How To Stop Owning Other People’s “Shit”…

WARNING: I’m going to use the word “shit” a lot in this piece. I like this word because it gives you a clear image of the steamy pile of issues we’re all dealing with on a daily basis. So, from now on when I say “shit”, what I mean is, issues, past, wounds, hurt, pain, boundaries, belief systems, political perspectives, the sum of personal experiences and the unconscious of our “self” and others. I hope they change the definition for “shit” in the dictionary soon. You will also see me quote “self” a lot in this piece. The reason is because our “self” is all relative. Meaning, that our “self” and how we see it, is in constant flux, the way we identify it and with it is constantly different. So, I put “self” in quotes and separate from “your” and “our” so that you can separate a little from the concept and put “self” into a different perspective. You should read this aloud with your friends and turn it into a drinking game. Take a shot every time I write “self” and “shit”. Oh, and make sure to air quote them in the aloud reading. You’re welcome. Let’s get to it!

We have been told, often times, people and situations we encounter are mirror images of ourselves. It’s been said that the things we see and experience are merely reflections of the sum of our “self” back to us. I agree with this, but I think it’s being misinterpreted. People around us are only reflections of our “self” in the sense of your inner self. So, you need only pay attention to your inner feelings and voice in these interactions to gain insight into your “self”. This is the only true reflection happening. Often times, I believe others have interpreted this to mean that the way others treat you or the things about them that bother you are keys into your own “shit”. This is simply not true, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The reactions, emotions and judgments that others have towards you are plain and simply the sum of their own “shit” (see definition above).

We find our “self” (drink!), owning other people’s “shit” often. If we feel that we’ve hurt someone’s feelings or offended them in some way, we will own that. As children, we are taught to say “I’m sorry” if we have hurt someone’s feelings. So, in that sense we have been programed to own others feelings. Should you be sorry if you hurt others feelings? Well, let’s take a look at the definition of “sorry”.


In a sense, “sorry” is used to convey how you are feeling about someone else’s “shit”. So, yes, I suppose it’s OK to be sorry for them in that respect and feel for them that they are feeling a certain way. What we do not teach children is the difference between owning your actions and owning others feelings. For example, if Timmy hits Sara over the head with a book, he should be sorry for that action. If Sara is upset because Timmy didn’t notice her new dress, he shouldn’t necessarily be sorry. Those feelings are due to her own experiences, those are her feelings alone to own. Can Timmy be empathetic towards Sara? Sure, and if he ever wants to be successful with women, he should be! So, if Sara is crying because Timmy didn’t notice her dress and expresses this to him between sobs, perhaps instead of saying “I’m sorry” he could say “I empathize with that”.

There is a big difference between owning someone's "shit" and owning your actions, it's important to know the difference. It took me many years to realize this. So, I found myself struggling with friendships and relationships because I was simply taking on too much responsibility for their "shit". You have to allow others to have and own their own "shit" and you need to recognize your own coming up. Can you empathize with them? Yes! One of my favorite lines I love to say is "You don't know their story". If we took the time to understand other's stories, we could recognize when their "shit" comes up better. So, when you come into a situation where you've offended someone or hurt their "feelings", try to understand where they are coming from instead of being "sorry".

Stop Owning Other People’s “Shit”:

1.) Stop being a scientist: It's not your job to dissect someone's response towards you. Stop spinning your wheels wondering WHY they are acting the way they are. If you are sincerely feeling empathetic towards them, ASK them about their feelings. The answer you get may still be blaming, in that instance you can sympathize, but keep in mind that the root of their feelings truly has little to do with you and all to do with their "shit". Let it go!

2.) Recognize the difference between being sorry and being empathetic: You should most certainly make an effort to empathize with someone. To understand their story, to experience those feeling with them and NOT to experience guilt or sorry feelings BECAUSE of their feelings.

3.) Catch and release: When feelings of guilt or sorrow arise from someone's reaction or feelings around you, remind yourself that you cannot own other people's "shit". Ask yourself if you’re simply taking on someone's "shit". Remember sometimes our own "shit" is in fact to take on someone else's "shit". Recognize when it's happening. Catch it quickly, allow it to run its course through your emotions, release it.

