Friday, July 29, 2005

Bliggity Blog Blough!!!

According to the counter, I have posted over 50 blogs since February! Hooray, now I just need to get someone to read them...

I was talking to the hub this morning and he said that I should try to be funny. I told him that I think I am funny, on occasion. He still never reads my blog, so how would he know, anyway?

To be honest, I carp on about no one reading my stuff, but I don't read anyone else's stuff either. When I first got started, I would go through the profiles to see what I had in common with other bloggers, but that lasted about 10 days. I found that I have a lot in common with most bloggers in that we are all bored wanna be writers. Some people have had a flash of fame, like I did briefly in 2001, and others labor in online obscurity (like I do now) hoping for that off chance that someone will stumble across their work. It's a living.

I don't even promote my blog. I have friends whom I could get to read this, but then I get all nervous that my writing is corny and too personal. Do any of my friends really want to read about my tomato plants or my days spent picking lent from my navel? I'm sure they don't care to read about my blue moods or my secret love for all things British (yeah, it's true, I'm addicted to the BBC).

And I don't write overly political stuff all the time either. I go through phases when I feel like being outraged, but then it gets too tiring to keep that up. If I were getting paid to write, I could probably manage it for a while, but in the end, I'd get bored with it.

I am a temperamental writer. I deal in emotions a lot, which is probably a good thing for an essayist, better for a novelist and perfect for a poet. Right now, I am none of those things. I am more of a doodler, a person who writes little ditties to kill time. This is supposed to be practice, and I'll keep at it...until something better comes along.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Build It and They Will Come

Today Marc Fisher wrote an interesting column about the absence of Starbucks in certain parts of the region. He focused on the few Starbucks offerings in Prince George's County, home to the nation's highest population of affluent African Americans.

A few years ago, there was an urban legend email that circulated about certain companies having a "non-urban mandate" which was code for not locating in black and brown neighborhoods. It listed about 20 companies that would not locate among us, and Starbucks topped the list, along with Best Buy and Eddie Bauer. The email urged a boycott, but to date, I haven't heard that black folks had stopped buying TVs and oversized clothes.

But apparently, the absence of Starbucks in certain neighborhoods hasn't hurt their bottom line. Starbucks has populated downtown DC like a family of bunny rabbits. And they are always crowded with people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. In some places, there are three Starbucks in one neighborhood, all within walking distance of each other. They are about as common as CVS.

But in some ways the article is right, Starbucks is seemingly everywhere in certain parts of the region, and scarse in others. There is no Starbucks east of the Anacostia River, nor is there one anywhere near me in NE (the closest one is in Union Station). Over the line, there are two Starbucks in and around College Park, but according to the article, there are only three more in the entire county. What gives?

It is easy to say that race plays a role, and I think that is exactly the problem. But the problem is not Starbucks', it is ours. Black people are not entrepreneurial--we are consumers. We would rather spend our money on purchases instead of investments. In order to get businesses to come into our neighborhoods, we have to be willing to invest in them ourselves.

In both DC and PG, the mantra needs to be, "If we want it, let's build it ourselves!" In the old days, that is exactly what black folks did when the white businesses refused to serve us. We built in our own neighborhoods, so why can't we do that now? Surely someone has the expertise needed to own and operate the types of service-oriented businesses we crave. If we don't, then who says someone can't learn? This isn't rocket science...

Bottom line, it should not be up to remote corporate officials to decide that who is worthy of patronizing their stores. If we built our own coffee shop in downtown Upper Marlboro or on 12th Street in NE, then Starbucks, Cosi or another corporate coffee conglomerate would take notice, because they'd realize that it was an untapped market. But even more importantly, it would empower us as a people to pursue ownership. Honestly, we could live without another Starbucks because it would be better to encourage local business ownership than to spend money on overpriced coffee beans from Seattle.

I'm talking big because I think big. In the words of Ella Baker, this is bigger than a cup of coffee--its about who owns the store.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Dealing with my Demons

I finally got the blood test that I've been avoiding for months. I went to the doctor back in December and was scheduled to get blood work so that she could evaluate my cholesterol. The previous test showed that I had elevated levels. So, I finally went to get the follow-up test last Monday, and the results came in this week and were worse. My cholesterol is still high.

