Posts in Lexicon

Just You Wait

May 22nd, 2017 Posted by Lexicon 1 thought on “Just You Wait”

Well, he loves sugar, I say, so some days I think he only eats fruit snacks. But he does love salad. He asks for it by name, and he will eat it every night.

Yeah, for now! she says. He’ll eat it now. Just you wait. You won’t get him to eat anything besides mac n’ cheese. Just you wait.

***

Gosh, I say, just when I thought the tantrums were over with him, they come whipping back around. It’s like he’s possessed.

Oh, just you wait, she says. Just you wait until he’s a teenager and he’s bigger than you and he’s slamming doors in your face and taking your car keys and going places without telling you. Just you wait. You’ll wish you were dealing with tantrums.

***

We’re struggling with mean girls this year, I say. I know it’s happening at a younger and younger age. But, first grade? Yikes.

Oh. Just wait, she says. Just wait until she wants a cell phone and you’re dealing with cyber bullying and boys and texting while driving. Just you wait.

***

Ugh. Have I done this? Handed out a “just you wait?” I’m sure I have. What was I thinking? Was it an ill-attempt to connect that turned into a one-upsmanship of which stage of parenting is the hardest (spoiler alert: all of them?). Or did I do it to see superior?

And when it was done to me, was it done as a warning? Well, if so, it’s a useless one because these kids are already here so whatever is coming down the pipe isn’t anything I can control. Was it said to me in frustration? I know I’ve been there. So burnt out by little people that I’ll take any excuse to fire off a comment about the trials and tribulations of young children and how awful it can be.

But, you know what no one says?

Just wait until you watch her learn to swim and she swims the entire length of the pool, freestyle. It will take your breath away. Not because you think she’s destined to be an Olympian. But because you’ve wiped her butt and taught her limits and doled our consequences and held your ground during every miserable tantrum and carried that limp body raging with a fever into the emergency room and held her while she got her first cast.

And. Look. There she is. Swimming. By herself. She’s like, a formed person. Well, almost. But you see a glimpse.

And those babies that didn’t sleep through the night turned into toddlers and preschoolers that, more often than not, do sleep through the night. And sometimes they are sweet! And say cute things! And eat salad!

***

A few months ago my best friend of over 15 years had her first baby. This is your chance, I told myself. This is your chance to change the narrative. No more just your waits. No more warnings. Because, yeah, kids are challenging and tiring and sometimes awful. That’s boring. We all know that part.

So I said he’s perfect. Because he is. I said you’re doing a great job. Because she is. I said, yep, this is hard. Because it is.

I held him for her so she could eat her lunch, that day, the day she had her baby. I smiled at him. I smiled at her. Full of love for a woman I’ve known almost half my life and a baby I met a few moments ago.

Just you wait. The best is yet to come.

On Fitting In vs. Belonging

April 20th, 2017 Posted by Lexicon 0 thoughts on “On Fitting In vs. Belonging”

“Well, I don’t know if I want to say that,” she says, watching me flat iron my hair and apply my BB cream. “Because the girls will laugh at me.”

I grit my teeth together and wait a moment before I respond. I want to respond with hateful comments. Real Mama Bear stuff about what I think about those girls. But that’s not helpful. Fighting mean with mean never seems to work out.

I wish this wasn’t still going on. But it is. The teacher knows about, and she’s doing her best. The three of us, Kate, me, and her teacher, had a sit-down conference about the goings on in the classroom. The teacher made it plain to Kate that she had her back. And I do, too.

But we can’t control them. And, sadly, this won’t be an isolated incident. She will meet mean girl after mean girl after mean girl for the rest of her life.

*

She doesn’t want to get out of bed. For the second day in a row. I pad into her dark room and sit on her bed. Smoothing back her hair from her forehead, I ask her what she’s thinking.

“Nothing,” she says. “I’m just tired.”

This, from the girl who once told me: I never need sleep because I’m never tired! This from the girl with limitless amounts of energy. This from the girl who ran all over the soccer field laughing last night at practice. This from the girl with a Tigger temperament?

