Tag: at the root of this crankiness



the occupation
the age
the gender

the sexual preference
the religion
the hair color

Whatever the size of
the bank book
the house
the appetite

Whether one likes

the handicap
the illness
the eye color

the height
the dental records
the shoe size

the favorite color
the preferred mode of transportation
or dress
or leisure activity

Whatever the differences . . .
We’re all Somebodies
in Some Way.

remembered lightness


there are things i want to write,
but i distract myself
with the to do lists,
with productivity,
with letting worthiness
be defined by accomplishment.
i do that rather than
come here and write
because i don’t have
an outline,
no rough draft
i don’t know the ending.
i can’t write a neat, tidy
essay that would net me an A+.

i no longer want to be the
girl who is defined
by how she theels
others see and interpret
her –
i don’t.

is that possible?


when i ask that she not put
certain things on facebook,
is that protecting her?
in a way.
and yet when i soften my eyes
on the word “protection”
the “yes” doesn’t come
as quickly
and as surely.

people will respond
to our words
as they will respond to
our words,
be they on facebook,
on a blog,
in a book,
or over a cup of
hot chocolate.

they will respond
through a filter
of their experience.
they will respond
via a mirror
of what they are
dealing with
in their own
at the moment.

does that diminish me?
does that define me?


if i own my own life,
and if i allow you to own yours,
isn’t that a gift
to both of us?


i look at the pictures of
kipp’s girlfriend.
i look at the pictures i snapped
that day in july
of the two of them
trekking up the falls
i look at the pictures
and my body
what it was feeling
as i snapped those photos,
the question remains:
can i rip off the bolts
and kick the slats out of the
can i release my heart
to romp freely in the lightness as it once did?
can i simply love her
without concern for
if i’ll ever see her again
if she’ll remain in kipp’s future
if she’ll love me in return?
can i just love her
i instantly love her?

she has a beautiful smile,
a long, beautiful neck
that scarves
fight over.
she is generous
and quick
with her laugh
and her smile.
she’s intelligent
in so many
important ways
that don’t have
anything at all to do
with her master’s degree.

can i love her without
crafting words
to explain
and justify?


when i defend myself,
is that protection-with-a-capital-p?
or am i not
once again
more concerned with
how another
will see me
more than i’m
with owning my own life?
doesn’t defending myself
make (and keep) me small?
and when i make (and keep) myself small,
doesn’t that make (and keep)
everybody else
and the world in general

and this is true, too


“and this,” she perked,
pointing to the closed-door office
to her right,
“is the business office.”
“and this,” she perked
pointing to the closed-door office
to her left,
“is the financial aid office.”

“above us,” she continued,
“is the
President’s Office
saying the last two words
with a distinct tone of
“you don’t want to get sent

maybe it’s because we’re nearing the end of
the second week of back-to-back
college tours.
maybe it’s because it’s hot.
maybe it’s because i need chocolate.
maybe it’s because i’m just plain cranky to the core . . .

“but you can,” i countered
looking my nephew straight in the eyes,
“go there any time of your own initiative.”
then i told them about how when i was a student there,
and discovered that
the tape player had been stolen from my car,
i marched straightaway to the
president’s office
(said without a hint of reverence)
and announced “my tape player was stolen.”
to which the president looked across his massive desk
and said,
“well, i’m SURE it wasn’t a student.”
“can you believe a
college president
led with something
so stupid?”
i asked my nephew.

“i said don’t get SENT there,”
she perked
directly at my nephew.

i thought
cause i’m not
anywhere near the
sweet zen woman
i (sometimes) long to be.

when we reached the student union,
the mailboxes
more specifically,
i mentioned how
when i was a student there,
the mailboxes were in a different building
and i was assigned a mailbox on the top row,
so high i couldn’t get the key in the lockv
without the assistance of a stool.
she listened, then reached up
and tapped the top mailbox
with a key she held.

i thought
well, you know.

“and the most fun thing of all,” she said,
her perkiness ratcheted up
three full notches,
“is when you get a yellow
sheet of paper
saying that you have a
when you get one of those,
you come to this window
and pick up your package.
did you ever get
any yellow papers?”
she asked me.

