A famous person emailed me to ask about personality type. I don’t get a lot of emails from famous people. But I do get some. Like, when Melissa was being an executive assistant to billionaires, I was Melissa’s reference.

I could write fifty posts about giving those references, actually, because I was like, “Don’t hire Melissa, because she’ll quit. She can’t work for anyone for more than a year.”

But the thing about famous people is they think they are different. Well, I mean, they are different. They are famous, right? So they think the rules of working with Melissa won’t apply to them.

One person brought up a time when he was on the front of the New York Times for his divorce. And I thought, “Wait, I was on the front of the New York Times for my divorce.” But the thing is: he was news because he’s a billionaire and I was news because I’m a bad parent for writing about my divorce on my blog where my kids could read about it.

My kids can’t read.

That’s what I would have told the reporter if she had called me for the story. But the thing about writing about famous people is that the writer never calls first. The writer just writes.

So he said to me, in his email, “Hi, I’m [name]. You can read about me here.” And he linked to his Wikipedia page.

Right away I thought. Oh. I should do that. Maybe if I link to my Wikipedia page when I send people emails then they will do whatever I ask. But then I thought, “Forget it, because my Wikipedia page says I’m crazy and a liar even though I have worked very hard to have the editor of my blog also edit my Wikipedia page.”

Wikipedia is good at sniffing out if you are having someone who is your spouse or boyfriend or whatever editing your Wikipedia page. They don’t like that. And really, my editor has been my editor for so long that at this point, he counts as a boyfriend.

Are you wondering what it’s like to work with me? I call you my boyfriend in public.

You would hate it. Probably everyone does.

Speaking of boyfriends, you know that feeling you get when you lose an arm or a leg? You get that ghost feeling or whatever it’s called where you think you can move your appendage, or it itches or something. Well, I have that for dating.

As soon as I read about this guy on Wikipedia, my brain starts planning on how to get him to want to date me. And then I remember: oh, that doesn’t need scratching. I’m married.

(Well, okay, not married really. See, that’s the kind of thing the Wikipedia whiners say I lie about. Because we are not technically married because my finances would make my husband have a heart attack if he had his financial life legally tied to mine.

And look: is it better to spend a paragraph in the middle of my post nitpicking details like this or should I just let people tell Wikipedia I’m a liar? It’s a fine line.)

The famous guy is at a company that has been on my list of companies to convince to buy Quistic. There’s a lot of stuff going on in the backend of Quistic that is expensive and I hate funding it and a big company should come in and buy Quistic and fund all the development. And fund my son’s bar mitzvah. (Let me just be clear, here, that if anyone is thinking of buying Quistic could you please buy it in time for me to not have to stress about the catering bill?)

I call one of my investors and tell him I got the email and I’m so excited and I make a plan for pitching the company. The, when I call Mr. Famous, guess what he wants? Coaching.

So I have to adjust pretty fast on the call. I answer his questions. I tell him what I think he needs to change about his career, because luckily I read a lot about his career when I was thinking I would be selling my company to him.

The guy is an INTJ. Like all INTJs he is good at everything and they get so much done.

I console myself with the fact that INTJs are rude and the only personality type that is more unlikeable is my husband’s (ISTP).

So of course I love him on the phone. And we set up a time to meet. I never ever do coaching in person, so if you are reading this and you think I’m going to coach you in person, forget it. I won’t even do coaching on video because I don’t want to have to comb my hair. But for this guy, I turn to mush. I agree to travel.

Now it’s three days before our first meeting, and I wake up with a migraine.

I don’t get migraines often. Maybe once or twice a year. I get migraines only when I have a big problem that I’m ignoring. First I try to deal with problems that I wish were my biggest problems.

I send Melissa photos of proposed outfits. She tells me most are terrible. She approves the one in the picture up top. Then she sends me a picture she took when she dressed me last because she knew I’d never remember.

Then I have outfits picked. But the migraine is getting worse. So I go through my list of big problems:

1.     I’m spending more money than I’m earning right now. I know, you guys always ask where my money goes. Here’s a sample.

$2500/month for a driver

$2500/month for a household assistant/nanny

$1000/month for a weekend nanny

$1000/month for music lessons

2.     My youngest son asked my husband if he thinks I’m going to kill myself. My husband asked why, but I already know why. My youngest is an ESFP and his idea of a fun is a party where he is dancing on the table. My idea of fun is working, which I can’t really do—ever—because I’m home with my kids all day.