I know what’s going on. I feel the anger welling up in my chest. I want to scream.

But I’m out of moves.

*

I pull the van up in the Kiss and Ride line. Sliding the gear shift into park, I turn around and coax her up. There are people behind us. But I don’t care. They can go around. She needs a few more minutes.

Her head hanging, she slides up and perches behind me.

Taking her cheeks in my hands, I lift her head up.

“Your name is Kate Susan Bagley, and no one is better than you are,” I say. She nods. But I’m unconvinced.

The van door slides shut. I roll the window down and call to her. She pauses by the window. “I love you. Stand tall!”

She nods. But I know my words fall flat. Tears sting my eyes as I roll the window up and watch her walk away.

*

I’m crying. And I’m okay with her seeing. Because I want her to know, she’s not alone. Mean girls exist at any age. Even 32.

I’m crying because an email exchange with someone I barely know stunk of mean girl undertones and hit my raw nerves. That exposed nerve that says you’ll never be good enough. It was my raw nerve that says you’re out of her league. That raw nerve that says how dare you think you could be as cool as her.

I’m honest with Kate. I tell her a mean girl hurt my feelings. Just like the girls at school, this mean girl (woman) made it clear she thinks she is better than me.

“But she’s not,” I tell Kate. “She’s just mean.”

*

I’m playing Taylor Swift’s “Mean” in the bathroom while I get ready. Kate’s standing next to me.

“Did you know Taylor Swift got picked on when she was a little girl?” I ask Kate. She shakes her head. “Well,” I say. “If Taylor Swift let all those mean girls get her down, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy her music. I’m so glad Taylor Swift didn’t let those mean girls get her down.”

“Yeah, me too,” she says. “I love Shake It Off!”

“Me, too!” I say.

*

I’ve tried to fit in almost all my life. I tried wearing what all the cool girls wore. I tried acting like how all the cool girls acted. I tried talking like them, walking like them. But still, they’d snicker as I walked past. Ignore me when I tried to engage with them.

I spent most of high school eating in the library or the journalism room. I spent a lot of my years at college, trying to fit in, and, after I failed, wandering around the U.Va. grounds with a heavy backpack and a heavier heart, spending hours alone in the library.

As an adult I tried to fit in online with girls I met on the Internet. I tried to fit in with mommy groups. I felt like I was back in high school. There were the Cool Girls. And there was Me.

A couple of years ago, I gave up on trying to make them like me. Sometimes I catch myself doing it. But, mostly, it was too much energy to try to fit in. Around this time, I organically met some new women. Women who didn’t care about how I was dressed (or how my children dressed), how many IG followers I had, how many podcast downloads I boosted, or how many Facebook likes I had.

I didn’t need to fit into anything. Because I just belonged.

*

I’m a nice girl.

Sometimes I want to be a mean girl. Sometimes I want to be catty. Sometimes I want to talk smack.

Because being a nice girl means sometimes you get hurt. And sometimes, you’re lonely.

But I’m okay with that. I don’t need to fit in. I want something more. I want to belong. And I’m going to keep being nice. No matter what. Because that’s who I am.

*

We’re driving to soccer practice, and we see a dad and a girl about Kate’s age on the sidewalk. The dad is holding a water bottle, and the girl is holding a soccer ball.

“Hey! That’s the new girl on my soccer team!” Kate shouts from the back seat. “I’m going to be nice to her because that’s part of my job, you know.”

“Oh?” I say.

“Yep. I like being nice.”

“Me, too,” I say.

Following Around Old Ladies At Walgreens

April 17th, 2017 Posted by Lexicon 0 thoughts on “Following Around Old Ladies At Walgreens”

I’m doing it again. I didn’t even know I was doing it. Until I was doing it. She moves at a glacier pace, and I creep along behind her, pushing my rickety, undersized shopping cart. I’m aware my kids are somewhere near, but I’m not really paying attention. Because I need to follow her.

She’s got that short-cropped platinum hair, and it is that hair that I see first and led me down this aisle. Whenever I see that type of hair, a shock of recognition jolts through my body. “It’s her!” I think. And then I know it’s not.

