Bravery Can Mean Going Belly Up


Dream chasing and encouraging and fulfillment has taken up plenty of space on this here blog, of mine.

And last month?  Last month, I pursued one dream that I’ve harbored for a mighty long time.  With encouragement poured in from friends and Holy whispers of “you are already enough” ringing in my ears, I entered a writing contest.

If what I write next isn’t The Most Anti-climactic Statement in the history of ever, I might not know what anti-climactic really means.

I didn’t win.

But, but, BUT… I submitted.

And y’all, that was huge. It was a step toward something I’ve been saying I wanted to do out loud for a sweet forever.

And since I didn’t win, I get to share my entry here. With all of you.

You, who keep me on my toes and support the stuffing out of me. (I wish. The stuffing remains.)

My submission may have gone belly up, but my bravery in continuing to pursue The Dream? Alive and kickin’!!!

So, without further ado… my entry into the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. (And if you want to check out who did win? The winners are here.)

What the Toilet Paper Taught Me

I grew up with a father who lived by the credo that we have ten boxes of Kleenex in the house at all times. I thought this was normal.

Until, that is, I flew the coop and lived on my own for the first time.  My meager wages earned as a substitute teacher, while working as many jobs as possible until I landed my own full-time teaching job, barely covered one box of tissues – let alone ten! The idea of stockpiling Kleenex was laughable.

Years went by and I got the job, met a man, and started buying tissues ten boxes at a time. It only took two years of marriage and a visit from my in-laws for me to learn that this was normal to other people, too. Just, not always with tissues.

My husband’s parents live only a few hours away from us. One particular weekend, very soon after buying our first home, they made plans to visit and see what we’d done with the place.

A cleaning frenzy ensued. My inner Martha Stewart was ablaze in the kitchen, when my husband emerged from the bathroom, distraught.

“Please, TELL ME there is more toilet paper than this one roll,” he begged.

I mistakenly thought that reminding him that his parents would only be visiting for a few short hours would calm his agitated state.


“We DO have more than just this roll, though, right?” he pleaded again.

My choice of marital mate now fully in question, I reminded him, a little less gently this time, that his parents would only be visiting for four hours! And, while I don’t know how others’ bathroom experiences usually work, one double roll of toilet paper would probably suffice for four people in that short amount of time.

I shared this with him, jokingly.

This was a grave error on my part.

He slipped on his shoes, grabbed his keys and headed for the door. “I’m going to run out and buy us a six-pack. Just in case,” he announced. He looked pale.

At that moment, I understood.  I knew what this was. This was the Kleenex manifesto, only with toilet paper.

I explained that there was no need, as I had bought a twelve pack, double-rolls no less, the day before.

Those words worked better than any aphrodisiac. He strode over, looked deeply into my eyes, and proclaimed that I really was the one for him.

Two very important lessons were learned that day. One, I had clearly married a version of my father.  And two, my husband’s affections could be bought.

With toilet paper.

19 thoughts on “Bravery Can Mean Going Belly Up

  1. Pingback: What I Learned in 2014 | Missindeedy

  2. I loved the TP story nut more than that I love that you were scared/brave and submitted. Maybe you didn’t win this one but really you did because you took that next step in obeying your calling. “You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. ” Keep going girl, God’s got this.

  3. Sometimes that is the hard thing God wants of us, just to take the step. I too have a dad that stockpiles: toilet paper, ziploc bags, paper towels, etc. It was just him for many years (he married last fall) and he lives less than 5 minutes from all the modern conveniences, including a grocery store and dollar general. Thankfully, I have not inherited this trait, although I do buy the Scott toilet tissue by the 12 pack because there are 6 of us and toilet tissue is much more comfortable on the back side than the alternative.

  4. I love this! First of all, you remind me of me with all your precious coinage (which my family always and forever are making some sort of fun of me for using) and secondly, I love this story! You didn’t win with the judges, maybe. That is so random — how they choose one over another. Either way, you are a wonderful writer and this was a great piece. So glad they didn’t squish the creative dream you have. God-sized dreams are the stuff of life.

  5. You totally have an Erma Bombeck vibe! Love it! And you better know there are 36 rolls of toilet paper under my sink, plus one on the roll and two in reserve in each of our three bathrooms.

  6. Oh, you are so funny, Missy! I really enjoyed reading this. Keep it up, you’re a good writer, and the quote by Churchill is perfect. It’s all about perseverance. Growth. Much love.

  7. Love this!!!! Made me laugh right out loud! And I can so relate! Have a 12-pack under the bathroom sink right now! …. It’s genetic, I think!

  8. I loved the post. Both of them. So glad you stepped out there in bravery and did it! YOu should be so proud of yourself. And, i don’t care what people say, nothing says love like toilet paper in the closet and clean underwear in the drawer!

  9. The freedom isn’t in the flying itself, but in taking that first leap. So proud you took that step, sweet friend! God is lifting the lid so just brace yourself. 😉

  10. I don’t really care what the judges of the contest say – you’re writing is amazing, your humor is untouchable and you have a wonderful way of putting real life into proper perspective!!! Keep going!!

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