(Like, right this very moment my older son is building Bionicles next to me and I told him he can’t show me the shooting chest plate until I’m done writing and he said, “You’ll never be done writing, you never are,” and I stood my ground even though Cat’s In the Cradle plays in the back of my head.  And maybe my kids can tell that the song playing in my head all day is about parenting regrets and the kids know I’m constantly sad and disappointed with myself because growing up with a mother who has emotional problems is contagious. Really.)

3.     Item number three should be that I am causing congenital depression in my kids, but number three is that I have to meet with this guy in person. I have to meet three days in a row, so I can’t pretend that I am not wearing the same outfit every time he sees me. If you want to know why women opt-out of the workforce and men don’t, it’s because when men don’t change their clothes every day they are crazy geniuses and when women don’t change their clothes every day they are just crazy.

I am not sure which thing I’m most worried about. I think it’s all of them. Just trying to think about which is the problem that’s giving me the migraine gives me a migraine, and I had to shut my eyes three times while writing this post to keep myself from throwing up from the migraine nausea.

I took this picture when I was at my son’s violin lesson. It’s the first time I noticed that his hair on his legs is getting darker.

Right around that time his voice started changing, too. I recorded him each morning at breakfast. “Say something!” I’d tell him. “Quick. Before your voice is totally changed.”

I have this sinking feeling like my life is going and going and I’m spending it worried about my worries instead of enjoying it. I have been meditating because I read that it transforms your life blah blah blah. Here’s the link to that.

I read that it transforms your life and I did it for ten days in a row and it did. The research is right. So, like all self-destructive people, I found something that works, and I stopped doing it.

So my migraine returns because I don’t want to be that person that stops doing things as soon as I find out they work well for me. And I am worried I’ll get to famous person’s office and while I’m coaching him he’ll discover that I’m one of those people who self-destructs at the wrong times.

Is there ever a right time to self-destruct? I think if there is, it might be at the bottom of a blog post. Good for traffic, probably. Don’t hate me for this, but sometimes I think about how if I died, Melissa would write some blog post about it and post it here and it would get so much traffic.

But I’m telling you this, instead. I am going to resume meditating today. And I am going to dance with my son to his Dub Step music that I can like if I choose to like it, and I’m going to have a fun time coaching Mr. Famous because I’m lucky that people like him hire me. And I’m not going to self-destruct.

Enter your name and email address below. No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.

61 replies
  1. funkright
    funkright says:

    You won’t self destruct… I have to tell you I was relatively entertained in that course you taught this week, lots of knowledge imparted, but not necessarily in the way I thought it would have been. I guess I assumed that there would be a dichotomy between your online writing and you ‘in-person’ presence. There isn’t, in person you are just more ‘there’ so to speak. Given that this individual has already reached out to you for coaching I am confident that he’s fully aware of who you are and how you operate, he won’t be disappointed and you shouldn’t worry that he will be.

  2. Christina
    Christina says:

    You speak to my heart: “And maybe my kids can tell that the song playing in my head all day is about parenting regrets and the kids know I’m constantly sad and disappointed with myself because growing up with a mother who has emotional problems is contagious. Really.”

    • me
      me says:

      ” … growing up with a mother who has emotional problems is contagious. Really.”

      No truer words have ever been written. Sadly.

  3. cheddar
    cheddar says:

    From wikipedia: “Trunk has been married once before her current marriage, and has two sons by her first husband, whom she homeschools and writes about on her education blog.”

    Looks like an editor is needed, unless she really does homeschool her first husband.

    • Beth
      Beth says:

      I have uniforms! Turtleneck sweaters and jeans in the winter, polo shirts and khaki shorts in summer. Makes life so much easier when you don’t have to think about what to wear. One of my favorite things about catholic school.

  4. Crystal
    Crystal says:

    I am concerned, Penelope.
    Concerned that your son is asking about you taking your life.
    I am concerned that you have manipulated your life to such an extreme to make it “work”, that in fact it may not be working at all if what you value is not only staying home with your children but also peace of mind. I am concerned that so often you do not sound like someone who is happy, really happy, with the way her life is shaking out. I am concerned that some of your problems (not just the big ones you listed but other really huge, persisyent ones you have posted about in the past.
    I am concerned that there is not a Penelope out there to reach out and coach you in a meaningful way about your life, your happiness, your career.
    You are a great writer. Do you ever say to yourself “there must be a better way”. I can assure you there is.
    Sending healing thoughts.

