Smooshed

I once read that if you look at Sophia Loren’s features individually, they aren’t that great. But if you smoosh those features together, somehow it results in Sophia Loren, and she’s lovely.

I tell you this not only because I’ve been cooped up with animals like Joseph in a manger and think odd things now, but also because I was thinking about myself.

Wait, what?

No one gives Joseph any credit, by the way. Not only did he marry someone who was having someone else’s baby, he also had to sit around in a cold manger on Christmas. Wise Men brought him bupkis. And there had to be zero cell reception out there.

Anyway, what I mean is, when you think about all my personality traits individually, I have all the traits people don’t like. I’d like to think I’m in the wrong era, the way we do about women with Rubenesque bodies in 2020, but I don’t think it works that way for personalities. I think my traits have always been eschewed.

First of all, you might not have noticed this but I have dramatic delivery. I don’t mean to have dramatic delivery. It just comes out that way. Sometimes I’ll see a video of myself and think, Oh my god calm down. When I’m talking, I don’t realize I’m lifting my eyebrows to kingdom come and emphasizing every third word breathlessly like I’m starring in a 9th-grade play. It’s just how it comes out of me.

Also, I’m self-centered. Again, I don’t MEAN to be. Sometimes—I mean, back when we could stand in groups of three and talk to each other, sometimes one person will be telling a story, and the other listener responds before I do. “What did you do after you stabbed him?” the other listener will ask.

And I’ll think, DANG. It did not occur to be to ask a follow-up Q. I was so gonna lunge into the tale of when I stabbed something with my steely knife but I just couldn’t kill the beast. I mean, my go-to is to reply with a story about myself.

I’m telling you all this not because I think you don’t already know I’m repugnant. You must, by now. Oh, and don’t forget my cranky side! That’s another charming bit of my pers.

Also I make up abbreviations like “pers.”

But I’m TELLING you all this–

–don’t forget about my ADD, and how I can never get to the point!

I’m TELLING you all this because on Saturday I had the trainer at 10. I set my alarm for 8, so I’d have time to eat protein and put on my leotard so on. Then when I woke up on my own, totally rested, I knew it was bad. IT WAS 20 MINUTES TO 10. Why didn’t my DING DANG alarm work?

Don’t forget my organizational skills! Another winning personality trait.

I had just enough time to medicate the dog, feed the cats, let everyone in and out and in and out and squeeze box, then I pulled on a sports bra and just kept my pajamas on.

I did, however, take time to pull down the little headband I use to wash my face, so it looked like a sweatband, and launched into Physical as soon as my trainer turned on her Zoom. Look how appalled Edsel is.

My headband is pink, with gold sparkles, and has bunny ears. I’m 54 years old. See? Horrific personality traits.

Halfway through, my trainer’s dog ran to the door in alarm. “I am so sorry,” the trainer said. “Keep doing your crunches and I’ll be right back.” What’s sad is I really kept doing my crunches. When she came back, I asked, “Who was at your door?”

“Oh, another client dropped off a bottle of wine for me and treats for the dogs.”

Wait. What?

“In a million years, it would never occur to me to go out and get you a little gift,” I said. It really wouldn’t. I have no nurturing gene. I guess some women just zip around town, even during a plague, leaving gifts for people.

“I know you wouldn’t,” she said, “but I like you anyway.”

See? I’m Sofia Loren. Despite these personality traits that suck, like four people still like me.

Generously,
June

47 Comments

  1. I read “repugnant” as “pregnant.” Had to backtrack.
    I think you represent a part of all of us loyal readers, so we don’t even think of you as anything other than great! Love your writing!

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  2. I, for one, think your have a wonderful personality. I can hear it in your writing. And you are very caring and considerate. When my dad passed away several years ago, now–your email meant the world to me. It got me back here so I could resume my normal life. So, stop selling yourself short!!

    Lovely post, lovely June!

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  3. I try to be thoughtful, but I don’t usually seem to be all that successful at it. One of my friends is very empathic but has ADD, so she always forgets to follow through on the beautiful gestures and such that she thinks up. I would do the things if I thought of them, but alas, I’m oblivious. You’d think we’d be a dynamite combination, but we haven’t yet managed to sync our strengths. Sad that it’s going to take two of us to make one of those lovely people who think and do for others, but eh, that’s still our goal!

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  4. I have really great *intentions* when it comes to doing thoughtful things for people, but my brain doesn’t hold on to those thoughts for long. And they usually pop back up at times when I cannot act on them, and when I do get to a place or point where I can act on them, the thoughts are gone again.