But I follow her anyway.

She pauses at the Revlon display. I grin because I was hoping she would. She gets real close, so she can read the lipstick labels. I sidle up next to her. She’s wearing one of those matching old lady track suits, just like Rosemary used to wear. She doesn’t look like her, not really, except for the track suit, and, of course, the hair.

But I don’t care.

“Hi!” I say. “That’s a great lipstick.”

She looks surprised, but she smiles at me. We chat briefly. I help her read the name on the small-print labels. She puts that familiar green tube in her basket and shuffles away.

I repeat this behavior at Target, CVS, RiteAid. And at other places, too. Like Panera and Harris Teeter and Home Depot. I seek out these platinum haired little old ladies. Because, for an instant, I think it’s her. My grandma.

But it’s not. But I take any and all opportunity to talk to these little old ladies with platinum hair. They might be someone’s grandma. Or they might not.

But for a minute, I pretend they’re mine.

From the Mouths of Babes // On Questioning and Worrying and Maybe It’s All Okay

April 5th, 2017 Posted by Lexicon 2 thoughts on “From the Mouths of Babes // On Questioning and Worrying and Maybe It’s All Okay”

“Mama?” Kate asks. “Is being a mom a hard job? Because you’re like a writer and a yoga teacher and work for Miss Jen and take care of three kids!”

Snapping open a garbage bag and leaning over the trash, I answer, “Yep, it is a hard job.”

Turning towards her, I give a wink and follow up. “But just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.”

But sometimes I’m concerned about what I’m showing her.

As many mothers who have gone before me have pondered, I myself often ponder: Am I doing the right thing?

Did I give the right answer? Say the right words? Give the correct response? And what about what I’m doing? Should I be working like this? More? Less? Differently?

I can play this game all day.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I’m putting her to bed after reading our new favorite series, the Ramona Quimby books. We love Ramona and her antics. I pull the covers up to her chin and hand her her favorite stuffed bear, the one her dad got her in London on a business trip.

As I lean over to kiss her cheek, she grabs hold of my face and says “I know, I can be an artist AND a mom. And when I need to work, my husband can pick up the kids.”

I freeze, and for a minute, I’m concerned. Have I planted worries in her head about how she will manage work and childcare? When Dan and I talk logistics over the dinner table, does she worry? Find this all concerning?

“Oh,” I say, as she rubs my cheek and gives me a big smile. “Yep!” she says. “Just like Daddy does.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

It’s my sister’s birthday, and we’re eating grocery store cake loaded with sugary pink icing, and, of course, fights over who gets the frosting roses. Somehow we get on the topic of “passions.” Kate announces that Thomas’s passion is “to be annoying.”

We all laugh. And agree. And I say, “Kate, what’s my passion?”

Without a beat, without a moment’s hesitation, without a thought to consider the question.

“Family!” she says.

Maybe I’m not doing such a bad job after all.

Where We Come From

February 13th, 2017 Posted by Lexicon, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Where We Come From”

One day, someone is here. And the next, they aren’t. And you find yourself Googling: how to write an obituary.

My Grandma Rosemary died over two years ago. Just a day before her 88th birthday. She lived a long life! That’s true. She clapped for me at my college graduation, danced at my wedding, saw my husband and me move into our first home, and hold my daughter, her great granddaughter. That’s a blessing, to be sure.

And still, it’s sad. She had dementia, so for the past five years, I’m not sure what she remembered. One day Dan and I took her out for dinner at Unos with Kate. I could tell that several times that evening, she wasn’t sure who she was with. She knew we were someone connected to her. But I don’t think she remembered who we were.

Yet, a few days before she died, we talked on the phone, and she recalled Kate, seemed to know who she was, remembered being with her.

I’m fortunate I knew Rosemary for 30 years. That’s a long time. She was my best friend at a time when I didn’t like myself very much, years filled with angst and self-hatred. Rosemary would let me drive her car and took me shopping and out to lunch and listened to me rattle off a list of grievances and injustices I believed my parents made me suffer.