This is the type of wake-up call that other people who lead dangerous lives get. Instead, someone as boring vanilla as me gets it at 31 years old, as if I've led the type of food-binging lifestyle that affects other people twice my age and weight. This is devestating. And it is made worse by the fact that I've really been trying to lower it through diet and exercise this past year.
Of course, I could do better. I can stand to lose about 15 pounds, maybe 20. I could drink a lot more water. I could try to stay calm more often. I could take a walk on the treadmill instead of sitting around watching TV. All of these things would be improvements, but it isn't like I'm 50 pounds overweight.

This is the manifestation of a problem that I have refused to acknowledge for some time. I am unhappy about the general state of my life right now. I worry about everything. I beat myself up over small things. I fail a lot. And when I get like this, I eat.

Mind you, I don't have anything close to an eating disorder. I don't binge and I don't abuse food. If anything, I do what most people do when they get lonely or upset--I palliate. If I feel particularly stressed about something, I drink coffee or other drinks with caffeine. When it is close to that time of the month, I eat salty foods like chips. Or maybe I get the rare sweet tooth and I'll get something with chocolate. But overall, I eat pretty well. So I don't get this.

The long and the short of all of this is that I have to change or I could end up taking medication for the rest of my life. I could get sick, have a heart attack or a stroke. I could die...

So I know what I have to do, and on the top of the list is to eliminate stress. It's time to get re-aligned again, to get rid of anything that is making me sick. That means getting rid of projects that are long overdue for completing, getting paid for work that has been completed, and finally getting some real work that pays on time. It also means focusing on those things that make me happy and finding balance.

I can make it. I will make it.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Credit Where Credit is Due

I am taking this opportunity to acknowledge my mother. She taught for many years in the public school system and accomplished a great deal. She taught her students to expect more from themselves, something that kids desparately need today. I am speaking up for my mother because I feel that she deserves some acknowledgment every now and then.

There was the article in today's paper that got me to singing my mother's praises. The article was about a certain young actress from this area, who shall remain nameless. She has a starring role in an upcoming movie, and the article is one of those homegirl-makes-good pieces. I read through the article for several reasons: (1) I always read these types of articles; (2) it is about a local black woman who has done well, and those articles are rare; and (3) the actress is a former student of my mother's.

Unfortunately, the actress does not mention that she was a student of my mother's. She talks about her struggles and about how she is just now getting her big break, but in between mentioning the work she did in high school and college, she never mentions performing with my mother's drama club in junior high school.

I vividly remember my mother's drama students because I essentially grew up with them. As a matter of fact, I harbored a certain amount of resentment towards them because it seemed that the drama kids got more from my mother than I did. She was a surrogate mother to many of her students, and some developed major feelings for her (in the form of some serious school-boy crushes). In turn, she was devoted to them and took her role as their teacher/mentor/mother very seriously. If someone did something stupid, she chastised them just like a mother. If someone needed some encouragement, she routed for them just like a mother.

So, I was disappointed not to see some small mention of my mother in the article. I remember this young lady, and I was the one who told my mother about her a few years back when she got her first big movie role.

My mother had taught English/Language Arts for a few years, and one year she was assigned to teach drama and public speaking as well. Although she had never taught drama before, she entered her students in a city-wide Shakespeare festival to perform Macbeth. I remember that she spent several weeks preparing the students for their scene and that she made the costumes herself. She wanted them to make a good impression because she knew that her students were the underdogs. These were inner-city kids, and at the time, no one expected them to be able to perform Shakespeare. Well, in classic "Remember the Titans" style, my mother's students were outstanding, and I distinctly remember the way she raved about the performance of a certain actress who was Lady Macbeth.

Mind you, all of this took place when I was less than 10 years old, and my mother went on to teach drama to many more students through the years. Yet I still remember this event in particular, so why wouldn't this actress recount any of this for the article?

Of course, newspaper and magazine articles get editted, so it is very possible that my mother was acknowledged in an earlier version of the article. Well, I really don't believe that, just like I don't believe that this actress is claiming to be the same age as me (she is at least five years older). People say all kinds of things, and I guess they forget all kinds of things too.

The way I see it, everyone of us owes a debt to those who helped make it possible for our current success. None of us achieves any success without the support, nurturing and guidance of others, namely our teachers. That's what those long-winded Oscar speeches are about--giving thanks.

