Is it hot in here or is it just me?

embarrassed (2)Will I ever NOT be plagued by the involuntary “flush” response embarrassment causes?  More importantly, will I ever stop being embarrassed about taking up space in the world?  Incredibly and positively, “I’m sorry!” is no longer my most common utterance in any given 24-hour period.  I’m the kid in school who, when asked to go up to the board to solve a problem, would darn near expire making my way up there – face beet red, sweat beading my brow, the roar of several oceans deafening me to any teacher instructions (but not to other kids in the class saying “Oh my gosh.  Look how red she is!”.) Being praised would evoke a similar heart thudding, perspiring blush – not because I was unhappy with the recognition – I just didn’t want anyone to think I was calling attention to myself.

I was shocked to discover in my youth that I could even be intensely embarrassed by/around my family who, I am pretty sure, love me and think I’m a good egg.  One afternoon when I was about 8 years old, my older brother (whose attention and approval I craved and whose good opinion I still hope for) laid some new knowledge on me and one of my little sisters.   He told us that the phrase “cut the cheese” was another way of referring to “breaking wind”. As we didn’t have a TV and were strongly encouraged to use our God-given imagination and intellect, of course my sister and I found this information revelatory, delightfully wicked and hilarious.

What are the odds that, on that very night, the dinner table would be graced with a big block of cheese on a board?  After prayers were said, Dad said to Mom, “Would you like to cut the cheese?”  My sister and I started giggling uncontrollably, looking at each other knowingly.  When I looked across the table at my brother, his face was impassive.  Laughter was not frowned upon during meals, but usually it was a shared experience.  A reckoning was coming.  My giggling ebbed as I began to panic, mentally running through possible explanations for my lapse in good manners. I couldn’t throw my brother under the bus and certainly could not inform Dad what he really said at the dinner table.  Childhood logic expended, when Dad asked “What’s so funny?”, I took the path of least resistance, blurted “I don’t know.” and started crying.

As my sister and I stood on either side of Dad’s chair at the head of the table doing a halting, “sing-songy” rendition of the phrase  “cut the cheese”, I occasionally looked up through tears of embarrassment to see some of my siblings looking at me with a mixture of enjoyment, sympathy and relief that they were not me. There was a real physical pain associated with that moment; being on the  “outside”, especially relative to family, hurts. This early encounter with semi-public humiliation cemented in me an almost pathological dislike for being the center of attention, good or bad, and heightened my sensitivity to and avoidance of any potential rake lying tines-up in my path.

A large white billboard with the word Oops alerting you to a public mistake, gaffe, blunder or blooper that is causing embarrassment for the wrong person or business

photo by iqoncept

Interspersed with long stretches of blessed invisibility over the years,  I have had my share of awkward moments – spinach in my teeth on a date,  the butt seam of my slacks secretly giving way while I was in public feeling pretty good about myself, crossing my legs in a job interview only to have a  dryer sheet fall out one of my pant legs…  That I survive these catastrophes and continue to leave the house is a testament to the human spirit – sort of.  It may not be the brightest strategy to engage in self-talk that includes phrases like “it can’t get worse that this.” I fear that statement may be proven wrong the next time my vigilance wavers.


…and now for something completely different (revisited)

Disclosure:   This post was originally published on my blog “Blipfillypicklepoo” in August 2011.  All the work is my own with the exception of the pic of an Andrew Wyeth painting.

Since I have done nothing to add to this blog in the last several (many) months, I thought I better get crackin’ and do SOMETHING… so, a small selection of “poetry” from my distant and not so distant past.

Benny's Scarecrow

                       Benny’s Scarecrow – Andrew Wyeth

He recalled beauty.                                  
It’s power and
An ache in the breast
like rust.


Raw winter sky
White void
Pounding the will
Crushing the symphony
of me


She sits, always alone.                                                                                                                                                
Iron tongued
and dreams of singing delicate music
of whispering her want to her beloved
in light cool moments.

Not much, but something.


