Friday, July 24, 2009

the f-word


i triked down the sidewalk. skinned-up, little legs spinning as fast as the tires on a car.


i wore a pale, yellow sundress that was marked with grass stains.

no bows in my hair. because i was a tomboy.

a smudge of dirt was visible on my face underneath a sassy grin.

my big brother was timing me by counting "one mississippi, two mississippi..." as i tore from one driveway to the next.

all the way down to bobby johnson's house.

i nearly crashed on the dare-devilish turn-around, but i had a record to break. or at least, a chance at my big brother's hard-won admiration.

i was only five. and he was god.

my mama used to say i would trail after him like a little, lost puppy looking for a new home.

if he wore overalls, i wore overalls. if he wanted cherry kool-aid, i wanted cherry kool-aid.

most of all i wanted to be a boy. so he would take me seriously.

nothing much i could do to change that. yet, still i prayed to god each night desperately wishing for him to do so.

each morning i'd wake up, look under the covers and make a disgusted snort.

i knew enough about the birds and the bees to know no miracles had occurred.

on this particular night, my daddy was at the barbecue lighting it up with that magical fluid. i used to be in awe when the flames would come flying up just like a fourth of july display.

once, i stood so close my mama cried out that i was gonna burn my eyebrows offa' that freckled face 'a mine. i just liked the white-hot heat and the way it made me feel.

like i was a part of magic or somethin'.

mama and daddy were expecting friends. the harrington's.

he was the one who used to tickle me so rough i thought i was gonna pee in my pants. he also made the best damn onion rings this side of timbuktoo, or at least that's what my daddy said.

she, well, she was mysterious with her long, brown hair and cigarette in hand. she always looked annoyed. tired and annoyed. my mama told me to keep that little observation to myself.

it was as i was flying back down the path that i heard a horn honk. it was the harrington's wood-paneled station wagon. all shiny and new.

now, just the day before, my big brother sat me down for a serious talk. there were some things that nice girls just didn't do.

and that was cussing.

i looked right back at him eyes wide and nodding my head wisely. all the while, wondering what exactly "cussing" was.

he must have seen my confusion. i never was much good at hiding what was on my mind.

"you know, cussing," he repeated. "the h-word, the s-word, and worst of all worsts, the f-word."

this only furthered my bafflement. i tried to fake it with another head nod, but he saw through again at my attempts of looking worldly.

"hell". "shit". and then he lowered his voice and in a gargled whisper, "fuck." he looked around quickly after the f-word to make sure no one had caught him broadening my vocabulary.

"you 'specially never want to say 'fuck you'. that one's bad, real bad. like, ground you for life and never let you eat ice cream again, bad."

"only big kids say that one."

"got it," i replied seriously. still a little bewildered at why he was tellin' me all this.

my big brother was the smartest guy around. i felt honored he would bestow this knowledge on me.

back to the harrington's.

mrs. h. had those big sunglasses on, the kind my mama called jackie o's. mr. h. had his big hand up in a wave.

"hey there, honey," he shouted. "how are you?"

that's when my little head kinda cross-circuited. i heard my brother saying, "only big kids say that one."

i puffed my chest out, all important, smiled at my brother and gave him a thumb's up. and told that mr. h., "fuck you."

i heard the loud clang of barbeque tools falling to the ground and the next thing happened so fast i couldn't even tell you where he came from.

my daddy swooped me off that trike so swiftly i can still remember the air whooshing right outta' me. he threw me over his shoulder all fireman style. if i hadn't had such butterflies in my stomach, i would've thought it was the best game ever.

the last thing i remember was the harrington's station wagon frozen in the middle of the road. and my big brother's face as red as a fire truck. his eyes bulging out just like our spaghetti-o's.

daddy marched me into the house straight past my mama.

he was gonna wash that filthy language right outta me, i just knew it.

and that's when i discovered that trying to impress your big brother is not worth the taste of liquid soap in your mouth.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

on being happy

"but what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?"

