Tag Archives: assume


My freshmen year of college, some friends and I went taert-ro-kcirt-ing in the dorms on Halloween. Taert-ro-kcirt-ing is trick-or-treating backwards. Obviously.

We dressed up (just barely– some cat ears and butterfly wings or something of the sort) and went from door to door with a plastic jack-o-lantern full of candy that we handed out. Maybe we collected for UNICEF or something while we were at it? I can’t really remember… but I do remember it being an absolute blast.

I’m normally pretty scared to interact with people, especially people I don’t know. And people I do know. So all people, actually. But when we taert-ro-kcirt-ed, I don’t really remember minding at all. I felt silly and confident and fun as we knocked on each door and handed out candy and a smile– people didn’t expect it, they were so happy. Like I said, an absolute blast.

And maybe it is that simple. When you want to do the opposite of something, just turn the word around and do it. That easy.

I hope anyway. And here’s why.

Remember that chocolate I told you about earlier this week? All of that delicious and amazing chocolate?

Do you also remember about that little binge eating thing that tends to haunt me from time to time?

Welllll…. this:

A trash can full of shame...
A trash can full of shame…

Sigh. It was not the best afternoon of my life.

Delicious, of course, but so very out of control.

But why? When I have so much to look forward to!

I mean, first thing tomorrow morning, I’m getting on a plane and heading to Miami, one of the only places in the country currently untouched by this mess:

So much cold, so much snow.
So much cold, so much snow.

… where I will meet my husband for a lovely long weekend and to attend his work Christmas party where all of his co-workers and their spouses will be waiting to meet me and look at me and talk to me and realize how ugly and stupid and weird and lame I am…

Ah ha!!

I’m stressed. Stressed backward is desserts. So I’m eating desserts. Doing the opposite.

It’s science, don’t think too hard about it.

And the reason I’m stressed?

Really… it’s because I’m terrified. And even worse, I am certain that all of Seth’s coworkers and their spouses and basically all of the people of Miami are going to hate me.

What’s not to hate?! My jaw is so square. My hair is going to be so frizzy (Miami?! of all places!! with this HAIR?!). I haven’t lost any weight (I wanted to lose weight first!) and my clothes come from Target. I’m almost thirty-ONE and I have ZERO kids and I’m a NERD. A huge nerd. I really wish my right eye would open up as far as my left. Oh god oh god oh god. What am I even going to WEAR? What in my closet is the least make-you-hate-me-able of all???


Cheese and rice.

I have got to stop.


I assume that everyone who meets me down in Miami is going to hate me.

All evidence points to the contrary, of course– Seth loves these people and they love him back. Seth is awesome and Seth chose me so of course they’ll love me too. And if they don’t? B… F… D…

Not everybody clicks, and that’s ok. A truffle for everyone, you know?

But maybe it would be better to head to Miami with my jack-o-lantern full of candy before I start knocking on doors, if you know what I mean. To ditch the assumptions and just emussa instead that everyone is going to love me. That’s the opposite, of course.

Think it could be that simple?


Probably. And here’s why.


… I assumed that Theresa wouldn’t want to be in my book club because she was pretty and wearing fancy jewelry and drinking a fancy drink and married to a doctor and just seemed so cool. She overheard me telling someone else about it, though, and begged me to let her in. We’ve been texting ever since. I really, really like her.

… I assumed that Kristen wouldn’t want to be my friend because she’s pretty and thin and a pediatrician and therefore a “class A” doctor (not kidding about the classification system at my place of employment, that’s real), but today, after we ate lunch together, which we do pretty regularly, that Grumpy Gus told me I had “lifted her spirits” and wished me well  on my trip to Miami. We’re hanging out for my birthday next week.

… I assumed that my very young friend Emily (like younger than my sister AND brother) wouldn’t want to be my friend anymore after our mutual slightly-closer-to-both-our-ages-friend moved away over the summer, but Emily’s coming to my birthday dinner next week too. And also we do yoga and crafts and watch trash tv together. Traaaaaaash.


I wonder how much time, stress, and probably desserts, I could have saved myself from wasting, experiencing, and eating, respectively, had I gone in emussa-ing instead??? Not to mention how much cooler I could have played it if I hadn’t been busy trying to keep them from hating me instead of letting them like me like they were always going to do. (That’s a super confusing sentence. Leaving it.)

Eventually, this afternoon, I went to a little mini holiday party and ate some cocktail weenies (oy, so good) and got over it just a bit. I chatted with some people from another department (who I originally assumed hated me… but totally don’t– another excellent example of that assuming crap) and stopped the spiral. I’m going to face the day tomorrow essuma-ing instead of assume-ing and everyone is going to love me in Miami.

Or not. But it honestly doesn’t matter.

Regardless, the weather will certainly be warmer and I’ll get to spend a bit of time with my long lost husband (it’s really only two weeks, I’m being dramatic) and (you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around) that’s what it’s all about!



Coincidentally, I’ve talked about assuming before. But unfortunately, Tim Haight never taught me what happens when you assume something about yourself. Like that you’re super hate-worthy. Lessons are so much more difficult to learn on your own. I wish Tim were here.