Tickled pink!

happy pantherWhy do happiness, silliness and joy seem so elusive?  I know when I’m there and I know when I’m not, but HOW I got there or WHY I can’t get there escapes me.  I love moving through a day and suddenly realizing that I feel like I can do anything, like the ground has some spring to it and wouldn’t hit back if I lost my balance and that I have a big old goofy grin on my mug. Those are the days that, once I am safely snuggled into bed for the night, I think out loud “I should have bought a lottery ticket!”.  Those can’t-lose days are uncommon and thus treasured.   

tickled pink

There are silly days – days I can’t keep a straight face or hear anything that doesn’t make me raise my eyebrows and then commence to giggling (sadly, even if I am alone).  It’s like constantly being in church and trying not to laugh when something tickles me (which is impossible and usually leads to embarrassing gasping sounds, trying not to shake the entire pew with convulsions of mirth and abrupt departures during less that perfect times to make an exit). Silly makes me happy and I try to be and do more silly in my life.  Hanging around with kids exercises my silly muscles – kids “get” silly and seem inordinately pleased and motivated by a big person’s attention to and appreciation of their efforts.  If you don’t have kids to hang out with, your own or someone else’s, consider picking up any kids books by Dav Pilkey (especially his Dragon books) or Roald Dahl – finely crafted silliness.

Joy sneaks up on my heart – in obvious ways like hearing of the birth of a new baby, especially when it increases the number of my blood relations – and in more subtle ways like sitting quietly with one dear to me just being in the same space together or talking companionably and without rush over a meal we both helped to create.  Joy is opening my front door and seeing a friend of many years who lives far away standing on the doorstep – on Thanksgiving!   It’s the unexpected in the best possible ways.

pinkpanther (2)

Recognizing and being thankful for the good times keeps the tough times in perspective and reminds me that after the rain there is usually sunshine and sometimes even a rainbow!

Writing prompt No. 1

All this time I thought it was my fault.

  • disapproving looks and marginal excuses for not being able to spend time together
  • not introducing me at social functions while, with your back to me, you greeted whomever with a kiss, a hug or a winning smile
  • telling your family about our engagement without me even though I was just upstairs
  • the unexplained late night phone calls, the mysterious numbers on the cell phone bills
  • constant deflection of reasonable yet heartsick concerns ~ “why do you have to be like this?” “Why are you so threatened by (insert name here)?”
  • always choosing anyone else over me
  • acting like you were doing me a favor by including me in your orbit.

All this time I thought it was my fault … and it was, because I

  •  let you treat me that way, let you lie right in my ever-hopeful face
  •  kept leaning on what you said instead of paying attention to what you did
  •  stuck around even when it was clear you didn’t want me there
  •  figured you would eventually see what a great gal I was
  •  tried to convince myself that you wanted me (or why would you stick around?)
  •  was your fiancé but not the woman you were pursuing.


superhero (2)

It must be good rearing and/or relatively sound mental health that keeps me suitable for society most of the time.  Day after day I complete the mundane tasks of life – bathing, dishes, grocery shopping, work, laundry, cooking, taking the dog out, paying the bills – giving no clue to the world around me that I am anything other than a regular old human being.  There is nothing particularly attention-getting about my appearance or demeanor, although I think I might have a killer smile.  Aside from that, I get up in the morning, do stuff then go to bed so that I can complete the cycle the next day and the next…

But, while I’m doing the stuff…

a commotion is taking place – brilliance, bravery and benevolence along with staggering baseness explode between my ears.

In my head I am…

  • ten feet tall!
  • saying cruel, hurtful things
  • Martha Stewart without the record or the money.
  • a champion for the underdog.
  • rolling down my car window and really letting a “bad driver” know what I think.
  • finding the cure for cancer.
  • composing a symphony and have perfect pitch.
  • able to fly and  perform amazing acrobatic feats flawlessly.
  • daydreaming of revenge.
  • endlessly patient.
  • sending that graphic text.
  • shrinking.
  • fluent in languages other than English and Pig Latin.
  • having a full-on, glass-breaking, furniture-snapping, “there will be hell to pay” tantrum.
  • participating in karaoke night – sober.

That the roughly 3-pound computer encased in my bony head is able to distinguish between reality and fantasy, what behaviors are/are not appropriate and can weigh the risks of each possibility considered  – and politely wait for my decision – fills me with awe.   I’m a superhero!  Because I’m just a regular old human completing the mundane tasks of life.

Just wondering…

friends (6)

Would it make you like/dislike me if you knew I

had a great sense of humor?

didn’t leave the house some days because I couldn’t face people?

know where to pick up a bargain?

have trouble praying?

thought I peaked at 9 years old? (good grief!… well it WAS a good year)

was kind to the elderly?

picked my nose?

care about what others think of me?

am plagued by episodes of crushing self-doubt?

can and will act like a goofball?!

have a history of chronic bed wetting (long resolved)?

can pick out the right wine to go with a meal?

buy all my clothing (except underwear/socks) at thrift stores?

swear like a sailor when I drive?

leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight?

floss irregularly?

sometimes have uncharitable thoughts during church?

miss my mom and dad?

have no clue what I am doing in life at least some of the time?

have a tendency to overshare?

friends (5)