- albert camus


i sat across from her at lunch and pondered her question.

"how are you?" she had asked.

i smiled.

i smiled wider.

i shrugged my shoulders and cocked my head to one side. my smile grew wider still.

"i'm happy. i'm just really, really happy."

what can you say to a response like that? she smiled in return.

we continued talking and time passed as quickly as it does when you're watching an engrossing movie.

when i left the restaurant, my reply kept ringing in my ears.

"i'm happy. i'm just really, really happy."

my answer to her question had been so natural. without premeditation.

actually, i didn't have to ponder.

but something inside of me felt i needed to pause, to taper my response.

my happiness was so great, it felt obnoxious.

there are moments in one's life when everything is in sync.

the planets are aligned.

happiness is effortless.

and appreciation is abound.

she caught me during this time.

this time that is so fresh. so tangible. so raw.

there is no way to chase after it.

it just appears, like the arrival of an old friend you've been dying to see.

that is the beauty of it.

ask me today how i am.

and i'll smile back and say:

"i'm happy. i'm just really, really happy."


Saturday, May 30, 2009

the letter, resolved


i received the letter on a saturday.

the saturday before memorial day.

i would've called, but i knew the office would be closed over the long weekend.

so i set the letter aside.

somewhere it wouldn't stare at me like the menacing look of a headmistress.

i kept busy.

each time my mind would wander into the unknown, i forced it to detour to a more peaceful place.

sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.

i wish i could train myself better, my thoughts like a restless puppy in need of discipline.

when tuesday rolled around, i was prepared to make the call. i was hoping they could squeeze me in that day.

i was ready.

but no appointments were available until thursday afternoon.

what could i do? it was out of my control.

so i agreed. i would be back on thursday. two more days of hiding the letter.

this worked until wednesday night. i'm not exactly sure why my vulnerability appeared like an unwanted guest:

what if they were right?

what if it was true?

what if this was "it"?

i slept restlessly.

it was 2 pm on thursday. and i took a deep breath as i put my dressing gown on.

the required tests took no time. and i sat in a sterile hallway. nurses walked by with sympathetic smiles.

i didn't like the sympathetic smiles. they reminded me of why i was here, sitting in this chair.

it only took ten minutes. no more waiting.

i had my answer.

i stifled tears and searched for my composure.

they were wrong.

there would be no more letters. no more follow-up tests. no more doctors.

no more worrying. no more unknown.

the letter, was resolved.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

trespassing on my happiness


there are so many things that are out of my hands.

i don't like that.

i like knowing the questions and knowing the answers.

i like understanding what i'm dealing with and eliminating the undisclosed.

i like to be able to exert some sort of control over my life and rely on this.

but that's not always possible.

i heard some news the other day.

it came in the form of a letter.

it's so strange how one minute you're trying to decide where to indulge your kids with a cinnamon roll while absently ripping open an envelope.

and the next moment your hand is shaking slightly and you have to fake a smile to your child in the back seat.

you stare at the envelope because it is trespassing on your happiness.

it wasn't invited.

it wasn't even considered.

and yet you have to deal with it.

you wish you could throw it away in the trash with the rest of the junk mail, but this one requires a phone call.

it's walking into the unknown that is so unnerving.

give me a set of parameters i can grasp, instructions i can follow or a play-by-play of what's to come next.

then i can deal.

but this one requires letting go.

it will be what it will be...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

the sights, the sounds, the smells



"memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose."