    I used to aspire to be one of those women who was always thoughtful and considerate and could make a casserole so delicious you’d cry AND who would bring you said casserole, who’d always remember birthdays and other dates of importance, and generally give the appearance of having my poop in a group.

    Alas. Not meant to be.

    BUT, I am an excellent listener, diplomatically honest, loyal and non-judgmental. For those I love, I will do morally questionable things, and I keep a secret. So maybe it all balances out?

    You have a list of great qualities longer than my arm. And I just gut-level like you. I’m good with that.

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  5. You did give your mailperson Clorox wipes, which I totally copied. I gave them to my mailman and the UPS guy who is at my house WAY too much.

    I think it’s a love language thing. Gift giving is my primary love language, so that is something I do. I’m sending my gifts by amazon, though, because I’m scared of the ‘rona.

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  6. Why I pick June Gardens for my team:
    1. She insists on respecting people in real life.
    2. She is honest.
    3. She is funny but can also share her pain.
    4. She has the same aching heart for animals that I have.
    5. She is Smart with a capital S.
    6. You can rely on her.
    7. She has Moxie, also with a capital.
    8. She is loyal to her family and friends.
    9. I can’t write anymore because then my numbers won’t line up and I’ll have to change the spacing.

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  7. I have a friend who is dramatic and it’s exhausting, but I still love her. My husband is thoughtless/selfish and it got old about 6 months into the marriage. We’re still married and it’s a good thing, but I can’t rely on him to think of me. When it’s about somebody, it’s ALL ABOUT HIM. It doesn’t make for the closest relationship. Honestly, I really am happy to be married to him, but I would never overlook that personality trait again. Never.

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    1. Also, when I look at Sophia Loren in parts, I still think she’s perfectly lovely. That’s the thing, right? Our people know our faults and still love us.

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      1. I can’t figure out if you’re throwing the shade at me or not. If you are, I’m unaffected by it. However, I felt the same way about Sophia (Sofia?) Loren. I looked at all her parts and thought, I dunno. Her features look good to me.

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        1. I’m so glad you said something! No shade!! I love my husband, but he is difficult. I still love him, married almost 20 years. And my dramatic girlfriend is lovable and makes me smile and so that’s just what life is, you know? We’re not perfect, but we are loved. It’s good to be self-aware – I often ponder what it is about me that puts people off (other than stellar communication skills!). Sophia Loren has no downside as far as I can see, but even if she was a bit of odd parts, she’d still be so pretty.

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          1. Yes she is beautiful even if her parts were chopped up. Sorry I’ve been watching the Mentalist and have serial killers on the brain apparently.

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  8. Oh June. This is classic. You have so much to offer – it’s fine that bringing gifts during a pandemic isn’t one of them. You write Christmas cards and keep people on your list even if they don’t reciprocate. See, look who’s paying attention? I do the same thing, wait till I can tell my story when someone is telling theirs. I gotta share or over-share. I think when you have a gift like yours – humor galore, you gotta share it or you will bust. So envious that you slept till almost 10. How did your Noah’s arc herd not wake you sooner?

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  9. “the warm smell of colitas” – What did I miss? ha ha
    Juney – you are truly delightful and really make my mornings when I keep dealing with “stuff” – meaning I am still therapisting.lol …Good for you for being so diligent in your working out! Gotta love that! Off to Zumba…..

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  10. I WANT to be more like those gift giving women but I know I’m more like you. I still haven’t been able to figure out how not to feel terrible about it when I realize what I’ve done (or not done). Sometimes I think it’s because everything always feels very hard to me, i.e., like life is just hard most of the time and it squashes my generosity right into being self-centered. Yet I know I have it better and easier than so many people. So now I’m back to I’m just a self-centered person.

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  11. Awesome article. Maybe I will start to embrace my pers traits I don’t like and see them as a smooshed ball of something that really is ok.

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  12. I never knew it was colitas; I thought they were saying some kind of dust. Now I have to listen all over again to get the real meaning.
    I read years ago about something called ‘active listening’ where they say you should stay quiet for 10 sekin conds after someone finishes talking, fist to really think about what they said and also to make sure they were done with their thought. I try that sometimes but with some people you would never get to say a word because they will keep talking. Also, I have probably not heard the second half of whatever they were saying because something they said triggers a thought in me and I’m just waiting for them to finish so I can talk. I think that may be human nature, or at least my nature.
    I admire people who do those RAoK as a part of their regular life. I like to do kind things, but I have to plan them. So does that mean they aren’t random if they’re planned?
    i can’t imagine anyone not liking you, June. You’re kind and you’re fun, on top of bringing All That to the yard. Who could ask for anything more?