4.) Practice: Use uncomfortable situations to practice. Is this truly YOU causing someone to FEEL this way or is it their own "shit"?

5.) Take Breaks: Sometimes, we just need emotional breaks from life to reevaluate. Spend time in nature or with animals. Use this time to reflect on your own "shit". Better understanding our "self" helps us to better understand others. Spending time in situations where we do not have to navigate the reactions of others helps us to put our "self" back into perspective.

6.) Remember: It's not always about you. Most of the time, it's about them.

How To Hear Your Soul


I’ve read all the self-help books. I have “creating your own universe” and positive thinking down to a science. What I seem to lack is direction. What do I want to be when I grow up? What can I do, that will sustain me so that I can get out of the rat race for good? I’ve often felt that I am “good” at a lot of things, but not “great” at any one thing; a least, not great enough to be successful at it. However, I’ve had this recent epiphany that everyone has this same line of thinking. Therefore, we are all sitting around working away at our safe 9-5’s banging our heads against the wall waiting to find something we are great at. The good news? While everyone else is waiting to find what their great at, if I simply choose to start acting on what I am “good” at, I’ll be ahead of the pack just by taking action alone. I find that we tend to be our worst critics. So, we hold ourselves back, mostly due to our egos, and we simply settle for being content.

I don’t think we are here to be content. I think we are here to be so full of joy and love that we exude this out to others. I think that each of us is indeed great at something, but we never come to realize it because we are too busy keeping our heads down and berating ourselves. So, I find myself in a peculiar situation. How can I convert,” good” in to great and great into financial independence in order to kiss the rat race goodbye forever? I think the first challenge is the need to start with a huge mind shift away from the external chatter and towards the inner voice of the soul. The hardest part is getting out of your own way long enough to recognize the thoughts and feelings that are truly authentic to your souls needs. Meaning, finding the way to recognize when your ego is driving and your soul is not. How to recognize this? First you need to learn to differentiate between the cry of your soul and the demands of your ego. The ego is very similar to a two year old always wanting their way. It will nag and nag and nag. It will be very loud and very demanding and at times incredibly draining. The ego is hard to please.

What we are looking to hear is the soul. The soul is quiet, it’s patient, and the soul will wait its turn to be heard. It will not demand attention and it will never create discomfort. As human beings, we have been programed to listen to the ego. The ego is the one that buys the expensive car and house, anything it can do to make it feel soothed and noticed. The things the ego wants do not truly make you happy, but instead seek to please the outward. The ego is greedy. It’s unforgiving. In order to drown out the ego and hear the souls true purpose speak to us, we have to take conscious actions to put our best listening ears on. Here are

4 steps to quieting the ego and hearing your souls wish:

1.) Meditation – the best way to quiet the ego is to remove it from situations where it needs to be heard. Put it in situations where being heard is not beneficial. Giving yourself time alone, to quiet the minds chatter, will help you to feel the soul. To hear what it needs.

2.) Mindful Awareness – Create awareness to what you truly desire and let your ego take a backseat. Imagine yourself stranded on a desert island and ask yourself a few key questions that will help you to define if your ego is talking or your soul is reaching out.
• If I were stranded on a desert island, would this still feel good?
• If I were stranded on a desert island, would I still feel the need to own this?
• Would I still feel the need to help others stranded?
• Would I still feel curious about other islands?
• Would I still want the biggest tree house on the block?
• Would I still feel superior if my clothes were less worn than those surrounding me?

Find what feels good to you on your island. Putting your mind in these situations will quiet the ego, in this scenario the egos wants become insignificant because there is simply no use for them.

3.) Write Your Obituary – You read that right. In the end, we all end up in the same place. Questioning our own mortality puts life in a whole new light. It helps us to put into perspective what is important and how we want to be remembered.

4. Begin To Act – Each day over the next 3 months, take one deliberate action towards your souls purpose. Keep a journal to note the changes in your attitude and your body. Note the changes in others around you. Note the changes in the world around you. Note the changes in your meditation, mindful- awareness and at the end of 3 months write a new obituary. If you notice improvement in these things at the end of your 3 months, you’re hearing your soul.