~From the television show The Wonder Years



when i close my eyes real tight, i can almost see my memories playing out in front of me, like sitting in the front row of my favorite movie.

the color is crisp. the soundtrack - stimulating.

i am lying on my back on a float. the sun is beating down. the waves rock me in a lazy fashion making subtle swishing sounds. and i am content.

i play this memory over and over again, like a child who watches her favorite Dora video for the nineteenth time and never bores of it.

when i hear a certain song, i am transported back in time and i can relive that moment in an instant.

i am sixteen years old. my second week of a new license. the radio is playing naked eyes "always something there to remind me." my girlfriend and i are blaring out the chorus, while studying cars at traffic lights, in search of cute boys.

my smile copies that of years ago.

and i hear the song over and over again in my head, like a tween who downloads his first song on itunes and never tires of it.

when i smell a particular aroma, it triggers a recollection of another untroubled time, one in which i would like to relive.

the freshly baked baguette reminds me of those small paris streets, vendors selling their favorite recipes. brightly colored flowers, and outdoor cafes with old men sipping espresso.

the memory so vivid i can taste it.

and i order that bread as often as i can, like an old lady whose grocery list never changes.



"a memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen."

~edward de bono



Thursday, May 7, 2009

morning rituals and the kreativ blogger


i have many morning rituals which i enjoy. laying in bed lazily, drinking a liter of water, taking my vitamins, going on a five mile walk and reading insidecandy.co.za. candy is a remarkable writer whose blog includes excerpts from her published poetry, political commentary, insight into how her mind works, and witty, goofy blurbs. it's mesmerizing.

how cool was it to see that i am one of seven blogs she loves to read. she was kind enough to pass on the kreativ blogger award. and here's how it goes. i was asked to rake my mind and come up with seven things i love as well as seven blogs i love.

i found it a challenge when forced to sit down and think of seven things that i love. not that my mind went blank. the reverse, actually. i had to be tough and hone down my list. so, below is my final compilation of:

seven things i love (in no particular order):

1.) the whipped cream mustache you get with your first sip of hot cocoa.

2.) the scent of my husband's skin when i lay my face on his chest.

3.) fitting into a pair of "just washed and dried" jeans without having to do squats.

4.) the first coke of the day.

5.) les nuits d'hadrien and the way it makes me feel when i'm wearing it.

6.) watching my black belt girls kick ass in tae kwon do.

7.) sheetcake from safeway.

equally difficult, was trying to choose seven blogs that i love. but the following make me think, make me laugh, make me question, make me smile and make me a better person for having read them. so, with no further ado, i present to you:

seven blogs i love (again, in no particular order):

1.) amyvenezia.com

2.) gurushabad1.blogspot.com

3.) soulmeetsworld.com

4.) brookebenthin.com

5.) healthnutwannabeemom.blogspot.com

6.) christine-livepassionately.blogspot.com

7.) and right back atcha, candy, insidecandy.co.za

go ahead and pass it along, or just bathe in the glory...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

the man in the skirt


he walked around the grocery store in the affluent community wearing a long, black, gauzy skirt with a white three-quarter-length sleeve top of the same material.


his hair was gray and pulled back into a ponytail. his beard neatly trimmed.

his birkenstocks mixed with pradas and guccis as he navigated around the store, stopping now and then to smell a fresh pineapple or to study a tomato.

to say heads turned was an understatement.

women blocked traffic in the aisles as they stared at this man.

was he wearing a skirt?

men hustled away quickly, worried he was contagious.

is he part of some cult?

no, this soft-spoken man was a yogi. a true guru.

his humble clothes reflected his simple life.

but still one older woman actually tutted in disapproval as he politely asked if she would excuse him as he tried to pass.

tolerance.

do we have it?

tolerance is having an open-mind.

it's seeing a homeless man by the side of the street and reacting with compassion, not with judgment or fear.

tolerance is acceptance.

it's to respect someone of a different religion, not to ostracize him.

tolerance is understanding without fully understanding.

it's loving your sixteen year-old who's dressed head to toe in black and has no other color in her wardrobe.

