# of literary mags submitted to: 2
# of agents queried: 0
The other day I had a Skype date with my okcupid penpal who lives in Maryland. (This is the type of thing that I do because I’m weird and I like awkward situations, although actually it wasn’t awkward at all.) Today I got an email from him, and he was talking about how he had bad acne in high school. “Actually, I had a HUGE zit when we Skyped,” he wrote. “Did you see it?”
I did. It was hard to miss. But at the time I wasn’t sure whether it was a pimple or a weird, giant mole. I was relieved to hear it was just a pimple. They’re preferable to weird, giant moles, although I suppose he could have some of those elsewhere on his body.
My grandma used to say, “you can’t help what grows on you, you can only keep it clean.”
It seems like this is an out-dated expression. These days, you can help what grows on you. You can wax it or bleach it or get it surgically removed. You don’t have to settle for you.
* * *
Back when I was moving from New Orleans to DC, or maybe it was when I decided I didn’t want to live in DC anymore and was trying to figure out where to move to next, my mom said, “you know, there’s a saying: grow where you’re planted.”
“Ew,” I said. “I don’t like that saying. It’s boring.”
These days, you don’t have to grow where you’re planted. You can uproot yourself as many times as you want and plant yourself in all different types of foreign soil. You don’t have to settle.
* * *
Both of these saying might be a little outdated, but on the other hand, I think they might be even more important now that it’s so easy for us to change ourselves or our surroundings at the drop of a hat. Maybe sometimes the answer isn’t a change. Maybe sometimes the answer is to do the best with what you already have.