One of the Crowd

I have always hated being one of the crowd. For as long as I can remember, it was always imperative to me to maintain some semblance of difference from the “unwashed masses” who listened to the same music, who read the same books, who did the same things in their spare time.

I fought hard against being the same as anyone else. If you told me everyone liked the color blue, I would have told you I hated it (even though I have no feelings whatsoever for the color blue). If you told me everyone was drinking white wine, I would have preferred red, for no other reason than that everyone was drinking white.

Of course, after a time, this default setting of mine to be different made me forget that sometimes I really did agree with the majority. Sometimes I found myself swaying to Britney Spears, reading and enjoying John Grisham novels whilst drinking white wine. Sometimes I found myself hating that I loved something, simply because everyone else loved it and that made me normal. Continue reading “One of the Crowd”

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No Silver Linings

“That cloud looks like Mike Tyson,” Sheena said, poking me in the ribs.

She was always poking me in the ribs, but I had nowhere to go. We had been shoved together in the backseat for five hours straight, and if I thought she was annoying in a room, Sheena in the car was worse.

“That cloud does not look like Mike Tyson,” I responded without looking.

“You didn’t look!” she squealed. “Joey didn’t look!” she told my mom, who also didn’t look.

Honestly, I don’t even think my mom wanted to go on the trip in the first place, but Barry insisted on it. He and my mom had been together for two years, and I felt like he was pushing it a little bit, with those stupid family trips. Sheena was his kid, a little brat who never stopped talking.

“You missed the cloud that looked like Mike Tyson,” she said, pouting. Continue reading “No Silver Linings”

Everyday Miracles

miracle: a highly improbable or extraordinary event.

I believe in miracles.

No, not the kind where angels show up and do magical things. Not the kind where the lilting sounds of strings betray a majestic happening. Not even the kind where a fairy tosses dust that makes everyone fly.

I believe in honest-to-goodness down home miracles. The kind where people who have been estranged for years reconnect. The kind where “Odds be damned! We made it happen!” The kind where the little people triumph over the big ones.

I believe in everyday miracles.

But miracles take work. No one just sat around and complained about something, did nothing to make a change, and things happened anyway. No one just wished upon a star and things magically changed. That’s not the way the world works, and I wouldn’t want it to anyway. Because when we get things that are not the substance of our efforts, we tend to take them for granted. Or lose them. Or both.

Miracles take work because life is work. I have a friend who often says, “I’m not a pessimist. I’m a realist.” And I appreciate her assessment of her situation, but I don’t think it’s true. Being a realist means having room in your mind for those inexplicable, improbable events that color life in the most spectacular of ways. Because that’s real.

Because everyday miracles happen all the time. We just have to be doing our part to make sure we don’t miss them.

Sam

Not Feeling 22

“I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22…” ~Taylor Swift

Uh. No. I’m feeling particularly 42.

About 20 years ago things were rolling along. I didn’t have to really worry about anything I ate, my body would metabolize it pretty quickly, and being tall I had a lot of distance to spread out any… spread. So things didn’t spread. I didn’t exercise, I ate whatever I wanted, and I didn’t seem to gain weight. I had heard people tell me that things change the older you get, that your metabolism slows down and you grow out instead of up.

But I hadn’t listened to them. Why would I? When you’re young you think you have all the time in the world before you are no longer young. You think that twenty years is such a long period of time that you’ll never get there, or if you do that things will still look the same. At least I thought those things. At 22 it was easy to pretend that I could keep living the way I had been living, doing the things I had been doing, treating my body whatever way and not having it rebel on me.

Then my 30’s hit, and with it some aches and pains that I had never felt before. I picked up a workout regimen, jogging around town. I still did nothing when it came to moderating my diet, but it was enough to keep me steady with my weight. Continue reading “Not Feeling 22”

Here Comes the Judge

“To judge others is human. To keep your opinion about others to yourself is having class.” ~Anonymous

Judging others is as easy as breathing. We do it from the start of any and all interactions with others.

“His name is Norman?”

“She has big ears.”

“Why does his nose whistle when he talks?”

“His suit is loud.”

We do it so much without thinking, but luckily most of us have filters that stop us from saying these things in the moment. Our brains sort through all the judgments and hopefully land on positive (or at least neutral) things to say. Maybe the old adage is best: “If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all.” Or the biblical quote about the plank in your eye. Or the pot calling the kettle black psychology. Whichever you subscribe to, let it rule your mind in those moments.

In our society, though, I’ve noticed anyway that too many people feel empowered to say all those negative things we used to always keep to ourselves (or just tell our closest friends, who tell their closest friends…). Instead of these thoughts dissipating, they gather steam on social media. They marinate and infuse every ounce of our interactions with others. They are personal comments that belong to us, but they seep out into the social realm where we can’t take them back. Continue reading “Here Comes the Judge”

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