Blackmailed by Black Bananas: Giving Myself Permission to Let Go [It's Okay to... Admit When You're Not Okay]

by Charlotte on May 1, 2013 · 37 comments

scarybananaI told you bananas are jerks.

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.

bananacrossstichArrested Development fans rejoice: you can get it from this etsy store

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

shayna May 1, 2013 at 1:32 am

Your lice-checking/hair-smelling just reminded me of my mom so much. I hadn’t seen her in ten years, because she lives on another continent. I finally got a chance to visit her and, when she hugged me, she said, “your hair smells just like it did when you were a baby.” KINDA made me cry a little, I’m not gonna lie.


Alison May 1, 2013 at 3:32 am

Hey Charlotte….Just for future reference (if you are ever selling your house again) Shove those bananas still unpeeled into the freezer! They get a funky black color (may want to stick them in a paper bag to hide them if their are nosey, judgemental people around). They will be all mushy when thawed but still taste great in muffins, cookies, etc. Voila…no bananas and no guilt! (also no nasty fruit flies in your garbage…hate those little buggers!) btw…I frequently give mysedlf permission to tell Jonathan I don’t want to play outside because I want to read my book. (Wish I could say I didn’t feel guilty 10 minutes later and end up outside…!)


Alison May 1, 2013 at 3:35 am

“there” I mean!!! It’s late and I need to go to sleep!


Janet May 1, 2013 at 7:21 am

Yes, and they are really tasty eaten still frozen! I have a dozen frozen bananas to eat as treats in my freezer right now.


Kat @ Balance and Spice May 1, 2013 at 3:33 am

Hi Charlotte,

I am so grateful for this post. I’m chronic at beating myself for throwing things away or letting them go to waste. It’s so great to hear these freeing thoughts.


Gingerzingi May 1, 2013 at 5:01 am

My contribution is: It’s OK to choose to sleep instead of exercise.
The older I get, the more sleep seems at least as important to my overall well-being.

I love this:
“It’s okay to wear your sunglasses as a headband – all day – to hide your sweaty gym hair.”
LOL I do that all the time!


Redhead May 1, 2013 at 5:23 am

I do the headphones thing a lot at work when I just don’t want to deal with coworkers!
I did look in fridges and other appliances when I was looking at places if they came with the house, to see what kind of shape they were in and if the fridge had an icemaker, etc. I didn’t care about what food was in it, just how much space there was!
And good luck with this next step Charlotte! I’m excited for you guys! As long as all people and cats in your house make it to the new one, I’d say its ok to skip whatever you need to to make that happen.


Naomi/Dragonmamma May 1, 2013 at 6:40 am

It’s OK to never totally make your bed when your comforter is so thick that it hides all the lumps and bumps.

It never occurred to me to look in the fridge when I was house-hunting. There are so many thousands of things to consider about the house itself, plus the fridge is only included about half the time anyway.
(Still waiting on the short-sale we bid on back in January.)


Christine May 1, 2013 at 6:50 am

It’s OK to be the slowest runner in the race. It’s OK to ride an electric assist bike if that is what it takes to get you riding your bike to work. It’s OK to take 18 weeks to do the 9 week couch to 5K program. It’s OK to wear comfortable form fitting exercise clothes even if you’re overweight. It’s OK to listen to your audio book and knit in the parking lot instead of watching your kid’s soccer practice. It’s OK to feed the kids a healthy dinner and then eat ice cream for your own dinner after they’ve gone to bed if that is what you really really want.

I cut myself a lot of slack :-)


JavaChick May 1, 2013 at 7:04 am

The saying no without giving an explanation thing is a big deal for me, but I have gotten much better at it. Huge relief.

I never thought I would like Pitbull but it’s awesome for Zumba.


Shady May 1, 2013 at 7:52 am

It’s ok to take a little longer to repay your student debt if it means a higher quality of life right now. It’s ok to have pizza out if you’ve been craving it for days. It’s ok to have a nap on a Sunday afternoon, when the floors are dirty, the laundry isn’t done and there are dishes in the sink. It’s ok to finally join the facebook cult because it really is a very easy way to keep in touch with your loved ones who are now 2 time zones away.


