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My Childhood Memories Are Basically All Fictional

“I didn’t like A-Team. You and Chris did, I thought it was ridiculous.”

That was the statement from my Dad years before he died that shattered my view of my childhood. WHAT? My Dad didn’t like A-Team? What about all of the memories that I have of us curled up under the table by the one baseboard heater (our house didn’t have central heat/air – we just had one baseboard that basically just pumped out enough heat to ward off frostbite) and laughing hysterically at the antics of Murdock and Mr. T. In my head my Dad loved that show as much as we did.

“Did you like Roseanne?”
“Oh, yeah. That was great.”

So those memories were real. But the other ones weren’t? THERE WAS NO DIFFERENCE IN MY HEAD.

It was that moment when I realized my memories could NOT be trusted. And that I’m really good at fooling myself and writing my own history, I guess.

BUT NOTHING PREPARED ME FOR THE EARTH SHATTERING REVELATION FROM THIS MORNING.

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This was one of the many photos I came across recently when I was condensing 14 boxes of photos in 5 boxes. Nothing really exciting about this picture but I kept it out to scan because it was a good visual representation of one of my childhood descriptors: My love of my stuffed animals. I used to harbor a lot of guilt when I couldn’t take them all to my Moms every other weekend because – and this was long before Toy Story – in my head they all had feelings. So, I would carry them all around together so no one would feel left out. And this picture showed that! SEE! I’M HOLDING ALL OF THEM!

But then I noticed the date and something in my brain was like…wait a minute.

2460663780_68f94318b6_bI would have been 9 in that photo. And those stuffed feet I’m hold clearly belong to my Ewok which is shown here in this old photo of Nikki in Wes’s carseat. The Ewok I’ve been telling everyone I got for my 10th birthday FOR 30 YEARS. Seriously. I’ve written about that Ewok on this blog several times (Here I talk about how he helped with my grief over losing my Dad.) and every time I say, “My Dad gave him to me for my 10th birthday.”

BUT OBVIOUSLY HE DIDN’T.

You might say, “The date could be wrong on that polaroid.” But my Dad would not have let that slide. If the year had been off he would have realized it pretty quickly and corrected it.

And the funny thing is, recently I did kinda start to question the “10th Birthday” thing. I was listening to a podcast and they were discussing when Return of the Jedi came out. I knew I had gotten the Ewok for my 10th birthday in 1985, so I guessed the movie came out in 84. But then it turns out it came out in May 1983 and that would mean it had been out a whole TWO YEARS before my 10th birthday and that felt weird because I felt like the Ewok was a very current gift. Like…it fit with what other people were giving their kids at that time – which was a rare feeling for me. I never got a real Cabbage Patch doll (until Amalah sent me one many moons ago!) or My Little Ponies or Care Bears when my other friends were getting them. But something about the Ewok felt like it fell in line with what my classmates were talking about or playing with or something. And that was kinda rare so it stuck out with that gift. “Look at my Dad! Totally getting me a hip gift!” Two Years after a movie wasn’t unheard of to gift a product, but it didn’t feel “current”. So, if this was a photo taken at Christmas did I get the Ewok for my 9th birthday? Because in my head it’s definitely a birthday gift. But who knows? Maybe it was a Christmas gift? I looked on Ebay and those Ewoks were definitely made in 1983, so maybe even my 8th birthday? WHY DIDN’T I FIND OUT THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION BEFORE MY DAD DIED? How will I ever know now when he gave me that?

Have you ever had a memory shattering discovery? Or am I the only one who obviously has written her past into some A-Team/10th Birthday Fairy Tale that NEVER EVEN EXISTED.

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12 Years.

This blog is celebrating it’s 12th birthday. I haven’t told the official story of “Miss Zoot” on the blog in a long time. I get asked about the name “zoot” randomly in the real world, as my Facebook name is Kim Zoot Holmes so people assume it’s my maiden name. The truth is it’s just a derivative of a childhood nickname, but something enough people knew me by when I started Facebook that I thought it would help them determine they had found the right Kim. Especially since Holmes is my third last name.

My childhood nicknames given by my parents followed this kinda linear pattern: Kim to Kimbo to Bozoot. There were variations (Boze, Bozie) along the way and I’ve heard my Mom use all variations in different order over the years. At some point in time after high school, these nicknames were being discussed in a group and “Zoot” was the takeaway. It was used periodically in certain circles after that – often enough that when I needed an online moniker, it seemed to be the perfect choice.

When I started this blog some time in late 2003 I was continuing to use the name “Zoot” so I set up a free blog on Typepad with a title/URL that involved the word Zoot and the word Ewok I believe. I had tried to start several topic-specific blogs – the most referenced one being a blog on GeoCities about the show Temptation Island. (WHAT?) But none of those stuck because A) I did them 100% anonymously, never talking about my personal life or telling people in my personal life about them and B) I could only write about 1 topic for so long before I got bored with it.