Now I can't say that I am any better when it comes to acknowledging the influence others have had in my life. I too have been forgetful and neglectful. I've had some great teachers in my life, some people who truly encouraged me and believed in what I had to offer. I can still name some of them: Mrs. Savoy (elementary school principal); Mills (2 and 6 grades); Mrs. Darasaw (pre-K); Mrs. Tucker (elementary science); Mrs. Brooks (dance); Father Moore (middle school religion); Mrs. Page (high school chemistry); and most of the English Department at Spelman. I've received encouragement from a wide range of people outside of the classroom as well--people from my church, my peers from school, and my co-workers from my various jobs. Lastly, I have received enormous encouragement from my family, especially from my parents.

We all forget things. I forget to do mundane tasks on a daily basis. Yet we also remember. I can recall events from my childhood as if they occurred yesterday. What I am remembering about the drama kids and the Shakespeare festival doesn't even qualify as my experience. So I may be overstating my mother's influence in this woman's life--her current fame may be due to sheer determination to succeed. But, I can't help but to think that my mother deserves a little credit for her fame. After all, she had to start somewhere. We all did.

So, here's to my mother!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Blame the Lesbians!

Rev. Willie Wilson recently declared that lesbianism will destroy the black family! It's true, hide your daughters! While delivering a sermon, Wilson described how difficult it was for his son to get a date for his prom because all the girls in the class were lesbians (the non-gay girls were too ugly for him). He didn't say what his son looks like...

This is the same guy who ran for mayor a few years ago, and this drama proves that the city dodged a bullet by re-electing Mayor Williams. In a progressive, diverse city, we can't afford to have idiots in public office. We need to have politicians who are sensitive to the needs of the entire city, and not just the needs of teenage boys who want to find dates.

Although the gay community got all hot and bothered after Wilson's comments were printed in the newspaper, they'll get over this. It's not like Willie Wilson is anything to them anyway. He's just a old hustler [ur, umm preacher] who probably says stupid stuff like this all the time. He's not an elected official who represents a constituency, like say...Marion Barry, who didn't exactly repudiate Wilson for his incindiary remarks. Barry slithered his way out of this one by saying that he would *talk* to Wilson. Here's my interpretation of what might happen:

Barry: Hey man, you're getting a lot of heat for making those comments about black lesbians. What are you going to do about it?

Wilson: Nothing. Why should I apologize? It's true, those man-hating lesbians have runied my son's prom. So now who's he supposed to take?

Barry: He could take a white girl. You know how they love the brothers.

Wilson: Do you honestly expect him to take a white girl to his prom in DC, Chocolate City? There ain't no white girls in SE.

Barry: Naw, man they taking over this city. I saw some white people walking around on MLK the other day. Maybe he can find a nice Spanish girl. They live all over NW these days.

Wilson: Yeah, maybe that girl, Maria, who cleans the church can go with him. But wait, she don't speak enough English. How would she know that my son was asking her out? What else you got?

Barry: Well, how about one of those girls who work behind the counter at the corner store. What are they, Korean? What about one of them?

Wilson: Huh? One of those little Korean girls that look like boys? What would that look like, my son at the prom with a little Korean boy in a dress?

Barry: I don't know what to tell you, man. Maybe he should ask one of the ugly girls. Hey, can I check them out before he decides...

Wilson: See the trouble those damn lesbians have caused? The black family is doomed!!!

(Okay, that may have been one of the lamest exchanges since Paris and Nicole attempted to explain why they are so popular, but you get the point.)

And to think that all this time, everyone's been so focused on how black women are not finding suitable marriage partners because of all the brothers who are either in prison, out of work, or dead. And all those so-called straight men on the down low? Clearly, it's the lesbians who made them that way!

In reality, the reasons for the peril within the black family are much more complex. Sure, there is the usual litany of social ills, but the situation also has a lot to do with respect. I'm not at all suggesting that people chose the gay lifestyle, but I can't help but think that there is a percentage of these women who decided that given the choice between an abusive man and a loving woman, there was no contest. And as long as boys are boys and girls are girls, and hormones rage out of control during adolescence, there will never be an epidemic of homosexuality. If anything, these kids are exploring their sexuality, and this is merely a phase. If some of them find out that they are in fact, gay, then so be it. It's better to find that out now than to wait ten years down the line to *discover* someone's hidden sexuality. Just ask Terri McMillan...

