Category Archives: Feelings

Don’t Give ‘Till it Hurts

It’s easy to feel stretched thin. The kids, the dog, work, family. Time for chores? For shampooing the rug and dusting the tippy tops of the valences? Forget it. There’s never enough time to do it all. In The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” Gosh, he must’ve been a working mother in a past life, or maybe just looking on the inside my head. Or maybe it’s just a part of the human condition. How many days have you felt like you couldn’t catch up, like a hobbit on the brink of collapse?

The problem with or maybe the cause of all this is that I like saying yes. I like doing for others. It feels good. Giving, helping, accomplishing-feels pretty darn fabulous. Selfishly I like to be the person doing it all. Seeing your efforts sparkle in someone else’s eyes is priceless. That is, only if you aren’t stretched so bad you can actually take a second to see it.

Sometimes we miss it. Sometimes when you go past the point of what you can take, where the giving is painful. Times when there’s not enough of you to give.

It’s been said, “don’t give till it hurts, give till it feels good.” Most days I want to throw my hands up, but every once in a great while I can say that dammit, I did something today that was amazing.

Today I had that sort of day.

I feel lucky I got to witness a special moment of someone else’s joy. Today was a good day and the thinness didn’t feel so buttery.




Why Do We Always Feel Like We Have to Hide Ourselves?

I just colored my hair today for the billionth time. I’m only 32 years old and I’m guessing I have a head of 90% greypicture006 hair. I wouldn’t really know because I’ve colored my hair for at least ten years or more. I am just going by the little white strip of hair that grows in when my dye job grows out.

My hair is super thick and grows pretty fast, so it’s only been 26 days since I colored it last and this morning my roots were showing bright white like a sore thumb down my part in the middle of my head.

And It’s not even that I’m embarrassed of my age or think I necessarily need to hide the fact that I’m getting older, and I freely admit I have premature grey hair.. it’s just that I think it looks bad. And also the fact that I identify as a brunette, but in reality I’m not, or at least not anymore.

But honestly I’m sort of sick of having to dye it every month. And I’m sort of sick having to be something unnatural.. Because when does it stop? How can I just stop? Do I need to dye the whole thing grey (if there is such a dye on the shelves) and then let it grow, or let the skunk stripe appear on my head and wait many months (a year?) for it to grow out naturally from here? And then there’s going to be a loss of what I think my identity is- a person with brown locks beside their face.

Most of the women I know dye their hair. Whether it’s because they’re older and they want to get rid of the grey or because they just like highlights or want to be different or whatever, I don’t know very many women who don’t.

Just a little while ago I read an article that congratulated Kate Middleton on wearing a dress that didn’t hide her baby bump on the way out of the hospital just a day or so after her baby was born. I mean seriously.. This deserves a congratulations?! A mention? Which implies that it’s something that’s extraordinary. Like it’s normal for women to feel the need to have to hide their bodies. Pregnancy and childbirth is one of the most miraculous, beautiful things in the world, yet women feel the need to have to hide evidence that their bodies just did this miraculous thing just hours or days after they did it. And it doesn’t stop there. We have to hide our bodies when we’re breastfeeding, hide the wrinkles on our faces, everything in print media is airbrushed (we can even air-brush the pimples from our kids faces in their school pictures), and black women often feel like they have to hide their natural hair- let’s not forget the uproar Gabby  Douglas caused when she dared to wear her hair naturally at the Olympics. So it’s not just like we feel the need to do it- it’s that there’s a real criticism if we don’t.

And I know I’m not the first person to question this stuff- but I’ve never really found an answer yet, so I still feel the need to ask again: why do we always feel like we have to hide ourselves?

I’m sort of thinking of transitioning to my normal state. But I’m not so sure? What do you think? Would you go grey or without makeup or whatever your fashion Achilles heel is?

I want to be ready, but I’m not sure I can go through with it.. I’ll let you know in 26 days if I can resist continuing the cover-up.

