habits · self-care · self-esteem


1.11.19.pngI can be a little schmutzedecke (the state of being schmutzy).  I used to notice it in a different way several years ago, when I’d knock into doorways as I’d pass through and ricochet off (No, I wasn’t drunk!).  Or I’d whack my hand on something as I went by.  Or notice a bruise I don’t remember getting.  None of these things were that painful–in fact, they mostly didn’t register to me.  It was just how I walked through the world, and I didn’t much notice it.  Until I did.

Having been dubbed “The Ice-Pack Queen” in 6th grade for the frequency of times I ended up in the nurse’s office for one, I’d long lived in a state of semi-unawareness of my physical body and state.  There was a physical feedback loop that could happen for my body as I bumped and bruised myself through life: I existed, I took up space, I bump therefore I am.  At the same time, there was an opposite expression: I don’t have physical boundaries in the world, it doesn’t matter what happens to my body, I don’t exist.

Over time, this habit of walking into walls (graceful, I know!) subsided, and I’m pleased to report that’s no longer a regular part of my experience—aside from a sporadic stubbed toe.

However, where this type of behavior shows up today seems to be in the schmutzy realm.  The yiddish/German term implies having a little grime on oneself.  Not splattered with mud or trailing a Pig-Pen-like cloud of filth, my schmutzedecke nature is not (only) the physical spot of dirt realm, but the how I put myself together realm.  Sure, I may have a stain of coffee here or a deodorant mark there, but moreso what I’m realizing is that I almost on purpose mess myself up.  Like “accidentally” walking into doorways.

There’s a laissez-faire aura about putting myself together that I don’t really enjoy.  A feeling of, “It doesn’t matter how I present,” when I know inside that it does matter to me.  It’s the small stain or rip, the dowdy sweatshirt when I get home, the splatter left on the stovetop.

I’ve allowed myself to be in a space that reflects that I don’t value how I’m put together, that I “can’t” put myself together, or that, somehow, this put-together thing “passed me by in life and it’s too late” despair whirlpool.

While there are, of course, times that I “pull it together” and look fierce, those are the exceptions.  More often, I’m walking out the door a product of (feigned) indifference about my presentation.  It’s not a “I want to be label conscious” thing; it’s a “I want to embody my self-esteem” thing.

At some point in my past, I began to notice that I didn’t like “beating” my body up as I slammed and banged through the world.  And that habit faded.  Today, I feel I’m beginning to notice I don’t like slapping on or mushing up my physical envelope.

Perhaps with this awareness will also come change.


habits · organization · self-care

A List, not a Litany.

11.8.18“You’d tell me if I had B.O., right?” I called across the house.  

“Why?  When was the last time you took a shower?”

“Errrm, I can’t remember.”

*Chuckling* “Yeah, babe, if you can’t remember, then it’s a sign to take one.”

As these mornings have unfolded in the new house, even though it’s closer to work, I’ve still been barely managing to make it to work on time.  Partly this is because J and I take some time in the morning to talk and be cute, partly it’s because I’m living out of a handful of shopping bags that I’ve moved over from Oakland so nothing feels routine, and partly because I have that drowsing in my head that says, “You live closer to work now, you have more time, go slow!” so maybe I’m not quite as rushed as I felt in Oakland…which was and is part of the luxury of living here in the first place!!

So, this morning, I began to write down a list, not a litany.  (The other day, J intoned to me, as I rattled off all the things I needed to do, “A list, not a litany,” as I’ve chanted to him!  Damnit that he listens to me!)

On the list is (yes) shower, talk to boss, exercise, call a mover, look up a Roomba, holiday cards, call my Dad (for his birthday which was on Tuesday and I didn’t call)… and, frankly, the list does go on.

But at least it’s there.  When it is a litany, it is unmanageable and unactionable.  There’s no toe-hold to make movement from when I’m rattling and lamenting.  But, with a list, there are concrete steps, even if they feel overwhelming as a whole.

One checkbox at a time and many of the items will be ticked off.  The move is temporary, the 7th grade trip will be confirmed, my dad only has a birthday once a year.

Sure, several of the items are daily (or should be!), like showering, blogging and meditating, but it reminds me only that I need to re-print and re-start my Habit Calendar, which had helped me to keep track of all the daily, weekly, and monthly items I needed.

A list trumps a litany any day.  A list connotes order.  A list infers completion.