Some time in 2003 I started reading the personal blogs of my favorite writers from a TV website that is now defunct. (Long Live Tubey.) That’s when I started considering the idea of just writing about my personal life, and not about a specific topic. I stumbled upon Dooce who was pregnant with Leta at the time and I thought, I’m trying to get pregnant too…that might give me good writing material. I finally decided it was worth a try and that Zoot/Ewok domain on Typepad was born.

It didn’t take long to get my groove. I made some other friends starting around the same time and I decided I needed a real domain and I bought misszoot.com but did it wrong and ended up having to use a different one (I won’t share it because last I tried it was redirecting to an adult site) for a little while. I didn’t understand the idea of exporting content so I basically launched my new blog and just handpicked a few entries to copy/paste from Typepad. I’m kinda glad I didn’t export the REALLY early days. So I give “January 2004” the honor of being my “blog birthday” since I didn’t pull over any of the few entries from late 2003. Since then, I’ve written a crapton of content.

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5,454 entries. THAT IS A CRAPTON OF ENTRIES.

In the early days I wrote a lot about trying to get pregnant. And failing to get pregnant. And then getting pregnant but failing to get a baby out of the deal. This website has seen me through many pregnancy tests, blood tests, ultrasounds, miscarriages, D&Cs, and two successful childbirths. Then the blog navigated me through losing my Dad and finally into the world of running and bullet journaling. It’s a crazy thing, to see 12 years of your life spread out like this. I changed the permalink function on this site a long time a go so there’s a lot of dead links, but sometimes I just click around my monthly archives and I’m proud to say my writing has improved substantially over those 13 years.

This blog still doesn’t make any money, and costs me more every year. One of these days I worry my husband is going to be like, “DUDE. FIND A CHEAPER HOBBY.” But this blog has saved me thousands of dollars in therapy, so he knows that in the long run it’s a wash. This blog helps me process so many emotions that I sometimes worry where I would have ended up without it. Half of the therapy comes in the form catharsis via writing, but the other half comes in the form of you guys reassuring me that I’m not alone. This got me through my pregnancy struggles in a time when it wasn’t okay to talk about miscarriages (it’s still not common, but it’s better) because so many of you shared your stories, giving me a community to mourn with. Then the parenting support when I succeeded, and the grief community when my Dad died…so many times your words of commiseration have helped me feel like I can survive what is trying to kill me. Knowing other people have been through the same and lived to tell the tale…it has saved me time and time again on this blog.

12 years of you guys reassuring me that you’ve survived what is trying to kill me…I owe you 12 years of gratitude.

I woke up at 1am and made a cup of coffee and sat here and cried a little. I cried because 1am is a terrible time to wake up for the day and I cried because I get so overwhelmed when I think about this space on the web. I’m overwhelmed by how much I’ve written here, how much of my life I’ve preserved, but I’m also overwhelmed by the love and connections and strength I’ve found here. I had a bad day yesterday, weirdly and traumatically saddened by Alan Rickman’s death. I knew you guys would understand that. I woke up this morning thinking about how many things I’ve said that about, “My blog would understand.” And how many times that understanding has pulled me through the darkness.

So I thank you. Thank you for always being here for me. 12 years is a long time and there’s a lot of comments and emails that gave me exactly what I needed at exactly the write time and there’s just really now way to show the right amount of gratitude for that. But my heart is full of love for this space on the web and the times your words have saved me. 12 years of salvation, I know I would have been lost a long time ago without your voices.

Here’s to another 12 years.

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Thank God For Monday

I love my routine. I need a schedule. I need both BAD. When I’m out of town, it’s one thing to be on a “different” schedule, my body and mind sense everything is different so no normalcy is expected. But when I’m at home for a REALLY LONG weekend and my schedule is whacked out, my brain and my body WANT the schedule they’re used to. Two days of “off” is a weekend. But I took one extra off to hang with my nephew so I had 5 days off and after two days my body and mind were like, “Wait…weekend should be over…where is our routine? WE NEED OUR ROUTINE.” So my emotions go insane (see yesterday’s post) and I eat to deal with the emotions and then I feel shitty because junk food makes me feel shitty and I find myself BEGGING FOR MONDAY.

I got up promptly at 3am as is my usual schedule. I did some dishes, made some coffee, did some cleanup and sat down to blog. AS I DO EVERY MONDAY. I’m going to hit the Y and go to work. There will be some chaos at home as the construction guys will be here to close up an old vent in a hallway and to turn our playroom into a 5th bedroom. (It’s hard to sell a 4,100 square foot house as a 4-bedroom, no matter how low the price-per-square foot is.) BUT I WILL BE AT WORK. I will be on MY OWN SCHEDULE. I LOVE SCHEDULES. I NEED MY ROUTINE.

