Feeling Judged and Controlled? Question Your Inner Cruise Director

When Jonathan and I went on a cruise to Bermuda with my family several years ago, the piped-in, controlled voice of Cruise Director Carlos drove me crazy. Now, this was a lovely cruise. It was a privilege to relax and have my towels folded into animal shapes every night. However, the oft-repeated, overly-enthusiastic announcements just did not work for me. (I’m an introvert who jumps like a startled deer at the sound of a ring tone.) Several times a day, Cruise Director Carlos would blast over the loudspeakers, reading the rundown of social events with forced good cheer. After a ...
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School Lunches (and the Path of Liberation)

In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott says that, if you're not sure what to write, you can start with school lunches. And so today I am remembering the sound of crinkling brown bags, and the insecurity of youth. Lunch was a litmus test. Would you fit in? Were you acceptable? Lunchtime at Vassar (much less stress) I remember being harangued in elementary school having whole-grain bread on my sandwiches when white bread was all the rage. One girl would say, "Ew, what are those weird things in your bread? Are they bugs?!" She was referring to sunflower seeds, ...
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What To Do When ‘The Less-Thans’ Strike (Hint: Do Not ‘Try Harder’)

Feeling less-than? You get the thumbs-up from me. "Sometimes, I feel like such a failure," my friend confided. "My house doesn't look as clean as my friends' houses do. I have a job, and two children under the age of three. But I think I should be doing a better job keeping the house clean." I wanted to interject, but I had a feeling there was more to the story. She continued, "After feeling that way for so long, do you know what I found out?" "What?" I asked, leaning forward. "Almost all of my friends who have ...
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