She was always up for fun, especially when we could be conspiratorial and not tell my parents. We ate ice cream in her bed. I tried on all her jewelry. I’d comb through her tchotchke drawer and ask if I could have that little ceramic elephant or tiny gold ring after she died. “Sure,” she’d say. She taught me how to needlepoint on her rickety old dining table with the mismatched chairs. She had this one dining plate that spun; something about the bottom was uneven. We kept saying we were going to toss it out, but we never did. And inevitability one of us would end up with “the funny plate” at every meal. After her Boston Terrier, Cricket, died, I was her co-conspirator in her next dog purchase. Somehow we ended up driving to a farm in Fredericksburg and purchased not one, but two, Boston Terrier puppies. Litter mates would entertain each other, we reasoned. One Christmas Dan and I bought her a giant pack of cordless phones from Costco since she kept breaking her current set by leaving them in the fridge or outside or throwing them away. When we came over to set them up, she’d squirreled them away in a drawer, saying she would save them for another time.

I hold onto these memories like a vise grip because I can feel her starting to fade away. I don’t know what I believe about the afterlife, but I do believe that keeping someone in your memory is how they live on spiritually, if not physically.

I’m a big story teller. At every family gathering, I start the story telling going. Remember that time when…Mom, tell the story about…Who remembers how…

This story telling keeps our family narrative alive. I want the kids to hear where they’re from. I want them to know the past, even thought it’s not perfect. There are no family secrets. The good, the bad, the funny, the sad, I want it out on the table. This is who we are, this is where we’re from, this is what we’ve learned, this is how history should not repeat itself.

This is where you’re from.

The other day, in an attempt to entertain the kids, I started cleaning out my office and involved the kids in organizing and tossing out stuff. At some point, they came across a book of clips I put together from my high school and college journalism days.

What are these?!

Oh, those are just articles mommy wrote for the newspaper.

The real newspaper?!

Umm…yeah kind of.

And what’s this?

Oh, that’s an award I won.

An award?! Like a trophy? For what?

Hmm…that’s when I was selected as high school journalist of the year. It’s like a trophy for writing.

And what’s this? Oh, it’s a book about me?!

Yeah, I put together that scrap book when you were a baby. See, that’s when I was pregnant with you. And that’s our old house. And there are Susie and Papa meeting you. And your Dad holding you for the first time.

They say quietly flipping through my high school paraphernalia and those homemade scrapbooks filled with the short history of their lives. The interest they showed in our family’s history reminded me of why I’m always trying to keep in touch with our past.

Mama, what did you like when you were a little girl? When did you get your ears pierced? Did you like school when you were my age?

I love these questions. Sometimes I tell her I don’t know, so we call Susie and ask her. Sometimes I do know, and I share the story. I bring up Rosemary frequently, talking about how special she was to me, just like her Susie and Meme are special to her.

I don’t know about death. But I know about the people death leaves behind and how to honor that death by keeping them in the forefronts our mind, while not assuaging that loss, keeps that important life linked to the present. We need to know where we’re from so we’re connected to who we are.

#reverb17 // January // 12 Things

February 6th, 2017 Posted by Lexicon, Reverb and Reflect, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “#reverb17 // January // 12 Things”

If you’d like to join in the #reverb17 project, we have started a Facebook group where you can find all the details of each month’s writing prompt.  We have no requirements or expectations other than to give you a way to express yourself in writing on a regular interval.  We post monthly (with some fun Instagram Challenges) from January through November, then have daily prompts in December to reflect on the past year and set intentions for the new year!  Join us here!

January’s Prompt: 12 things you want to read/see/listen to/experience this year

1. Write everyday. In my heart of hearts, I’m a writer. But, gosh, it feels so painful sometimes. The pain is similar to when you haven’t taken a BodyPump in a week and then try to lift the bar. Ouch. So painful.