"you have your way. i have my way. as for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist."  -friedrich nietzsche

he walked to the check-out line. the young clerk greeted him with a genuine smile. 

for the first time since entering the grocery store someone made eye contact with him.

she had a pierced lip and wore heavy black eyeliner.  

more than one or two complaints had been directed to the manager regarding her appearance. but still she did her job flawlessly, always wearing that natural smile. 

she understood the meaning of tolerance.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

the communication dance

his reply was as wet and as cold as a dog's nose.

it left me devoid of words.

so i remained silent. 

again.

the baby began to cry in her crib.

i turned and left the room quietly.

unnoticed.

communication was zero.

and it would last another two years.

alfred kadushin writes that "the relationship is the communication bridge between people."

what if you have no relationship anymore?

you have no communication.

it took years for me to learn to trust again. 

to find the courage to open my mouth.

it took years for me to learn how to communicate again.

to realize that opening my mouth was not equal to getting hurt.

communication did not come instantly.

it took work.

hard work.

it was trial and error.

"the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."  -george bernard shaw

this was my downfall in the beginning.

i would find myself talking like a dam had broken. i would finish and feel a sense of relief.

we had communicated. good for us.

when really we had not communicated at all. i had talked.

but i never listened.

it is like a dance, communication. a graceful waltz.

we trade steps with each other. and one cannot dance alone.

just as one cannot only talk, one must listen as well.

my partner communicates with me now as patiently as a rose waits to bloom.

communication is the relationship bridge between us.

which is a good thing, as "the ability to communicate with others as well as ourselves ultimately determines our quality of lives."  -anthony robbins

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

we need...


we need our starbucks.

we need our laptops.

we need our jamba juice.

we need our gyms.

we need our best friend's.

we need our lovers.

we need our gossip.

we need our crises.

we need our diet soda.

we need our mcdonalds.

we need our bmw's.

we need our big houses.



...but do we need god?


Thursday, March 19, 2009

the color purple


"i think it pisses god off if you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it."    


-alice walker (from the color purple film)

Monday, March 16, 2009

trimming roses


he was trimming roses in his backyard.

they think that's how it happened.

now the staph infection has spread throughout his body.

his situation is critical.

he's only in his mid sixties.

my parents are in their mid sixties.

trimming roses.

in his backyard.

how seemingly innocent.

his kidneys have shut down and they've got him on dialysis.

while his wife sits by his bed.

life is mysterious.

life is confusing.

life is short.

the doctors are silent regarding his potential for recovery.

she's hungry for a crumb of positive words.

we all are.

we wait to hear each day's update.

helpless.

hopeful.

still no change.

so i call my parents and tell them i love them.

i ask my dad about his health.

i book lunch with my mom.

trimming roses.

in his backyard.

life is so unpredictable...


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

a moonlit walk


it was so dark outside the moon was a flashlight as we walked.

i love to walk at night.

it's a chance to connect with god.

the quiet. the cool air. the stars.

we talked as we walked.

friends. the kids. us.

it's a chance to connect with each other. 

i love the feel of burn in my thighs as we climb the steep hills.

the blood circulates from limb to limb.

it's a chance to connect with my body.

the moon followed us as we walked.

a guide. a safe keeper. a friend.

i love to walk at night...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

i believe...


i believe 100 blinking stars on a black night's screen can cure most ills. 

i believe you should throw a penny and make a wish in every fountain you pass.

i believe every mind is capable of creative expression.

i believe children have this world figured out better than adults.

i believe kool-aid stand employees should be tipped 100%.

i believe dogs makes fun of humans when we aren't looking.

i believe girl scouts are the most gifted salespeople in the world.

i believe god understands us so profoundly and we have no clue.

i believe that halloween candy should be thrown out by easter.

i believe scooby doo reruns are the answer to most of the world's problems.

i believe in angels despite being laughed at.

i believe there's nothing wrong with ordering french fries.

i believe michelangelo's david is man perfected.

i believe in doing something outlandish at least once a day.

i believe life is worth living as though there is no tomorrow.


Monday, March 2, 2009

lil' green-eyed monster


“yet he was jealous, though he did not show it, for jealousy dislikes the world to know it.” 