So, first, dear reader: A shower.


habits · self-care · worthiness

And the caterpillar intoned:

8.31.18.jpgIn the hurricane that is the beginning of school, it can be tough to remember to “center.”  With the additional duties I’ve taken on, voluntary and mandatory, I have several fewer hours for pausing, reflecting, planning — for me, basically.  And so I’m going to have to become much more intentional about the time that I do have for “me.”

I don’t know why self-care is coming up as a vivid theme right now, but in its absence, I feel cranky, overtired, gluttonous, slothful — basically the whole range of mortal sins!  And this is in stark contrast to the easeful, calm, focused, progressing person I’d like to be (and who is touted in my deepak/oprah meditations, like today’s on “daily happiness”).

I sometimes feel (fear) that the ideas of happiness and self-care are self-indulgent.  I mean, of course they are!  That’s their definition!  But I suppose what I mean is that, in our culture, happiness and self-care — fulfillment — can curdle with a negative, airy-fairy dismissiveness.

Who am I to contemplate feeling calm in the middle of a work day?  Who am I to contemplate homeownership in the middle of a gentrification/displacement era?  Who am I to want to dig further into my gifts and talents when others are simply trying to survive?

Well, darling self, I’m alive — that is my punch card, my ticket, my birthright.

Simply by the object of being born at all as a human in this lifetime, I am allowed to contemplate, desire, grow, forge, and “become.”  I don’t have to, sure.  I can be shut down, numb, depressed, isolated, hopeless.  I can be any and all of these things in a day!

But I have to know that it is a choice!  I have a choice to seek my own happiness.  Whether or not I’m taking advantage of that option.

There seems to be a pattern or blueprint for me toward forward movement (one that includes stillness).  That pattern is one I’ve previously discovered via habits.  When I determine a regularity in my life, day or hour, I have an anchor, a root system from which to grow.

When I find a moment, like one this week when I didn’t have to be out in the play yard, but chose to go because it was OUTSIDE and sunny and vibrant, that is a pebble I can stack in my Positive Habits Jar.

Enough of those pebbles stacked together and I can begin to do what enlivens me without as great or momentous effort.

As I build my path into and through this school year, what habits do I want to form?  I’m gonna need something!  For all my high-fallutin’ writing in that “Teacher’s Prayer,” I can assure you that I’ve done little along those lines.  Praying to remember to take time for myself is not the same as actually taking it.

So while I need the reminder, I also need the action.  And for me to take action … well, it’s time to break out the habit calendar.

Color coding, here I come!


insomnia · self-care · stress

Self-care is inconvenient.

8-30-18.jpgWhen I got into teaching full-time in 2015, I was asked to take on 3rd grade.  I had never taught students that young in my adulthood; though I’d taught kindergarten in Seoul after college, most of that was pre-set curriculum and students who were very used to following directions.  But, I’m game for most things (plus I needed work!), so I said yes.

Thus began two full years of insomnia.

In the very first week of class, I began to have trouble falling to sleep.  This wasn’t terribly abnormal, as I’d had a few difficult sleeps following most large transitions in my life.  So, I took it in stride (very caffeinated stride) and took an over-the-counter sleep aid, figuring it would even out after a few days.

As days strung to weeks, and now I wasn’t falling to sleep until 3 or 4 in the morning, I began to get concerned.  Then came the nights when I didn’t really fall asleep at all.  Sure maybe I “drifted” as I called it, but as to “put your head on the pillow, next thing you know it’s light out,” those days were far in the rearview.

So started a sickening amount of trial and error: eastern doctors, western doctors, over the counters, ayurvedics, prescriptions, sleep studies, hypnotherapists, foot soaks, acupuncture, dream apps, forest bathing…  And lots and lots of tears.

I began to lose words, much like “mommy brain” affects parents of newborns, thoughts sluggish and unfinished.  My hormones became imbalanced and I gained weight.  My stress levels were astronomical.  Even in the summer breaks, I was awake awake awake awake.

All.  Because.  I was teaching 3rd grade.

I say this with certainty because you know what happened last Fall when I began teaching middle school?

I feel asleep.  And stayed asleep.  All night.

And so it’s been, for all of the past year.  Put my head down, wait a little, feel that blood-level “click” where I can feel whatever sleep hormone flood my system and in less than a minute, I’m out til morning.

So it was particularly jarring this week at our middle school retreat on Monday through Tuesday to find that it took me until nearly 1am to fall asleep while there and after we got back on Tuesday night.