  5. Mandy Wallace
    Mandy Wallace says:

    Yeah, don’t self-destruct. Because if you self-destruct, what hope do the rest of us have? And I’m just learning to tolerate the supreme anxiety that comes with stepping into the entrepreneur world (I get stomach aches instead of migraines), and a lot of the reason I can do that is that I have your writing as a touchstone that says I can and that it’s possible.

    So, yes, dance to Dubstep. That’s a good idea. That will help. It’s like meditation. Durty Phresh’s “Speakers Up” is a good one. Knife Party’s “EDM Death Machine” and “Internet Friends” are also good. And if you like it nasty (which, who doesn’t?), there’s Borgore’s “Love” and “Nympho.”

    Hope the migraine goes away.

  6. Maria
    Maria says:

    Hey Penelope,

    It’s me.

    I’m 10 years ahead of you and my child is grown, married, college educated, gainfully employed.

    And you know what?

    She doesn’t remember much about her youth. She doesn’t remember all the times I took her to Disney World when I worked there. She doesn’t remember the times I made her my specialty French Toast. She only remembers the pictures. She remembers the time I yelled. But she forgot most of her youth. It will come back to her when she has kids of her own.

    Do you remember what you ate 3 days ago?

    Me neither.

    There is comfort in knowing that the past will become hazy over time. Then you can tell your kids how you were a great parent and made all those sacrifices for them and they won’t believe you. They will just remember the time you yelled. They will remember what they choose to remember.

    Your guilt is causing your stress.

    A wise friend said everything has a season.

    Life is not over at 30, nor 40, and I’m about to learn, neither 50.

    When you visit your famous person to coach him for his career, tell him he needs to become your business partner and buy your business and you will coach him quarterly.

    Otherwise, refuse to coach him until he buys your business.

    There’s more, but for now, I think these points are important.

    I gave up 3 careers for family. You know what? They don’t care, they don’t appreciate it, they don’t remember it, nor do they get it.

    It worked out great for them. I love them. I have no regrets and no feelings of guilt. I did the best I could and when I look in the mirror, I feel lonely but no shame, no guilt, no regrets.

    In hindsight, I would have hated myself if I had not taken care of them.

    Humble pie for not being wealthy, sure I’ve eaten plenty of humble pie for living a frugal, wolves at the door life.

    In spite of the material measure of success which I do not yet meet, I consider myself a success. I even think I’m a cool chick.

    I’m not skinny, I’m not perfect, and for my birthday on Valentine’s day, I spent it alone.

    Yet, I still know that I’m cool, I’m funny, and I don’t need to prove anything to anyone.

    I payed my dues.

    It’s my life, and I’ll live it however the hell I want to.

    It’s a freeing attitude. Keep up with the meditation. It’s a muscle you have to develop.



    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      This is such a great comment. Thank you, Maria. It was so great that I had to click your name to see where it goes. And your web site is so fun. I was surprised to see such deep, sage advice coming from someone with a web site that has silliness.

      Maybe silliness is part of what makes you so wise.


      • Maria
        Maria says:

        Thank you for the compliment, Penelope.

        Keep us update on the coaching vs business sale. I would love to find out how it works out.

        I wrote the silly poem and can’t get myself to take it down. I also like the cartoon picture of myself. I like it so much I’ve been putting it up with articles I’ve written on Linkedin.

        When I meet with boards (condominium boards when I was a manager) and they are usually were ready to crucify me on my first day because they hated my company and really hated the guy I replaced who screwed up for way too long, I would tell them I have a mantra; “As long as nobody died, it’s a good day. Everything else can be fixed, except for that.”. It take the pressure off and they usually started relaxing by the second time I repeated it.

        Hang in there!



        • Anita
          Anita says:

          Sorry to tell you that you are full of regrets and passive-agressiveness. As a daughter full of passive-agressiveness myself I tell you we remember the bad times because they were bad and we don’t see the struggles and efforts because they were yours, but they never turned into something good for ourselves. And anyway, we don’t care, we never asked to be born. Of course we remember when you yelled, insulted ot hit us, because you were the people we trusted and we couldn’t trust you anymore.
          Sometimes we are so terriefied to continue the nightmare that we don’t want to have kids ourselves just in case.
          But I loved your story, because in the end its all about doing want we want and not doing it for others. No one will appreciate it if they don’t get something good in return.
          Sometimes you parents think that we sons and daughters owe you something, but we never asked to be here in the firts place, so we don’t have to pay your dues.
          Sorry if it sounds terrible, but it is what I would like to tell my mother and I can’t and what your daughter probably wants to tell you but she can’t. (And sorry for my bad English)

          • Maria
            Maria says:

            Wow, Anita,

            I’m sorry you feel you were abused and seem to fail to get the therapy you need. Maybe you should write to your mother about your feelings. Then you could write back to yourself in her voice as you would have wanted her to be.