-lord byron

she watched them walk by.

their footsteps light, smiles on their faces.

tank tops, flip flops. long highlighted hair and tan, bronzed skin.

she felt it like a pain in her side.

they all looked so healthy and happy.

they all looked so perfect.

am i a jealous type of person?

hmm... how would i answer that?

as far as the world is concerned, no.

as far as those closest to me, no.

as far as what's inside me, indeed yes.

it really sucks to admit that.

but there, it's been said. 

how does it go? admitting it is halfway to recovery?

it wasn't she or her, who i wrote of earlier. i wrote of me.

my own feelings of jealousy as i sit and watch these young, vibrant moms walk into school to pick up their children.

i lose perspective and i get jealous of what i seemingly don't have.

i wear jeans and a shirt, because i feel pasty compared to them. my hair is dark as it's been hidden from the sun and has lost its luster.

but most of all i feel shallow.

jealousy is such an ugly emotion.

yuk.

there's nothing positive about it.

all it does is diminish your own self-image. it sends negative, irrational thoughts upstairs until sooner or later you start to believe the messages.

good-bye confidence. hello lil' green-eyed monster.

so i'm practicing short-circuiting the communication.

when i experience the beginnings of jealousy, i counter them with a positive thought about myself. 

it may be something i'm thankful for, acknowledgment of a skill, or gratefulness for a personality trait.

just something positive.

i walk beside these women. i smile to myself. there is no longer anything to be jealous of because i am perfect just the way i am.

at least, that's what i tell myself...


Monday, February 23, 2009

god's lute




this constant yearning


we are

like lutes

once held by god.

being away from his warm body

fully explains

this

constant 

yearning.


-hafiz



i opened 'the gift' to a random page.

and this is what i read.

so connected to me was this poem that it almost made me cry.

feeling spiritually dry lately, and a certain distance from god, has left me feeling unsettled.

alone.

empty.

yearning.

whenever i lose this closeness, i feel the cold blast of walking alone on a winter's day. the wind fights me. the temperatures mock me. and my own body slows me.

it is long and difficult to get to where i am going.

and yet, when i read something like this, that so totally captures the way that i am feeling, i already feel god.

i start thawing out. my fingers and toes can move freely and i feel a certain lightness.

i am no longer alone.

he has reached out and touched me and i am his lute once again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

perfection

"gently remind yourself that life is okay the way it is, right now. in the absence of your judgment, everything would be fine. as you begin to eliminate your need for perfection in all areas of your life, you'll begin to discover the perfection in life itself." -richard carlson



my life as it is. now. today.

i've slipped into that sly trap, you know the one. the trap that swallows the "now" out of your life and spits back your lost moments as wasted.

i've been living in the future again and missing out in the beauty of today. 

i plan for perfection in my life while it already exists around me.

i don't want to live in the "will be."

so i re-center myself and count my joys in each day.

today's was hearing the heartbeat of a 12 week-old child in my friend's belly.

perfection.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

why won't she leave?

it's like a drug, she says.

she can't stay away from him.

he's egotistical. he's controlling. he's dangerous.

and yet she returns to him like an abused dog with misplaced loyalty returns to his master.

why? i ask her? 

why can't you let him go?

you mean, why can't i hate him, she corrects.

i nod my head yes.

her eyes are so innocent. so naive. she's so young.

and i want to shake her. to grab her shoulders, make her look me in the eye and promise she will not see him again.

but we both know this is a promise she will not keep like a child who promises to keep their room clean.

there are moments of clarity. moments when her eyes are open and she says, he sickens me.

yet she still returns.

she is his marionette. and he is the puppet master.

i want to cut the strings. 

but she needs to hold the scissors.

her mantra is she loves him. 

he returns her love with insults, manipulation and cruelty.

why won't she leave, i ask my husband with tears in my eyes.

he shakes his head helplessly.

we cannot do it for her.

so instead we catch her when she falls. we hold her when she cries and we hope beyond hope she will see him for what he is.

and leave.