I do know/believe 2 things about my insomnia years: I wasn’t sleeping because I was taking on the stress of my students, and could not for the life of me put up an energetic boundary strong enough to shake off their emotions.  I took them in, a permeable mess.

I also know that the one and only month during my 3rd grade tenure that I slept was the month during which I exercised every single day for 30 days.  After about 2 weeks, I was falling and staying asleep.  But every day was very hard for me to keep up and I backslid.

As to this week, I know that spending 36 hours non-stop with students, particularly ones finding their way in the wide world of middle school—and doing so with … less aplomb than they’ll need to “make it”—is an acute stressor for me.  It makes me aware that my boundaries are still extremely permeable.

I am apparently not cured of my insomnia; I just get reprieves from it.  I learned a lot over my 2 years of battling and devolving under its battery assault, particularly about how I care for myself and my own stress levels.  It’s clear that I need to call on that learning again.

Further, though my commute is much longer than when I taught the younger kids, it is going to be imperative that I find a habit that includes regular exercise again, as I haven’t yet settled into one for this school year.

I am grateful that last night I fell and stayed asleep — like viciously grateful — but I know there are huge red flags my body is throwing up.  And if there’s anything a cancer survivor learns, it’s to watch those goddamned flags — and to heed what they’re telling me no matter how much extra mental or physical effort it will take.  The alternative was a hell I never want to revisit.

reality · self-care · vulnerability


8-20-18-bad-hiding-under-box.jpgIn the storied flurry that was my late teens, I had a girl friend who got stuck in a K-hole.  For the uninitiated, a k-hole can result from taking Ketamine, a prescription drug meant for anesthesia but used recreationally for sedating fun (eek).  She related to me afterward that, for several hours, while everyone else simply saw her sitting on a couch unmoving, unresponsive to the world, she was locked inside her head.  She was trapped in a box on the side of a hill.  She was terrified, screaming, clawing her way out.  (Don’t do drugs, kids.)

When, yesterday, I shared my blog “A Teacher’s Prayer” with some select folks at work, I swandove headfirst into that box!  I compulsively refreshed my email while spiraling down into thoughts of: Oh g-d, why did I do that.  It’s not good, they won’t relate, no one will reply, I should have kept it to myself.  It’s too vulnerable, too honest to share.  This is work, what were you thinking?!

“You did a dumb thing,” in essence.

Then, finally, I stood up from my laptop, walked out of my kitchen, and began to talk to myself (occasionally aloud!):

Molly, you’re a good writer.  Molly, who cares what they think of it—it’s important to you.  Molly, you’re a 36-year old woman with a wealth of experience, and you’re on your way to a date.  You are a writer, singer, friend, teacher, human.  You are more than one emailed blog post!  Let it go.

Be in what’s happening right now.  You are not locked in a box on a hill with your negative swirling thoughts.  Don’t be an asshole to yourself.  Jeez.

And, so I did what I was taught: The next right thing.

The next right thing was to text my Goals Group ladies that I was feeling super vulnerable.  The next right thing was to shower, get dressed, and get out of the house.

Further, when I returned from the date and only two emails had come through, I booked a workout class for 20 minutes from then.  GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD!  Move your body to move your emotions!

Vul-Hole, you bugger.

Because here’s the final result: 6 hours after I emailed out that blog, my “big boss” replied to thank me deeply for my words … and then asked if I’d read it at today’s staff meeting.

Are you sh*tting me?!

The ultimate lesson however needs to have nothing to do with the result.  The fact that my boss, and several of the other faculty, emailed me to say they really appreciated my words has nothing to do with how I felt about it.

The true lesson here is about how I treat, and treated, myself while I was in a Vul-Hole.

Phase One: Feel elated, and kinda proud, at the courage it took to send it.

Phase Two: Feel deflated and self-immolating at what I’m now calling hubris, not courage.

Phase Three: BE IN MY DAY.  Don’t get mad/sad — Get Moving!

Phase Four:  Come back to my self.  Remember I’m a whole person with ups and downs, and that this event is one microscopic stitch in the tapestry of Time.

Phase Five: Feel pretty damn proud of myself for getting out of the Vul-Hole and acknowledge that my ability to do that is more than any accolades, likes, or dates could ever offer.


aging · curiosity · self-care

A Silver Fox with Twinkle Toes.

8.18.18I moisturized my toes last night.