While I enjoy an impromptu activity during a free segment of my day, I’m not – by nature – and impromptu person. Even on vacation I like to make a schedule so I go throughout my day knowing when we’re eating, when we’re swimming, when we’re getting our magic wands…etc. I probably should have set up a fake “schedule” for the extended break. I did run a few days with friends, but not always in the morning. And the first morning of the break I went to run at the Y and then went and got my nephew, did not go to work, so my mind knew…”Woah. This is not the normal routine for a workday. It started off normal but NOW IT IS NOT! ABORT MISSION!”

Today will be normal. My home will be chaotic but that’s Donnie’s responsibility because he’s got another week of vacation to burn. NOT MY PROBLEM. I will be happily enjoying my normal routine with my coffee in my office and the email checking and the task completing and I’m VERY HAPPY to have that back. All I wanted for Christmas, evidently, was my routine back in order.

SIDENOTE: This picture has nothing to do with this entry, but our Running Photographer Superhero – Gregg Gelmis took it on our trail run on Saturday and I love it with every ounce of my soul and wanted to show it off.

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Rule Follower.

I went to dinner with a friend last night and we were discussing our propensity for rule following. It’s something I never really thought about until my sister-in-law asked me about it when I visited her in Denver. I can’t remember what we were doing, I think maybe we were trying to find a way behind a hotel by just going through it and I was obviously nervous about just trying doors to see what would open. She could tell it was making me nervous I guess, but since then? I’ve thought about it often. I AM A TOTAL RULE FOLLOWER.

And the more I think about it, the more I realized I’ve always have been this way. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to sneak candy into a movie theater. BUT! I buy a drink or a popcorn to go with it so that I’ve bought SOMETHING. Before I bought the annual pass at our state park I always left money in the honor box. Sometimes, if I didn’t have the right amount of cash I would leave more and remember that next time.

I AM A RULE FOLLOWER.

If I go to a crowded event where parking is an issue, I don’t “make” a parking spot somewhere that looks like I could create one. Nope. I just park really far away. People who just park somewhere where it looks like their car might fit? MAKE ME INSANE. How do you do that and not panic the entire time you’re at the event that your car is blocking someone? DO THEY EVEN CARE?

If I miss my turn I don’t try to correct by popping a u-turn in an illegal area, I just drive further down the road and turn around the proper way.

I have friends who let their kids play on parked construction equipment. Not like, try to turn it on or anything, but they’ll let them get up close and look at it and I’m like BACK AWAY! WE DO NOT HAVE PERMISSION!

When I was in middle school a bunch of kids were sneaking beer from their parents houses and drinking it hiding at recess and I wouldn’t even go outside because I was terrified of being associated with that rule-breaking group.

Once I drove the getaway vehicle when some friends TP’d (or “rolled” depending on where you’re from) another friend’s house and I was terrified for WEEKS someone was going to find my car on a security camera somewhere. THEY ARE GOING TO COME FIND ME AND HUNT ME DOWN.

Part of my job when I’m shooting real estate properties is to sometimes shoot like, neighborhood pools or playgrounds, and if it’s gated/private I get SO NERVOUS that I’m going to get in trouble for taking pictures of it. I mean, I’m there to help sell a house in the subdivision, I have every right to take a picture of the neighborhood amenities, BUT IT SCARES THE CRAP OUT OF ME.

I never liked to “sneak up closer” at concerts. I didn’t like to stand up if people around me weren’t standing up too. I don’t like waiting at the stage door for performers. All of the “fun” stuff that people like to do makes me twitch like a crazy person. “I’ll just wait for you guys in the car, okay?”

What about you?

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Cognitive Dissonance And Picking On People

I was listening to an interview with Jon Ronson who wrote the book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed which looks at cases like Justine Sacco who tweeted a bad “joke” about going to Africa and not getting AIDS because she’s white and then her entire life was ruined. More than getting fired (which happened) – there were death threats and a permanently tarnished name and emotional destruction etc. (There’s an excerpt from the book here.) Someone of no real consequence says something dumb and the entire internet gangs up on them and takes them down for it. The part though that I find interesting is that Ronson interviewed people who seemed to be really into to the “take down” part of Sacco’s situation and he asked them how they think she’s doing and they ALL SAID, “Eh, I’m sure she’s fine.” She was not fine.

In the interview Ronson then told a story about a guy in another country who just recently killed himself after being publicly shamed for being a racist when he didn’t even say the thing he was attributed for saying. Obviously, that guy is not fine.