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  13. I love your singing, it’s a sign of joy. And even as a sometimes curmudgeon, you have a lot of joy. And that is your golden quality.

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  14. I can be far too generous in a new romantic relationship. I spoiled T. terribly. I can not keep it up after nearly six months and he is pouting a bit. OY. My sisters and a couple of friends and I buy each other little just because gifts. It makes life very pleasant. My sisters are turning 60 and 50 this year. I need to up the ante a bit, I suppose. I spoiled myself a lot for MY sixtieth. Fifty-nine was hellacious, fifty-eight not much better. I was making it up to myself, plus the widowhood. Dialing it WAY down now.
    You are funny, clever, unique…so many great things. You are VERY appreciated!

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  15. I think you need to give yourself more credit. For instance, you might not drop off dog treats, but you go a million miles away when a friend’s parent dies, or a friend needs you. You are a loyal friend, even when people don’t necessarily deserve your friendship.

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  16. Yeah, but you are loved. You have writing skills we all have different skillz and talents. I think mine is aging others, just ask my husband.
    Tee

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  17. So I’m not the only one who responds to the stories of others by relating a similar one about myself, or at least a similar reaction. I don’t think this makes us attention seekers or all-about-me’ers; it’s how we recognize our common experience. Also, I too don’t spend my days trying to think of nice, helpful things to do for others. It’s all I can do to look after myself; I have my own agenda. However, make it clear to me that you need help and there is something specific I can DO (except give you money, because I don’t have enough as it is, or clean your bathroom, because mine needs cleaning and it doesn’t get done; so like, I’ll help you but not at my own inconvenience, sorry), and I welcome the opportunity. I’m probably a saint in waiting. Ha! And so are you. -Kate

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  18. I used to live in a college neighborhood and would never have needed to purchase colitas.
    I could sit on my patio and inhale deeply and ….what was I saying?
    I am in awe of large and small gestures of kindness and generosity but it doesn’t come naturally for me. I hope I have some other redeeming qualities.
    You, June, have many redeeming qualities, not the least of which is the creation of this community here, formed by your writing and your humor.

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  19. I, too, share my own stories during a conversation. I truly don’t try to bring the attention to myself, and sometimes I’m even embarrassed that I shared a situation. But I’ve lived a lot of years and have a lot to share, and I think of it as having a back-and-forth conversation. I will try to stop now. Oh, hell, I know I won’t. Also too, I thought you said, because I think you don’t already know I’m pregnant. Stop scaring us like that, June!

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  20. At least you’re self-aware. ha!

    You are clearly a delight. You have oodles of friends IRL. The only friends I have are the ones I birthed. If it weren’t for obligatory relationships, I’d have none at all.

    Thanks for the workout video – now I’m done for the day!

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  21. Nice job on the Hotel California reference. The Global Pandemic National Emergency Burning of the Bill of Rights has made me miss, among other things, the warm smell of colitas. I hope the B of R wasn’t used to light them.

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    1. Oh my god, why has “warm smell of colitas” never bothered me till now? What even is a colita? Now I gotta Google.

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      1. Contact highs at concerts at The Sorctrum in Philadelphia in the late seventies. I miss that! See, I have to share my stories too. I think it’s at least half of the population who are like this. I admire the perfect listeners, that will never be me.

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      2. Satan’s Salad. The Devil’s Lettuce. I honestly love the smell of it. So much better than the smell of cigarettes. My neighbors must know that about me because they seem to be lighting up on an hourly basis.

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    2. My neighbors are delighting in the old colitas over here on the daily. (Or maybe re-lighting would be a better way of putting that.) It wafts over the fence along with the delightful sounds of their 8 year old wailing “Jolene” along with the karaoke machine that runs 24/7. She’s no Dolly, if you know what I mean.

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      1. Did not know what colitas was/is till now. Been meaning to look it up, as we have a nice, new cafe called… Colita. Haven’t been, don’t know if they just picked the name out of a hat, or they are just great fans of HC.

        Thank goodness all my neighbors are adults, but it’s so quiet around here, and I live in the actual city. Fewer buses, fewer planes, no kids across the street at the grade school. Only grown men playing hoops, and they’re probably going to take those down.

        I need to walk. June is my exercise hero.

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          1. I’m in the vicinity of Glam Doll. Have heard they’re great. That would be so very helpful to the “lose weight/gain strength” program while at home!

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