Blackmailed by black bananas. Oh sure they look innocuous just sitting there in their fruity innocence but they’ve been torturing me - torturing me - for a week now. It all started with selling our house. (Which, good news, it’s sold! Yay!*) But the showing process was excruciating in a way that only trying to keep a house in catalog condition with four Tasmanian devils underfoot can be. There was a lot of frantic running around, throwing random objects in the back of the car and even some yelling. (I’m not proud but that is just what happens when I discover that my son has been picking his nose and wiping snot trails all over the wall I just freshly painted! Kids can be jerks.) But mostly there was a lot of eating out. We ate out so much even the kids started complaining about it.
Of course this bothered me. I’m a girl who normally cooks nearly every meal and generally distrusts restaurant food. But I kept repeating my new mantra - don’t be brittle! - like the octogenarian trapped in a soccer mom’s body that I am and we sucked it up. It wasn’t ideal but people got fed and it was decently nutritious and my kitchen looked perfectly ornamental for two whole weeks. But one day as I was rushing to sweep the last crumbs off the table I noticed a bunch of bananas in the fruit bowl that were rapidly browning. All the other things I’d put in there, like lemons and limes, were the type of thing to look pretty for weeks without rotting. Bananas on the other hand… well, bananas can be jerks. Nevertheless I still cared about them and didn’t want the overly ripe bananas to go to waste – mmm, fresh banana bread, banana muffins and banana pancakes, oh my! – so I grabbed the whole bunch and shoved them in my fridge. Right next to the Lego boat and a handful of Squinkies I’d hid in there.
I mistakenly thought that nobody would open my fridge since I thought that one of the universal rules of house hunting is that you don’t look inside anything but closets. My realtor disillusioned me later. Apparently not only does everyone look but they totally judge you on it too. I don’t even want to know what they must have thought of my dirty hippie fridge packed with 17 bunches of kale, a gallon jar of kimchi, a tiny pink sock and three different types of miso paste. Oh, and those wretched bananas.
Since I had no time to cook so much as a grilled cheese, much less banana bread, the bananas sat in my fridge, every day turning a more rancid shade of gray and filling me with wasted-food guilt every time I opened the door. “I can still use them,” I rationalized to myself. But tonight something inside me snapped. It was totally their fault – bananas do a mean stink eye – and I was sick of the guilt trips. So I grabbed the whole bunch and chucked them into the garbage can. I didn’t even put them in the compost bin! It was a total, utter waste.
It was also total, utter, overwhelming relief!
Words cannot describe how liberated I suddenly felt. I realized, as I sat in my vacuous kitchen, that sometimes the cost of doing something (even something good!) is far higher than the cost of giving yourself permission to just let it go. It’s okay to throw away the black bananas. It’s okay to feed my kids peanut butter toast in the car rather than homemade banana blueberry muffins at the table. It’s okay to tell all the produce that I’m stretched thinner than fruit leather and to stop guilting me by rotting in plain sight. It’s okay, sometimes, to not be superwoman.
This got me thinking about other little breaks I can give myself. I present to you Charlotte’s List of Random Stuff I Give You Permission to Do.
It’s okay to wear your sunglasses as a headband – all day – to hide your sweaty gym hair.
It’s okay to call your yoga pants just “pants” and wear them as such.
It’s okay to eat a handful of jelly beans because you just lifted and your muscles need their glycogen replenished, by golly!
It’s okay to admire your biceps in the mirror at the gym. Maybe just don’t kiss them. In public.
It’s okay to “stretch” for twenty minutes so you can finish reading In Style in peace while your kids are in the gym childcare.
It’s okay to wear your sports bra twice without washing it. In a pinch.
It’s okay to put your headphones in but not turn on your music because you just don’t feel like talking to anyone that day. (Or maybe because you want to hear what everyone else is saying when they think you can’t hear them?)
It’s okay to watch “Say Yes to the Dress” on the treadmill. And burst into tears. And then tell the people on either side of you that you always cry at weddings.
It’s okay to actually picture someone you hate while you do all those knee strikes and left jabs in cardio kickboxing. Burns more calories too. Science says so.
It’s okay to tell someone no and not give them an explanation why.
It’s okay to wear ballet flats even if you were never a ballerina.
It’s okay to be a modern, feminist woman and still have an entire playlist of nothing but Pitbull songs.
It’s okay to stop your workout halfway into it because you’re just not feeling it that day. (Yes, in spite of what all those fitspiration posters tell you about gutting through the pain, it is okay to quit early sometimes. I promise.)
It’s okay to wear a band-aid as a fashion accessory if it has Candyland characters all over it (this would be Jelly Bean’s addition to the list!)
It’s okay to pretend you’re checking your kids for lice just so you can sniff their head to see if you can still smell any of that heavenly baby smell on them.
It’s okay to stop this post here – on rando number 16 – in order to go to bed. It’s okay to not feel guilty and/or OCD about this.
Your turn! Finish this sentence for how you are feeling today: “It’s okay to…” Have you ever sneaked a peek in a stranger’s fridge? Did you judge them based on what you saw??
*It’s okay to not know where you’re moving. At least I hope so. Because we honestly haven’t got a clue at the moment. Clearly my responsible adult card has expired.
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