Why Ask Why


Asking “why” when it comes to senseless acts is like asking why fools fall in love or why we can’t fly like blue birds over the rainbow. Crossing our fingers so that we may get answers as to why a terrorist makes bombs or why ill-adjusted folks shoot up movie theaters will only leave you with disappointment. Whatever their answer would be, it won’t make sense, it won’t give you peace, it won’t leave you with real replies that you can swallow; only discontent and more questions and what-ifs and why-nots. Did the Tsarnaev Brothers have reasons why they bombed the marathon the other day? Probably. Probably something to the effect that they’ve been brainwashed at a young age to hate the American way and they thought there was some allusive glory in this sort of thing. Is it stupid of me that I don’t really want to hear why? It’s all too predictable yet senseless. What can we do to stop freaks on the fringe? Kill them with kindness? Provide the American Dream to their front doorstep? Sign peace-treaties and send gifts. I imagine if there’s two jokers out there, there’s two hundred. I’m content to be the good I want to see in the world and not making sense of the senseless.

boston bombing


Just How Should We Feel?

It’s pretty typical after a big disaster for people to want to dictate to others how they should feel. Are they telling the wrong jokes or enjoying every day life too soon? Are they feeling bad for the wrong people? Are they donating to the wrong cause? Are their worries and fears and frustrations misguided? The thing is, we can’t really control our feelings. We can control what comes out of our mouths, (heh- typically), but our feelings come from a place within, that isn’t so easily structured. So good, bad, wrong, misguided, or even completely apathetic. How can they be wrong?

Everybody has interests, and completely different compassions and focuses on separate issues based on their own life experiences. Luckily. If everybody reacted in exactly the same way and supported exactly the same issue, there’d be a whole list of stones unturned. Do we have disaster cleanup down to a science? Absolutely not. Is every base covered? Hardly. But my point is, it’s important for different roles to be filled in society, and it’s completely valid for people to be focused on different aspects of grief or sad about different things.

Think about what it was like during the last funeral you attended. You’ve got Grandma wailing in the front row, uncle so and so telling dirty jokes in the back while taking swigs from his flask, you’ve got the cousin that refuses to enter the same room as the dead body, the aunt who says, ‘this is what they would’ve wanted.’ you’ve got the other aunt looking for her share of the inheritance and the brother who is telling everyone how negligent the doctors had been. The neighbor who remembers the good old days and the step son who never met the deceased and is playing video games in the hallway. And then we have the folks that are snickering that certain family members aren’t acting accordingly. Suzy didn’t cry enough. Johnny isn’t here. Betty’s over-doing it. Molly is just faking it for attention.

After a disaster we’ve got the, rebuild bigger than before folks, the this is God’s will folks, the volunteers, the out-of-towners who can’t really grasp the enormity of the situation, those who spring into action, the donate $10 by text message and move on folks, those who think you ought to worry about your own community, those who bring up the money we spend on other causes, the weatherman standing in the midst of the situation, the victims, the pundits on TV assessing every little thing, and on and on. People come at this from so many positions.

We contemplate how we could have avoided this situation, victim blaming, public official blaming, politicians didn’t do the right things, act partisan enough, blaming the media for skewing the entire situation before and afterwards.

First second and third reactions sometimes are wrong, hurtful, misguided. But can at the same time be right because they’re honest, authentic, deep-rooted.

Can we be horrified for flood victims and sad that a marathon is cancelled at the same time? Certainly. Can we feel bad for those without power, but be grateful we aren’t affected in the least? Certainly. Can we be sad that people died, but be more preoccupied by the latest drive-by-shooting in our own neighborhoods as well. Again, certainly. I don’t think it means people aren’t compassionate if they don’t vocalize the same specific compassions and sadness as the next guy. Everybody draws their own compassion from places that we can’t even begin to understand. Even this blog can be criticized because it isn’t focusing on the real situation, like ways you could help victims. But like I said, there’s many roles to be filled, many different valid reactions to any given situation. Just think what it would be like if ten grandmas were losing it in front, you may have completely missed the beautiful eulogy, and that is what meant the most to you.

Jazz Funeral, New Orleans