I used to teach English. It’s true. In the midst of plot structure and literary devices, I also tackled grammar as well as vocabulary through Greek and Latin roots and affixes. I have praised the likes of Socrates for his methods of education and discussion and helped young writers develop their own tone and voice in their writing.

So why on earth can I not stop using the word “awesome”?

I’ll be honest and transparent with you and say that each and every time I use this word, “awesome,” a loud gong goes off in my head, telling me a graduate degree should surely mean I have something better to say than … awesome. (Please know that this only holds true for myself and no one else. The gong is only heard when I overuse “awesome.” Promise. I am in absolutely no position to judge, therefore, I don’t.)

That’s not to say that “awesome” doesn’t have a close circle of friends who perpetually back me into a corner with a sudden lack of adjectives to verbally describe most scenarios throughout my daily life! I’m like Linda Grey on that impossibly old sci-fi TV series my Dad used to watch, “Buck Rogers” or something, when she’s being backed into a corner by little people aliens. They’re taunting her. Grey is wearing a unitard, which I would clearly never don, but the similarities are there, I can assure you.

The cast of cruel characters who show up, unwelcome, day after day, conversation after conversation, forcing themselves from my lips are as follows:

Awesome. The aforementioned and perhaps the most vile offender. I can’t seem to quit you, you. You are so not what you say you are.

Literally. Why do I need to say this repeatedly? Surely once is enough–more than, even–in any conversation.

Seriously. And if I’m unable to express myself literally, I may go to my second-string “seriously,” though it seems I rarely use it when describing a serious matter. Instead, I overuse it in attempts to be funny. Seriously?

Really. Same goes for you, buddy. Your best game will always be played on “Saturday Night Live’s” Weekend Update with Amy and Seth, and if we’re lucky, THE Tina Fey. Then, and only then, do you reach your “IT” factor.

Unbelievable. Again, in ironic fashion, I tend to only describe the believable–though usually unfortunate–with “unbelievable.” Just to drive home my point (likely matching the sound of a dead horse being beaten), I will stretch out the word syllable by syllable, assuring you that no, Kara most definitely did not once receive a paycheck for educating our country’s youth.

These are some of my frequent offenders, but I’m certain there are others. I cannot make assertions that they will not continue to make their wretched selves domineeringly present in my apparently lacking “lock box” (Tipper and Ahh …) of vocabulary. I can only say that the first step to recovery is admitting there’s a problem.

And so, with humility, I offer my admission, and my sincere desire to introduce my vocabulary to some new playmates … yo.