So, the Cognitive Dissonance part of it is that “we” – the collective internet – tend to say things about other people we know NOTHING ABOUT without worrying about the consequences because “we” basically think our words are not significant and won’t have any lasting effect. He brought up the point that – because the internet “we” is a huge organism with lots of power – it DOES have lasting effect and any person who is a part of that collective “we” who joins in on this type of public shaming needs to realize that. And I have a lot to say about that in a future entry.

BUT – for this entry – I got to thinking about this type of of cognitive dissonance and how it relates to my favorite subject: Picking on people you don’t know. I tend to be that annoying kid in class that doesn’t want anyone to have fun, in the sense that I sometimes write on my Facebook page or in response on other people’s Facebook pages when I feel like a stranger may be being picked on. I guess I’m the defender of the person wearing the bad outfit or saying/doing the dumb thing that you post about in your status. Mainly because I’m often wearing bad outfits (I went to Whole Foods for the first time last night in knee-high striped santa socks and a santa hat) or saying dumb things (Oh, man. I said something SUPER dumb this week that I’ll share in another entry once the embarrassment fades a bit). But I often like to point out that maybe the target of the status would have their feelings hurt a bit if they saw the status about them.

And a few times when I’ve done this kinda directly? I’ve gotten responses like, “Eh – they wouldn’t care. They wear that kind of thing knowing they’re going to get made fun of.” Or, “Eh, they would know I was just being silly and didn’t mean any actual harm.” And those type of statements always kinda sat weird with me and I couldn’t figure out why and now I see what they are – a type of cognitive dissonance. We all know deep down that our words could hurt someone, but we also know they’re damn funny and we want to say them anyway so we just kinda justify it by hoping/believing the words wouldn’t hurt anyone.

I do believe there are people who could see that their picture was being used in a mocking way and not get their feelings hurt. But I think we tend to assume that’s the majority of people when we want to do the mocking, when in reality I don’t believe it is. I think the average person would be happy knowing no one was making fun of them ever, but we’ve all seen our friends on Facebook post statuses making fun of the 40-year old lady wearing leggings as pants and how SHE IS TOO OLD FOR THAT SHIT.

(I’m a 40-year old lady who wore leggings as pants yesterday.)

I know the world is not as sensitive as I am, but I also know that there are enough sensitive people in the world that could read your status or see your picture making fun of someone and be wounded by it in some way. And I don’t believe people are honestly unaware of that. Acting like poking fun of people on Facebook is a victimless crime, has to be a form of cognitive dissonance because we all are aware that sometimes people get their feelings hurt. Even if the subject of your ridicule never sees the words, one of your friends or family members may be able to easily see themselves in that person your making fun of and then just look at you differently. While the leggings are a good example, but so are things like – when you post that status making fun of the girl at Wal-Mart with the gross feet who should NOT be allowed to wear sandals. Or when you make some sort of snarky comment about how people should take care of their eyebrows. I’ve seen ALL of these and they ALL resonate with me directly. I have black toenails and sometimes am missing them all together. My eyebrows are out of control. Sometimes I mix up my “your/you’re” or my “there/they’re/their” – NOT BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW WHICH IS WHICH – but because I don’t always proofread well.

But in order to post our funny statuses about strangers we have to convince ourselves that they’re not mean because A) That person will never see the status or B) People aren’t that sensitive and wouldn’t really get their feelings hurt.

I know people who often make fun of strangers; not necessarily in super-mean ways, but in snarky enough ways that I find myself forever paranoid around them. I mean, if they write about strangers on their Facebook page do that make fun of me when I’m not around? I’ve also seen people who point and laugh when we’re in groups and then I find myself wondering if someone is pointing and laughing at me from another group. A perfect example is – I was at a 5K once with my daughter and some “experienced runners” I guess were making fun of someone wearing their hydration pack to a 5K. I do that ALL THE TIME and now I’m forever paranoid someone is making fun of me assuming I’m rookie. I AM NOT A ROOKIE, I JUST LIKE BEING PREPARED OKAY?

Untitled-1Our words have power no matter how much we try to tell ourselves they don’t. Yes, maybe a lot of people in the world aren’t as sensitive as I am, but I promise you enough are (because I am blessed with kind friends and we discuss this a lot) that your words WILL pack a punch in some way whether you intend it or not. I believe we all know that, deep down. That words matter. And I believe that we all know deep down that the ego boost from writing a status where people are all “LOL! YOU’RE SO FUNNY!” is probably not worth it if someone honestly got their feelings hurt. But we like that ego boost too much to allow ourselves to think about other people’s feelings. And if they get their feelings hurt? THAT IS ON THEM, DAMMIT.

Yep. It’s on me alright. On me to never allow myself to get too close to someone who picks on people for sport.