2. Grow this seedling of an idea I have about connection, creativity, and community.

3. Take a trip ALONE.

4. Take a trip with Dan.

5. Host several live podcasts. One is already in the works!

6. Read. I already read a lot (at least once a day for a good stretch). But I always want to read more. One book I have on my to-read list is the latest Joan Didion. I’m also in a book club, and we read a lot of things I wouldn’t normally pick, so that’s good, too.

7. Work on my photography skills.

8. Finish the draft of my book.

9. Build a daily gratitude practice.

10. Expand my fitness routine repertoire.

11. Have fun with my family. Little kids are tough. And sometimes I just want to hide with them at home. But we can do better.

12. YIRAH.

Thinking Time, Talking Tallys, and The Break Chair

February 1st, 2017 Posted by Lexicon, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Thinking Time, Talking Tallys, and The Break Chair”

“I had to sit in the break chair today. I just couldn’t stop talking!”

I nod and keep loading the dishwasher. Each evening, around the dinner table, we all talk about our days, the good, the not so good, and sometimes, who was sent to The Break Chair.

I used to seize up about any form of school discipline. Ack! One of my kids had to sit in Thinking Time?! Oh, no!

I wasn’t upset because I believed my kids to be perfect and incapable of doing anything naughty (Nope. I live with them. They are not always saintly.). No, I used to get flustered because it sends me back to Elementary School Sarah and the Talking Tallys.

When I was in elementary school, I attended a strict, conservative Christian school. My family wasn’t religious; my parents just needed the before and after school care this school provided. So I spent many confusing years listening to tales of a Fire and Brimstone Jesus. But that’s a story for another day.

This school, like many schools, invoked disciplinary measures. It was rumored around huddled discussions on the  playground that one form of discipline involved a paddle. One with holes in it, so when the principal swung it down across your bottom, the impact created maximum burn.

I’m only a little bit scarred from attending this school.

Anyway. I wasn’t ever paddled. So I can’t attest to that. But I can attest to Tallys.

Tallys were handed out left and right and up and down, for what seemed like every indiscretion. You step out of line. Tally. You’re a girl who dares to show up in pants. Tally. You forget to raise your hand. Tally.

You talk too much?

TALLY!

I racked up a lot of Talking Tallys. A lot, a lot. I remember that hot shame rolling over me as my teacher handed me a stack of Talking Tallys to bring home for my parents to sign.

I’m not saying schools shouldn’t discipline. I’m also not saying I have problems with a Break Chair. We all need a break sometimes. And we all need to be respectful. I’m just thinking that sometimes, sometimes, the thing we get in trouble for is also our biggest asset.

“You know what, Kate?” I said, rinsing and loading plates into the dishwasher. “I talked in school too. And I had got a lot of tallys for talking.”

“You did?” she said.

“Yep. I sure did. And it’s important to be respectful to your teacher and the class. And sometimes we need to take a break. But, here’s the thing. I built a success career out of talking. Talking is my job.”

She runs over to me and gives me a hug. I squeeze back and wonder how my chatty girl will use her talent.

You’re Perfect. Just The Way You Are.

January 23rd, 2017 Posted by Lexicon, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “You’re Perfect. Just The Way You Are.”

“The girls let me sit with them yesterday. Because I wore the right clothes.”

The coffee cup hovers near my mouth. My hands freeze, wrapping tighter around the mug.

“Wait,” I say. “What’s that again?”

She takes a bite of her PopTart and repeats matter-of-factly, “If I wear the right clothes, the girls will like me.”

It’s like I’m pucker punched in the gut. Right back to 4th grade. I’m standing in the Limited, Too with my mom. I’m here because the thing to wear, the right thing to wear, is a Limited Too sweatshirt.

I begged and pleaded and begged and pleaded for that sweatshirt. I had to have it. Without it, I was a zero. Less than a zero. Without it I was akin to the disgusting gum stuck under the desks. At least that’s how they treated me.

I wasn’t ever the popular girl. But, oh, how I tried. And tried and tried and tried. I emulated their behaviors, shopped at the same stores, wore my hair in similar style.

But nothing. The harder I tried, the further away I got.

