The Big Fat Crayon

I remember how excited I was to start the second grade and not have to use baby crayons anymore. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on those sleek, slender crayons the big kids used. I so fucking badly wanted the 64 box with the built-in-sharpener. Oh my god, I wanted that so bad.

I always got the 12 or, sometimes, the 24 box. My parents didn’t have 64 box with a built-in-sharpener money.

Which, really, is a lame ass first world problem. I have never in my life had to go without clean drinking water. There may have been times when food was lean, and perhaps there were days we were peckish, but I’ve never gone hungry, either. Well, other than when I got my first apartment and I had around $10 a month budgeted for food. I only made it 6 weeks before going back home. The point is, my existence has been comfortable compared to most people who have ever lived on the earth. Apparently, comparisons are a thing for me today.

But I digress.

I told Randy when I read other people’s Facebook posts, articles, or comments, they often sound eloquent and intelligent with their thoughts and words arranged in a way that is like poetry, but better. Then, I read what I write and I think it’s like I’m writing with one of those baby crayons I couldn’t wait to get away from.

Randy: You can’t do that.

Me: Can’t do what?

Randy: Compare yourself. You will always come up short. That is a game you can’t win.

Me: That does not remove my crayon.

Randy: You tell people to not compare themselves.

Me: Still does not remove my crayon.

Randy: You just can’t do that.

Me: Actually, I can. Because I did. You’re misusing the word “can’t”.

Randy: You know what I meant.

Me: Still does nothing about the crayon.

Randy:…

Randy:…

Randy:…

Randy: I’m going to stick that crayon up your butt.

Yeah, good luck with that buddy. A figurative crayon up the butt is not a real threat. 

He’s right, though. Comparisons are the devil. And, I do regularly tell people to knock off the comparisons.

So, I thought about this. I thought about why I care. Do I want to be different? Do I wish I wrote in a different style? Do I wish I were more polished? Technically better? More clever? What do I want to be different?

Nothing. I don’t want anything to be different. I wouldn’t want to switch with anyone. I might write with a baby crayon, but I totally dig the words I write. I read them and get to see who I am.

I spent years trying to be someone I am not and being uncomfortable in my own skin. Wishing I were someone else. I wore so many masks, I became a stranger in my own head.

I love that I left my masks behind me. Or, to be fair, am leaving behind me. I’m still working that shit out. I suspect I will leave this earth with the job unfinished, but I am cool with that as well.

When I started writing to you guys, the words helped in a big bad way. I went from feeling my substance was merely wispy smoke trails to feeling my feet firmly against the world. I do have substance. I never had any doubt that I am corporeal. But I strongly suspected, I was less worthy than other humans and felt short on substance. I made progress before I started blogging, but writing accelerated the process. I felt loose edges snap into place and I began to believe I belong here and am a perfectly valid human.

That’s fairly awesome. Why would I want to lose that by being someone else?

Comparisons are the devil.

By tomorrow, I will talk myself out of this. It will happen again, though. I know me.

I’m cool with that, too.

Now excuse me, Randy found the grandkid’s crayons. I have to put them back up lest my big man get himself in trouble.

Oh, and I had another article on Balance. Stop by and say hi, leave a comment, share the article. They pay me for these words, so I would so much appreciate your support.

Randy has been taking new pictures of my stuffed dog. He cracks me up. Randy. Not the stuffed dog. Well, maybe the stuffed dog. He’s got a funny smile. Dude Does Housework  

Crayon photo courtesy of Jackie Ramirez

 

 

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  1. Pia says:

    I love this. Love this. Love this.

    Been focusing on health issues for the past couple of years. Now I’m ready to start serious writing/blogging again but I read such incredible posts–even FB posts that I feel overwhelmed, less than and unable. However…
    Pia recently posted…That time a psychologist…..My Profile

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  2. Paula says:

    Look at it this way, you have a steady stream of readers every week. They are the same familiar ones who post comments. Plus the ones who read and don’t comment. We read your words, we identify with your thoughts. Ok, maybe you aren’t as eloquent as someone we have read but this is YOUR style. I was delighted to read your blog on a Monday morning. Yes, we have to realize this is first world problems. So glad you got this out of your system. But it is what is bothering you today. And the 64 crayons with the built in sharpener, way overrated. I always picked out the original 12/24 that I always used. The rest were unfamiliar. I still have a hard time with unfamiliar. The gold, silver and copper were cool though.

