Honey Badger failures, duckling take-overs & how I’m still an oxymoron & that’s okay.

I had a mole removed. I almost cried and the look of concern that crossed the doctor’s face at my sharp inhales and twitchy eyebrow movements made it clear to me that I was being the pansiest of pansies.  It was not my best honey badger moment.

To be fair, it was my favorite mole. It’s been there as long as I can remember, nestled in what I refer to as my knee-pit, that area right smack behind behind my left knee. My youngest sister, at age 2 or 3, circa 1997, discovered it in the throes of toddler-hood and spent weeks toddling after me in a desperate attempt to yank the mole from my leg. She’d try, I’d yelp, she’d convulse in a fit a laughter. It was fun, really.

I learned that left was left because of that mole. When I was learning right from left I learned early that my mole was on my left leg and whenever I felt confused on which way was which, I’d reach down, touch the mole and know that left was left. It was like a security blanket, a little spot that let me know that yes, don’t worry, if you ever forget your left, I’ve got your back.

My grandmother once tried to yank it off, erroneously assuming it was tick.

So you see, we have a history, this mole and I, but the mole changed and in a fit of fear I went to the dermatologist for the first time ever and that jackass took one look at that mole and declared, in a manner that I remember as slightly diabolical, that it must come off. I was expecting this, figuring that suspicious changes in moles are usually met with amputation, but it still managed to come as a shock to me when the nurse swiftly and unceremoniously unveiled all manner of mole removal utensils right next to my head.

Cue the sharp intakes of breath and the fist clenching nervousness!

I tried to think of the Noble Honey Badger getting bit by a fucking cobra and how a cobra bite does not equal a mole removal and how I needed to squash whatever near-hyperventilation reaction I was having, but I just couldn’t. I thought about the tattoos I have, other pains I have suffered, and yet THIS, this stupid shaving off of a mole I’ve had forever, this removal of a useless part of myself was just too much bare.

I left shaky and annoyed. Irritated at myself for showing that much vulnerability and annoyed that I couldn’t honey badger my way through that shit.

Sometimes I forget how much of an oxymoron I am, that even though I’m mostly comprised of ferocious honey badger parts, there are still little bits of me that resemble a helpless duckling stuck in a storm drain. Sometimes I forget that it’s okay to let the vulnerable parts of me show, that it’s okay to be not okay every now and then.

I used to be mostly helpless duckling. When I think back to teenage me and early 20s me, all I can remember is the crying. I cried for days. Weeks. Whole years, it seems, in some cases. Everything hurt. And it’s not that I was weak, I was just vulnerable and sensitive. I evolved as life went on, learned not to cry all of the time and developed a leathery exterior that protects me from most things. I became more honey badger, less duckling, and in many ways I tried as hard as I could to mush those mushy parts of me that once flourished in the Time of Many Tears. And I get scared when they bumble back up, when my reaction isn’t all honey badger I get scared that I’ll slip back into the dark hole in I once dug my way out of.

I have a hard time realizing that there’s a difference between a dark hole of sadness and a moment of vulnerability. I have a hard time letting myself go, in any sort of way, emotionally or physically. I am restrained. I restrain my emotions far too often because I am afraid that if I let them out, even for a fucking minute, they will take over my whole life and I’ll wake up on some Tuesday morning to find myself back in a hole being suffocated and choked my own emotions.


It’s okay to be upset sometimes, to be in a vulnerable place, it’s okay to be emotional NOW, instead of withholding it for days or weeks or months until it erupts, all volcano like, at the worst possible time. Vulnerability is not a fault. It’s okay. Emotional responses to emotional things are acceptable, even encouraged.

And duckling bits can be just as good as honey badger bits.

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14 thoughts on “Honey Badger failures, duckling take-overs & how I’m still an oxymoron & that’s okay.

  1. Oh my gosh. Teen-Me was a soggy tear sponge. Seriously, this could have come out of my own head (minus the mole – I don’t even have any freckles). My mom’s mantra to me when I was younger was “It’s okay to cry.” Now, I feel like it’s still okay to cry, of course, but I’m so glad I learned to balance the Honey Badger bits with the Helpless Sensitive Crying Duckling bits.

  2. Admitting you need help is not vulnerable. Going to the Derm was a brave and courageous decision. It is okay to show pain. maybe he should have added more pain shot killers to numb it more, but it is okay to show pain. We’re not robots. We can’t all be tough honey badgers all the time. It is good to say goodbye to that mole, sort of like saying goodbye to a part of you that has grown up. But now you have a battle wound scar! how bad ass is that 🙂
    In fact, and this shouldn’t surprise you at all… i had a mole removed once – i think i was in jr high? it was on my bikini line and I felt the surprisingly warm blood and saw more than I should have seen. But it is better to have it removed then risk what it could be. I’m proud of you.

  3. It’s totally okay to not be okay sometimes and why for the love of god to they uncover their torture devices right next to your head? I told you about my near-death experience before they removed one off my chest. Same exact thing. Blood sugar dropped and they left me alone in the room for a while to calm down. Almost bolted out the door.
    Hours of tattoos and piercings and I was cool. One lowly mole defeats me.

  4. I love the running metaphor of this post. You are a honey badger if ever I (virtually) met one! I have only had part of a mole shaved off (a benign tumor), but my sis has had several cancerous ones removed, and she said those bad boys hurt like a bitch.

  5. it’s the combination of duckling and honey badger bits that i love about you. 🙂 now the mole is no longer there to tell you which left is left, but you already know. it’s done its job. you’ve learned, and it was time for it to go. 🙂

  6. I think that admitting you need help or showing a vulnerable side is brave, because it is SO HARD to do. It’s easier to suck it up and pretend like you’re a superhero and feel no pain. We are what we feel and we shouldn’t ever have to hide who we are. I would have been the same exact way – when it comes to physical pain I feel like I am the hugest wimp on Earth. I’m glad it’s over and done with though, and that it all heals up well!

  7. Geoffrey

    You are a excellent a writer as you are a photographer. You are an artist, with an eye, hand, inner self awareness that sees the world and expresses it simultaneously. When you finish your degree you may want to choose he topic you want most to express and it will be published, that is for certain. As far as your post it was reflective, emotional, humorous and delightful.

  8. I have two moles that I know will have to be removed one day. They are my most favorite two and I always get super defensive whenever my doctor asks about them.

    And yes! I always have to remind myself that sometimes it’s okay to be sad and throw things and cry so long as I don’t get lost in the overwhelming sadness. I’m glad you see this too.

  9. I second Caryn… it’s brave that you got it taken care of. Being brave stops when things hurt that badly and then you are at your perfect right to whine like a baby. It’s weird… the emotional attachment we can get to certain things on our body.
    I like ducklings! And honey badgers too. Both are cute. And so are you!!
    Not being okay is totally cool! Just as long as you get better as soon as you can. 😉
    PS: LOVE the new look.

  10. Whanz

    It seems like you have an interesting topic here. For me, what’s the point of removing moles to our body. Through this, it will lead this to harm our health.

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