“yes, i got yellow notices,
but it could sometimes
take up to two weeks
for me to actually
lay hands on my package
because the people
employed to staff the window
didn’t actually
open the window
unless they had absolutely
nothing else to do.
but the good news is: it was
most always worth the wait.”

with that, she whipped her head around
and asked
“did anything good ever happen
when you were here?”

to which i said
“there were moments.”

and then i kept my stories
to myself
and as we walked
and she talked
i wondered
why i told the
particular stories
i told.
what compelled me?

with the possible
exception of the
president’s office story,
which was pretty obviously
a thumbing my nose
at authority,
(though it was also
about not being afraid
to go to the top,
if that seems the right
thing to do at the time)
my stories
to theme around
of providing a counter
to the sparkling
being presented.
is it a good school, this one?
oh yes,
it’s a good school.
do bad things happen there?
absolutely, undeniably
and i’m just too cranky
to let that reality
and the ensuing opportunities for lessons of
and assertiveness
and resourcefulness

We Interrupt This Crankiness . . .


We interrupt this crankiness because I need help:

Y’all know how horrible I am at naming, and I need a name in the worst sort of way for a woman who’s unleashed her inner Karen (Will & Grace) and Maxine (greeting card aisle), a woman who’s not afraid to sent Hyacinth a monogrammed pail. This woman didn’t just unzip, she went straight to embodiment. She’s Southern (of course), so keep that in mind. And I don’t care if it’s a real woman’s name or a noun (or even a verb) that’s catchy and fun and fits. Know what I mean?

I considered (and have used) Ethel and Blondell, but those doesn’t quite fit. So help me out. Shoot me some names. And hey, my grandmother died years ago, so nicknames are fine, too.


On another note: I’m going to BlogHer tomorrow, are you? If you are, let me know ’cause I’d love nothing better than to call you Sugar to your precious face.

at the root of this crankiness: a churning, part 1


i am cranky.
and i’ve tried every trick
the book to
get on the other side
of it,
but nothing works.
i’ve tried productivity,
ticking things off my
embarrassingly long
to do list.
i’ve tried buttermilk pie.
i’ve tried walking
and dancing
and an extra 15 minutes of yoga
and an extra hour of sleep.
i’ve gotten a manicure
and a pedicure,
a new haircut,
a new pocketbook.
but nothing erases
or even alleviates
this crankiness.

it’s a big ole’
and it’s gonna’ take me a while
to find my way through it
because, honestly,
lots of threads
feed this tangle.

for starters,
there’s the flight
from salt lake city.
hubbie and i had
emergency row seats
diagonally across
the aisle from
each other.
he was on the aisle in row 26
and i was across the aisle
in the aisle seat on row 27.
we could see each other,
talk to each other,
reach each other
to share the water
and magazines
and such.

when we got to our seats,
a man was sitting in my seat.
“excuse me,”
i said,
“i think you’re in my seat.”

“well, this is my wife,”
he said with huge affability,
pointing to the woman seated next to him.
“so would you mind swapping seats with me?”
“where’s your seat?” i asked.
“it’s up front there. no rows of seats
in front of you. plenty of legroom.”

“but this is my husband,”
i said, pointing to andy,
“so . . . “

“okay,” he said hopping up
and moving to the seat
directly across the aisle from me.

he was mr. congeniality, this one,
quite friendly,
quite loud.

eventually came a woman who stopped
right beside him.
“excuse me,” she said,
“you’re in my seat.”

“i am?”
he said, sounding a wee bit
“are you traveling alone?”
she said “yes” with an
understandable tone of
hesitancy in her voice.
“great!” he said.
“that’s my wife over there –
wave your hand, honey –
so would you mind swapping seats with me?”

“where’s your seat?”
the woman asked.

“it’s on the front row
of that section,” he said.

“is it an aisle seat?”

“noooo, but there’s not a
row of seats in front of you,
so you’ll have plenty of leg room.”

“is it a window seat?”

“no, it’s the center seat,
but remember: lots of legroom.”

“but what about my bag? there’s
no room in the overheads there,”
she pointed out,
“and there is here.”

