Integrity Defined by a Reluctant Practitioner

by gillis

The older I get, the more intentional I become about living my life with integrity. Although reading that sentence over makes me want to throw my healthy, whole grain breakfast up because it sounds so lifeless and flat, doesn’t it? I should probably clarify what I mean, and with all due respect to E.M. Forster, I’m not sure I know what I think until I say, or write, it out. For me living with integrity means owning up to the things I do and do not do. Perhaps I should have given the respect due statement to Yoda. Like telling the preschool teacher that no, we don’t always remember to brush our cherub’s teeth before bed, and when we do, we still do most of the brushing. Or that the poor thing still has a binky in the crib and that many of the choices we make in raising him would make the fat, happy Buddha proud because we always choose the path of least resistance. This is what happens when a baby shows up 10 years later then expected and his 40-something parents are too tired to do the heavy lifting.

I also think it takes at least a shred of integrity to admit to the person who cuts your hair that you tried to do some home cutting, which is what I would have done this weekend if the home cutting wasn’t so bad as to require instant repair from a walk-in salon on Sunday. This, so that I could go to work on Monday because our school has a “no hat” policy. And I will share that with my stylist when his shop opens on Tuesday, preferably before someone forwards a photo of the damage to him on Facebook. Although I am tempted just to move to a new town in order to avoid this conversation (again).

Having integrity means admitting to my husband that the Nicki Minaj song “Superbass” on my i-pod playlist is not really the work of our daughter, but that I paid for and downloaded it myself. And, on occasion, I listen to it and dance with abandon. And to the school secretary that no, the Cheez-its I bought from the teacher’s room “honor bar” are not for my son, they are for me, and if I thought I could wash off all of the day-glo orange from my fingers before today’s staff meeting, they would be Cheez Puffs instead of Cheez-its. By the way, I’m also the person who puts up the notes in staff kitchen area about cleaning up after yourself. Next time, I’m signing my name.

So I will go forth and try to integrate more areas of my life today. If for no other reason than being less than truthful is taking  up too much energy and limited gray matter at this point. If you happen to run into me, please don’t comment on my haircut or the orange stains on my hands. Happy Monday.