Mama Kat always has the best prompts. Even on weeks when I don't get anything posted, they always make me think about things in a different way.

This week it's what I didn't learn in high school. She specifies six, so I'll play by the rules. The list could be longer, no doubt. And it's not meant as a diss on my alma mater; I was blessed to go to a Catholic, college prep school that served me well. I loved my time there. Really. But there were things that I didn't learn. Lots of things. Here are six, in no particular order.

1. The difference between selfish and self-love. Still working on this one and my 25th reunion is just around the corner, so I guess that means it's a toughie. But something so important shouldn't just be left to a 'life will teach you all about that, sweetie, let's diagram some sentences now…' should it? I think that learning how to take care of our emotional health is just as important as split infinitives or figuring out which personality X has taken on in Calc class.

2. That what I've always called 'Catholic guilt' is really shame. Thank God Brene Brown is helping me figure it out. I swear that last weekend I read the 'Understanding and Combating Shame' section of Chapter 3 about four times and I'll bet you a margarita that I'll be reading it again. Often. Because I've always just assumed that the whole guilt/shame thing is just part of who I am as a first born, Type A, Catholic woman, and I've justified it with countless self-deprecating 'well, you know, good ol' Catholic guilt' comments. I figure if I'm going to use something as an excuse for so long, I should at least be able to properly define it.


Me. Freshman year. Lots of hair.

3. How to use money instead of letting money manage me.  I hate money. Really. I hated seeing my mom steal it, I hated seeing my dad work so hard for it, I hate feeling like I have to choose between being the only breadwinner in my family and being a "good mom". I hate that not only do the ends never seem to meet, but they've developed a sick sense of humor and wreak havoc on my best laid plans. I hate that I wake up in the middle of the night hoping a payment either deposited or was withdrawn from my bank account at the "right" time and that if my kids save their allowance for a month their bank account will probably be able to beat up my bank account. I wish that my high school would have not only had a Personal Finance class, but a 'Behind the Money' class so that I could start to work my head around the fact that money is mine, damnit, and not the other way around.

4. How to have the tough conversations well and with grace. I don't  have tough conversations well. Or at all. I have friends tell me they admire my honesty and my directness. But I don't like tough conversations. Refer back to What I  Didn't Learn #1, and you'll understand why. I still fall into the category of thinking that speaking my mind is selfish. That I should put everyone's feelings ahead of mine. That 'they' matter more. And confrontation? Yes, I can do it. I just don't like it.

5. How to dazzle at a book club. Unless we're talking stolen Danielle Steele sagas or Anne Rice books. I made it through high school without knowing the classics. I think we studied Hemingway in Senior English (thank you, Mrs. Stecklein), but I don't remember ANY of it. I've never read Of Mice and Men, The Great Gatsby, Anna Karennina, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, War and Peace…….I do remember Shakespeare and fell in love with The Odyssey and Beoweulf, but that was in college. So if we're hanging in real life and I get all weird when we start talking classics, now you know my secret.

6. Practical single mom stuff.  You know, those things that a husband might do if I had one. Fixing the toilet that won't stop running, changing a tire, moving heavy stuff. Yeah, yeah, I'm all 'I am woman, hear me roar' and when push comes to shove I google what I need and get it done (or scoot furniture until it goes where I want it to go). But I'm not too proud to admit that if I never had to deal with toilet guts again I wouldn't be sad. At all.

I'm linking up today with Mama Kat's Losin It's Writer's Workshop, and my post was inspired by option number 5: 6 things you never learned in school.

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