Jenn - Newschool Nomads May 1, 2013 at 8:04 am

It’s okay to pretend your constipated so you can sit in the bathroom and “read” FB. ;-)

Seriously, I think I do almost everything you mentioned. Once we moved into the RV I said screw it to soooooo many things. Last week,
I wore that same damn sports bra for a week. I didn’t wash our sheets all winter. It would have been a major pain to drag them to the campground laundry through the sub zero temps (and less time to snowboard!) and to be honest Brent nor I cared!


Bekky May 1, 2013 at 8:23 am

Ah the yoga pants dilemma. When I write my memoirs some day the title will be Another Day in Yoga Pants.


Abby May 1, 2013 at 8:41 am

“It’s okay to not know where you’re moving” It totally is! The fiance is interviewing in Alaska today and was in DC last week. When people ask where we’re moving I just shrug. They look horrified but honestly I don’t really care right now.

And I feel you on the wasted food guilt! It’s mostly lettuce that blackmails me as it turns to mush but yeah, I feel awful about it. I don’t even bring home leftovers since I know they’ll have to end up being thrown away and I feel slightly less guilty about a restaurant doing it. Stupid rotting food. Good for you for showing those bananas who’s boss :)


Amanda May 1, 2013 at 9:23 am

Totally agree with all of yours. I would add it’s okay to pick sleep over working out when you feel like that’s what your body needs more :)


Crabby McSlacker May 1, 2013 at 9:33 am

I love these! And isn’t it silly how we castigate ourselves for the silliest stuff?

It’s ok to hold off all housecleaning until right before houseguests arrive, since it will mean a big clean up then… even if no visitors are scheduled for another few weeks!


jennifer May 1, 2013 at 9:38 am

“It’s okay to wear your sports bra twice without washing it. In a pinch.” – This isn’t normal..? lol. Oops.. I thought sports bras and pants were things that you could wear over and over as long as they didn’t smell..

Goes in line with my “It’s okay to..”, I suppose: “It’s okay to skip showering after Friday’s workout knowing that you are going to work out again on Saturday..”


Rosa May 1, 2013 at 9:53 am

I do it too, in the winter! If I air dry, and it’s not stinky, I will rewear (because athletic clothing can be expensive, and I try to minimize the wash-workout ratio).


Nicholle May 1, 2013 at 10:31 am

This is all so very reassuring. It’s good to know that I’m not alone because I do most of this stuff, too. My contribution: it’s okay to throw away that little bit of leftover food after a meal (e.g., 1/2 cup of rice, not quite a full serving of casserole) instead of saving it and putting it in the fridge, where it will be forgotten and no one will eat it anyway.


Kim May 1, 2013 at 10:31 am

Love this and love that you have let yourself off the hook (at least a little!).
It’s ok to wear workout stuff all day every day (I shower after working out and put on clean stuff!).
It’s ok to order pizza when you aren’t able to cook and feel bad that your husband works all day and keeps making dinner!


Naomi/Dragonmamma May 1, 2013 at 10:52 am

No, no, it’s not OK for all of you to throw out your left-overs. Send them to me, I love left-overs!


Ada May 1, 2013 at 11:19 am

Thanks! I really needed this laugh today.

It’s okay to laugh loudly at work and have people judge you, sometimes.


Aurora May 1, 2013 at 12:18 pm

It’s okay to not be a perfect host/ess. Your guests can wash their own damn plates. :P
It’s okay to have a messy house. It looks like someone lives there! I’m honestly a little confused by houses that are pristine. Do you know how long it takes to clean a house? No wonder my mom never has any time.
It’s okay to re-wear outfits so you don’t have to do more laundry. ;) It’s also okay to grab a shirt out of the laundry pile, shake it out really good, and let the wrinkles fade a bit as it hangs off you on your way to the bus. :P

Basically…it’s okay to not be With It all the time. Because really, if you’re sinking that much time into being perfect in all the little bits of daily life, couldn’t you be spending that time and energy on something fun?


Dayna May 1, 2013 at 1:55 pm

It’s okay to sit on the couch and watch TV and totally enjoy it. It’s okay to put off a chore if it means hanging out with a friend. It’s okay to not want to hear someone else’s problems right this minute. It’s okay to be doing what I can when I can. It’s okay to care. It’s okay not to care. Hmm, I think we’re on to something here.


Shelley May 1, 2013 at 3:24 pm

The stepmill is the only time I allow myself to watch “Toddlers and Tiaras” guilt-free.