If each of us were less afraid of not being able to achieve greatness by society standards and we began achieving greatness by the standards of our souls, the world would look very different. You would look very different. I encourage you to find your souls voice. Take the 4 step challenge and see where it lands you.

Gym Wars Continued…

Actual locker room overheard quotes in a 10 minute span today:

“I’m just trying not to be obese”
“I can’t start dating until I get rid of this belly”
“I think my boobs are actually inverted at this point”
“I’m just skinny, you’re pretty”

All different women, all different ages, all kinds of wrong still happening with body image.

Coping Vs Healing

When I was a young girl I always assumed I’b be a writer. I had a natural ability as a pre-teen to bring all my teachers to tears with my incredibly dramatic short stories. Only when I became an adult did I finally understand looking back that more than likely, it wasn’t my Hemingway spun words that stirred such emotion in them, but the true and disturbing topics I wrote about with such ease. A cancer stricken grandmother that I miraculously cured or an impossible to please father teaching me to ride a bike. Just a few of the very grown up topics that graced the pages of my short stories at the ripe age of eleven. Releasing them into the hands of my teachers while my Cheshire Cat smile sinked into the darkness as I watched from afar, thinking “I’ve done it again”. It had become a source of pride to watch the teachers gather, tears welding in their eyes as they read my latest masterpiece. I am now, more than ever, very painfully aware that my ability to write such emotional topics without actually experiencing any kind of emotional connection, may have in fact been what moved them so heavily.

I did have a gift, but not in the way that I thought as a young girl. I had a gift to completely and wholly disassociate myself with any kind of trauma I’d experienced. I carried this gift throughout my life and even continued to write about these experiences having absolutely no emotional reaction to the yellow brick road of horrific truths I laid out in words leading directly to my past. I had been so oblivious to the gift that I carried, that when others reacted strongly to reading some of my experiences and gave me that familiar look I’d experienced so many times as a young writer, the same look you may see from a first time mother watching her toddler just barley miss the sharp edge of a table before crashing down face first onto the hardwood floor. A somewhat perplexing mixture of relief for the near miss and complete terror for the resulting fall. When that familiar look met my eyes, it really had become to have no real affect on me. I’d always assumed that I was simply unaffected due to my resilience and natural ability to cope with trauma. Until, I had decided to unearth some of my younger years writing and update the hand written scribbles to savable computer files as a sort of time capsule recording my years of progression.

I’d been keeping what I became to call “The Boy Journal”, updated sporadically from the time I was eleven until the time I was married. It was, at least I thought, a detailed account of the dating woes of a pre-teen all the way to adulthood. I figured it would be a rather entertaining read for young women and maybe even a comical opportunity to repeat those all to over used words “learn from my mistakes, I beg of you!”. I grabbed my hot cup of tea and the worn familiar pages of “The Boy Journal” to, for as odd as it may seem to others, read the pages within for the first time from start to finish. In the course of my journey of putting pen to paper to heal from the many broken hearts I’d thought I’d suffered over the years, I’d never actually read the accounts in their entirety. I would, perhaps, revisit certain chapters as a reminder that last time I thought I may actually be the first woman alive to die at the hands of a broken heart, I did in fact breath on to see another day. Beyond these brief and calculated occasions, pen to paper seemed the only true relationship necessary with “The Boy Journal”. Ironically, it had been the longest relationship I’d maintained to date.

So, when a unexpected wave of emotions hit me like a foul stench upon starting my journey by way of reading into the past, I did what any sound person would do. I got as far away from that book as humanly possible. I buried  that book in a basket, under a pile of clothes, under a table. The corner still peers out of one side showing my haste in running away, similar to how you would hide such things from your mother upon her bursting through your door and intruding into your private world of writing. The corner has taunted me for the last 10 weeks. It stares out at me as a constant reminder of the grim reality that has bubbled up inside of me. You see, “The Boy Journal” started out innocently enough, the worries of a young woman about to enter high school, the recounts of the crushes from elementary and middle school’s past. The constant reminders of mistakes made and the natural lessons as a results of the realizations of those. What I was not expecting, was the first hand unfiltered and tremendously emotional accounts of my home life. I had let my guard down in these pages in a way that made me realize I’d never intended to read these words, but merely write them and be rid of them.

