Inheritable traits & metaphors


My sister and I, although adequately graceful in most areas of our lives, had the great misfortune of inheriting a particular trait from our father: our nose-blowing, individually but especially collectively, is a high decibel experience. On any given morning in our household, one can hear the demonstration of nasal power. And oh is it powerful. We always likened the noise to that of an elephant (whereas some people sneeze like mice – I do not trust these people). That is, until we were presented with an incredibly apt metaphor, much more accurate than our own:

“Cierra, you know what you sound like when you blow your nose? Like when you drag your suitcase across those metal things at the beginning and the end of escalators.”

Do you guys know what my 11-year-old cousin is talking about? Because she hit the nail right on the head. And instead of mourn my apparent lack of ladylikeness, I thought wow, METAPHORS! LANGUAGE! THIS STUFF IS AMAZING! An elementary schooler just brilliantly described a previously indescribable sound my nose has been making for my entire life.

And it’s just like that, whether it’s funny or gorgeous or melancholy as hell, words can not only envelop but become a feeling (or a noise, for that matter). I’ve found innumerable instances of this just in the past few days, in my second and much more successful attempt to read Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, with whom I proudly share a birthday. I started reading this book in high school and I was wildly unprepared, low in energy and consequently low in the amount of effort I put forth – I didn’t understand a thing and I was disappointed. Four years later, I’m underlining something on every page because these words give me feelings. “He would fall asleep with his heart at the foot of his bed, like some domesticated animal that was no part of him at all.” Excuse me, Jonathan, that is my heart you are breaking.

Not that I’m required to have one, but what is my point? Surprise, there are three.

  1. I think words are really cool and you should think so too.
  2. People say “the right person at the wrong time is the wrong person,” and I think I believe that. But the same cannot be said for books. I’m willing to lump music in there too. The right book or song at the wrong time could still be the right book or song at the right time. And, in all likelihood, the right time will come. Books have chapters and so does life.
  3. I’m not embarrassed about the way I blow my nose. I’m not embarrassed about the way I blow my nose. I’m not embarrassed about the way I blow my nose.

Also, I got blood drawn today and it took my perfectly competent nurse three painful tries to lure anything out of my itty-bitty, impossible-to-find veins. Even my bloodways are stubborn and somewhat elusive. Cheers to perfect consistency.


It is what it wasn’t


I don’t know about all the other 90’s children out there, but I’ve been making an effort to keep up with Cory Matthews and the gang in the Disney Channel reboot of Boy Meets World (a true classic). While I found the first couple episodes to be fraught with cringeworthy sentimentality and choppy writing, I have to confess it has since won my heart and I get kind of excited when a new episode is put OnDemand. Call it a last-ditch effort to preserve my childhood, call it a symptom of summer boredom, I don’t care. I like Girl Meets World.

A couple weeks ago, I somehow managed to drag my sister into watching it with me. Before I go on, let me just say that watching anything with me is an experience which involves a lot of commentary and more criticism than I’d like to admit – you can choose to interpret this as either an apology or a warning, depending on your relationship with me. Anyway, true to form, I alerted Alisha of a mystery that had been bothering me since the pilot. Also true to form, it had something to with a change in a male celebrity’s face.

Me: Just… can’t you see it? Ben Savage’s nose! I feel like it used to be your generic, rounded nose, but now it’s swoopy on the end.

Alisha: No. It’s his nose, Cierra, it is what it is.

Me: It is what it wasn’t.

And then all of a sudden I had a “huh” moment. A suspected rhinoplasty made me think about my life. It is what it wasn’t. Sometimes I get sad and nostalgic about things I’ve lost or things that are different. Relationships change, people melt out of your life, moments turn into pictures which turn into albums you leaf through when you’re down. It always is what it wasn’t. It will be what it isn’t. Do I sound like Dr. Seuss yet?


My point: things change. In a lot of cases, they don’t necessarily get better or worse, they just change. I’m one of those people who tends to romanticize the past, and I can confidently argue it’s not very helpful. Was I a “better” person when I was sixteen? Probably not. Was I happier when I had a 4.0? No. Was life any less difficult before Ben Savage got a nose job? (currently laughing at myself) Um nope.

You do you, Ben. And in the meantime, I’m going to stop comparing this day to the ones already passed.

And I’m also going to keep watching Girl Meets World even though Maya and Farkle carry the rest of the cast (including the adults) on their little preteen backs.