In the final analysis, this is the same type of scape-goating that has taken place for years within the black community. We always point fingers at each other for the failings of our families. Rev. Wilson has only added his voice to the chorus of those who blame "strong" black women for making manhood irrelevant. Soon, there will be the counter-point advanced by one of the self-described strong sisters who will recite the many reasons why black men aren't good enough for them, and the debate will continue.

I say we all need to take a look in the mirror. Maybe the problem isn't so much a collective one, but merely result of our individual failures in taking personal responsibility for our actions. After all, I am ultimately responsible for whatever good or bad I do in a relationship, right?

If not, then I can just pass the blame onto someone else, like maybe the Canadiens...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Crash into a Ditch

I saw "Crash" over the weekend, and I'm not buying it. I don't believe people think that way, let alone verbalize their feelings in that manner. No way. I thought it was a pretty good movie, but it only scratches the surface of human interaction. There are a thousand and one possible responses to any one event, and race is not the default reaction, it is merely one possibility.

While everyone is hyper-sensitive when it comes to race, we are not so high-strung as to be trigger happy. The movie assumes that everyone's underlying feelings about race live just below the surface of our regular day-to-day interactions, and that any slight thing can set things off. In other words, race relations are like little atom bombs inside people's heads.

I still don't buy it. As strongly as I believe that people are more racist than they care to admit (and we all are), I think that we have evolved to the point where we have a decent amount of impulse control. We are all aware of our conduct in public, and we know how to keep our feelings in check. We also know that our daily interactions involve more than just color and ethnicity, but they also deal with class, gender, and religion. While I might get angry with the black girl at McDonald's for screwing up my order, her error isn't any worse than that committed by the white waitress who forgets to bring me a glass of water at a sit-down restaurant.

A few weeks ago, word got out the Oprah had been barred from entering the Hermes store in Paris because it had closed. The initial story was that she had been prevented from coming in because the store had experienced recent troubles with theft from North Africans, and Oprah looked suspicious enough that the salespeople refused to let her in. Then the story began to change and by the end of the week, Hermes had issued an apology and Oprah had decreed that she would dedicate an entire hour of her show to the experience. In a statement, she described this incident as her "crash" moment.

Please! As the story morphed from one day to the next, it was revealed that the salespeople immediately recognized Oprah, but still prevented her from entering because the store was closed (and had been for over 30 minutes) and there were preperations underway for a private event. So, she had not been turned away because of her race, it was just the normal course of business.

There have been countless times when I attempted to beat the clock to shop when I knew that a store was about to close. And my success has been about even--some days I make it in before the doors lock, other times, I have had the door slammed in my face. I don't take it as a racial slight because I realize that salespeople have lives, the store has hours, and I should have planned for an earlier arrival. The fact that I have strong intentions and money to shop are irrelevant because rules are rules.

But in Oprah's world, rules that are inconvenient should not apply to her. As the most recognizable black woman on the planet (and probably slightly more important that Condi Rice), she apparently felt that her need to shop trumped whatever need there was for the store to remain closed. Sure, as a woman of means she should be able to get her way, but not in every situation, even though she has enough money to demand otherwise.

If this were Martha Stewart, I believe that the store would have remained closed (but due to her hyper-efficiency, Martha would have arrived before the store closed). There is no racist implication, especially since the salespeople recognized her. The great asset to being Oprah Winfrey is that people always recognize you (just ask all those black women who get identified as Oprah by mistake).

The real truth is that like other rich and powerful people, Oprah doesn't like to be told no. The rest of us mortals deal with *no* on a regular basis, but to the rich, no is the ultimate affront. No is a denial of power; it is a snub. It is the proverbial finger in your eye. No is the most powerful little word in the world.

When the Queen of England tells her sons that she doesn't wish for them to get divorced, they ignore her and do it anyway. When the Pope told George W. not to go to war in Iraq, W ignored him and fired away. When Martha told the judge that she was not guilty and just wanted to go home to her lemon trees, the judge told her no and sent her off to jail. When Moses went to Pharoah and told him to let the Israelites go, Pharoah said no and woke up one morning to find his son dead. No happens, even to the greatest among us. When God told Adam not to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree, what did Adam do as soon as God wasn't looking? Oprah, welcome to the world of no.