The most disturbing part was reading the accounts of a child knowing what I know now as an adult. Think of it this way, think of something seemingly innocent from your past, Let’s say your friend always got free ice cream from the local ice cream truck guy, nice guy. As a child this was innocent enough, but as an adult reading “Jill said the ice cream truck drivers is so nice, he gives her free ice cream all the time! He even takes her for rides around the park and lets her sit in his lap while steering and changing the music, I wish he gave me free ice cream too…”. Tell me that half way through that sentence you didn’t cringe and think “this is not going to turn out well”. Just for the record, my cul-de-sac never had an ice cream truck driver, but you get the imagery the best in this scenario I felt. In the writing, it’s clear that situations are not what they seem through the eyes of the child, me, but seeing it now through the eye of an adult, me,  it’s one of those moments when you’re screaming at the dumb girl in the horror movie to “turn around!” and you’re looking at your date like “doesn’t she feel the presence of that guy with the huge knife towering over just behind her?”  You’re totally helpless to do anything for the girl in the movie or the child in these pages. So, the anxiety and fear builds up until you simply cover your eyes and plug your ears while the scary parts pass. So, that is what I did. I covered my eyes from the words of my childhood and I developed an inexplicable fear of writing itself.

It wasn’t until I explored the possible reasons for my newfound fear of writing with a career coach that I had the “Ah-ha” moment. The moment in which I realized that there was a difference between coping and healing. Now, to some this may seem rather elementary, but to someone who only ever knew coping, the realization was rather profound. I’d come to a point in my life when the waters were calm, there were no more dramatic surges of trama to maintain my coping habit. So, like any other junkie there were times when I naturally created dramatic situations unknowingly that would result in the need to cope for weeks at a time. Being in the constant state of coping was natural and safe. The process of healing was unknown and terrifying. When I finally stopped beating myself up over the resistance to healing, the writing came. This writing came. So, I’m thankful for this next chapter and I look forward to healing. I look forward to helping others to heal. I simply continue to look forward until I am strong enough to look back again.

You’re nobody in particular. Congratulations.

“If you are content with being nobody in particular, content not to stand out, you align yourself with the power of the universe. What looks like weakness to the ego is in fact the only true strength. The spiritual truth is dramatically opposed to the values of our contemporary culture and the way it conditions people to behave.” – Echart Tolle

My husband is totally content with video games and Netflix. Sure, he will let me drag him on every adventure I come up with, but truly he is just fine with his Skyrim or latest episode of American Horror story. This used to drive me nuts about him. In fact, on one of the most recent adventures I planned we even had a slightly heated debate about it in the airport pub. I had just finished reading yet another “inspirational” self-help book, The Desire Map by Danille LaPorte, and I was all fired up about my purpose in life. I stirred my coffee round and round and sighed heavily until he finally said “Ok, what’s wrong we just got back from Ireland, you should be happy”. I rolled my eyes up from my mud-like cup of an imposter liquid posing as Seattle’s best and whined “What does it all mean? Every time I think I’ve found my calling, it’s wrong, it’s just all wrong. What or who am I meant to be? What is my purpose? Why can’t I have it all?” My very patient husband gave me his “here we go again with your crazy thoughts” look and scoffed “no one has it all honey, but we are close!” I knew this was going to be followed by a lecture on how great our life is and our jobs and how we travel often and want for nothing and truly are quite lucky and I knew this. I knew this was true. I knew that everything I ever thought I wanted had come true, but…but…here I was. I sighed heavily again and returned to stirring my coffee. You see, my wondering what it’s all about never ends, it’s a constant journey of searching and questioning and searching and questioning. All the while my husband is happy as a clam playing his silly games. Uhg. He drives me nuts. How can the simplicity of life make him so damn annoyingly happy? How? Well, because my husband is insanely insightful and has not even had to work at it. My husband is not concerned with the nag of his ego pushing him along. So, there is no need in his mind to change the status quo, he’s totally content with being nobody in particular. At least nobody beyond my amazingly content husband.