            I hate to burst your bubble, but I did NOT beat my child. I chose the corner instead and she had to write me a letter about what was going on through her mind.

            As for the yelling. We all have our limits. I worked 2 jobs most of the time to support the family and went to school to raise our income potential. Meanwhile, her dad was causing all kinds of problems.

            I have a good relationship with my MARRIED child who is BUSY with work, friends and husband.

            When I said I was alone for Valentine’s day, the point was I don’t define my happiness with whether I have a man or not. Like chocolate, nice to have but too much of a good thing is bad for you.

            I mentioned how people forget? They also forget the sacrifices you made for them. The choice was mine. I did it in good faith.

            As for the cop out “well, I didn’t ask to be born so F*ck off” that is a selfish and narcissistic way of looking at life. Because as bad as you think your upbringing was, it could have been worst.

            I am an abuse survivor myself and made sure to get a lot of therapy before raising my own child. I stayed away from my family to protect myself and my child.

            One more thing, am I passive aggressive? I’m not a psychiatrist and neither are you. I can tell you, however, I am going through both mid-life crisis AND menopause.

            There’s no pill for that.



          • Heather
            Heather says:


            Being someone who has had to completely disconnect from my family, in order to survive – things were pretty fcked up, back then (and a Narcissistic mother will never, never change), I strongly suggest that you seek out a therapist who deals in childhood traumas. I say this because your post has very little to do with Maria’s comment – I don’t see what you see. My feeling is that you’re projecting on to someone whose story you know nothing about and, worse, you seem to feel entitled to ‘be the one to tell her…’ just because she dared to be vulnerable, in public. Please let this experience be a wake up call, to seek out help, because it seems to me that you’re carrying a hell of a lot of pain. You don’t need to suffer with it, alone. And attacking people you don’t know, online, is not helping you at all. (Trust me, I’ve been there. I know.)

          • Anita
            Anita says:

            Maria and Heather,

            Thank you for your kind words that I don’t deserve. Maria’s words triggered something inside me, but I shouldn’t have said anything here. I apologize.

          • Maria
            Maria says:

            There is freedom in clarity.

            My quote.

            Anita *hugs* get well.

            I should have been more clear. The 3 careers I gave up. One was when I was 20 and in the military about to sign an extension. My dad was turning 50 and it was his birthday. He asked me to help him launch his business. So I did not renew my contract, gave up the military career and helped my dad. Both my parents were working in the business and you can’t fix dysfunction even in business so I had to leave (actually my mother said “either she goes or I do”).

            The second time I had a real estate company, mortgage company, was a notary and worked part time as a private investigator for workman’s comp fraud. I caught the nanny on crack.


            The guilt and shame at my stupidity was too much. So I gave it all up, moved to a small town in New Mexico from Florida and worked contract work part time and never hired another person to watch my kid. I was not licensed in that state so I gave it all up. I chose motherhood over career. I have no regrets.

            The last time my dad was ill. He couldn’t sell his house for 3 years and was about to lose it. My parents had divorced by then. I transferred my job (which didn’t last) broke my lease, my vehicle broke down and died so I rented a uhaul and made it down to my dad’s place. I sold his house in 2 months (I was still licensed in Florida), I found him a small condo to retire to for a fraction of the cost, I automated everything. Then I told my dad I he didn’t have Alzheimer so he no longer needed me and I needed to take care of my child. This was Fort Lauderdale and there was no where to live as I could stay but my child wasn’t allowed to live in those complexes. We ended up moving to West Palm Beach and I ended up spending $1,000 a month in gas driving from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale to help my dad and pick up my child from school, to Miami where my job was and back. 4 hours driving per day.

            So of the 3 times I gave up my career/home for family, twice was for my dad and once for my child.

            I hope this clarifies things.

            Get better, Anita.

            On a different note, Penelope, was that sarcasm about my silly post to my serious website? I suppose it’s time I removed the cartoon and poem. I have changed that website several times before it got to this new look and feel. Picking out an identity for the website felt like trying on shoes and deciding which one I wanted to wear. I guess I was holding on to the past. Time for me to let it go.