Perhaps like you, I don’t give much thought to the care of my feet or toes, but as I was preparing for bed last night, Creme de Corps in hand, I figured why not.  They’re looking a little … well, wrinkly.

Last week a friend came by, and due to some sudden weight loss and new “in our 50s” naked time happening, she’s concerned about the crepey-ness of her belly skin.  (Hmm, I don’t usually moisturize my belly either!)

Reading Druckerman’s There Are No Grown-Ups, I reflect on the French ideology summed up as, “Être bien dans sa peau” — To be good in one’s skin.  To feel comfortable, confident, at any age. 

I’ve picked up copies of More magazine, geared toward women over 40, for a decade.

My first memoir was Anne Kreamer’s Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matters.

To say I’ve had my eye on how to age in a way that feels humble, appreciative, and graceful would be accurate.  To say I still fall into thought-traps about body image would also be accurate!

My friend is not scared of her aging, but aware that it’s different.  I’m aware I can’t eat dessert every day without seeing it on my body the next.  I’m aware there are more lines, more crepes, more gray on the lady carpet.

I’m aware of an excitement, too.  What will it be like next?  What new feature will I notice?  I like to age.  It’s a constant, every-day science experiment!  (And as a cancer survivor, it feels like a blessing to “get to” age and discover at all.)

Aging is ultimately something I can’t choose to do.  But it is something I can choose how I relate to.

Which is why I’ve gravitated toward learning from others what it’s like for them, their experience and their coming to grips.  Like most things in life, it’s all a matter of perspective.

enjoyed massaging cream into my toes last night.  I liked paying minute attention to who and how my body is, this lifelong partner, passenger, and driver.  This body houses my entire ability to be here, and I want to witness it with awe.

(And, sure, I wish my butt held any “cushion” at all but, “If wishes were horses…”!)

I don’t mean to sound Pollyanna (though I know I do, and that’s okay), but embracing my body and its aging—nay, development—is like embracing Time: it will happen.  Full Stop.

What kind of a person do I want to be when it does?


action · inspiration · self-care

That’s Better!


Not usually one for a “day in the life” blog, but it seems essential following yesterday’s declaration of time limiting my literary indulgences.  So what did I do yesterday with all my “new-found” time?!

Firstly, on the drive to work, I did listen to The Success Principles… but only after I tried to listen to NPR, to music, (dontwanna dontwanna… oh wow, this is really inspiring).  And so it was.  The author, Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame, was describing the “principle” of delegating anything that is not in our “core genius” or core competencies.  (I immediately texted my girl friend to ask for the number of her house cleaner!)

At work, during my break, I went outside where it was sunny and hot and I could watch my soon-to-be-graduated 8th graders play basketball while making gangly attempts at flirting with one another;)

On the drive home, my copy of The Year of Yes had expired, so I went into podcasts to see what Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations had for me — and they had Lin-Manuel Miranda.  *swoon!!*  I think his interview has been the most authentic of those I’ve heard, and I was thrilled to listen as I slogged through the traffic home, where we were all set upon by an awful accident that increased my 45-minute commute to 1.5 hours… BUT!  After Lin-Manuel, I began the Stephen Colbert interview and by the time I parked out front of my house, it was still sunny, warm, and light out.

Drop off my bags, change into stretchy pants and sneakers, douse on some sunscreen — and text a girl friend.  I arrived home to the pair of tickets I’d ordered to SF Symphony’s pipe organ recital — THE THING HAS OVER 8,000 PIPES!!!  I’m enamored of pipe organs and would go and diddle around on the one at Mills College when I was studying there.  The one in SF is grand, gorgeous, and I had a gift certificate, so I bought two hopeful tickets without an idea of who might accompany me.

Yesterday, I finally had a brainwave (with all my extra, non-dragon-eaten braincells) to connect with a girlfriend from Mills whose been active in a group of medieval songsters.  Yeah, that sounds like the right person.

So off into the sunshine I went, for an hour and a half!  I walked the cemetery/park I used to run, and talked with a heron and an oak tree and some sparrows.  I jogged the downhill and leapt into the running/flying part I love so much.  It was light out, warm, and easy.  I remembered how much I love to run/fly.

On the walk back, I texted with another girl friend and on arriving home went straight to the couch to read.  Physics.