So, I’m torn with this question, why is it that I possess this drive, no need, to do something spectacular? I do sometimes think it goes back to some deep rooted childhood issue pertaining to my very conception. Picture this, I’m eight years old and like so many times before and for some morbid reason I think looking back now, I ask my mother to tell me about when she became pregnant. My mother didn’t hold any punches, she just wasn’t like that, she told it like it was. Not in the way you would imagine, not like a hard or lacking emotion person, she just told the truth. My mother would go back into the gas station to pay them the 2 cents she went over back in the day when they didn’t stop the pump for you. I’m not kidding, she did that all the time and the cashiers would laugh at her. So, when her eight year old looks up and asks her to tell her about when she’d become pregnant, well, she told the truth. She painted the grim picture of two teenagers who had just turned 20 having found out shortly after they were expecting their third child. They were broke. They were scared. They were young and in love and had no idea what they were doing. My mother nervously told my father she was expecting and they decided it was too much to take on another child. They decided they couldn’t keep me. So, my mother made an appointment and they head into the doctor. My eyes were always as wide as cookies during this portion of the story because for some reason it always put me on pins and needles as if I had no idea what the outcome would be. My mother undressed, she put her gown on, she laid on the cold bed staring at the white walls as my father waited impatiently in the waiting room. My mother became inconsolable, put her clothes back on ran out to the waiting room and into the arms of my father who had also decided not to go through with it. It was all very romantic, the opportunity to live, at least in my mind. So, as you can imagine, the pressure to do something great with my stolen romantic life was high.

Since then, I packed up my bags with the bible in hand my grandmother gave my mother during her “dark thoughts” of aborting me and I’ve dabbled in music, writing, acting and even modeling. I’ve dabbled in just about everything society tells us are successful and great endeavors. Meanwhile, each time was a spectacular failure, depending on how to define success, but if we are talking superstardom it was a spectacular failure, clearly I mean, you have no idea who the hell I am. So, here I am, nobody in particular, just some crazy girl doing crazy things to feel alive. Meanwhile, my husband sits quietly from the side lines cheering on whichever latest hair brained scheme I am undergoing, all the while the one that has it all figured out. Finally, at the ripe old age of 30, I’m feeling like I am starting to figure it out too. I have accomplished great things in my life, I have learned to appreciate the “small” things, that are in fact truly the most important things. I’ve learned to love my art and expression, even if it doesn’t make me a dime and even if I die knowing I never did anything “great” by society standards. My romantic stolen life, was a gift, it was an opportunity to be great and I am. I’m at my greatest when I am nobody in particular, when I just am.

What If Your Kid Is Transgender?


In light of the recent “announcement” of Apple’s CEO Tim Cook’s gay admission and another report from NPR telling the story of a family with a 2 1/2 year old son showing signs suggesting he may be transgender, I decided to spark a conversation with my husband. What if our child was transgender? I knew where I stood on the subject, but then again I am a woman and I feel that women tend to be slightly more open minded. How is that for gender generalization? Ask a man if he would care if his male child wanted to wear dresses to school and you might be in for a fight, even in this day and age.

So, as we are having this conversation about our possible future children, and trust me that is still up for debate in our house, I wonder how many others have talked about it. We look for a partner in life that shares our same values and conversations normally occur about what kind of schools, or discipline or nutrition we want to implement in our parenting, but how often do we talk about gender or sexual preference. Now, I want you to know straight away that I am a huge supporter of the LGBT community and so is my husband. So, please forgive me if I reference something wrong or use words like “preference”, it’s not an intention of suggesting it’s a choice, so whatever your perspective, excuse my language use. Anywho, as expected when I approached the subject with my husband of our 2 year old boy possibly wanting to start wearing dresses instead of pants, he was a bit apprehensive. He put down his game controller (indicating he was really listening) and said “well, I feel like 2 is a little young and the back lash from school and other parents could cause reall damage, I’d like to wait until he was a little older, but if it was consistent and important to him, I’d let him, eh but not at 2”. This was not the answer I wanted, but it did bring something to the surface I’d hated to admit might be true. Did it cause damage due to society pressure? Was it wrong to encourage if there was a interest expressed?