            Thanks for pointing that out.


        • Laura
          Laura says:

          Hi Maria,
          Your comment is so fantastic. It’s great to get feedback from someone who has made the tough decisions, raised kids and is now entering a new phase of life. Thinking about what life will be like when my children are grown kind of feels like running full speed toward a cliff. I’m trying to slowly develop a net at the bottom, so when I go flying through the air, I have something to catch my fall. Learning from women like you is part of building that safety net.

      • redrock
        redrock says:

        Not knowing either Anita or Maria in real life we should refrain from recommending therapy to Anita (and then wish her all the best in getting better, thus assuming that she firstly, needs therapy, and secondly, her comment can only be voiced this way because she is somehow a damaged individual). I have no idea about Maria’s life and therefore cannot say whether her kids are happy campers or damaged for life. Most likely a mixture of both – like all of us.

        It is not beneficial to tell a kid ” I did this for you, if not for you I would have had a great career, so you better recognize the sacrifice I am making” – firstly, the kid indeed had no choice about being in this world, so there is no guilt which can be rightly associated by disrupting someones life. Secondly, we are all formed by the small and large events in our childhoods, the good and the bad. And while a specific event is not remembered, the feeling associated with it lives on and can come to life at some point. In addition, we do not all remember the same events – we tend to remember those with the largest emotional load, which might differ for a parent and a child.

        • Heather
          Heather says:

          I assume you’re referring to my suggestion that ‘Anita’ should seek out some help – preferably a therapist who deals in childhood traumas. Have you read her comment? Read it again. She is suffering and projecting that pain onto someone she doesn’t know, online. If she’s doing that, anonymously, it’s likely that she’s also, inadvertently, doing it in her daily life.

          Suggesting someone seek help, is not to imply that they’re mentally unwell, but that, perhaps, they might benefit from a helping hand, in reframing the past in a more helpful/productive way. Seeking help, when you’ve enduring a challenging childhood – and emotional abuse is rife within families, is nothing more than an act of love. For oneself.

  7. Nur Costa
    Nur Costa says:

    You know, as much as we love seeing your outfits, feel free to wear the same one in the “Write About Your Life” webinar.

    That should give you enough peace for days. And we will concentrate more on the content rather on thinking how sexy you look ;)

    Unless that’s what you want us to concentrate on…

    Please doo not self-destruct. You still have LOTS of potential and stuff to do.

  8. stephanie
    stephanie says:

    Please don’t self destruct! Meditation is a great tool to have in your kit to help you through the rough times, and through the good. But maybe it’s time to take a mommy break? Like, go away for a few days? Meditate, do yoga, write without interruptions. Go for a run? Wouldn’t you tell any one of us to find someone to take the kids for a few hours? A few days??
    Be good to yourself, and know we are all behind you giving you love and support.

  9. Karen
    Karen says:

    “If you want to know why women opt-out of the workforce and men don’t, it’s because when men don’t change their clothes every day they are crazy geniuses and when women don’t change their clothes every day they are just crazy.”

    YES! I keep lists of what to wear with what, and date them so that I don’t appear crazy. I thought I never wanted the Male Experience, but in this case- being able to wear the same thing every day and not having it be a detriment to my career- I want that.

