Brown Bananas

Monday's ordinary thing wears the guise of a brown banana. But it's really not a brown banana.

For years I've let bananas ripen on my kitchen counter. First they get happily freckled, like the ones above, then soon darken and shrivel to black-black, containing within them the sweetest mush.

Every time there is a brown banana on my counter I say to myself, "I should make banana bread." Nevermind that I don't have time to make banana bread; it's a sweet fruit that can't be thrown away. So the bananas sit and blacken and gather orbiting fruit flies. At one point I became brave and admitted to myself I didn't have time to make banana bread, and I started regularly throwing them them out. But then a well-intentioned someone pointed out I could freeze them for later and then make banana bread, so I tried, and soon there were ziplock bags in all the corners of my freezer, stumps of broken brown bananas gathering freezer burn. And every time I encountered them I thought, I should make banana bread.

Brown bananas were no longer an opportunity. They were a should. They no longer represented something I could do, and might want to do, and would be fun to do. They were something to feel bad about.

Blogs can do the same thing to you. Begun as opportunities, they become burdens. Or houseplants. I do not have a green thumb but I dearly love living things, and often I'll have some frail green thing struggling to survive on my kitchen windowsill. "I should keep that plant. I should try to save it."

I'm learning to throw away the shoulds in my life. The "someday, if I have time" things that make me feel bad because I don't have time. Of course I really do have time, but I choose to use it for things other than making banana bread. Which is fine. Which is good. Something has gotta give - in my case, brown bananas.

So I'm throwing them away.* Good-bye! Off the counter, off my list of things I should be doing. As a writer, I've got to make time to write, and some things simply must go. Shorten the should list, for heavens sake. Make choices about what's important - and don't budge.

And when I do not throw away the thing, I will remember it doesn't have to be a should. My box of watercolors doesn't have to be a should, or my antique jewelry, or even socks to darn. These are creative opportunities, invitations. There's no way in reality I can do all them all, all the time. But I'm the one who chooses to let them argue shouldness with me. Or not.

*(Funny, but as I commented on Facebook that I was throwing away brown bananas, there was a veritable outcry! No, no! Make this! Bake that! I had to laugh.)

What are the brown bananas in your life?

1 comment:

  1. You are very inspiring Christi, i hope i could sit with you for some guidance in writing, maybe one day.

    I love bananas, but yes i have quite a few "Brown Bananas", this is such an inspiring post, as always.


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