A something- why socks are just socks and loathing is lacking

A wake. A live. A ware.

I have been cleaning out my life to make room to step away from it.

Before you start the private messages, texts and calls I don’t mean step away from it in any frightening way. I mean to observe rather than react.

This seeing myself, in my fatness, in my will powerlessness, in my entrepreneurship, in my parenting. It has lifted. Today. Today I am none of those things.  I am working to untangle my ego from it all.

Selecting socks this morning. I reached into the drawer. Instead of grabbing I felt each sock. I spent 10 minutes with the socks. I listened to my sock judgement. You are too tight. You collect pet hair. I realized that for all these years of my adult life I had allowed my socks to tell a story about me. The person whose feet grew with pregnancy, the person who doesn’t vacuum up pet hair and thus takes care of little, the person who doesn’t do laundry frequently. Without noticing it this 10 second sock selection has been an act of self damnation. You know what? They are socks. Some soft. Some mismatched, Some too tight. Now there are fewer socks, it was clear this morning that some of these socks would just never be chosen. So they are out. Which is neither bad nor good. Imagine that, that the act of getting rid of socks has the potential for me to attach some sort of positive or negative. The kind of person who has just the right number of socks is the kind of person I want to be. It seems humorous and absurd.

For three years I have been reading in my kids’ classroom (s.) What motivated me to do this? The chance to spy. I want to be on the inside and see how things work and have the teacher like me. Plus I want to be thanked for being helpful. Right now, today. I don’t care about that. In any case my selfish volunteering has gone on for a while but I noticed that this year I dreaded it. Really, every Tuesday I began to dread Wednesday morning. This week before I went in I asked myself why I dreaded it so much. And I admitted something that I had been repressing. I LOATHE one of the kindergarteners that I read with. Hmmm. It is so unexpected to have strong negative feelings for a 5 year old. But I do. Thinking about it with less emotion I realized that loathe (particularly in CAPS) is too strong. But I dislike him and I dislike reading with him. I noticed that before I went in yesterday. I chose to read with him first. My feelings didn’t change. I don’t like him. But my response to those feelings did. It was such a small dislike. So powerless. Really insignificant. Shine the light on it and the fungus doesn’t grow. Or something.

In any case I really enjoyed reading this week.

In high school I used to have friends that were “project” friends. And I’m sure the answer is no, it is not you I am writing about. He or she was a diamond in the rough (these perfectly complete boys and girls) that I would polish up with my verve, social capital, and particular psychological insight. I saw their beauty, but as potential. I was invested in the change and the outcome, they were a problem to solve.

The drive to connect, control, boss comes out with friends still. I see it now.

Having expectations, feeling that the other person owes you. This has been all over my work and social life. Inserting myself into the work life, decor, love life of friends. Feeling vital. I, just 2 weeks ago had business cards printed up with the phrase “do that”. Anna Rosenblum Palmer- opinions. Then the flip sides said things like: Yes! Or even: let me tell you…

It seemed so simple. People asked for my opinion. I gave my opinion. I had enough opinions to share. The cards were a wink and nod to what was already going on. Do That.

My feelings aren’t as strong today. I have them…dirty snow, cat pee, bill piles. I see those. I feel something about them. Somehow the power of the feeling is gone. Texting with a friend…one who started as a project and I now recognize as complete and completely without need of my intervention…I asked him a question about someone else’s business. (Literal business) He redirected me to that person. My first feeling was of offense. Why wouldn’t he tell me, I want to be central, in the know, I want him to feel like he can and will tell me anything I ask. I felt all of that. And then it just lifted. I felt it, I noticed it, it left. I’m glad I did, because the absence of the feeling 3 seconds later was made more sweet for it presence.

I was able to let go because my ego wasn’t in this business the way it might have been a few months ago. The way it WAS a few months ago. This is someone else’s triumph, as it would have been some else’s failure. It is hard to have your ego in someone else. So the practice is to set back from yourself. I am tangentially involved, and that is a great place for me. Shedding my central role. It is really about the tangents.

I have been practicing this with my kids for three years and with myself for 6 months. In just the past week I went to the zen center for the first time and began reading Anthony De Mello’s “Awareness.” I was prompted to read it when both the Sensei and Vicki from parenting class quoted from it two days apart from one another. Vicki’s quote I remember. Taking down the self help bible De Mello says it should have been “I’m an ass, you’re an ass.”

A something indeed.



Published by

Anna Palmer

Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble,, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at

10 thoughts on “A something- why socks are just socks and loathing is lacking”

  1. …I” is neither successful nor a failure. It is none of these labels. These things come and go. These things depend on the criteria society establishes. These things depend on your conditioning. These things depend on the mood of the person who happens to be talking to you right now. It has nothing to do with “I.”


    Anthony De Mello. “Awareness.” Image Books, 2011-08-31. iBooks.
    This material may be protected by copyright.

  2. Such such good writing Anna. I’ve been exploring similar things in going through my studio and getting rid of heaps of paper–former selves documented, judgments of adequacy and inadequacy saved for whatever reason…. reading this provoked further thought. I hardly ever leave comments, but wanted to say: I hear this. And your honesty makes it so compelling.

  3. I really love this. So easy to get over invested, over emotional, over involved, when if you can step back you realise that the situation just doesn’t warrant that kind of emotional response, energy or involvement from you. & then of course it feels so much better, it’s just getting to that realisation that’s hard.

    1. And then you have to get there again next time. As you know this was a throwback post…and I wrote it years ago…I don’t quite have the problem with the socks, but you should hear my inner monologue about the fact that my son hasn’t flossed his teeth. It is as if we will both drop dead on the spot. Time to take a step back!

  4. What a beautiful post about our own inner criticisms. I like the way you observed your thoughts, created space between yourself and your feelings and simply understood your own actions, I’m focusing too on “non judgement” and the concept of detachment. It’s a real journey, isn’t it? You’re a wonderful writer, Anna. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.