    Reply
    • Lisa K says:

      They have metallic colors now!
      Whole box of sparkly colored wax! They are my favorite – and the 3D markers, and the sparkly gel pens….
      I got the 64 count with the sharpener once in grade school, but I remember the box fell apart and I was left with a regular schoolbox full of half broken, peeled crayons and a sharpener…

      Reply
    • Michelle says:

      Thank you for this. You reminded me of one of my truths. Sure, having 10s of 1000s of readers would be nice, but that isn’t what drives me. I love this tribe and I’d keep going regardless. xoxoxoxo

      Reply
  3. BarbaraM says:

    Good grief! What would I do without you!?!?! You bring me up, you make me laugh, you make me cry sometimes, but I’m with you 100% of the time. There are few bloggers ‘out there’ that I feel I can relate to, and you are at the top of that list – so never sell yourself short – even stubby crayons can still produce art. (And welcome back Dude).

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      This means so much to me. Thank you. XO

      Reply
      • BarbaraM says:

        I went to read your article in Balance and left a comment. Many hours later, my comment is still not there. Any idea why not?

        Reply
        • Michelle says:

          Unfortunately, I do not. I have no control over that site. I assume someone checks it once a day or so and approves them. Thank you for going there, though!!!

          Reply
        • Babbalou says:

          So did I. I’m going to check again soon, but it’s been nearly 12 hours.

          And seriously, all day I’ve been smelling crayons. Don’t you remember the smell? Also those sweaty wooden school desks.

          Reply
          • Babbalou says:

            My comment has finally been posted. I guess it’s due to the time difference and just maybe because I used the word “sexual” in my response – but it wasn’t an inappropriate or off color story…

  4. I love when I find just the words I need to read. I really get this. And it sounds like your husband and mine have the same sort of logic and wisdom. Damn them.
    Thanks for this.
    Lisa @ The Meaning of Me recently posted…Ain’t Life Grand: Family Celebrates Everything – Open Thought VortexMy Profile

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  5. Lisa K says:

    Having a figurative fat crayon shoved up my butt would probably make my day… LOL
    You are VERY good at writing!
    Bringing up points to ponder with a new pondering that nobody ever pondered!
    Case in point? ‘People of Walmart’ …. OK, TWO cases in point: ‘What not to wear after 50.’
    Both of those topics made me reset my thinking.
    HELPED me!!!
    Gave me a fresh and more compassionate view of what shouldn’t bother me and how to adjust my own judgy-ness to not be so …. judgy.
    And…. all those ‘eloquent… intelligent… like poetry’ writers??? I KNOW their backspace keys are wordless and shiny…
    Except. Maybe Jenny Lawson… she runs a run-on that makes me swoon… 😉
    I DO compare my life to her’s, but only because she’s making money off her voices. HER parents believed in doctors and meds, mine believed in chores and beatings, so… *backspace* *backspace* *backspace*
    OOOHHHH!!! I just thought of the best analogy!!
    You know how EVERYBODY hates how they sound recorded?? “Is that MY voice?!!”
    I think it’s the same way with writing… “Is that how I write?!!”
    So.
    Problem solved.
    You write just perfectly, you just don’t like how it sounds to yourself, and we, the readers, think it sounds just right.
    *mwah*

    Reply
  6. I always wanted that box of crayons and couldn’t wait to buy it for my grand kids…so now I have it…
    The Hellion recently posted…Some Things I Just Don’t Understand…My Profile

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  7. mydangblog says:

    A LOT of people really love your writing, me included, so use whatever damned crayon you want. Also, the sharpener wasn’t that great. Trying to cut wax with plastic is dumb.
    mydangblog recently posted…My Week 147: I am Descended From Royalty, Deadly DistractionsMy Profile

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  8. Harry says:

    Comparisons are the devil.