Monday, February 2, 2009

sometimes i feel...


sometimes i feel like i have so much to offer this world.

sometimes i feel like there is nothing i cannot do.

sometimes i feel like i leave an impression wherever i go.

sometimes i feel like i am so close to god.

other times i feel like i am just a tiny person in this great big world.

other times i feel like there is nothing i can do.

other times i feel like i will walk through this world unnoticed.

other times i feel like god has abandoned me.

which of these are true?

i vote for the first four...


Friday, January 23, 2009

and you thought you knew me...

 7 more things you never knew about me:

1.)  when i was four, i discovered the taste of hand soap after my father heard me dropping 
the f--bomb while tricycling down the street. i've never forgotten the taste.

2.)  when i was ten, i broke my leg on a pogo stick. i've never been the epitome of grace.

3.)  when i was twenty-two, i smooth talked my way into a top london advertising agency. i've     never quite believed they fell for it.

4.)  when i was sixteen, i was rear-ended in a brand new car that had yet to have a license plate. i've never gotten over the teasing.

5.)  when i was six, my boyfriend bobby jackson and i decided to take his mom's station wagon   out for a little spin. i've never heard from him since.

6.)  when i was two, my mother's friend accidentally spilled boiling hot bacon grease on my         face. i've never had a single scar.

7.)  when i was eight, i recorded myself singing barbra streisand's "you light up my life" and my   brother played it for his best friend, jake.  i've never lived it down...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

chasing my next jeans size

"believe me, 'i shall live' is not the saying of a wise man. tomorrow's life is too late: live today."
- martial (c.ad 40 - c.104)

guilty.

i've been guilty lately.

guilty of living with my eyes glazed over; missing what is around me and instead chasing my next jeans size.

my priorities have been screwed up and i've been living (or not living, rather) for the wrong reasons.

we do this in so many areas of our lives.

we book our vacations months ahead and count the days until they arrive.

we do the same for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays.

face it, we live in tomorrow.

we look out into the future like we're looking into binoculars for tomorrow's hopes.

next year i'll be wealthier. next month i'll be skinnier. next week i'll be happier when... you fill in the blank.

it's like the john lennon quote, "life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

don't be such a good planner that you miss out.

open your eyes to today. right here. right now.

live your life like today is the last day of it. 

squeeze every bit of happiness out of each moment like you're squeezing every bit of juice from an orange. 

drink it up.

what can we do to stay in the present each day?

1.) be aware of one thing for which you are grateful
2.) slow down and take a deep breath when you feel in a hurry
3.) call someone you love and tell them
4.) celebrate one thing that you've accomplished
5.) do something unexpected
6.) be slightly irresponsible
7.) don't live by too many rules
8.) be frivolous 
9.) indulge yourself
10.) practice spontaneity

and finally, be that wise man who really lives today...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

red kool-aid


when i was five-years-old, i spilled red kool-aid on my mother's freshly cleaned white carpet.


i have no memory of ever seeing my mother get mad.

except this one time.

they say you can't truly remember things from your childhood. that memories are triggered by photographs or stories which are passed on to you by friends or family. the repetition of these becomes a "memory."

but this, i swear, is something i remember.

i can still hear the tone of her voice. i can still see the look on her face. and i still remember hightailing it to the next door neighbor's thinking this was my new home. i was sure that my kool-aid and i were banished forever.

my mother's anger scared me.

because it was so foreign to me. because i was at the center of it. because it seemed like my mom had transformed into a monster that was breathing fire.

i did not want to get burned.

and to this day, i have this fear of being burned.

not from this one incident. it's not like i went and talked in someone's chair about my kool-aid crisis.

rather, i did talk about my own difficulty with being the recipient of anger in general.

god forbid, i cut someone off in traffic. i can physically feel their rage like a sock in the stomach.

you can imagine how brilliant i am at conflict. when the emotions start to heat up, i start to shut down. or i look for the easiest way to run, like i did when i was five.

there must be healthier ways to deal with anger. 

if i sit and think real hard i can come up with three:

1.) do not let fear take over your body. take a deep breath and ride out the anger emotion. keep breathing and stay in the present. 

