“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me” — Stuart Smally
For those of us of a certain age, we remember the Stuart Smally pseudo-self -help skits by Al Franken on Saturday Night Live.
The catchphrase became an oft quoted in regular conversation, both joking and more than a bit serious.
In reality, there are an awful lot of resources out there that tell us about self-talk, about taking a strong stance, about giving ourselves positive affirmation phrases to bolster our courage and bring us to great heights.
Good words are all well and good, but do they actually work?
Here’s the thing, all the pretty words in the world are not a replacement for the discipline needed to actually take that first step.
Mohammad Ali told himself and the world that he was the greatest fighter that ever lived, then he went out there in the ring and proved it.
He did that not because of his hype words, but by putting in the training work well before the fight. The kind of work that’s less pretty words and all the more necessary.
What I’m saying is: The road less traveled doesn’t get traveled until you strap on your boots and walk it.
Self-care and self-discipline matter a whole lot more to your success than the perfect laser cut vinyl words stickered to your wall.
Live, laugh, love is all well and good, but you have to live by taking care of yourself, drinking enough water and for god’s sake eat a salad now and again.
You have to laugh, even when you are in such a dark place that laugher feels hollow. Sometimes it takes work to find anything funny, but once it’s there, the laugher soars.
And love, a lovely romantic notion but real true love takes hard work, which is, unto itself, cotton candy words. We all talk about “how hard” it is to make a marriage work, but you have to commit yourself to actually doing the work, to sticking around when everything in your brain says to run, to firmly holding that trash can while the love of your life barfs their brains out three days before the wedding.
Okay, that last one may be just a bit too personally specific.
How about this one:
Huh, really? Pretty sure that is impossible. There will ALWAYS be someone more than happy believe the bad stuff about you, even if you were the best person that ever lived.
Shouldn’t it be more like “Live in such a way that if someone spoke badly of you, it might make you sad for a little while, and then maybe you get a little drunk or eat french fries about it. Then you either hold on to that pain for a lifetime or you talk to your therapist about it and find a way to move on.”
I know talking about “doing the work” isn’t crazy cool, fun, and sexy. It doesn’t look cute on a shirt with butterflies and shooting stars. But that is how you get where you want to go, and by that I mean real, tangible results take effort.
Which is not to say you shouldn’t have some fighting words in your pocket to inspire when it is go time. I’m trying to say that catchy words are fine, but they don’t get the work done, so don’t get so lost in the memes, wallpaper or the “inspirations” aisle at the craft store that you forget to focus.
I mean, if you want to chant a phrase to get you fired up, get you off the couch and augment your inner motivation, then by all means!
I myself love to watch YouTube videos of tribal Maori doing a Haka dance. The strength and passion gets me fired UP to go out there and kick some butt.
I am not Maori so I try not to appropriate anyone’s culture, but I admit sometimes in the bathroom before a big presentation, I’ll stick my tongue out to my reflection in the mirror and make my best Haka face. AAAAGH!
Then I go out there and do the work. I stand tall and get it done. If I succeed or I fail, it wasn’t because of my affirmation phrases or my faces, but because I put in the time, dug deep, and did the work.
It’s late September and to a New Mexican’s heart that means green chile! And lots of it. The smell of roasting peppers mixed with the wood smoke from piñon logs burning in fireplaces across the state means Autumn.
And it means heartache for a displaced New Mexican like me.
So imagine my delight to be strolling in my local Whole Foods grocery and see this:
While I was happy, this paltry display also made me very, very sad.
So, what, I am supposed to pick up a *handful* of green chile and take it home? Sure, I know how to roast my own, but c’mon here people.
I want to see big burlap bags and big burly men behind a got-dang flame thrower.
I mean, the flame thrower is part of the whole experience! In Fall one goes from the whooosh of the burner in a hot air balloon in the morning to the blast of a flamethrower outside a grocery store in the afternoon.
The abuse of propane in all forms is built into the DNA of a New Mexican.
That’s where I come from! These are my people!
Photo of the puny display of green chile is Copyright 2013, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone5, the Camera+ app, and sadness in my heart.
Dear Package of Fruit of the Loom chones that were on sale at Target:
Look, let me just start with the end in mind. It’s not going to work out between us. Mostly because of the way you have behaved around my hind end.
Oh sure, the early days were grand. Glorious. Filled with anticipation. You lured me over to your side by wearing that fabulous “on sale” tag from my local Target store. Your price was so shiny and new and your colors, oh your colors. Yes.
I’d been with my old yonderwear brand for years. And years. YEARS I TELL YOU, and I had been wanting to get some new pairs since time makes fools of us all, including rear-covers. Yes, the holes, the leg elastic is shot, the droopy nature of the old drawers made me long for something fresh.
The store for the usual chones is a bit of a drive and I thought hey, maybe it’s time for a change. Maybe I can make a new friend with a new brand and I won’t have to drive over hell and tarnation and deal with a jacked up parking lot just to get undergarments.
Just as I was thinking this, you entered my life. There I was already at Target and your price was right and you looked cute and I thought “why not?”
Why not, indeed.
I flipped over your simple package and I looked at the sizing chart on the back. I checked and double checked and yes, I bought the right size in the right colors in the right style.
