Fool’s Bold

Some days, I feel like a fool.

A silly, young, pathetic, naïve little fool.

I have days where I can’t get it together. Days where, try as I might, I can’t make my senses work in tandem to produce results. I can’t find the club soda in the bottom of the machine, even though I’ve just watched it fall out of the rungs in front of my eyes. I can’t help but get to work exactly six minutes late. I can’t cook red meat without setting in on fire and drying it out like a brillo pad. I can’t remember to put my gym shoes in my bag—twice.

Some days, I spell ‘restaurant’ wrong, over and over and over again, even though I’ve been spelling that shit out my whole damn life.

Some days I try too hard. Some days I think people are being awful, when really, they’re just being… people.

I hate feeling foolish.

Somewhere along the line, I learned to associate foolishness with weakness. Playing the fool. Acting ‘a fool. You sure fooled me. “That there’s fool’s gold.” To be a fool was to be willfully pathetic.

In my quest to be bold, I’m learning a lot about what it means to fail, and to be fooled. Failure is such a terrifying absolution—one that feels so finite, so done, with no hope of undoing. Failure is the dreaded end that comes at the hand of foolish choices. And of course, foolishness is the gas that fuels the fire of failure.

Don’t you ever just get sick of the eminence of failure? Doesn’t your neck ever get tired of watching your back all the time?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I’m a damn fool.

I’m the kind of fool that gives money to people who ask for it on the street. I’m the kind of fool that thinks things will come together. I’m the kind of fool that asks questions I already know the answer to, just because it helps me a little bit to hear it said aloud once or twice. I’m a fool in love, in war, and in the wine store. I buy the $15 bottle because the label’s pretty and I like to feel fancy on a Sunday night. Sue me.

But here’s something I’m learning: there’s a little bit of fool in EVERYONE.

There’s the organic fool, who pays three times market value for food at Wealthy Living, because it makes them feel better to “know what’s on their plate.” (I can tell you what’s on my plate too—five Dove Dark chocolates, a hunk of Cabot cheese, and some spilled wine—heavy on the GMO). There’s the birth control free fool, the grin and bear it fool, the speed dating fool, the gambling fool, the up in da club fool, riding dirty fool, the religious resurrection fool, the let it ride fool, and the worst fool of all—the self-important fool.

I’ve known a few of each of these in my life, and I’ve been them myself more times than I’d like to admit. I’ve kept them as friends, colleagues, teachers, and enemies, and I’ve foolishly let them ride out their faults, thinking they might turn it around. We never do.

Know this: people will let you down. They will toss you aside, or maybe just edge you out politely. Later on down the road, they might even run back to reclaim you, grappling around feverishly in the dark once they’ve realized what they’ve lost. The trick to compassion is learning how to balance this omnipotent assurance with your own self-respect. How to love, without ceasing to be loved.

Know this: fault happens. Foolish choices happen, and then the aftermath happens, and everything goes off just the way you failed to plan it. Foolish choices? They’re a thing, but they aren’t mistakes. They’re gloriously ugly, cracked, edgy, chipped out pieces of the grander mosaic of your life. You’ll cut your finger on them every now again, but you’ll put on your big gal band-aid and move on—onto the next foolish mess.

Some days I feel like a fool, but there’s a boldness in knowing, and in being willing to admit and accept my foolish status. When being a fool means allowing yourself to fully open up to the wholeness and wildness that comes with trial, error, wisdom, and chance, foolishness gives way to certainty—the ability to accept your shortcomings, and embrace your power.


“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”


-The wisest of words from the grandest fool of all.


Bold is a Legacy

Bold is 13 states in 17 days. It’s squeezing your entire life into the impossibly small backseat of a little sedan, and making your mom ride 1,800 miles across the country with a crockpot, a stack of records, two pillows and a few books at her feet. And hoping she still loves you enough to help you unpack afterward.

Bold is shushing the adamant, resounding, nagging worry in the back of your mind—the one that’s saying, Holy shit. I live in Vermont…—for one that says, Holy Shit! I live in VERMONT! Again and again and again.


It’s not a task for the faint of heart, this disappearing into a new life at a moment’s notice. I’m not sure it’s a task for me, either, but I’m doing it.

While my mother and I were making the drive up to Vermont, I had nothing but time to contemplate my new blog endeavor—life endeavor, really—of being bold at all costs. Simply making the conscious decision to live more boldly ensures it’s constantly in the forefront of my mind, along with the wonder if I’m really living boldly enough.

HelloNEMy mother selflessly did most of the driving on our road trip to Vermont, and left me to gaze listlessly out the window at the slow-changing landscapes, wondering to myself where I’d find my fit within it all. I thought of all the bold choices I’ve made lately, some of them intentional, and some organic. I thought of cutting off my hair, arguably my most treasured physical attribute. I thought of packing up my belongings in mere hours. I thought of how long it’d be before I saw my family again. I thought of what it’d be like to be single, if things went that way. [Update: they did.]


My mother listened patiently, intently, as she always does. She engaged me with probing questions, wonders, worries. She listened actively, but moreover, she opened up new opportunities for conversation—conversation centered solely on me. All of this while darting through road-rage ridden Priuses, gas-guzzling trucks, lane-floating semis, and the occasional patch of rain, roadkill, and rush hour traffic. She was graceful and gracious.

My mother later went on to not only help me unpack my things and move them into my apartment, but also comforted me when said apartment was less than what I’d expected, held me as I cried like a child over all the newness, went grocery shopping for me, fixed me meals when I was too tired to do so myself, and outfitted my apartment with carefully selected, taste-matched touches of decoration to make my new place feel more like home.

All without ever being asked. All without ever asking for anything in return.


If I’m honest with myself, I admit that bold isn’t about moving anywhere at all. It’s not about leaving your family, your friends, your job, your boyfriend, your home, or your comfort behind in favor of some sight-unseen possibility. Bold isn’t about glory.

Bold is about what you do without ever being asked. Bold is about making selfless choices based on pure listening and a genuine desire to give and serve. Bold is about who you are of your own accord—bold is having the courage to be the woman your mother raised you to be, and raising your daughter to do the same.

My mother and I had a fantastic road trip together. It was something I never thought we’d get to do, but am so glad we finally did. You learn a lot about yourself when you finally relax into honest, thoughtful mother-daughter conversation, when both parties are finally able to meet and accept the oldest versions of one another. I re-met my mother that weekend. It might be the boldest thing I’ve done all year.


This Sunday, I’ll wish a happy Mother’s Day over the phone to the boldest woman of all. As she says, “You’re only as happy as your unhappiest child.” I’ve got that motto in my head these days, and I’m saying ‘yes’ to the boldness that comes with deciding to be alright.