Flip-Flopping Is My Super Power

Diane Face2Diane Tarantini and I met in the same MFA program. She is one of the most enthusiastic people that I know and is always willing to share her knowledge and excitement with others. She lives in a 106-year-old Sears “kit house” in Morgantown, Best Virginia. To read her lessons from a life half lived, visit her blog, dianetarantini.com. She also recently became a lifestyle columnist for a West Virginia newspaper. I’m so excited to have her as my guest blogger today.

My name is Diane Tarantini, and I’m a flip-flopper. It’s a good thing I’m not a politician because in the political sphere, flip-flopping is usually seen as a no-no. Now that I’m half a century old, I view flip-flopping as more positive than negative. More of a softening, or a wizening, than a failure. Let me show you what I mean.

    • I don’t want/need God. Back in high school, one night after youth group, I told God, “I believe in you and the stuff in the Bible, but I can’t have fun with all those rules. I’ll get back to you someday. Like, right before I die, okay?” God didn’t answer. About 15 year ago, I decided God was actually pretty cool, and I let Him into my life. Even though it was sooner than I planned, these days I wish I’d done it even sooner.
    • I don’t want/need a husband. Due to my mother’s mental health issues, my father’s tendency to hang out in our basement instead of with us, and three older brothers behaving badly, I did not have a perfect childhood. My theory is that, in circumstances like this, individuals often become independent to a fault, believing they can’t count on anyone except themselves. Up until my last semester of college, marriage never crossed my mind. But then my husband (aka Tony-Bear) came along, and within a few months, we fell from best friendship into love. When he proposed, I knew I’d be a fool to say no, so I didn’t.
    • I don’t want kids. Because my family was flawed, I questioned my own ability to mother. But now there was another opinion to consider—Tony-Bear’s. Though he never said that no kids was a deal-breaker, I knew he wanted six. So when he asked me to consider having just one, I agreed. In time, motherhood became my favorite job ever. (Read more about that in “Goldfish Crackers and Four-Course Dinners.”)
    • I’m a big city girl. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to get the heck out of West Virginia and rarely return. Plan A was to move to New York City after college graduation to accept a job as a big-wig advertising executive on Madison Avenue. Plan B (aka reality) was moving to Washington, DC, where I took a position at a yellow-pages directory company earning $13,000/year. One day we decided we no longer wanted to spend a considerable portion of our lives in stand-still traffic, so we moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. 

      A few years later, Tony asked the dreaded question: “Want to move back to West Virginia? Because if we don’t, my parents will sell the family business and. . . ” He made his caramel-colored eyes all puppy-dog huge and his full, cherry-colored lips are really good at pouting. So we made a pact: if either of us hated it at the end of the first year back, we’d start over somewhere else. That was 1993 and we’re still here.

    • I’m done with college forever. Thirty years after I declared, “No more higher education for me,” I applied to grad school. Finally I’d found what I wanted to be when I grew up—a writer. I didn’t pursue my MFA in creative writing thinking it would guarantee me a publishing deal. I simply wanted to learn more about the activity I loved. Not only did I learn way more about writing than I expected, I made some really great friends!
    • I love cats. Dead ones. Let me explain. I was a funky, punky chick in college. I was the girl with an almost-mohawk who usually looked like she was going to a funeral. Regardless of the weather, I wore a jean jacket with buttons pinned all over the front. Including the one about dead cats. I didn’t really want them dead. I just didn’t want them in my house. 

      When I was little, somehow it took me (and my parents) over a decade to figure out that I was highly allergic to cats. Because my dad kept the house super cold at night during the winter months, I’d tuck our calico cat Ginger at the bottom of my bed to warm the sheets. In the mornings, I’d wake up with slit eyes, hives all over my arms and neck, and extremely congested sinuses. For years, I’m pretty sure we kept Benadryl in business.


      For some reason, when I hit my 40s, my cat allergy disappeared. One day Tony-Bear came home with a fist-sized, black and white, Norwegian Forest kitten. “Can we keep it?” he asked. Our son, I call him Junior-Man, had already decided on a name for her: Bonnie, short for Bonneville. Because he’s crazy about old cars. I chose her middle name—Agnes—after the little gal from the animated kids’ movie Despicable Me. Two months later we adopted a playmate for Bonnie—a gray tabby I named Boots Louise.

    • All this to say, if I’ve learned anything in half a century of living, it’s—


      Never say never.


2 Replies to “Flip-Flopping Is My Super Power”

    1. Hey Cole!!! Look at you commenting over here while you are out in Colorado on your mountain-biking vacation. Thanks for stopping by Goose Hill, friend:)


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