“no problem.
i’ll find a place for your bag.
so what do you say?”

and with that, the woman
quietly headed for the
center seat
in the front row –
the one with
plenty of leg room
and nobody in front of her.

when he returned from finding
a place for her bag,
he looked at me and said,
“so what do you say?
wanna’ sit behind your husband?”
and when i hesitated
because being behind andy
was not nearly as convenient
as being where we currently
sat – in fact, that’s why we
chose the seat configuration
we did, he continued
“you’ll be closer to him.”

which is technically correct,
but still.
i didn’t want to move.

but what did i do?

i unbuckled my seatbelt
and moved
to the seat
behind andy
where we couldn’t share
the water nearly as easily
and we couldn’t talk without standing up
and leaning over the seat
and we couldn’t both
read the magazine article
or shop in the sky mall

at first i was mad
because i got so upset
over a common,
i mean, really
only a bitch
of a bitch
would do that, right?

then i was mad
because the man
did a sucker sales
job on me,
pointing out why
it was in my best interest
to move
when actually
there was nothing in the move for me
and everything in the move for him.

eventually i got mad
because i moved.
i didn’t have to.
i could’ve said,
“no, we selected these
seats, and i’d like to stay.”
or, preferably a simple “no.”

but i didn’t.
i unbuckled my seatbelt
and moved.
even though i didn’t want to.
even though i knew i did not benefit,
regardless of what he said.
even though i knew i didn’t really have to.

so why did i?

because i still long to be liked.

and if i’d said no to this
affable, congenial man
who just wanted to sit next to his wife,
i ran the risk of being considered
a selfish, unreasonable bitch.

by people i don’t know
or might not ever see again.
i get that,
and yet . . .


and so i get mad at
the society
and culture
that created
such a mindset.
which is easy to do
because it’s justified
and familiar.


for so much of my life,
my worthiness gas depended on
how other people saw me.
especially males.
if the men liked me,
i was an absolutely

if women didn’t like me,
i could convince myself
and others
that they were just being

being nice is everything.

nobody wants to be around
a cranky woman,
a mean woman,
a woman who thinks only of herself.


but it’s time to be over that.
and that,
is one of the threads
at the root of this
why do i still cave
to such nonsense?
to such wrongness?

when will i
be over that?
when will that
not even be a
speck in my
on its own
rearview mirror?


i don’t want to whine.
i hate whining.


i am cranky with


i have to be even nicer
because i’m
as if trying to
wanting to
needing to
lose weight
isn’t bad enough.
but to feel like people
see me as
because i’m overweight,
well shoot.
that means i have to be
even nicer
and of course i should
swap seats
and be genuinely
and thoroughly happy
to do whatever
anybody wants.

used to be because
i wore glasses,
(boys don’t make passes
at girls who wear glasses.)
but now it’s the weight.


i use the word “fuck”
a lot more
than i ever did before
and it’s seldom followed
by an apology,
even though (interestingly enough)
people – especially men –
still apologize to me
for saying “shit”
or even “damn”
in front of me.
as though i have
virgin ears.
and i don’t know what i think
about that.
there was a time when it
bothered me
annoyed me, actually
because i interpreted
a virgin –
even virgin ears –
mean i had not been
found desirable
and therefore
was – say it with me:

and as absurd as that might sound,
it’s absolutely true.

honestly, though
sometimes fuck is the only
word that will do.
and maybe
letting that word
roll over these lips
was an early step
in the process
to claim my crankiness.
the key that would
let me out of my
own prison cell.


“The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.” Virginia Woolf


and then i read this post about
a new paradigm of being a leader
and i think:
well, huh. maybe i just want to lead

and maybe that’s enough.
of course that’s enough.
it’s all i really want to do:
lead myself out of
this ridiculous
and crankiness.

i know this
seeking outside
and validation
and acknowledgement,
i know that basing
my worthiness
on how others see me
and what they think of me
is antiquated,
and though i’m not sure it ever
i know that the difference
is that now
i have a choice.
i can say
enough already.
fuck that.

and so one of the threads
of crankiness
is that i didn’t do that.
i caved.
i sold myself out.
i dishonored myself
in hopes that somebody –
doesn’t matter who –
would think me nice
and therefore
a worthy woman.
a woman
greater than all the rubies
and diamonds
in the entire world.


to be continued . . .

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Allow me to introduce myself . . .

Hey, Sugar! I'm Jeanne Hewell-Chambers: writer ~ stitcher ~ storyteller ~ one-woman performer ~ creator & founder of The 70273 Project, and I'm mighty glad you're here. Make yourself at home, and if you have any questions, just holler.

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