Unfortunatly, Hermes acted cowardly and immediately issued mea culpas for their actions. No doubt, the employee who locked the door has been fired, and the watch Oprah intended to buy has already been delivered without her having to pay. By the time the "Crash" show airs in September, her studio audience will also receive a carload of gifts from Hermes.

If there is a lesson to derive from Oprah's experience or from the movie, it is that people *crash* into each other for a variety of reasons. The history of racism in this country and around the world certainly makes us more aware, so it stands to reason that people do everything they can to avoid each other on that basis. Thus, race doesn't propel us toward each other at any greater speed than anything else. In Oprah's case, her sense of entitlement collided head on with Hermes, which felt just as entitled as she did (after all, she can't possibly be the first rich person to make similar demands).

In the final analysis, we all crash, usually when we aren't paying attention. It happens when we let down our guard or take our eyes off the road. It is an inevitable part of life, but we recover, get back to our routines, and do our best to make better choices.

In the future, I think Oprah will now call ahead...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Chaos, Idiocy, and Other Signs of the Times

It isn't like I haven't wanted to blog, I just haven't had the time. Turning on my computer takes tremendous effort, because there are a ton of things I need to do when I'm on. Either that means that I am very lazy or more disorganized than I care to admit.

Anyway, lots of things going on, so I'll begin with the most pressing news of the day:

I am a thief. Today I wandered around Fresh Fields/Whole Foods looking for something to eat, which is always a bad idea when you are hungry. I didn't feel inspired about anything, and after going back and forth through the salad bar with nothing to show for it, I finally decided to get a deli wrap. The salmon wrap caught my eye, so I added it to my basket in exchange for the paltry container of sushi that I had been considering. Then I added a very expensive bag of gourmet potato chips and Odwalla Superfood green drink. This was going to be one of the most expensive take out lunches in history.

Except that when it came time to pay for my groceries, the check out guy forgot to scan my salmon wrap. I noticed immediately, but I didn't say anything... I paid for the items he rung up, took my paper (not plastic) sack, escaped the chaos of the store, and headed for the car. I thought about going back to admit my sin, but my legs never actually turned back in the direction of the store. I got in my car and drove home filled with guilt, all the while telling myself that it wasn't worth going back to the store to pay the $5 I owed.

As I write, I am now eating the offending salmon wrap and I take comfort in the fact that it was probably made from farm raised, artificially red-dyed salmon, which I specifically banned from the house several months ago after a most disturbing PBS special, which now not only makes me a thief but also a hypocrite. In the car, I considered giving the wrap to a homeless person for lunch, but because it contains uncooked fish, and I wouldn't want anyone to get sick. Thus, it would be better for me to keep the wrap so in case there is something wrong with it, I am the one who would get sick which would serve me right for leaving the Whole Foods without paying for my food in the first place!

Ah, ethical dilemnas. In the final analysis, I don't want to get sick, I really do feel bad, and to prove it, I will continue to eat the wrap but I won't enjoy any of it. Furthermore, I will donate the $5 that I should have paid for it to a worthy cause as soon as I finish eating it.

See, all better now.

Onto other major news of the day: Today as I was walking through downtown to turn in some work (well before my Whole Foods excursion), I passed a radio station promotional vehicle that was parked on the sidewalk. At first I thought I might be able to win some concert tix to scalp on Ebay, but as I got closer I noticed that there was a crowd of people who were waiting to sign up for something, so I kept walking. Then the flashbulb of memory went off and I realized that it was the Luther Vandross Sympathy Card, and then I hurried to get away as quickly as possible.

It was yesterday morning when I first heard that the station planned to do this, and in between snoozing the alarm, I scorned the sheer stupidity of such a suggestion. When I saw it up close, I realized that not only was the idea stupid, but so were all of the people who had lined up on the sidewalk to participate.

Just another example of how public "grief" has become even more ridiculous and random.

First of all, there was a train bombing in London today, so I would think that more of us would be concerned about public safety, especially near Metro stations (and of course, they were parked at the entrance of a major Metro station downtown). And I bet that several of those fools took the train specifically to that spot in order to sign the card...

Then you figure that none of these people, including the clueless radio station people actually knew Luther Vandross, so why sign a "card" of condolences for a man that you've never met? Sure, we all "knew" him through his music, the same way we "knew" Princess Diana through her photos. How many of us knew that his middle came from a box of pasta? If his family needed any reassurances that Luther was beloved, then what will be more meaningful, this card or his posthumous record $ales...

