I suffered once the curse of caring

Always giving, oversharing

love and interest overflowing

reaching out, asking, knowing

Burning wish to give of me

Burning curiosity

But karmic promises betray

for each receiver walks away

caring not for she who gives

dishing hate (though she forgives)

slandering tongues and icy hearts

trying to tear mine apart

Why continue the befriending

with such inevitable endings?

Love, care, call, commit

but then receive the opposite?

Well-played, unjust universe

 rewarding blessings with a curse

 But ha! I guess the joke’s on you

For I am Queen of making-do

and keeping joyful attitude

within my life of solitude

Learning to care less and less

for those outside my own recess

Anorexic heart of mine

thriving empty, redesigned.

Miss Know-It-All

I’m almost certain that the first word I ever spoke was “Actually.”

Actually, you can’t catch a cold from cold weather.

Actually, there is no solid evidence linking coffee consumption to stunted growth.

Actually, it’s only a myth that sitting close to the television will damage your eyesight.

According to my parents, I was actually a frustrating kid to raise.


"According to my research, school buses can't transform into rocket ships." (Shows what you know, Dorothy Ann)

“According to my research, school buses can’t transform into rocket ships.” (Shows what you know, Dorothy Ann)

I was a total Miss Know-It-All. Sometimes, I still am. I have learned to bite my tongue when other people make grammar mistakes or express opinions based on faulty science or understanding. Mostly. But sometimes, the urge to correct wells up like a volcano, until I can’t help but blurt out that dreaded word, “Actually…”

It’s a fault that even annoys me. I mean, it’s obvious that I don’t know everything. I’m not a computer, though I live most of my life glued to one (like one of those scary teens in the book Feed, by M.T. Anderson). However, make one comment about the right/wrong or black/white way to think or do something, and my inner Siri is unleashed, spitting out alternate theories and empirical scientific evidence at 10Gb/s.

Little Miss Brainy

At times, being Miss Know-It-All comes in handy. Those Hermione Granger tendencies can really help me to do well in school or at work, especially when actual analytical thinking is required. It can also be useful having an entire dictionary/thesaurus built in to my brain when writing stories, playing Scrabble, or answering questions.

As my 11yo said the other day, “Why Google anything when we can just ask Mom?”

But it can also be a hindrance, especially in social situations. Who wants to engage in conversation with someone who refutes nearly everything, even if only to play Devil’s Advocate? According to my research, pretty much no one. Except perhaps, for other Know-It-Alls, who adore a good intellectual debate.

Lisa Simpson Know-it-All

Not long ago, someone made a comment that has swirled around in my brain ever since. “So in order to have a conversation with you, a person would pretty much have to have a PhD.” Oops. It would appear that my Smartypants ways can be pretty off-putting to other people. So I am learning – learning when to speak and when to listen. Learning when to counter someone’s faulty opinions and when to keep my thoughts to myself. Learning how to keep the volcano from erupting, no matter how much hot magma flows beneath.

After all, it may appear as though the Miss Know-It-Alls of the world really do know it all. But there is one thing we enjoy doing way more than showing off how smart we are — learning. Yes, actually.

annoying know it all

Actually, we know this, too.

The Girl From Jupiter

Yesterday was Sparkly Pink Boot Day for the girls in my daughter’s fifth-grade class.

“But Mom, I don’t have any sparkly pink boots,” my daughter told me. “My boots are tan.”

Of course, that is the part where every good parent tells their child, “You don’t have to be the same as everyone else. It’s okay to be different.” But that is such a lie! It is not okay to be different. Well, not unless you are super-rich like the Kardashians, or super-gorgeous, or so incredibly cool that your individual sense of style will be interpreted as a new trend and imitated by everyone else.

In 1984, when I was in fifth-grade, I was not the same as everyone else. I was different. I was myself. I loved sandwiches made with peanut-butter, dill pickles, and bananas. I wore mismatched socks on purpose. When kids asked me questions, I would reply…sdrawkcab. While other girls were giggling together during recess over girly things, I was sitting by myself reading novels, or studying Spanish, or racing boys across the blacktop in order to prove to everyone that I was the fastest runner at Madera Elementary School. (Okay, well…second fastest, just behind a really cute boy who played soccer and rode BMX bikes and was in my GATE class and on whom I had the hugest crush for two years).

Anyway, I was different. I was weird. Other kids reminded me of this fact so often that eventually, I began to embrace it. “The reason why I am weird,” I explained to everyone, “is that I am not from Earth. I am a changeling child from Jupiter.” It was the only possible explanation. I was no ordinary weirdo. I was a Jupitian. Sadly, being a Jupitian meant that I was never invited to birthday parties or playdates, and that I was picked last for kickball teams, even though I was a pretty good athlete. Being a Jupitian was a lonely identity, even though I was simply embracing who I was.

“Just wear your tan boots with a sparkly pink shirt,” I suggested to my daughter. “That way you’ll still sparkle like the other girls.” Inwardly, I wished that I could race to the store and buy my daughter the cutest, pinkest, most sparkly boots in existence, if only to help her to fit in  and have friends. Because I had to learn the truth the hard way. It is okay to be different…as long as you are still exactly the same as everyone else.