I am the kind of person who wouldn’t think twice if my son wanted to go to school in a dress, even at 2. I’d probably say “ok, that sounds like fun”. I mean, what is gender if not just a society perspective on how we should act and dress as “men” and “women”. No one said women have to wear dresses, have long hair and play with Barbie’s. No one said that boys have short hair, wear pants and play with trucks. However, somehow as a society we have come to view this as the “right” way of doing things in our current gender roles. I really have no idea why this is and until now have never given much thought to it, sadly. In a society that is finally slowly starting to shift their perspective on the subject and more and more people are starting to become more and more comfortable with the idea, it seems to me this should start to become more and more of a “normal” conversation, right? Maybe my children will be lucky enough to grow up in a world where a major CEO being gay isn’t news worthy anymore. I want to be prepared for that day and I want to make sure I am doing the “right” thing to encourage the natural growth and individualism of my child. However, my husband brings up a good point too. What if my children are not privileged enough to be part of such an accepting society? What if it takes us even more years to get to that point? I really struggle with this. I think for boys in particular at an early age this might be more difficult. No one really questions a little girl that’s a tom boy and likes to play in dirt, but a little boy in a dress is like catastrophic for some reason.

In the end, the conversation might not even come up, but I want to be prepared if it does come up and I want my husband and I to be loving and open to our children (if we have any, ahh). Just as importantly, if the conversation comes up about a friend of our child in this situation, I want my child to be just and open and loving to them. However, not everyone shares my sentiments on this and I think it’s important that we get really clear in our relationships on where we stand on the matter. You’re entitled to your opinion and so is your partner, but if you can’t come to some kind of common ground on this, you’re going to run into issues and ultimately become divided as a family, which sadly is the case all too often. If you do not share my perspective, I encourage you to give some real thought and soul searching to your resistance. The reasons why you resist the idea have everything to do with you and nothing to do with anyone else, so food for thought. Anyway, I am by no means an expert in the area and of course I am not claiming to be, but I just thought it would be interesting to put this thought into the world and encourage couples to have the conversation as freely with your partner as you do the color of the nursery. Because it’s important. I was lucky enough to grow up in a very accepting family and I’m thankful for that. I want to create that for my children, I want them not to be afraid to talk about it. I want them to show love to everyone and I hope that one day this is the new normal and that it will no longer require pondering how to approach the converstation or what implications will come as a result. Until then, I am happy that my husband and I are loving and open enough with each other and with the world to have an honest debate on the matter. Can you?

If You Think You’re Pretty

When I was 10 the coolest thing around was the roller skating rink. If “coolest” didn’t show my age I’m sure the skating rink bit did, but then again I’m a slightly out of touch on what’s hip with the kids these days, so maybe cool is still cool. I guess I need to have some kids so I can know what’s cool again even though parenthood inevitably makes me uncool with both my friends and kids alike. The skating rink always smelled of stale popcorn and sweaty teenagers, but I loved it. My mom would take me every weekend for months. Until one of the “punk teenagers” pushed her and she broke both her arms, yes both her arms! My father nearly killed the kid, like seriously. You don’t know my dad. Anyway, getting off topic here. I so desperately wanted to be one of the cool pretty girls. I wanted to dress like them and talk like them and be picked first for the couples skate. Unfortunately, I was a frizzy red headed slightly overweight tragically fashion challenged very loud and awkward little girl. Need more of a visual? You know that little girl in a bumble bee outfit tap dancing for like homeless dudes in the “rain” video by Blind Mellon? Yea. Pretty much like that. Look it up, early 90’s, tragic little girl, just like me. What ever happen to them?

Anyway, None the less, try I did, to fit in with the pretty cool girls. One such desperate attempt to be a cool girl was made up of a plaid skirt, knee high socks and a button down shirt. Maybe I was channeling my inner Britney Spears. Anyways, I clang to the only other girl in the rink near my age thinking strength in numbers. She was a foul mouthed too short for her age gum in chewing confident runt. I wasn’t sure where all that confidence was being created in that bite size little body. We skated into the bathroom where the runt pulled out a small bottle of liquid from her even smaller training bra. She held it to her nose and inhaled “want some?” she asked pushing it into my face. It smelled like my dad on a day he forgot to use deodorant and compensated with what he called “foo foo juice”. I wrinkled my nose and turned away to cough saying “Why would I want that? You know that’s men’s cologne, right?”. The runt started rubbing the cologne on her neck laughing at my ignorance “Yea, I know it’s cologne doofus, I like to smell like men have been all over me”. I decided I was OK with not smelling like men had been all over me, that seemed like something I wasn’t cool enough to pull off and people would just think I’d lost a fight with a skunk. The cool older boy that worked Saturday’s playing music and making announcements came over the loud scratchy speaker “Ok kids, it’s time for snow ball, girls on the left and guys on the right! You know the drill, once around then rink and then grab a new partner”. I nearly fell on my butt as the girls put away their lip gloss and ran screaming out of the bathroom to line up against the wall. I hated snow ball. It was my most dreaded part of the night, I like shoot the duck or fast skate, those only took skill.