I’d ordered a college text in January when I thought I’d be able to attend College of Marin’s physics class, but it turns out I need the prerequisite that’s only offered in the fall.  (The math-based prerequisite.)  But!  One step at a time.  So I lay on the couch, reading the dry humor of a physics professor for an hour, watching the time tick towards 8pm when I could finally open the 5th book of the Game of Thrones.

But there was still time to spare… I couldn’t open it til 8:00… what to do??

Well, I could floss?  Okay.  I could do those dishes in the sink?  Okay.  Ah, and here’s my Mills singing girlfriend agreeing to accompany me in May.  And now it’s 8:01!

Perfect.  Truly, perfect.


boundaries · self-care · service

“You can’t save anyone.”


When ordinarily I’ve heard this phrase, I’ve bristled.  Is it something in me, something wrong with me that I can’t?  If I try harder or fix myself more, will I then be able to?  What if I really really love them?

However, last week, a friend said this declarative sentence to me, and I replied laughingly, “What a relief!”  Phew!  Jeez, that really takes me off the hook now, doesn’t it?

I can’t save anyone.  I don’t have to keep trying, adjusting, modifying, cajoling, coercing, monitoring, mothering.  I can lay it the f* down … and continue working on what I’m really here to work on: Me.

There’s not nearly as much work as there used to be, but certainly a lifetime’s worth.  Which is good, because you stop growing, you start dying!  But overall, I feel healthier now than at many other points in my life.

I feel more able to accept that other people have their own row to hoe, and no amount of my overseeing can change or improve or lessen their work.  I once told my (as of this past week ex-) boyfriend:( that I felt like a sword-fighter against his darkness, and that I needed him to take the sword.  To fight his own battle against his own internal foes.

The rub is, truly, that he never asked me to fight that battle for him, but I leapt in suit of armor and all and said, “Alright beast, let’s go!”  And then I said, “Omigod I’m tired,” and then I said, “This is not a battle I can win. Here, you take it.”

Fighting others’ darkness is a long-earned habit of mine, the daughter of an untreated manic-depressive.  When the yawning darkness of depression descends upon the woman who is to care for you, as a child with few tools, all you can do is set aside your own needs to try to fight her darkness so she can possibly help defend you, too.  And lo, codependence is born:  if you’re okay, I’m okay.

Yet though this is a long-worn caul of mine, that does not mean it fits, makes sense, is healthy, or … is sane!  And it is up to me to stop jumping in to every person’s fight.

Indeed, “coincidentally,” as all this boundary-strengthening/awareness has been taking place in the last few weeks, I’ve had 4 people reach out to me to help them with some self-help work they’re doing (yes, I see the irony there).  At some times, I would have leapt in (Sure man, let’s slay that darkness! How much of me do you need?), but these past few weeks, I’ve taken account of who I know these folks to be and what kind of energy I truly have for assisting them.

And my answer has been, No.  “Thank you for asking, but I’m full up on service right now.”  “I’m grateful you thought of me, but I’m only available to be friends on the path right now.”  “I’m very glad I got to serve for a while, but I need to leave your committee.”

There are voices within that chide it’s selfish or miserly to say No.  But, I imagine that one day, when my boundaries are more firm—when I don’t run for my longsword every time someone says, “Hello”—that I’ll be more able and available for service to people … but for today, for now, saying no to them is saying yes to me.

And that, friends, is progress.

(And yes, home sick with the flu this week—hence no blog—I’ve been reading Game of Thrones and all about longswords.) 😉


self-care · shopping · success

“I’m Feeling Very Olympic Today!”

2.13.18 olympic.jpg

(One of my favorite lines from the movie, Cool Runnings, and utterly appropriate lately.)

Perhaps not surprisingly, the information I’m receiving from my “expert” sources is like sitting in an echo chamber:

Stretch beyond your current comfort zone.  Be curious about how to approach things.  Don’t limit yourself to your present reality.  Take action.  Make a plan.  Measure progress.  Establish accountability.

Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, and Brian Grazer are all touting the same advice: Do more to be more.

The movie quote has been scrolling through my mind as I’ve recently taken action in various areas of my life, one being “spending out.”  This is a phrase coined (to me) by Gretchen Rubin in her Happiness books and which I related to immediately:  We don’t buy things we need; we put off purchasing them and make due with moth-eaten, or sample packets, or simply without; we deny ourselves the replenishment (literally and spiritually) of the pleasures and efficiencies of life.