Alyssa (azusmom) May 1, 2013 at 3:44 pm

And I’ve done a goodly number of things on the list. The only problem now is that we live with my in-laws, who make me feel (even more) guilty about letting food go to waste. Of course, they have cast-iron stomachs and can eat stuff weeks past its due date without any ill effects. It’s pretty amazing, actually.
Pitbull lays down some catchy beats. If you can ignore the lyrics…
My additions to the list:
1) It’s OK to keep the clean, dry, unfolded laundry in the basket for a day. Or two.
Or three.
2) It’s OK to get an iced mocha instead of your usual iced soy latte once in a while.
3) And to maybe add a ginger cookie to that order.
4) And call it “lunch.”
5) It’s OK to modify yoga poses as needed, and still be jealous of the ultra-bendy 19 year-old on the mat next to yours.
And to cry during Savasana. 2 days in a row. Because it’s That Time of the Month.


Alyssa (azusmom) May 1, 2013 at 3:45 pm



Cori May 1, 2013 at 4:44 pm

I loved your entire list and while I do a lot of those, I have to admit I have the hardest time throwing food away even when I know it won’t get used.

I feel like someone else could have eaten it or something!

And I’ve totally done that with bananas and meats and such. I sometimes literally keep them until they are so covered with ice that I can’t even tell what they once were just because I keep telling myself “They aren’t bad…I could still use them!”


andy May 1, 2013 at 8:30 pm

It’s okay to eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches all week long for breakfast, lunch and dinner because you feel like it.
It’s okay to take a complete day off work and bum around all day at home.


Casey Kay May 1, 2013 at 9:39 pm

I’ve had bananas I’ve left in the freezer for weeks. Eventually you can’t feel bad about tossing them because of the gross factor.

Mine for yesterday was – It’s okay to skip the shower if you are too tired at night in favor of a “wipee” bath the next morning, as long it’s not more than once a week…At least, that is what I tell myself those days I’m really too tired to stand. :-)


Gaye May 1, 2013 at 11:18 pm

It’s okay to say, “I only ate one cookie,” and not mention it was the size of your head.

Good luck with your move. After 26 years with my husband in the Army, and countless moves, I consider myself a professional. That being said, it can be challenging sometimes. I will be thinking of you and your family and wishing you well!


Amanda May 2, 2013 at 8:00 am

It’s okay to skip your workouts when you are moving in 5 days and aren’t packed…I’m feeling horribly guilty about this one, but figure all the lifting,packing, chasing my kidlet, and trying to keep him out from underfoot of the movers counts and weights and cardio right? :)


Jane May 2, 2013 at 8:25 am

Here’s a plan for your bananas next time: give them to your roses, if you have roses! They love them…just plan the peels or whole things at the roots…

…or when use ripe banana w/ equal peanut butter, whip together and put between graham crackers like a ice cream sandwich, freeze in containers. Then when those darling children are looking for something to eat after school you have an already prepared snack that resembles an ice cream bar, but loaded with protein, fiber and potasium.

We moved 4 times in a year while pregnant, when he was 3 weeks, (c-section) 6 months and 10 months. It’s amazing what we have that we don’t need………it’s ok to throw things away!


Cheryl May 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I love these :)
It’s ok to miss 2 minutes of previews at the movie theatre
It’s ok to put that burnt pan in the dishwasher knowing for sure no way it’ll get cleaned
It’s ok to add Irish Cream to your coffee on a Saturday morning
It’s ok to take credit for making an appetizer you just purchased


Happier Heather May 3, 2013 at 2:58 pm

It’s okay to stop running because you don’t enjoy it anymore but still wear running gear because it’s comfortable.

It’s okay to admit that you’re one of those people that sings “Hollaback Girl” in your head to remember how to spell bananas.

Your list cracked me up. The only two I haven’t done is watch “Yes to the Dress” at the gym and sniff kid’s heads…but the latter is probably only because I don’t have kids. Substitute kid with cat and I *might* be guilty.


Holly KN May 10, 2013 at 12:45 am

1. It’s OK to be a week behind on your blog reading (?)

2. It’s OK to take a quick mid-afternoon nap, during which you hit the ‘snooze’ button (accidentally) six times…thereby doubling the length of your nap.

3. It’s OK to take those bananas and shove them in the FREEZER, so instead of continuing to ripen and guilt you, they are sequestered further out of sight and sentenced to freezer burn.

4. It’s OK to eat sour gummy bears while you type confessional posts.


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