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Contrary Ways

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Mary, Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

“With silver bells and cockle shells

And pretty maids all in a row.”

When I was two, my mom picked out nursery rhyme wallpaper for my new bedroom.

My room was awesome! Besides the super-cool nursery rhyme wallpaper that my mom would read to me as she tucked me in at night, I also had a fancy walk-in closet that later served me as a clubhouse, my Morse code practice room, and a secret hiding space for the treasure box where I stored that one neon friendship bracelet Aaron S. gave me on a whim in 9th grade.

When I was little, I had absolutely no idea what it meant to be contrary. I just liked the way the words sounded when they came out of my mom’s mouth. I was also in the dark about what the heck a cockle shell was, but I still liked the “Mary, Mary” rhyme the best. There was also one on my wall about Little Boy Blue, but he seemed like such a slacker at his job, it was hard for me to root for him.

As I grew up, there were always popular bands, TV characters, even flavors that everyone around me seemed to gravitate to. I don’t know why, but I often tried to pick the opposite of what everyone else liked, just so I could feel original or special.

When everyone liked Dylan on 90210, I chose the Jason Priestly poster for my wall.

When blue Squeeze-Its came out, I tried to stay faithful to orange, even though I knew blue was way cooler looking.

Odie was my favorite character on Garfield and Eeyore was the best of the Winnie the Pooh gang.

The first anti-pop culture stand I took was when I was about 10, when the band The New Kids on the Block emerged on the scene.

I decided that they were totally lame-balls, and I made it my full-time job to make fun of them whenever I could. Shaming people because of their music choice became my ticket to cool-town and I proudly made jokes at everyone’s’ expense and sassily plugged my ears in defiance as I skated to their song at the local skating rink.

I was such a big meanie-face! But then again, they were boys, and at that time, famous boys were still incredibly icky (and unreachable) to me, so they were easy targets. Plus, I was still into the Debbie Gibson tapes I’d been rocking in my walkman for the past two years so really, one could easily question my musical tastes.

Recently I’ve seen my nine-year old follow in my young protestation footsteps as he decided to take a stand against hot lunch. I have no idea where he got the idea to protest so actively against his school’s nutritious and honestly, pretty damn healthy, lunch choices but he is 100% committed to his cause.

I even got a call from his teacher during this past school year where she told me that my son had been so successful in making fun of hot lunch, that some girls refused to eat their food anymore because they were so worried he’d end up making fun of them.

::face palm::

Shaming kids so bad they refuse to eat? UGH. This is not the type of “leadership” his dad and I have been trying to encourage in the boy.

We had a talk about his campaigning but my mini-activist refused to change his position on hot lunch. I finally got him to understand that he needed to stop making kids feel like doofus’ if they had to eat hot lunch and he agreed to reign in his demonstrations and jokes.

Now we’re in the midst of summer camp and guess what? They serve the EXACT. SAME. FOOD. as the school’s hot lunch! Ha! He still chooses not to eat the lunch but decides to fill up on snacks he brings from home or the camp snacks that are somehow “acceptable” to his activist palette.

My son also has been known to choose things in purple or pink, just because he knows people expect that to be a “girl color”. He loves to be contrary and today, I’m going to love to be contrary too.

It really does amaze me sometimes to see people get so INTO causes. My Facebook feed is a Petri dish of people who are speaking out about organic food, local farming politics, parenting preferences, natural childbirth and of course, the damn San Francisco Giants. (Blech)

But one trend I’ve seen so much of lately is a curious hatred of something I hold quite near and dear. So it’s time that someone stood up to the bullying and took a stand.

Greetings face!

Greetings from…my face!

Here’s my truth, people: I have zero problems with posting pictures of myself on my own or with my kids or friends on random channels of social media. Commonly referred to (with disgust, might I add) as a “Selfie” the self-collected photo method isn’t really new to the photo taking world, but for some reason, it’s gained a whole new anti-following of people.

One of my favorite pictures I had of my best friend and I in high school was a selfie we took with my mom’s Canon Joy automatic camera. Our faces were kinda washed out from the giant flash that was mere centimeters from our face, but it was still a great shot! It lived on the sun visor in my car, firmly attached with Garfield stickers.

Most of my selfies these days stem from the sheer lack of humans around me. #SingleMom


My kids are used to the “Hey, guys - smile!” thing by now. Oh, and hey! Look who's being contrary?

My kids are used to the “Hey, guys – smile!” thing by now. Oh, and hey! Look who’s being contrary? Turkey…

But I love capturing photos of random daily events or when my I feel like I need to grab a picture of my kids because they seem to grow bigger every day. Sometimes I want a picture of myself because I managed to have a great hair day. You know. The important stuff.

I hate that people automatically think you’re incredibly vain whenever you post selfies of yourself. Is it true for my case, absolutely. 100%. If there is a camera around, I want my face all up in that business!

But you know, I love seeing your face too! So if you want to post pictures of yourself with the whole awkward arm thing and your friends cheek to cheek, go right on ahead! The duck face is kinda weird, so if you’re going to join my selfie-love train, I’d rather see you smile, but you know what, I’m not in charge here so you do whatever floats your boat.

Love and cheese-balls,



PS: This is the level of photograph I get when I ask others around me to take a picture. This one was by my seven year old daughter. Note the finger in the upper corner? The awkward and unflattering posture I have? At least I managed to hit the shuttlecock. Boom. Not everyday you get to include that word into a blog post, eh?

About Jenny Z

I love to overuse italics, misplaced hyphens and internal dialogue when I write about my usual favorite topic, myself.

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