    That even goes for comparing me to me. I read some of the stuff I wrote ten years ago and think, “I was pretty good. I am not that good anymore.”

    But I probably am.

    It’s just tough for humans not to compare and contrast everything they see. That’s sort of just what we do. Hard-wired and all.
    Harry recently posted…Gabble, Rabble, & RossMy Profile

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    • Michelle says:

      I would bet that you are. I think we evolve and get better. I hear you though. I’ve read shit I’ve wrote a long time ago and think..I wrote that? Really? Not bad.

      It is hard to not compare. I just need to be aware of it and talk myself out of it when it gets out of hand.

      Reply
  9. Shani says:

    I can’t process the comparison part as it relates to me yet. I don’t have enough anxiety pills in my bottle for that truth.
    I’ll say this about you so you’re hopefully aware. I’d bet that in the blogverse there are writers who read your blog and say “Damn. Why can’t I write as well as This awesome woman?!”

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      That would be so weird. I mean, awesome..but weird. I don’t have a writing background. Or a degree. And I haven’t made much money. I DO love it, though. And I read A LOT. That helps.

      Reply
  10. Please don’t hate me but I had one of those 64-crayon boxes. And one day when the teacher told us to take out a red crayon I freaked out. Burnt sienna? Raw umber? Where the fuck was just plain red? I finally settled on red orange and my so-called friend Jeff started yelling at the teacher that I was using the orange crayon.
    Then that summer my friends, including Jeff whose transgression was long-since forgiven if not forgotten, discovered that if you leave those cheap giant crayons in the sun they melt together into a rainbow pool that can then be molded into one giant crayon that writes in all colors.
    You hold the giant crayon.

    Reply
  11. Doug in Oakland says:

    What Lisa K said. Well, particularly the part about hearing yourself recorded. Not only are you predisposed to not like it, but you are too involved to be objective. I have been in the room when recorded music I played on was played back, and sat there cringing over the horrible mistakes that nobody else noticed. Duke Ellington said that if it sounds good, it IS good, and it’s hard to remember that when you’re trying to make what you’re doing better.
    I spent decades feeling behind the eight ball because I didn’t have the equipment I thought I needed to do what I thought I wanted to do, and now I just wonder why I thought it mattered so much.
    Your writing makes a bunch of people happy, and while it’s natural to want to do it better, I say that the doing of it is the important thing, and you’ve had that going for some time now.
    I read the article you linked to, and I want to know who those whippersnappers think they are trying to tell us how to talk…

    Reply
  12. You do know that there are other kids out there who feel like they’re stuck fingerpainting compared to your fat crayon, right? (Not that I think you’re using a fat crayon, but I’m not going to argue with a woman who was already deprived of a sharpener… that just seems too cruel.) We all have days when we are dazzled by our own genius and days when we can’t believe anyone trusts us with an internet connection after reading the drivel we produce. Shrug it off and keep going, because you enjoy it more than the alternative.

    But look, if you’re ever feeling really simple… I’ll come over and color with you. I happen to like the giant crayons, and coloring outside the lines. You’ll feel like a genius in no time!
    ActualConversationsWithMyHusband recently posted…How to Win Any ArgumentMy Profile

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  13. AmberLynn says:

    I just finished preparing a post for Thursday (my Blogiversary) in which I talked about how I tried to be like other bloggers for awhile. I like your authentic voice! Just remember…the fat crayons leave a bigger line! Thank you for the great impact your words have made in my life!
    AmberLynn recently posted…Meditation Monday #41 – How to Meditate: The 5 Koshas (Pranamaya)My Profile

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    • Michelle says:

      Thank you so much! I never tried to be like other bloggers because when I started blogging, I didn’t even know much about other blogs. I just wanted to write shit down. haha. NOW? Yeah…I got all kinds of people to compare myself to. And thank you so much! xoxoxo

      Reply
  14. Mary-Anne says:

    I always wanted the big box too, but I am so obsessed with all the crayons going back in the box it would probably blow my anxiety to epic proportions. And then if a crayon broke – ahhhhggggghhhhh.