Finally, this is soooo random. When Ray Charles died, I don't recall a similar effort to remember him, and the same thing goes for Rick James, Barry White, Curtis Mayfield, or even Marvin Gaye (not that I would even remember). When Ossie Davis, the dean of black actors died earlier this year, there was no similar outpouring of public grief. But I bet that by this time next week, some idiot will be selling memorial t-shirts and damn near every middle aged black woman in America will have one to wear on casual Fridays or to the mall...

I'm venting here about black people again...(the piece that I plan to finish as soon as I donate that $5 to pay for that wrap made from that genetically-modified, artificially colored and flavored, tank-raised salmon).

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Cultivating More Bad Habits

I'm a full-blown TV addict. In the past few weeks since we our new TV came to life, I'm spending more and more time in front of the telly, so this might explain why I don't use the computer as often anymore. With 150 channels and counting, all of my time is spent finding something suitable to watch.

Of course, cable is replete with makeover shows (for the home, the straight guy/gal, gay pets, etc), re-runs, old movies, cartoons, music videos, pop-culture count-downs, home shopping infomercials, religious programming, around-the-clock news to make you snooze (or booze), and documentaries on every possible subject. Those faux celebreality "where are they now" shows are the icing on the cake. Why didn't I get cable sooner?

Of course, I was able to entertain myself just fine with the 7 very clear, 3 somewhat clear, and the 6 fuzzy channels we already had. But as our reception got worse, we realized that it was only a matter of time before we had to give in. When Rick's 35th belated birthday gift to himself arrived with no antenna attachment, and we could only watch DVDs and two fuzzy TV channels, it was finally time. In exchange for our 16 or so free access channels, we got 150, 100 of which we can totally do without.

Another very weird habit I've cultivated is working out crossword puzzles. It started innocently enough one night back in May when Rick and my brother went off to softball practice. I was reading through the paper and spotted an easy clue that I could answer and from that moment, I've been hooked. And it isn't just an addiction to the puzzles in the Post, it also includes the Post Express, the Examiner and the City Paper. The Magazine's Sunday puzzle is a little to difficult for me and I can't even imagine the NYTimes puzzle which is among the hardest.

So am I total freak yet? I mean, does anyone else out there keep a dictionary, an atlas, and mechanical pencils on hand to obsess, er solve crossword puzzles?

I have a multitude of bad habits, and it seems that the older I get the worse they get. I am still rather not-neat (Rick is the sloppy one), and while I breath sighs of relief when I watch that "Clean Sweep" show on the Style network and see other people's junk, it only reinforces the TV addiction thing. I have been back on the caffeine wagon again, and it is really bad this time around because I've been drinking it in the form of regular Coke in addition to Diet Coke. This only happens when my stress levels are high, which can only mean that I am: (a) nervous about something that hasn't happened yet, (b) nervous about something I forgot to do which will catch up to me and bite me in the ass pretty soon, or (c) just weak because the regular Coke has been in the house since Father's Day and I'm attracted to the pretty red cans. Potato chips are another weakness, along with chocolate, popcorn, hamburgers, and other food I binge on when depressed...or on my period.

So at least that mystery is solved--I'm not depressed.

I've lost weight, so I look a lot better these days, but my efforts to maintain are suffering from a severe lack of motivation. And I've got plenty of excuses:
  1. I don't ride my bike very often for fear of being jacked, killed or kidnapped (take your pick, I live in the city).
  2. I don't use my roller blades because as a grown-ass woman strapped into a helmet, wrist, elbow and knee pads, I would look pretty stupid skating all by myself.
  3. I can't used my tennis racket because I have no one to play with and I don't know how.
  4. I really didn't want the treadmill--it is just there for drying clothes.
  5. My New York City Ballet workout DVD has been viewed several times, and used even fewer times, which is better than I can say for the yoga/pilates book...
I could continue to beat myself up, but then isn't that just the way things are? There are the paragons of efficiency and accomplishment like Martha Stewart, Donald Trump and The Oprah. Then there are the rest of us--people who need passive-aggressive parents/spouses, work deadlines, and constant self-loathing to get things accomplished.

In a way, I'm so normal that I thank God my issues and bad habits aren't interesting enough for TV. Because then I'd be up all night watching it.