Snow ball took coolness and being pretty and thin. It was kind of a stupid name, I always thought, because it made no sense at all. Now that I am an adult, I think some sick 40 something dude made it up and laughed hysterically at these unknowing teens happily running out to participate in “snow balling” each other. Ew. I just threw up in my mouth a little thinking about that and the scent from the rink came rolling back to me. Anyway, here I am on the wall of shame waiting for anyone to ask me to skate but even the dirty stinky boy passes me up for the girl next to me who puts out her hand without extending her arm and making a face like she was sucking on a lemon. Even the stinky boy passed me up. The runt had already been around the rink with three boys as I stand pathetically against the now empty girl side wall. I think about skating back to the benches, where at least I can appear not to care with the other SMART rejects that didn’t even attempt to stand on the wall. The runt comes over and does some fancy toe turn to rest up against the wall next to me since she was so tired after skating with so many boys. Bitch. Anyway, she goes “Why haven’t you skated with any boys” and I’m like “I dunno, maybe I look silly in my knee high socks, like maybe they only look cool when you’re not in roller skates, or maybe I should have smelled like men have been all over me or maybe…” she finally looked over at me and took a break from making google eyes at the boys passing by. She tilted her head smacking her gum and chewing like a new born cow.

She looked absolutely puzzled by what I was saying and I thought perhaps I needed to explain further my concern with my knee high socks, but she looks at me and starts talking so I don’t get the chance, “If you think you’re pretty, you’re pretty” she said in a high pitch squeal before skating off with boy number four. I felt like I had been hit with a sludge hammer. I repeated what she said to me, out loud, as she faded into the dark strobe lights of the romantic snow ball skate. “If I think I am pretty, I am pretty?” I asked out loud. What the hell does that mean? What do my socks and my scent have to do with how pretty I am? Until that moment it actually legitimately didn’t occur to me that anything like that would factor into how pretty I was. Not only did these things not factor in, but being pretty never even really occurred to me. Like, sure the boys weren’t asking me to skate, but it legitimately never occurred to me that it had anything to do with whether I was pretty or not. So, I rolled my silly socks down, turned my back to the rink and decided I was pretty. I decided I thought I was pretty that night, then I didn’t care if anyone asked me to skate. It’d just discovered this major secret, that I was pretty. So, I starred at the wall through the whole Whitney Houston song and counted the lines, for each line I repeated, “I’m pretty”. Seriously, I was 10 and this actually happened.

So, here I am feeling really good about myself and doing positive affirmation (before I knew what that was) and do you know what happened? Actually. Nothing. No one asked me to skate, but I strolled off that skate deck like I was a model on a run way and I did not give a shit. That felt really good. So, maybe it didn’t matter if a boy asked me to skate. In fact, I didn’t even bother getting up for the next “Snow Ball” skate. I waited until the skilled skating challenges and I won a trophy. I wish I could say that night changed my life. I wish I could tell you I didn’t struggle with eating disorders or seeking unhealthy attention, but I can’t. All I can say is, when I think back on that night, I think about the life long struggle I have had to get where I am today and that is empowering. One day, I hope I can meet a frizzy red headed slightly overweight tragically fashioned challenged very loud and awkward little girl and tell her “own that shit”. Because one day, none of this will matter and the fact that you are brilliant like no other will matter. I’ve had my fair skates with boys now that I am an adult, and it’s not all that great. Although, the affirmations followed me through life, so I guess I have something to thank that little smells like lots of men runt for.