  10. Iris Alive
    Iris Alive says:

    First thought, ‘Well, if she didn’t wear a kaleidoscope of color she’s be more likely noted as ‘dateable’ for Mr. Rich Pants, as opposed to fighting for that crazy genius title, which I know is only earned with ‘success’ for women. And no surprise the first thought was how do I make myself dateable. Sad truth is we’re (us women) are sex objects. It’s just one of our many layers we use to pursued anyone to do what we want. Or at least we think that’s what’s happened. And it kind of is. That’s why the first thing to do IS to find an outfit. No solely to impress, because most of women who play in the area called ‘Crazy’ aren’t afraid to be known as a Kaleidoscope dresser. We really just know that if don’t pick out the outfit, we WILL have a break down when all of our good clothes are at the bottle of a pile in the laundry room, and have been since their first wear two months ago. Because frankly, as long as the towels are clean and kids can find their favorite wearables, what’s the motivation to wash the rest of the stuff, eh? And so we move on to gather random items we call, ‘eclectic.’ Any who, I was more concerned with helping pull you together in the article that my last thought on the last sentence was, “Well, gee. Couldn’t she just put something black on? Not all black, just something black. Because I just read AGAIN that it is STILL the color that can visibly pull us together in an instance. And THAT is how she will remain dateable. Along with, freshly washed hair, and great lips. Lip liner. And yes, men do need this to be convinced. So even not dating all the more influential you’ll be.” Scroll up to find, ok, The outfit Melissa chose DOES have black. Good. Smart. Thoughts move on to, now hey, that’s what’s called, “Tackling something not as hard to avoid tackling the thing that is really hard. See by golly she gets it. She is smart. Not a mess. Not a mess like me.” I (we- my crazy man genius and I came up with this realization) call it ‘productive procrastination.’ When you have to do something important and break, do something else also important so something important is always getting done, even when slacking. I want to keep typing thoughts, but now see there is a lot but really don’t want to go back to edit this. I don’t have a boyfriend editor. I have a boyfriend-boyfriend, who does fill those same shoes of editing me, in my case it’s my life that is held together rather than my writing. When he’s reached his breaking point he uses his frustrated tone that could be yelling in an undertone, “You only sign up for this shit, because you know I’ll do it! No, do it yourself.” Then I assure him I had a really solid plan to finish my own project but other problems got in the way, and if not him to bail me out then who? Works. Every. Time. Oh gee, now I better get back to this process of productive procrastination, which this post does not qualify as. Just wanted to add my thoughts. Holy crap that’s a lot of money for nanny’s and sh%t and who the F%$& is your music teacher, Liberace? I know you’re east, but not that far. Why is everything so expensive? Rhetorical. You get it. These types of post support an idea I’m working on. If we want more women leaders then we have to deal with THIS side of them. I’ve been giving my employer some good lessons on dealing with the crazy emotional behaviors of a successful women. But I haven’t quite verbalized that’s what corporate men NEED to do. Because I don’t want to tell a man, our boss, that he has to “deal” with us and our emotions in order to see us as hireable, because that defeats creating the semblance that women are the most qualified for the job as leader. I’m working on it. Now that there has been literal mention that we were called out on not having enough women leaders in our company, I might just break the news to him. That you need to deal with our crap, help us feel great again then send us back out there to kick more ass. Because that ‘crap’ is flooded with unrivaled intuition that we’re not afraid to use. I simply can’t proof read the above. Can’t. I’ll regret that later. I’ll take the writing course you’re offering some time and hear again how wrong it to not edit. And then I’ll regret posting this more. No time, I’ll count my losses. This is how I avoid the ‘self-destruct’.

  11. Julia
    Julia says:

    Wow! I am happy for you! It is a long path and there will be downturns, but once started, you will always find your way back.

  12. Dannielle
    Dannielle says:

    Hi Penelope,

    Having read your blog for 5+ years I feel as though I know you pretty well.

    Having gone through many of the same struggles you write about I feel as though I understand where you’re coming from.

    You are going to do what is morally right in your eyes and nobody else is going to understand.

    It doesn’t have to hurt, though. You find pleasure in the fact that your life has real meaning.

    Whether your sons remember what you sacrificed for them or not, doesn’t matter.

    Whether the world remembers what a wise and helpful person you are, doesn’t matter.

    What matters is that you speak the absolute truth, about important things, with no edit button and no filter.

    And the money part is totally irrelevant.

    You will not self-destruct because me and 135,000 other followers are sending you a blessing every day.

    Seriously, a big hug from me, too, and Good Shabbos.


  13. Kimberly
    Kimberly says:

    INTJ’s are rude. We are so good at getting stuff done that it appalls us when everyone else gets in our way because they think they can pull anything off more successfully than we can. It slows us down and that is when the rudeness rears its ugly head.

    As for fearing self destruction, I think most people self destruct because they are blindly careening down a path and lack the ability to sense the “danger” warning signs. You aren’t one of those people. You are aware. And when we are aware, we have plenty of time to apply the brakes. Now, some of us feverishly attack them at the last possible second to avoid catastrophe, but knowing something is half the battle in doing something about it. Playing your son’s game because he loves it is you doing something about it.

  14. Tim L.
    Tim L. says:

    I find that 90% of my problems are just the result of being in a bad mood … and bad moods pass.

    All the best.

  15. Jill
    Jill says:

    This post reminds me why I love your blog, Penelope – because you’re real life.

    Sending positive vibes your way.

  16. Stephenie
    Stephenie says:

    … and you will convince him (or a friend of his) to buy your company in time for your son’s bar mitzvah.