2.) listen to the words, not the emotion delivering them. find value in what is being said. 

3.) do not personalize the anger. let go of your need to be perfect and realize that you are going to let others down.

my mother rang the neighbor's doorbell. i jabbed my friend and told him to tell her i wasn't there.

it didn't work.

i had to face what i had done and take it like a little (wo)man.


Friday, January 2, 2009

homecoming queen


i'm intimidated when i'm in her presence.


she has energy that's as strong as a gale force wind.

it blows past you swooping you up along the way.

do you know her?

she's a gigantic magnet and people are drawn to her persona.

she's a little over the top like a mom who tries too hard at her daughter's girl scouts group.

she's always on. one of those light bulbs that have a life expectancy of over a million hours.

and she often appears too good to be true.

have you met her?

it's hard to say a bad word about her. but you sometimes want to.

you're amazed at her vivacity, her spiritedness, her spark.

funny though, you realize when you walk away from her that you're exhausted.

i was with her today.

i found myself correcting my posture to match hers. i laughed at the right time at her jokes and i cocked my head to one side asking the appropriate questions at the appropriate times.

i felt like i was back in high school with a coveted five minutes of the homecoming queen's time. me, a mere minion, in the presence of the most popular girl in school. that's how i felt.

i learned some things about myself today.

i learned:

*it's so important to remain firmly planted in who i am. if not, you will find yourself scattered about like the autumn leaves falling from trees.

*there are people out there who require you to put up a small shield to protect you from being swallowed up by them. and this is okay. it's okay to resist the pull when it is unhealthy for you. 

*i need to remember that i have value and i don't need to turn into a chameleon and copy someone else's.

and i learned that there is nothing wrong with her. just as there is nothing wrong with me.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

christmas may be over, but the new year's just beginning

there's always a bit of blue.

these days after christmas.

the ornaments remain up but sadly have lost their sparkle.

the music still plays in many restaurants, like an old, stubborn man who won't succumb to death.

and the refrigerator is full of leftovers that begin to get stale and never get eaten.

the warm greetings from strangers are over.

that contagious, delicious anticipation has disappeared.

and the expectation has come and gone like the wild flowers of spring.

this is how i feel these days after christmas.

a bit deflated.

this then bleeds into the days of self-reflection. 

these days before new year's.

and the self-reflection is not always forthcoming.

sometimes it hides as if it's a small child playing a game.

i need to coax it out and start slowly.

but as a result of this reflection i am pulled out of my blue.

i start to recognize ways that i've grown over the year: life does not revolve around what size jeans you wear.

ways that i've changed: the more humbling events which occur in my life, the greater my depth for compassion.

ways that i've endured: sometimes the answers to our questions are not always straight-forward and patience and hard work is required.

and ways that i've improved: i have learned that communication with someone you trust is always better than relying only on yourself.

i look around at my family and recognize that i am not alone: another year approaches to evolve and laugh and love together during the process.

christmas my be over, but the new year's just beginning...
 

Thursday, December 25, 2008

do you hear what i hear?


it was a few nights ago.

we were flipping through itunes when we came across our holiday genre.

and so it started.

most people hate christmas music.

i love it.

it puts me in that place.

i looked around the room.

my littlest was cramming every single ornament we own onto our little charlie brown tree.

our charlie brown tree-it's pitiful.

and it's perfect.

beyond the christmas music i hear her talking to each ornament as she finds it a new home.

my older is sitting, her head bowed in concentration.

when i look closer she is replacing batteries in an old, but favorite ornament. i see her smile as she presses the play button.