Every morning I’d yank that Limited Too sweatshirt over my head, collect my carefully curated Lisa Frank school supplies, and stare at myself in the mirror. I wasn’t a cute girl. I was chubby. I hadn’t yet figured out how to tame my naturally textured hair. And my enthusiasm for school didn’t make me well liked.

I hung my worth on their glances, invites to parties (or lack thereof), acceptance into their circle at recess.

They’d say I could join them. And when they saw me coming, they’d snicker and run away.

I wish I could say it ended after elementary school. But it didn’t. It continued into middle school, high school. Even college – especially college – was prime for mean girl time. You know when they stand in a circle and you walk past and they all turn to look at you before turning back in and laughing together in huddle?

Yep.

And it didn’t end there. The mean girls turn into mean women in the preschool parking lot or the soccer field.

But now I don’t care. Because I don’t hang my self worth on what they think about me.

Because I’m a mom to three kids who look to me. And I don’t want them to see that that’s okay. It’s not okay to be mean. And it’s not okay to live and die by what others think.

I put down my coffee mug, walked around the table, held her face in my hands.

“Kate,” I say. “This is important. Never, ever change for anyone. Those girls don’t decide what’s right. You continue being you. You’re brave and you’re kind. And what do we say in this house?”

“You’re perfect the way you are!” she says.

“That’s right!” I say, pulling her to my chest. “We’re all perfect. Just the way we are.”

Bentley and Us

January 9th, 2017 Posted by Lexicon, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Bentley and Us”

“Do you have a dog?” I choked out between heavy sobs.

I had just hung up after a painful conversation with my parents. Our family dog couldn’t wait until I got back for spring break. The cancer had spread too far, she was bleeding internally. She was in pain. They just couldn’t wait for me. I wouldn’t have been fair.

Wiping my tear stained face with the back of my hand, I swiveled around in the chair to face Dan standing in the doorway.

“I do,” he said. “A yellow lab. His name is Bentley.”

“Tell me about him,” I said, my shoulders shaking and tears continuing to slide down my face.

Dan and I weren’t even dating yet. But I was falling in love with him in that nasty basement of Newcomb Hall where we both worked for the Cavalier Daily. We spent a lot of long nights together in that basement. And that night he sat with me on the mystery-stained couch and told me about Bentley as I cried for our family dog.

I knew I loved Dan. What I didn’t know was that I would love his dog.

I’m a dog person. I’ve always had a dog. I’ll always have a dog. Yep, there are plenty of times I’ve yelled a dog’s name followed by a GOD DAMN IT. But I love our dogs.

And I loved Bentley.

When I met Bentley he was about five-years-old. He was just coming out of most wild stage, and he was a big love. Dan always joked that Bentley was more excited to see me than him when we’d come home from school to visit.

That was true. And I rubbed it in.

“Bentley!” I’d call, letting myself in through my in-laws garage and into the kitchen. “Bentley! Come here!”

I’d sit with him on the floor, he’d push his way into my lap, look up at like he was in love. Dan would walk past and he didn’t even turn to look.

But there was this one time Bentley got mad at me. And he let me know.

Dan and I went to visit his mom and dad at their beach house in North Carolina. That evening we arrived, I sat at the table, enjoying a long catch-up chat with my mother-in-law, Maryellen.

Well. Bentley loves me. But his first, true love is Maryellen. And I was monopolizing her.

Maryellen and I sat at the kitchen table, chatting away while Bentley paced around with impatience. After a while he disappeared. And came out of the room I was staying in. With my underwear in his mouth.

“Who’s purple underwear is this?!” my father-in-law said.

Bentley laid there, with my purple underwear between his paws, with a look that said, yeah, I went through your things. And now I’m showing your underwear to everyone.

And then there was the time that Dan and his family had to go out of town for a funeral, and I stayed back to take care of Bentley. I planned to bring him to our condo, so my father-in-law insisted that I take his crate. So I headed over to get Bentley and his crate. When I arrived, I realized, I didn’t know how to break down the crate. If I couldn’t break it down, I couldn’t get it in my car.