He’d probably hate me anyway 😉


I’m so neurotic. You knew that already. Don’t hate me, k?

The Thing Tim Haight Taught Me, A Long Time Ago

I was in the band starting in 6th grade. I played percussion. I could read music decently well, so I primarily played the bells (the little xylophone-looking thing made out of metal rather than wood) until high school, but also dabbled in drums and other keyed instruments of various sorts (like an actual xylophone).

Any excuse to show off my band uniform– that’s a xylophone, bells on the right. Well, it was a glockenspiel, actually, but same thing.

My freshman year of high school, I officially joined the drumline and played the snare drum when we marched. I don’t know what it’s like to be in any other section of the band because I’ve only experienced what I’ve experienced… but my impression was that drumline was a bit different.

Drumline! My senior year at a football game. See that lady quad player??? The coolest... be impressed by her. Very, very impressed.
Drumline! My senior year at a football game. See that lady quad player??? The coolest… be impressed by her. Very, very impressed.

You see, we had to play cadences (da! dig-a-dig-a-dig-a-da! go!) and keep time while everyone else was marching along between songs. It makes sense, really, since our instruments didn’t require lung capacity (only bladder capacity– those harnesses press down right on your bladder) so we could play and play and play without needing the break everyone else did. Except that meant extra practice, a special drumline coach, and a general level of rowdiness that was disconcerting for a nerdy little goodie-two-shoes like me. Which is what made Tim Haight so scary to me.

Tim was musically gifted, but alternative– to say the least. He didn’t follow the rules and didn’t care if he got in trouble for it (gasp!) and he scared me because people who don’t follow rules and don’t care about the consequences are unpredictable. I made a lot of assumptions about him.

He called me on it one day.

I don’t remember what I had said, done, or assumed or why Tim felt the need to call me on it at that moment, but he said to me, “You know what happens when you assume something, don’t you?”


“You make an ass out of and me.”

Jaw drop, heart stop.

It was a pun (a very, very clever and punny pun!) and it was crazy true.

I had never heard that adage before and I’m sure I reacted to hearing it that time very poorly, but it was a good lesson for me. I’d like to tell you I stopped making assumptions right then and there, but that would be a big fat lie and Tim would probably happen to read this one blog entry and call me on it in front of all of you… so I won’t lie. I do still think of that day from time to time though, and every time I find myself ashamed at the assumptions I continue to make.

Most recently, I’ve found myself making assumptions about other people’s intentions. My therapist called me on it this morning. (I’m not certain, but I suspect Tim may have grown up, changed his name, purchased some khakis, and moved to Marshfield to practice psychology…)

It’s never easy to hear someone else talk about your weaknesses– the things you don’t like about your character, the way you should have acted, the assumptions you shouldn’t have made. But that’s what I pay the good doctor for, so I had to choke it down. And now I’m forced to think about it. Ugh.

Self-awareness can be so obnoxious.

It was a lot easier to live in an assumption-fueled rage.

It shouldn’t be though. Because truly, I pride myself on putting my faith in other people and trusting in them to be doing the things most suitable to their own conscience. At least, I thought I did. But I think when it comes to moments why I feel personally hurt or affronted, I automatically assume that the hurt was intentional. Even though, logically and rationally, I can recognize that that’s probably not the case.

My freshman year of college, I lived in West Wadsworth Hall at Michigan Tech (West Wads!!!) in a hall called Good Intentions… as in what the road to hell is paved with.

The Good Intentions broomball team 2002... cleverly named Cruel Intentions. Because it's the opposite. And opposites are... clever?
The Good Intentions broomball team 2002… cleverly named Cruel Intentions. Because it’s the opposite. And opposites are… clever?

And it’s true. Because despite our best intentions, we still end up inflicting hurt on other people, and no one is immune to that. Myself included. (Waaaahhh!! I’m not perfect!!!!) I have a much easier time forgiving myself for hurting someone with my best intentions, though, than I do forgiving someone else for hurting me– based largely on the assumption that I know their intentions to be malevolent.

(Btw, I really like the words malevolent and benevolent. They’re good words.)

I’d probably be a happier person if I assumed the reverse. If I could think “wow. That hurt. But I trust that to hurt was not the intent, and I can move on” instead.

It’s not nearly as satisfying, of course, because very little feels more satisfying in the short term than self-righteous anger. But it’s probably a lot healthier, emotionally speaking, in the long run. Dang.

I’m certainly not there yet, but having had my assumptions pointed out to me, I can feel something inside me breaking. It makes me feel like I understand why people hold on to power and anger and resentment so desperately though, because it’s painful to let forgiveness and understanding and patience take their place. It’s painful to admit that you were wrong. And nobody likes to be in pain, no matter how temporary.

Tim was older than me and different from me and our paths crossed only briefly, but he was fascinating and he left a mark on my life that I’ll never forget. At 14, I never would have expected his silly words (and a swear word even!) to be so profound, and yet here we are… amazing, isn’t it?