The Mirage of She – Hiding a Heart of Thunder

No more back-sliding. Pinky swear.

Shelly Aspenson ~ Living Write

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She made an art of her disguise, although her greatest yearning was to be recognized, known, and accepted by those of like and thunderous hearts. She walked in the world, but not of it. She participated, and contributed, but did not belong. She worked, and laughed, and fulfilled her duties so flawlessly that those in her circle accepted the mirage; the illusion of her that would disappear if one were to reach out to touch her.

She remained concealed behind the reflection that allowed those around her to see what they were comfortable with, instead of the truth of her. She gave them their comfort in this, as her heart thundered in her chest, and her downcast eyes hid the flashes of lightning that preceded each rumble of the imminent storm of her.

She began to know, as her self-awareness grew, that the storm could not long be…

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Fist Fight

I am in an oddly happy place now. Odd to me in light of the circumstances, experiences and emotions of the last 3-4 weeks. It has not been pleasant or entertaining to be me. Had someone been foolish enough to attempt to steal my identity, I would’ve let them and just hopped in my car, changed my name and started a new life somewhere else.

Alas, I take myself where ever I go, so I had to absorb a few things instead.

I’ve learned there is a big difference between emotional intelligence and emotional fitness. The intelligence I have, the practice of applying it, not so much. Knowledge is no good to me if I don’t put it into play. That just makes me a target, an enabler and a fool.

I can keep the soft spots in my heart without allowing them to be weak spots.

I’ve learned that boundaries don’t mean I’m holding myself back. They are an indication that I’m holding myself sacred, that I am willing to protect what is valuable from those who have not proven to understand who I am. Love, or even caring for another, doesn’t mean I have to say yes, sometimes it means I need to say no for both of us.

I respect myself enough that you have to do the same or move on.

I’ve learned to see my work as an investor in my life and not the reason for it. It doesn’t define me, or draw from me anything other than the desire to give my best and let it go when I leave to enjoy the rest of my day. I don’t worry about it at night anymore, nor am I exhausted from fruitless attempts to intervene and steal another’s lesson that is theirs to learn.

I recognize that as a type of ego/arrogance now. Each of us reap our own rewards.

I’ve learned to ask questions until I’m satisfied with what I know and understand about any given thing. If you think that indicates a lack of intelligence, I’ll let you field that boomerang you just tossed and leave it at that.

When I see/hear judgement and unkind behavior, it just clears my vision. I see you.

There is a mountain of shit I no longer carry, and I’m in an oddly happy place without it. So in that annoying way that always made me want to slap someone when I heard it myself, I am grateful for all of the repetitive kicks in the ass that brought me here.

The fist fight in my head is over now. I win.



There are those

who will never be loved

as they could,

hearts that will never be lit

from within

and eyes that will never see

what was meant to be

without you…

Do not hold so tightly

to your past,

or protect yourself

so fiercely

from all risk

that you lose your


to see the possibilities,

to engage with

the mysteries of life,

or feel the whispers of hope

as it swirls around you…

Who will fill

all the spaces in the hearts

you were meant

to love

if you let yourself lose

your capacity to be

the original

intended creation

of you?



Driving home from my successful unicorn day, I was half singing along with the song “Scars To Your Beautiful” when I actually listened to the lyrics for the first time.
I had tears in my eyes the rest of the way home.
There are times it gives us comfort to know we are not alone in feeling less, in thinking we’re not good enough, pretty enough or smart enough to stand as we are and be worthy.  The times we offer praise, support and affection to another as we silently acknowledge that we suffer the same wounds. 
But there are moments when there is no comfort in that, we only know it hurts.
In my lifetime I’ve been ugly, plain, cute, thin, fluffy, and the girl with the hilarious personality. I learned to clean up pretty good at times as an adult, but to this day when someone says I’m beautiful I wonder what it is they see. Are they looking at my smile or the joy in it? Are they looking at my eyes or into them? Do they see the heart I offer or the body that carries it?
I wonder if you want me to look good on your arm, or feel loved in them?
These are the things we wonder, the things we want, the things we all feel. We have no control over our DNA. I have never been, nor will I ever be, centerfold material. But there is no other heart like mine, and I built that from scratch by  making my own way. There is no other like it. It is beautiful.
So is yours.
That song broke my heart today. So, of course, I downloaded it to my playlist.
To remind myself that I am beautiful, no matter how you perceive me.
So. Are. You.

