit by Patrick deWitt (I liked roughly 20% of this)

And I’m currently reading Penelope Fitzgerald’s Hidden Voices and Stuart Turton’s The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. NO I AM NOT TRYING TO ESCAPE REALITY OK MAYBE A LITTLE

Also, after a weeklong experiment in which I have avoided gluten, I am very sorry to report that my lifelong stomach issues are just…gone. Huh. Still trying to figure out how to reconcile my relationships with cheeseburgers and pizza, but I really do feel so much better that I think I’ll be fine. Plus, I can see being in a mood where a cheeseburger would absolutely be worth a little Terrible Bathroom Experience (TBE). #butts


25 Jun 2018

Wasn’t That My General Policy?

Written by sally @ 9:53 am — Section: sally

I’m in the middle of reading Elif Batuman’s The Idiot, which is at once hilarious and weird and confusing. Much of what is making me love it is a specificity about 90s college life, namely the kinds of posters it was important to have on one’s dorm walls (Ansel Adams, Klimt, Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue), the new concept of email, etc. Every few pages I get a pain in my chest because the narrator, Selin, has a crush on an older guy and they mainly communicate via email. THAT SOUNDS SO FAMILIAR. The first time they go to a bar, she gets drunk after one beer (THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED). When they go to a cafe she can’t read the menu (SERIOUSLY THIS HAPPENED TO ME). He attempts to flirt with her and she doesn’t understand and is unable to respond (HI). Here is a part that made me gasp:

“Is it so strange?” Ivan brushed against my ear with the back of his hand. I felt my body stiffen, I was filled with dread. And yet, I knew I wanted him to touch me — didn’t I? Wasn’t that my general policy? (280)

Obviously, this book is much bigger and important to the world at large than the eerie similarities to my own life, but it’s speaking to me in a very specific language.

Update on the emotional breakdown in my last post: still having it. I’m doing a lot of reading and lamenting.

11 Jun 2018

Natchez Falldown Ankle.

Written by sally @ 11:20 am — Section: sally

“Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?”
–Mary Oliver, “I Worried”

Several years ago, I broke up with my boyfriend because we weren’t able to communicate effectively (i.e., at all), and though I loved him, I thought it was the right thing to do. I had limited, careful, rational thoughts about the situation. I was fine. I felt fine. I had everything neatly taken care of: the relationship wasn’t working for me, and so I remedied it! GREAT.

Then one day, I was at a bar in Natchez watching my coworkers do karaoke and also, some truly upsetting dance moves, and as I left, I fell off the curb, twisted my ankle, and landed in the street. And I started crying, as one does when they are physically hurt, but then…I didn’t stop crying. I cried for hours. I went to bed. I woke up and cried some more. For the next three weeks, every time I thought about falling down, or if I said the words, “I fell down,” I started crying again. At work, at a bar, at home, falling down = total meltdown.

Things can’t be a pattern until they happen again, but here we are again: I broke up with someone, I had limited, careful, rational thoughts about the situation, and then last week I dropped some chairs on my foot. And BAM: it was Natchez Falldown Ankle all over again. While I guess it’s good to know that I do have feelings in there somewhere, this isn’t an effective way to human. I need emotional Dran-o, or better yet, a daily feelings fiber pill. Metamucil for Feelings! (Feelamucil. Mirafeel. Feelalax? I’m still workshopping here.)

I like to talk about how rational I am, but being this way doesn’t benefit me. I just end up coming across as cold, remote, and distant. And then when I try to say I’m sorry, I was an asshole, it’s insincere, because why would anyone believe this cold and distant robot who has never displayed anything along these lines? After all, the Elliott Smith School of Bottling Up and Exploding is not an accredited institution.

I went for a walk yesterday and picked up an embarrassing self-help book in a Little Free Library. I am now in the Reading Self-Help Book stage of life. (“Someone is staring at you in Personal Growth.”) The name of the book isn’t important (because it is embarrassing), but I recognized myself in a way I hadn’t before. I don’t think of myself as someone who is afraid of commitment or intimacy, because I’ve been married twice! I’ve had a million boyfriends! But oh: I’ve been married twice. I’ve had a million boyfriends. Cue the sad trombone and the Natchez Falldown Ankle-level tears and the Oh God Realization.

Reading the DO YOU HAVE A FEAR OF INTIMACY? checklists both in the book and online has been like falling down in the street AND dropping chairs on my foot AND an old-fashioned punch in the stomach. It’s so clear! Why didn’t I realize this before? “Put off or repulsed by people who treat you with the love you deserve”? Ugh. Yes. “A desire to be close to another, only to pull away when the closeness is reciprocated”? As the internet would say, it me. “Feeling uneasy if another person starts depending on you for emotional support”? Yep. “Doubting you can be really close to anyone because little things always annoy you too much”? Big check. “Holding back your feelings in previous relationships”? Hello.

Well. Here we are. I’ve never felt so exposed (which is of course extra scary for MY KIND).

Not much else to do but head back to therapy, read some things, and try to be better. (I will also obsessively revisit every relationship and reread all my journals looking for clues.) You’d think an allegedly rational person like me would’ve figured this stuff out already, but I guess I was too busy thinking I was right all the time. Oh, universe! You got me good. If you need me, I’ll be over here watching this video of Dean Jones singing “Being Alive.”

10 Jun 2018


Written by sally @ 6:05 am — Section: sally

A few days ago I was painting random children’s faces at work, as one does. I did not have a large repertoire, though I did practice some. I could do a caterpillar, butterfly eyebrows, a cupcake, a heart, a basketball. Most kids were fine with whatever. Some asked for clowns or a specific sports logo and they were out of luck. Other kids said, “I want Spider-Man,” and I’d say, “How about a caterpillar in Spider-Man colors???!?!” and for some reason they’d agree.

Then a kid came along who asked for a machine gun. A what?!

–I want a machine gun.

–Sorry, no machine guns.

–Oh, is that too hard?

–No, it’s a gun.

–What about a .22?


–A rifle?


–Why not?

–I don’t draw guns on children.

He was 8. His mom was right there. (He ended up getting a blue balloon on his cheek. He wanted his whole face painted blue but I said no.)

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