Bentley sat in the kitchen, eyeing me as I messed with the crate. I jiggled it and pushed at it before giving up and sitting down the floor. Bentley came over and sat beside me, looking at me like I was the dumbest girl he’d ever seen.

I did finally get that crate disassembled. And Bentley spent the entire weekend sleeping on our bed.

And of course there was the time Maryellen, Dan, and I drove down to the beach with Bentley. And he slept on me in the backseat the entire drive. And the time he at 12 Costco muffins. And the time he ate all the raw ground beef. And the time my in-laws took a trip to Greece and Dan went out of town for work, so I was left to take care of Bentley solo, five days after Thomas was born. And the time Bentley and my parent’s dog, Baron, got into a canister of Nestle Chocolate Quik and ground the powder into the carpet. And also the time Bentley ate a box of Italian chocolates. Or the time he ate a travel neck pillow. Don’t forget about the time he and Baron sat in the backseat of my old Ford Escape, one on either side of Kate’s infant carrier, breathing heavily and panting in her face while she screamed. And also the time we tossed the ball for him at the beach, and as he went careening down the sand, he feel into a hole.

At fifteen-and-a-half, I’ve known Bentley almost all his life. For over 10 years, as Dan and I went through major life transitions, from dating to engaged to married to home owners to parents of three, there he was. Panting heavily and cruising the counters for baked goods. He served as a source of commonality for my mother-in-law and me, back when we didn’t know each other very well but we both loved Bentley.

Last week Maryellen messaged the family to tell us it was time. Bentley was 15.5 and he wouldn’t get up to eat. Or drink. And he didn’t want to go outside. He had trouble relaxing, he couldn’t get comfortable.

It was time.

We knew this day was coming soon. He was over 15-years-old! But we all cried like babies over that damn dog. The dog that ate entire loaves of bread and several helpings of cookies and various other carbs (carbs were always his favorite). As I sat down on my in-laws kitchen floor and stroked his head, I marveled at how much life we’ve all lived over these 10+ years, how we’ve all grown and changed, and how this dog meant so much to all of us. He was a special guy, our Mr. B. We know he’s eating lots of baked goods in heaven.

On Waiting to Be Ripped Apart

January 2nd, 2017 Posted by Lexicon, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “On Waiting to Be Ripped Apart”

I’m waiting to be ripped apart.

Because that’s what happens to people who are seen and put themselves out there. They get ripped apart.

Part of the reason I don’t like to share myself or my work is because I choose to hide behind perfectionism. And the other reason is because I’m terrified of being ripped apart.

There’s no shortage of mean spirited words being tossed around like beads at Mardi Gras. Just flung around. And I don’t mean just political talk. I mean all sorts of talk about all sorts of things. About seemingly innocuous things that everyone has something to say about. And they say it meanly.

So I’m waiting to be ripped apart.

I’m wondering what it will feel like, to be eviscerated. I see it happen to people every day in YouTube comments, under Instagram pictures, Huffington Post articles. It’s like there’s so much meanness people feel deep inside that they must discharge it.

And it’s not just online. It’s in person, too. Ugliness, exclusion. It makes me scared to be myself or stand for something, lest I be talked about behind my back.

But, then again, so what?

If I don’t like what I see, I have two choices. Stay small and quiet. Or be our there and speak up for kindness.

I’m passionate about community and creativity and connection. Those things require being seen and sharing with other people. And, possibly, being torn apart.

Well. I’ve been torn apart before. In elementary school when I found out that a group of girls wrote about me in a SLAM book. On the eighth grade bus where a cadre of boys called me fat and chanted “fat-so, fat-so, fat-so” all the way home while I hid my face in my backpack and cried. In college where I thought girls were my friends and then went out without me, behind my back.

And it taught me that I never want to be like that. I don’t want people to feel hurt. I never want to push myself up at the expense of others. I want to assume everyone is doing their best.

So it’s okay. It might happen. Or it might not. Maybe I’ll cry. Or maybe I won’t care. But I’ll keep showing up.

Come ShootAlong!

Archives

say hello!

sarah@bagley.org