One of the first things you learn as an English major is to hate cliches. I internalized that rule so much that I try not to use them when speaking, either. But that’s hard. There’s no way you can avoid speaking in cliches and I struggle to not write with them. The upside of not being able to use cliches for me is that I can never get them right, anyway. I always confuse multiple cliches into one, and then sound not only uncreative but also stupid. I am constantly writing that character in my head, trying to remember my worst attempts and write them down to use for her.
A frequent one I confuse that comes to mind involves “skin,” “nose,” and “teeth.” For example: “I made the team by the skin of my nose.” Or, “I avoided hitting that car by the skin off my teeth.” What is the correct usage of those? What do they even mean? I hate cliches.
I also hate being a cliche, or when others are cliches. It’s just so boring. When I see middle-aged men driving sports cars, or hipsters being hip, or blonds being dumb, or when I wear yoga pants while drinking Starbucks in my SUV…ok, back off the moms, ok?! My yoga pants are all I can fit in, my Starbucks keeps me fueled so I can drive your ass everywhere, and you keep growing so we had to get a bigger car. We are doing the best we can. We gave birth to y’all, so give us some Respect. 🙂
Right now, I am not only a mom cliche, I am also a January cliche. I am trying to organize my house, minimize my life, and lose weight. I look around, and lo and behold, so is everyone else! If we are all going to be cliches, at least we are all in it together. I have a new Fitbit and have some lovely Fitbit friends who are helping encourage me. I am walking with friends. I am eating better with my husband. I am getting tons of organizational tips from magazines and Pinterest because that’s what everyone else is talking about, too. Maybe being a cliche isn’t so bad, after all.
After the holidays, we are all spent. In every possible way. Mentally, physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually spent. Excess has given way to less is more. I want to throw everything out. No more clutter, no more holiday knick-knacks, no more Christmas candy (except maybe that chocolate over there), no more stuff. No. More. Throw it all in a tub, pack that tub away, and on to the next. Call the ReStore and tell them to take it all. Did you hear about the guy who bulldozed his house with everything in it? He was in the middle of a reno and just had had it up to here, and just bulldozed that sucker to the ground. I get him. I truly do. We’ve all been there at some point where you just think, let’s get rid of it all and start over.
February is coming and then March and then Spring! Being a January cliche might just start the year off right for me. It’s not about being a sheep-le, it’s about hope. It’s about rebirth. A new you! say all the weight-loss companies and gym commercials. Maybe not new, but a better you, with an uncluttered house and mind, a clearer vision of where you’re headed, and energy and strength to get you where you want to go. If wanting that makes me a cliche, so be it.
Here’s to being yourself in 2015! If it means you are on the same positive path as a lot of other folks, then you won’t be lonely along the way.
Take care of yourselves and each other,
January 23, 2015 at 1:10 pm
Hah! My mom once seriously mutilated a cliche (or wait .. was that me?) along the same lines as your body parts mention above. It came out like this: “Never look a gift horse up the nose.” Still – it seems like good advice to me. Great post, Katie! Here’s a fun resource to have: James Rogers’ Dictionary of Cliches.
January 23, 2015 at 11:10 pm
I will add that one to my character’s repertoire! It’s fantastic. And I obviously need that dictionary — so I can incorrectly not use those things.
January 23, 2015 at 6:05 pm
You are describing me to a T. I would like to live in one of those teeny houses less than 500 square feet. (My husband says a sail boat would fit the bill. ) But really I just want to complete that ABC x-stitch I started for my granddaughter when she was 1. She is now 5 1/2 and read a 50 page book to me last night (Dick and Jane). I’m not buying another thing, except food, until I finish it. This was a good blog you wrote!
January 23, 2015 at 11:12 pm
Thanks, Anne! It’s ok, I’ve been knitting the same scarf for several years now. Is it better to have knitted and not finished than to never have knitted at all? That is a question for the ages.