Oh how excited I was to bring you home and try you on! I’d also procured a new nightgown so I looked forward to all of the newness and shiny and happy and joy in my house!
I did hesitate for a moment. Yes, I did. I also walked over and considered another brand of undershorts but they were more expensive. You got me on price. Oh ho ho, you sure got me.
I put you into my basket and then took you out again. Then I decided I was being a fool and put you back in there.
That warm Saturday evening I took a nice long bath, scrubbed up, shaved the ol’ legs and then toweled off, ready for my new garments.
I opened your pack, picked a color and slid on my new skivvy fashions. Ah yes, they fit perfectly. Excellent!
But then, oh then, I began to move around. I picked up some towels and hung them up, put some things in the hamper, emptied out the trash in my room.
The bending over. That’s where things took a long bad trip. Instead of being supportive and helpful, each time I bent over you packed up shop and moved north.
Very. Far. North.
And so I’d forcefully put you back in your assigned location only to have you shoot North again at every turn.
Twenty minutes. That’s how long you lasted on my nether regions. Twenty. Minutes.
Then you were cursed at and quickly removed in favor of a pair of the ol’ standby. The brand that knows my curves and cherishes them so. I did a bend test and nary a problem in Ol’ Faithful. Everyone stayed in their assigned campground and didn’t drift in wrong directions.
So here’s the thing Fruit of the Loom knickers…it’s not me, it’s you. Very much you. One hundred and ten percent YOU.
I’m so disappointed, and so ashamed I cheated on my loyal and trusted brand.
Ok, here’s the thing. I didn’t MEAN to purchase tweenie teeny bopper music. I really didn’t. I swear it!
It all started out innocently enough. I was in my car. It was a bright sunny day. I had the windows rolled down and I was feeling all of my wild oats.
I was at work and driving across town midday to the other building and going to see one of my favorite coworkers and life seemed pretty darn good.
The car radio was tuned to the local popular station and I caught this sort of fun little summertime kind of song with a break in the middle for some Flo Rida.
Now, I love me some Flo Rida. Not ashamed about that.
The song was something about some boy singing about the girl being a “troublemaker” and I thought the Flo Rida break gave it some gravitas.
I found my rear quarters grooving to the beat and a hand tapping the ol’ steering wheel. I smiled a little about all the times some cute boy in my life has called me a troublemaker. The spring-into-summer sun and nice memories worked for me.
Later that day I went home and went to YouTube and watched the super cutie cute Brit boy doing his little thang lip synching to the song. I watched another of his videos and was charmed then went straight to iTunes and bought his whole album.
I fired the thing up and started listening to all fourteen tracks.
Oy vey. That’s when I realized my mistake.
The two songs I’d heard are the best of the album. All the rest are overproduced crap. Bouncy tasteless boy band crappitty crap.
And I bought the whoooole album. Damn.
When I realized I’d simply bought the one boy version of One Direction I was quite embarrassed. Very embarrassed. Shocked, sad, grief, and then I laughed. A lot.
Then I turned on Stevie Ray Vaughan to cleanse my ear canals. That helped me get right.
As my blues friend used to say at the end of the night, “Did you get healed?”
Thanks to a beat up old Fender and the talents of a good Texas boy, I sure did.
Too bad about the electronic copy of the bad stuff. I can’t fling electronic bits out the car window while doing 85 mph on I-25 north out of Las Cruces. You know the place, right near the first rest stop? It’s where I once flung a good portion of an ex-boyfriend’s cassette tape based music collection, just out of spite.
It’s a real fine resting place. I would fly to my fair New Mexico just to get it done.
And so as I was perusing my Facebook timeline this morning, idly reading posts while breakfast was consumed, I came across a post from Chile Monster, a good group of folks that I follow.
Contained in their post was a link to an article about a woman who had moved to New Mexico and her first experience dining at Albuquerque restaurant Little Anita’s. She details how over time she learned to love green chile, and now living in Colorado, she found another location of Little Anita’s where she could get her fix.
In the comment section of that article was the following quote:
I have the greatest disdain for it. Green “chili” is disgusting gruel. Chile verde is supposed to be made from tomatillos.
— Diego Raya
When I read that, I actually jumped a little as though I’d been touched by a live electrical current.
Then I said aloud to my phone in the quiet dark of my living room, “Whaaat the f*****k?”
It was at this point that I laughed. This had to be a joke. The Good Man wearies of me raging against tomatillos. In California, green salsa and green enchilada sauce are made solely with tomatillos and thus I avoid them at all costs. Occasionally there are some jalapenos thrown in. All heat and no flavor.
That is, as the internets would say, weak sauce.
Why anyone would prefer tomatillos over green chile is a mystery to me. There is actually room in the world for them both. I believe true chile verde has both, but I won’t quibble with the adamant commenter.
In the aftermath of reading the quote, I went through many of the stages of grief. I was disbelieving. I was angry. I was sad. Then I accepted that one Mr. Diego Raya is entitled to his opinion. And also his utter lack of taste buds.
Then I realized, let Mr. Raya have his silly green tomatoes. Piles and piles of ’em. Let him have the entire watery crop.
Eat, Mr. Raya, eat! Enjoy every last one.
Just leaves that much more green chile for me and my people.