Every month, I write a spending plan that includes line items such as clothing, entertainment, personal care.  And for as many years as I’ve kept a spending plan, I have “fundged” money from these line items to make up for deficits caused by, say, an unexpected parking ticket, more eating out, or balancing out some other “necessary” line item.  This has meant that, for months on end, I go without spending the money I’ve allotted and planned to spend.

Now, surely, NOT spending money may be a value trumpeted by our society — SAVE YOUR DIXIE CUPS! — but in a case like mine, I deprive myself for months on end, feel edgy and dissatisfied, and mostly, I just feel like I’m not moving forward in life, no matter the numbers on my paycheck.

So, in an effort to “Do more to be more,” I have been spending out.  In January, I spent from my “Entertainment” line: I bought tickets to the symphony to see West Side Story (phenomenally delightful); I bought my very first series package from the SF Opera (my favorite, Tosca, was a part of the package, and I get 50% off for being a teacher!); and I spent the $3.99 to stream a beloved video at home with my sweetheart (Hot Tub Time Machine… they can’t all be operas!).

I spent in “Personal Care” by setting up a recurring delivery of my favorite facial moisturizer, instead of slowly scraping through various samples and ending up with breakouts or dry skin.  I got a pedicure!  I can’t recall the last time I’d had one.

In February, so far, I totally scored in “clothing.”  As I’ve gotten older, my ideas around what clothing purchases I make have become more stringent as my ethics have solidified: no first-press clothing.  What I’ve done for a few years, then, is to shop at thrift stores.  I’ve found some crazy prizes, but for the most part, the clothing from “thrift” stores can be pilled, worn-out, and not very stylish.  So I simply go without.

Last year, however, I began to haunt this one consignment store in a wealthier part of town.  And, boy, howdy, have I done well there.

But I hadn’t been in over 6 months.  I hadn’t spent in my clothing line for that long.  I have been depriving myself.  And I hate it.

This past Friday afternoon, I shopped.  I shopped so hard.

What was remarkable to me about this shopping trip was the abundance of “manifesty” items I was able to find: the oxblood motorcycle-style leather jacket (a la Emma Swan of Once Upon a Time); the knee-high leather boots (size 11!); the happ’nin oxford leather shoes (to replace the fading bronze ones you see at the top of this blog).  I have wanted each of these items … for years.

And as I exited the store beneath the darkening sky, the last customer of the night, a smile pasted, eyes widened, heart spun, I felt prosperous.  I felt right-sized.  I felt, f*cking Olympic.



doubt · relationships · self-care



There is a subtle, ever-present equation being solved in my brain by the minute.  To be happy in this moment, do I need a little more rest or a little more activity?  To be happy in this lifetime, do I need a little more savings or a little more spending?  To be happy in this relationship, do I need a little more stability or a little more spontaneity?

This weighing and measuring circulates incessantly that old GPS tagline beneath all my thoughts: “Recalculating.”

I’m listening to the audiobook of Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before, a book about the formation of and adherence to habits.  Of the 4 tendencies she describes, I most clearly identify with “The Obliger,” with some elements of Questioner, Upholder, and Rebel.  As an obliger, I am most apt to complete something I’ve set out to do if I have accountability.  In fact, all the positive habits I’ve formed over the last dozen years, I realize, have been as the result of making an explicit or implicit pact with someone (or something, like a daily vitamin pill dispenser):

  • Stay Sober & Solvent?  Accountable to a group of people doing the same.
  • Run a 10K?  Accountable to a running group doing the same.
  • Write Morning Pages?  Accountable to my Artist’s Way group from 2008.
  • Make fresh coffee in the morning (instead of nuking one pot all week)?  Accountable to my boyfriend’s insistence that I have nice things!

What harangues me is the more insidious obliging that I engage in, where the motivation is much less clean:

  • Return the guilt-inducing phone call from my father?  Accountable to:  A) “Good daughter”ing or B) Genuine desire.
  • Remain a mentor to someone who is clearly not a fit?  Accountable to: A) “Good mentor”ing or B) Saving them from themselves.
  • Stay in a relationship peppered with my doubts from the start?  Accountable to: A) My partner’s wishes; B) Saving my partner from himself; C) My mom(!); D) My genuine desire for and love of him.

Where does my obliger nature veer into codependence rather than self-support?  And with every new piece of information — with every glance, hug, laugh, anger, sorrow — I calculate again, an always-running app in the background, doomed to refresh infinitely.