"this is baba, sarah. wishing you a very merry christmas. and asking you to remember of all the gifts you ever give or receive, the greatest of these is love."

a tangible piece of my own grandmother.

it always gets me.

i hear memories.

i hear anticipation.

i hear love.

i hear joy.

i hear peace.

do you hear what i hear?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

you are not alone

they were having problems, she wrote me.


and i was not surprised.

it brought back that pain of yesterday. the anguish of feeling your family fall apart. no, of feeling your dream for a family fall apart.

i remember drinking a glass of wine. and then another. and i sat at that table for two. only it was just me. alone. a table of one.

i had a journal open in front of me, pen in hand. it was my grieving place. it was my best friend and it was the best listener i could ask for. it asked no questions. it only sat and received.

it held no judgment. 

i was afraid to tell anyone what i was going through. i didn't want their awkward sympathy. besides, i could not tell them the whole story.

there was too much pain. and shame.

i want her to know, this friend who wrote me, that she is not alone. i want her to know that i, too, had reached that point of indifference. wanting only a release from the unhealthiness. the dysfunction.

but her fate is yet to be decided. i'm not even sure what to hope for. this presumes i have the right to hope. for it is her life.

i only want for her to be in a safe, loving place. it is not for me to define what that is.

but today, i write for her.

i clumsily reach out through words. trying to say, i know. truly, i know.

hang on, i want to tell her. hang on through the pain and know that you are not alone.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

whispering walls

the walls whisper when they are gone.


why is the house so empty, they ask? why is it so eerily quiet?

even the dog notices and lethargically lies outside their bedroom door. 

her eyes seem to ask, what have you done with them? i miss the little hands that scratch between my eyes on the top of my forehead.

their bedroom feels cooler. missing the heat of their bodies as they move, as they breathe.

but, ahh, the clock ticks and time is now on our side. the hours are passing and soon they will be home.

soon, laughter will return. life will be busy and loud and funny and complete.

i promise not to take one minute together for granted. i promise to let go of distraction and look them in the eyes when they are talking to me. i promise to hear them, really listen to what they have to say.

because the walls do not like it when they are gone. neither does the dog. or I.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

the little shoe


the little shoe grows bigger than mine.

her hair grows longer too.

when did yesterday fade into such a murky gray?

red cheeks flamed when she was spoken to.

blush stains them now.

who let go of the hand of time?

dance, she would, to the tune in her head.

today she sways gently with the door closed.

where is the key to her room?

open were my arms when they handed her to me.

open they are now whenever she allows.

who is this little, big girl?


Sunday, November 30, 2008

chaos in my soul


sometimes if you were to look inside my soul you would become lost in a sea of question marks.


questions without answers.

problems without solutions.

cancers without cures.

deep inside me is a little girl who is swimming with her eyes closed.

and she is surrounded by chaos.

sometimes the chaos scares me like when you stay at home for the very first time without your parents or a babysitter.

you are all alone. 

you and your consciousness. you and your soul.

the chaos of the questions is like a record player stuck on a scratch playing one sound over and over.

chaos in my soul.

"you need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star."  -friedrich wilhelm nietzshe

if this is true, the stars will be shining tonight.

Monday, November 24, 2008

who's there to thank?

"the worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank." 
- dante gabriel rossetti

he turns left. he turns right.

there is nobody there.

he has these words that want to spill out. that need to spill out.

but who will listen?

he feels alone.

she turns left. and there is god.

she turns right. and there is god.

she has these words that want to spill out. that need to spill out.

and god listens.

thank you. thank you.

thank you, god.

and she is complete.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Falling Sideways


"life is falling sideways."  - jean cocteau


sometimes when you fall you never quite hit the bottom.

sometimes you just fall sideways.

there is nothing wrong with sideways. it offers you a new perspective. 

you are no longer standing tall. you are no longer in command or in control.

but neither are you defeated. nor are you down on your knees reeling from the blow.

you are sideways where you can catch your breath and carry on righting yourself.

there is nothing wrong with sideways. it is a new plane on which to travel.

and you may journey at your own speed.

sideways is usually temporary and you are there for good reason.

sideways, you can learn, stretch and grow.

sideways, you are pliable, open and malleable.

sideways, you are humble.

sometimes when you fall you never quite hit the bottom.

sometimes you just fall sideways.