Thursday, April 10, 2014

Oprah Asks: Do I Examine My Life Enough?

The April issue of O magazine has a feature called "20 Quesions Every Woman Should Ask Herself" and I thought it might be okay to turn those into blogs. Don't hold me to it. 

When Indy was a toddler she used to grab my face between her two hands and pull my lips to hers, kissing me hard, claiming me. Then she would pull back and gaze into my eyes adoringly before going in for that kiss again. I treasured these times, sensing their final countdown around age four. I don't remember the last time, but I do know the last time has come and gone.

This weekend, Indy, now seven, wrote me a note on a roll of toilet paper. "You are not my mom," it said. It said, "You are not my mom because you won't take me to the park you big douche."

So now O magazine comes along and wants me to ask myself: Do I examine my life enough? This is a perilous question for any woman or mother. The entire female existence is the succession of one scrutinizing question after another. Now we have to worry about do we take too many self-portraits and is our period as metal as other women's periods (I actually liked that quiz but you get my point). I would like to instead suggest that we examine our lives less. Take today, for example. This week brought civil unrest to my digestive tract, and today found me sitting on the couch under a Goodwill afghan googling "does snack pack have dairy". I have wanted to be a writer all my life and this is the grammar and gravitas with which I approach the Google. Literally all I have eaten today are Corn Pops from the box and chocolate snack pack. At one point I mistook the flesh of my palm for cereal and gnawed at it greedily.

How strong of a magnifying glass am I meant to examine this behavior with?

Or this: yesterday we were driving probably home from McDonald's again because my husband has been gone and Indy turns to me and says, "I've been so mean to everyone because I have spring fever. That and I don't get enough sleep because every night Georgia is jumping onto my bed and farting in my face. When people at school say I stink I tell them that story."

How far, exactly, should I probe?

One afternoon I woke from a nap and fell straight into a state of bliss. I drank green tea while gazing dopily out my window at the spring afternoon. God help me, I think I journaled something about "frothy trees" and I didn't rhyme it with bees, but bees were in there. I had recently gone off my meds. I knew I was in a state that I'm not often in, though it does tend to occur in the spring, and I didn't question it too much. I tried not to really notice it at all, lest I scare it away, like an orgasm or a BM. I literally cannot believe I write these things sometimes. I started out writing a blog because I wanted other mothers to feel less alone in their craziness and now all we are certain about is my own. What I meant to say, though, is that I was able to sit in this blissful state for a good while because I wasn't examining anything. Now don't get me wrong, the magazine has great example questions we might want to ask ourselves when the time is right. I just think that, as women, we are being told to question everything about ourselves: our decisions, our actions, our feelings, our parenting, or social media habits, our voices, the way we hold our lips--literally everything. We need to take the things we do for granted sometimes. "That's just me," we need to say in our heads, and shrug, and lick our palms. And while, as O magazine suggests, asking "could it be better" is a good way to improve our lives, so too is it helpful to sleep late in the afternoons, Google DOES SNACK PACK HAVE DAIRY, let the things our children say slide, be a big douche, gaze dopily out windows, and never ask what we accomplished today, where we are going, or why.


  1. This is fabulous, fabulous writing.
    I have often thought that if the unexamined life is not worth living, I must have the most worth living life ever lived.
    Good god! COULD I examine my life more? I seriously doubt it. (And to tell you the truth, I'm pretty sure that Oprah examines her enough too.)
    I really, really enjoyed this piece.

  2. I adore you with all my heart, unexamined.

  3. I have been reading the little house on the prairie books with one of my kids for months now it seems. and it makes me look at the whole world through laura ingalls goggles. any pioneer woman looking at my life would be appalled I am fairly certain at how ridiculously easy my life is and how much time I spend complaining and worrying about it anyway. am I overexamining because my physical needs are more than met and I can get away with it? sometimes I think so. navel gazing out of boredom. I am sure my children would be much happier if I didn't spend so much time examining them, anyway.

    I think you are a brave lady and a darn good writer. I like that in a person.

  4. You are amazing, and I love your writing. You are funny and entertaining, and I only wish there was more of it. Being your neighbor, I think you start coming over at least once a week, just for chit chat so I could hear more of your stories.

  5. I love most of all how honest you are because this is what it is like when we let life unspool and watch it with interest and don't analyze too much. It's all interpretation anyway and I'm much too quick to assign labels and meanings where none need be applied. I am glad to be here.

  6. Love this post. I get so tired of the asking.
    BTW, I loved your Shebooks book.

  7. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to sit back and examine your life through your writing. In reading about your life, I was finally able to stop thinking about my own (and ignore the dust bunnies accumulating beneath the table in the entry that, for some reason, I can see better when it is sunny outside and then I am forced to curse the sunshine). As for your Google grammar, I think it's perfectly acceptable -- Google is not as clever as most writers are and so it's okay to dumb it down a bit.


link within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...