I have been staring at it for hours, but it just keeps getting more and more hideous. I am beginning to question my wife’s sanity, or at the very least her eyesight, for she says she likes it. How? Not only is it an awful shade of yellow and green barf, and it’s covered in pictures of babies being tortured. My wife insists that the babies are indeed laughing, but she’s insane and/or blind. These barf-shaded babies are clearly pained and uncomfortable, not at all smiling. I don’t care what she says, these babies need to be put out of their misery.

* * *

“Ummm… Honey?”

Okay, i admit, I may have looked a little crazy. I was shredding paper off of the wall, probably grinning wildly as I did so. “Sorry Hun, but it had to go. I’ll have this all cleaned up when I’m done.”

She walked away with a roll of her eyes, and I whistled as I ripped.

* * *

It may have taken the better part of a week, but our living room is now a peaceful pale peach color, and I can finally relax. I rein at the trash bag in the corner as I sink into the couch.


I am stuck. In my head. Or heart. I’m not really sure. All I know that it has gotten to the point where I am imagining crazy circumstances where I will finally be successful and happy.

I have been in a relationship for three months, and I really want it to keep going, but I don’t know how to make that happen.  Let me rephrase that… I know what I have to do, but I can’t make my body do it.

So far my best solution is to imagine my mental/emotional block as a literal wall. A very solid wall. I was that, no matter how hard I try, I cannot just hammer through it. I have tried, believe me, I’ve tried. I have gone through so many internal dialogues about how everything will be fine and it’s really not that big of a deal, but a giant wall certainly seems like a big deal.

My internal wall-fighter has decided that the only way to do it is to build a giant catapult and fling myself over. I clearly cannot fight the wall; me vs it and it will win every time. But… if there is some way to not have to interact with the wall… then, I might have a chance.

So, there’s my inner me, building and crafting this giant device while, in reality, I am trying to figure out a way that I can actually throw myself over this wall. The easiest thing would be to just get drunk and text him, but I know that is not smart. Plus, I don’t like being drunk, so that really doesn’t work as an option.

I need something similar. Some way to start a conversation without overthinking everything. Is it bad to confess your love through text? Probably, but it would be so much easier! I could figure out what I want to say and, as long as I can get nerve for a second, once I hit the send button that’s it. There’s no changing my mind after that…

I can see my inner self-launching herself through the air, soaring flawlessly over that dang wall, landing perfectly in her lover’s arms. He loves her, clearly, and she knows she loves him, too. So why all the trouble?


“Okay,” I tell myself, taking a deep breath. “Here you go. You’ve got this.” I take one step before the grumbling below begins. “It’s just the heater,” I repeat to myself, hoping that one of these times I’ll believe it.

I take another deep breath. “Come on, Bethany, pull yourself together.”

I take three more steps before there was a noise like a whining squeak. “Just a squeaky step, just a squeaky step,” I chant, continuing to descend.

“Beth, Beth, Beth.” It starts as barely more than a whisper, but it gets louder the further down I go. “It’s just the washing machine,” I try to convince myself.

I don’t know what it was that caused this fear, but I am done fighting with it. I will no longer let this control me. No time like the present, right?

That’s what I thought a few minutes ago, and I am beginning to deeply regret it. I don’t even have a motive to be down there, other than my stupid nonsensical response to basements.

I’ve made it this far though, I might as well finish. The sooner I get down, the sooner I can run back up.

So I close my eyes, I cover my ears with my hands, and I make my way down. The uncomfortable feeling when you step where there isn’t a stair is much easier to deal with than the things I’ll see and hear because of my phobia.

After the sudden no-stair jolt I stop and take a deep breath. I did it. I made it all the way down. I turn to the stairs, not quite ready to face poking around the basement, and open my eyes. My foot is already raised to go back up when I see that the stairs are gone.

Instead, there is just a red creature standing there with an unsettling smile. “Welcome to Hell!”


Pink. Why is everything pink? I think the hardest part about having children is trying to find stuff for them that isn’t stereotypically blue for boys or pink for girls. It’s ridiculous! The stuff in these aisles is enough to fill an entire house with a completely pink theme; sheets, blankets, pillowcases… and that’s just what’s right in front of me. When did it become the norm to just overwhelm your baby girl with the color pink?

And I don’t want to buy all of the “boy” stuff because that’s just as stereotypical, even if buying it for a girl wouldn’t be. It’s amazing how quickly people jump to conclusions. “Oh, when is he due?” A store clerk asked after helping me with a “boy’s” onsie. I proceeded to tell her that I was having a girl, and she felt it necessary to point out that the onsie was for boys. Really? Because it has trucks on it instead of princesses it can only be worn by boys? How is this normal?!

I look for things with yellows and greens, but it is hard. I settle on a green onsie with a bear on it, a yellow sweater, and a back of bibs and bottles that are red, orange, and yellow.



I had never felt so exposed in my entire life. There I was, just standing there, silent, willing the words to come to me. I had prepared for this moment, mentally and physically, but now that it was happening I was frozen.

Suddenly I understood the saying, “Just picture them all in their underwear.” If I was going to be exposed, why shouldn’t they? Unfortunately, that has never worked for me, but at least it makes a little more sense now.

I go between shifts of being blinded by the light to being overwhelmed by the mass of people in front of me. These people were here to watch me perform, hell, I wanted them to be here! I had been so worried that no one would show up, that my one-woman show would literally be just that; me performing in front of an empty audience, alone. Not the case.

I summon up the opening lines and I begin. Suddenly, the crowd bursts into laughter, at the very unhumorous introduction. I look around, trying to figure out what is so funny, but nothing appears out of place, nothing that would elicit that sort of a reaction.

I try to continue, but I can’t even hear myself over the sound of the crowd. I look down, to see if there was some kind of stain that I hadn’t noticed, and realized that I was, in fact, nearly naked. How the hell had this happened? I knew I was frazzled before the curtain went up, but I know I put on my blue velvet dress (yes, velvet under the hot stage lights, but it’s what made sense for the character).

I run offstage, utterly confused by it all. Why had everyone waited until I had spoken to laugh? I know I had paused a bit before beginning. I looked around for my dress, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I can hear the crowd, still laughing, slowing beginning to chant my name. What do they want? Do they actually want to see my show? Or do they just want to see my pink and purple polka-dotted panties?

And suddenly I am in my bed, covered in a sheen of sweat. I look at my phone and see that is is five am on Saturday, a full twelve hours before my show starts.

Great, now I have even more to be worried about. Either no one shows up and I look like a loser, or everyone shows up and I make some crazy mistake, like forgetting to get dressed! I just can’t win.



“None shall pass!”

“Huh? What does that mean?”

The preschooler looked up at his peers as if they were crazy for not understanding. Gesturing wildly at nothing in particular he informed them, “It means you can’t go by.”

“But we want to play,” the crowd whined.

“Well, what’s the password?” The preschooler was very adamant that nobody pass without his say so, and standing in the walkway with his arms stretched wide was enough to stop his classmates.

The group of children looked around, sure that the password would be something in the room. There were many guessing, including banana (toy in dramatic play), glasses (on the teacher’s face), and race car, but none of them were correct. The preschooler was not giving any clues, and not cutting them any slack for not knowing.

Noticing that his friends were getting tired he looked at them and said, “It’s friends play together!” as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

The group shouted, “Friends play together!” and that is exactly what they did. Bananas were eaten, lemon seeds were cooked before planting (otherwise they would grow), and castles were built up, just to be knocked down by a man in a spaceship. All friends were playing together.