    When two people say they are married, then they are in a marriage. The governments legal aspect is only one manner of marriage. Some states even call it common law marriage and it is binding. Some religions encourage the religious ceremony and if you must skip the legal part for reasons of your own, so be it. Who are we to tell you that you are lying about being married? It’s the same as homeschooling, you left the government out of the arrangement. It’s a very American thing to do, freedom, rah rah rah.

    Take care of your well being so I can keep on reading your posts. I love that you are honest and realistic; and not trying to present yourself as some artificial super woman who can juggle it all. Successful people make big messes.

  17. Tracy
    Tracy says:

    Oooh, exciting! No wonder your head feels like it’s about to explode. So who could it be, CEO of big edtech company? Or just CEO of big big company? And he wants coaching, really, not just a front for an interview?

    Anyway, don’t know what you’re worried about; I have visions of you making him cry as you deliver some tough truths and then giving him dating advice (like points #6 and #7 from previous post)

  18. lynne whiteside
    lynne whiteside says:

    you’re not self-destructing – as you age (I’m 69) your mind starts going faster than you can get a grip on. it’s no secret that yoga/meditation works….just make it a practice. make time, just do it!

    Love Out To You! We are all the same…

  19. me
    me says:

    Could you post a bit more re your meditating ? What exactly youre doing/how/when, etc. (I clicked on the link, but it was only the research results.)

    I think meditating would help, but I dont know how or where to start ….

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Meditating is like dieting.

      There are a million ways to diet, but there’s really only one way: Eat less.

      And there are a million ways to meditate, but there’s really only one way: Sit and do nothing more.


  20. Lindsey
    Lindsey says:

    Oh, man. I literally looked at our stairs last week (that still don’t have a railing even though we moved in 6 weeks ago), and thought, “if I fell down the stairs, I probably wouldn’t have to deal with my to-do list.”

    I didn’t actually consider it. But, that’s how much I wanted a break from the problems on my to-do list. I immediately realized that would just add a huge problem on the list. (Which made me laugh, so that’s good, right?)

    We all have days like this.

    Listening to your real life is so much more helpful than seeing people’s curated lives. I think that’s why people want to call you a liar on Wikipedia. Because reality is confusing and messy. Listening to someone else’s real life makes you face your own. It’s easier to read Beyonce’s wikipedia page and pretend everything will be amazing and perfect.

    One more thing…it IS SO COOL that you get to coach Mr. Famous. Go have fun doing that.

  21. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    I’m an INTJ and I am *really* good at things that I care about, and only “meh” at everything else. But I like that people think INTJ’s are good at everything. ;)

    • Karelys
      Karelys says:

      This may be nothing but the truth and yet I feel it’s a lie.

      Like when my friend whose home is always impeccable says “sorry about the mess” every time we visit.

  22. Vanessa
    Vanessa says:

    Maybe a bad time to ask, since you’re admittedly under a lot of stress, but I was wondering if there are any Kate updates? Is she still around?

  23. Iris Alive
    Iris Alive says:

    ENFP – this is a gratifying discovery. The definition was spun so eloquently, I want to print it and waive it in the face of those who question my ever changing deadlines! ;)

    I’m not a blogger. I question why I’ve returned, even more so why I didn’t remove the comment alert. And have now read every comment posted on this thread. I would like to say you (commentators) bore me. But you don’t, no one does apparently. I’m an ENFP. I’m not as nice as you guys though! You delicate little flowers, you! Someone throw a real blow or something. Again, I’m alerted to these comments. Make it worth the distraction.(wink)

  24. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    Things I thought of while reading your post.

    1. Last week I found (and read) a web page of hollywood “stars” who committed suicide. The ultimate in self-destruction.

    2. All phenomenon is impermanent. Which of course is a good news, bad news kind of thing.

    3. Ron Burgundy.
    [Ron Burgundy] “I don’t know how to put this but I’m kind of a big deal.” [Veronica Corningstone] “Really.” [Ron Burgundy] “People know me.”

    4. The Work, by Byron Katie.
    Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
    Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
    How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
    Who would you be without the thought?

    5. You have great insight into the personality types and you’re funny. I’m sure the meeting with him will go well.

    All good wishes to you,

  25. Rebecca Stafford
    Rebecca Stafford says:

    Dear Penelope,

    1/ Go you! You are doing it hard. You are an inspiration. Hang in there.

    2/ On distinguishing between the person and the behaviour.