In Time

She stood in the garden,

the potential

for beauty  surrounding her…

Each new bud a promise,

Every chrysalis

holding the kind of magic

that cannot be forced

to show itself

too soon…

So she stepped quietly away

from all of it,

hands to heart,

she closed her eyes

and smiled as she waited

for the blooming.

Morning Musings

Words can create more distance between two people than the miles that may separate them. They also have the power to alter space and time~eradicating both, or build a wall where one is needed.

How we wield them depends largely on where we’re standing and what we had to make it through to do so.

We hide ourselves behind them, reveal ourselves with them, create boundaries to protect ourselves, reach out to draw someone home…

Sometimes, all at once.

It’s a Paradox.

The Story In Scars

Scars are not just a type of disfiguration to me, they are a story of transfiguration. The writing work I’m doing now is heavy with trauma, healing and scars. More to do with the courage it takes to bear it, pull the poison, and change misplaced shame into the confidence to walk while carrying them inside and out. We become more than we were in the lessons we learn at every stage.

I have scars on my left arm that have grown with me from a fit of anger I threw right before my fifth birthday. I punched it through a glass door instead of grabbing the handle I was aiming for, with the intent of slamming it to show my severe displeasure with my mom.

Lesson One:

Anger expressed heedlessly hurts the one expressing it more than its recipients.

I have a small scar on my right brow bone from the brilliant idea I got from a cartoon I watched one morning when I was six. I took my friend’s pogo stick out onto the little frozen pond with the intent of hopping across the surface, punching holes in the ice as I went along. Against the advice of my pal, I instructed him to stand back and be amazed by my skills. I slipped on the second hop, and the pogo stick knocked me in the eye as I went down.

Lesson Two:

Unless you’re writing science fiction, physics wins over creative license.

I have a scar on my left knee from waking up early at a friend’s house when I was eight and deciding I was going to catch one of her horses and jump a fence. Seemed like a simple thing to do. Nobody had the right to tell me to stay away from the horses, or that I needed lessons to jump. Easy peasy. So I caught her, climbed up and rode as fast as I could towards the fence. At the last second, she baulked and veered to the side grinding my knee into the siding of the house at which point I slid off of her onto the ground.

Lesson Three:

Arrogance is a silent scream for experience to school you into humility.

I have a scar on my head from being hit by a car at ten years of age. While playing flag football, I ignored my little brother’s shout to look for cars and chased the ball out into the road. It is true that some experiences in life happen in slow motion. I lost the game of chicken with the driver of the car and sustained a busted head and fractured ribs.

Lesson Four:

Always consider carefully the warnings from those who love you.

My last physical scar (so far) is on my stomach. Not the barely noticeable c-section scar of today’s nip and tuck doctors, but the basic, emergency, we’re losing both of them scars that heals in a deep, tight and twisted way. No matter how flat the stomach, the scar shows. At the pool this summer one of the two college boys chatting with me asks,

“What’s the other guy look like?”

I smiled and said, “Almost six feet tall, handsome, and the light of my life.”


The other young man hands me a beer and says, “Darlin’, that’s bad-ass.”

Lesson Five:

Love is worth every single scar.

These are what I consider average life scars. These do not carry the same weight as those of whom I write. The physical scars from injuries in combat or the surgeries to try to fix them, the heart scars for every life taken or lost, the emotional/mind scars from the healing of who the warrior was with who they had to become. It is a painful, messy, at times seemingly impossible accomplishment.

Scars are not for sissies. You have to have the balls to say, “I did that. I felt that. That happened to me”. You have to have the spine to let who you were meet who you are and accept all the shit in between. Then you have to admit that you’re not done, because you’re still here, and you have too much life not to head to the front of the pack and lead us somewhere better.

Because you know both sides of life. You’ve lived both. We trusted you. We still do.

You didn’t go through all of that to come home and render yourself invisible and powerless. You didn’t learn all that you have to sit in silence and in pain. We need you to speak it, name it and show us how to overcome the reality of blood, sweat and humanity. Don’t numb out and isolate. We already know how to do that. Show us what you learned, show us how to lead, show us how to heal all that is rotting around us.

Show us. We need you.