    And now I have to go check out Dude and your Balance article because Dude makes me laugh and you make me think (and sometimes laugh)! Don’t change a thing, I love you just the way you are.
    Mary-Anne recently posted…Year of Projects Update #3 – Pride goeth….My Profile

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  15. Donna says:

    I dig your words too.

    I also pick a moon dog
    Well you can radiate everything you are
    Yes you can radiate everything you are
    http://www.jukebox.fr/the-beatles/clip,dig-a-pony,3uvlq.html

    Or maybe that was just John and Paul?
    Donna recently posted…FriendsMy Profile

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  16. Wow, Michelle. I always think of you as one of those cool, blogger chicks who always has her act together. I’m happy and relieved you’re human after all!
    Laurie Stone recently posted…Why Do Pedicures Hurt So Good?My Profile

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    • Michelle says:

      HAHAAHAHAHAHAAHAH wait wait…HAHAHAAHAHAHA.

      No. I do not always have my act together. I sometimes have my act together, but I’m usually a hot, sweaty, steamy mess.

      Thank you, though. 🙂

      Reply
  17. Being a fat crayon girl myself, I understand how that feels. But I suppose anytime we stretch ourselves and begin the process of becoming skinny crayon worthy we need to start with the baby colors.

    I loved this post. As always, you are a rock star (I think).

    b+
    b+ (Retire in Style Blog) recently posted…Best Senior Blog Award….A Possible Award…Me?My Profile

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  18. two things – 1) I can smell crayons – weird! 2) I am exactly the same with the comparison thing – finally get to a place where I know I shouldn’t do it and don’t want to, but it still pops up unexpectedly to grab me by the throat! Nice to know I’m not alone 🙂
    Leanne | crestingthehill recently posted…MIDLIFE AND BEING A PERENNIALMy Profile

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  19. Just Jen says:

    Well, that does it. You have given me the best “inspirational” quote with which to remind myself why I should continue to exist . . . “You are a perfectly valid human”. I’ve never dared tell myself that before, consumed with all the ways I am imperfect.

    Reply
  20. Lee Gaitan says:

    Oh, girl, I don’t just slide down that slippery slope, I crash land at the bottom of it way too often. It’s like you said, I’m better at avoiding that fall than I used to be, but sometimes…I actually had to barricade myself in the bathroom at someone else’s house recently to cry because a song triggered my “woulda-coulda-shoulda/why didn’t I-why did I self-torture! You are are magnificent in every way and we just have to keep pushing through and lifting each other up. A round of skinny crayons for the house!

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      OMG knowing that other people really “Get” this is such a huge comfort. And songs are such a trigger. I can’t listen to the Turtles sing Happy Together. It will make me sob. Just a trigger.

      Reply
  21. Wackotreehugger says:

    I’m fairly amazed crayons still exist. 64 count, in my estimation is a girl thing. (Hey, no judging, a Mom and 2 older sisters growing up plus a wife and daughter in current life have me well schooled on things misogynist). Any color beyond 12 and males like myself are handicapped. Mauve, beige, etc are all variations of light brown, for example. A possible exception is artificial fishing lure colors where motor oil and bubblegum are the colors. Hey, perhaps the 64 for boys would have motor oil, bubblegum, toad, power ranger, etc.
    I see your twitter posts but this is my first visit. Yeah, I don’t know what took so long. Good content. I look forward to exploring.

    Reply
  22. Elaine says:

    I have lots of blogs I follow…. And don’t often take time to read, But when I come to yours it’s like a big fat bunch of colorful crayons Have been plopped in my lap and I can’t wait to see what picture you have drawn today! ( sorry for all the weird Capitols! )

    Reply
  23. Elaine says:

    And poor spelling!

    Reply
  24. Liv says:

    “I might write with a baby crayon, but I totally dig the words I write. I read them and get to see who I am.”

    You’re writing with a quill, my dear. Eloquent as FUCK.
    Liv recently posted…Life Has No Remote: Get Up and Change It YourselfMy Profile

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