    You refer to yourself as a self-destructive person. No, actually. You are not.

    What you are is a person who has engaged in some self-destructive BEHAVIOURS.

    Self-destructive behaviours are not wired into your DNA. They are not YOU. They are learned behaviours.
    In a sense they may be wired into your BRAIN. That is the learning process. Fortunately your brain is easier to rewire than your DNA.

    What can be learned can be unlearned. And healthier, more adaptive, beliefs and behaviours can be learned in their place.

    All behaviour has a function. These so called self-destructive behaviours would likely have kept you safe(r) as a child. I love Brené Brown‘s definition of a mid-life crisis. [Something like] – a midlife crisis is what happens when you realise that the beliefs and behaviours that served you well as a child, are not serving you well as an adult. Self-destructive behaviours may be relatively functional in a destructive environment. Not so functional when out of it.

    Time for a change. Which you are doing. Continuing with your meditation despite your belief that you are a self-destructive person is a fabulous way to begin rewiring your brain (aka changing the beliefs that drive your behaviours).

    3/ On Luck.
    At the end of this post you say that you are lucky that [famous person] wants your coaching.
    Your previous post is titled “Finding a mate isn’t luck – it’s about setting a goal and reaching it”. How is having [famous person] wanting your coaching NOT one of many examples of having achieved your goals?

    Imposter syndrome occurs when people are unable to internalise their accomplishments, often ascribing their successes to luck or to the efforts of others.

    You are not a self-destructive person. You are a person who has been thru some profound life shyte. You learned some maladaptive self-destructive behaviours in order to survive a destructive environment.

    But you are safe now.
    How about you start changing those beliefs by taking some credit for your hard work and goal setting.
    I will if you will.

    P.S. Which of your beliefs do you want your boys to model?

    ‘best wishes

  26. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    I looked at the color of those legs and was horrified. I thought this was going to be some weird post about someone getting severe hypothermia or a weird reaction to peanuts and almost dying.

    It gradually sunk in that those are your tights. People wear purple tights now.

  27. Katie
    Katie says:

    I loved the post, I love all of them. I am grateful you write the way you do. I think many people live closer to the edge of happy than they are willing to admit. The comments you receive boggle me. How do you stomach reading such snide ‘well meaning’ advice. All of the ‘I’m so concerneds’? It doesn’t matter really because you seem to navigate the blog waters effortlessly and I hope that all you hear is the cheers of the crowd who so enjoy your special brand of brilliance. All my best.

    • Iris Alive
      Iris Alive says:

      I concur. I’m attracted to this “blog” (new term I learned yesterday) because PT is freaking funny as hell, and I’m wildly inspired by this woman. And it feels great! I read her words as a glimpse at what we’re REALLY thinking. Female empowerment at its finest! … This is a “review” no way, no compliments from me. Because. I’m. Not. That. Nice. I simply believe that THIS is how women ought to behave. Guts and drive. Public displays of it, even. Pure. Bloody. Truth.

  28. WarrenShadwick
    WarrenShadwick says:

    I read this post after I had read “Influence is Better Than Control.” They were powerful and packed a punch. I am a naturally positive person. I do a great deal of self-reflection, which is a great thing to do .

  29. Ayietim
    Ayietim says:

    I love this post. And no you won’t self destruct because you love the life you are living and you want to be around for a long time to continue doing your job of helping people be who they want to be, you want to be around for your family for a long time and fighters are no quitters and you are a fighter.

  30. Laura
    Laura says:

    This post isn’t about not being able to pick clothes, but it highlights one of the ways to not self-destruct. Outsource what you can do you can focus on the hard stuff. You already have a house manger (although if you’re paying that much for someone who doesn’t do all the cooking, I’ll come work for you). Get yourself to Milwaukee or Chicago and get a personal shopper to pick you out 5 uniforms. Take a picture of what goes with what. Or use an online styling service.

    The other part of not self destructing is to be able to let things go. Your kids don’t need you to do if all if you’re going to lose your mind or create a completely unstable household.

  31. mysticaltyger
    mysticaltyger says:

    Yes, Penelope. Meditate. Every day. Without a second thought. Just do it. I mean it!!!

  32. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    I came across this post by hitting the ‘View a Random Post’ button (which should be bigger and in a more prominent place by the way). The above referenced button better utilized on this web site could be used to eclipse the increased traffic on your site over time that any Melissa blog post on your self-destruction would be capable of doing. Not only that, you can be around to witness it. :)

Comments are closed.