Forfeit


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

ability

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?

 

Beautiful


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.”

Silence.

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.

The Experiment


Today I am tired. I originally got into management at 18 years old because I knew I could learn to be amazing, and do what I loved by growing those around me into achieving whatever they pictured for themselves. I never once pictured myself as “the boss” of anyone, because I don’t care for that myself. I don’t like working for big egos and micro-managers, so I moved myself up and placed myself in a position where I could train others to grow teams and open stores and blow past me, if they so desired.

It was awesome.

I got so good at it, that 15 years later I was snatched up by the Sara Lee Corporation to run one of their stores, and shortly thereafter they began sending me around the country to open stores and train other management teams to build their own. I truly pictured myself moving up to regional manager until negative incidents with childcare made it necessary for me to shut them down and take any job that would put me at home every night, weekend and holiday for my baby boy who was 5 years old.

No hesitation there, love comes first.

Going from really great money to $6.25 an hour was a shock to the family finances, but that’s how it had to happen. The next 15 years, I edged up little by little and raised my son, which was a damn good deal in my opinion. I even grew to like not being in charge of anyone’s work but my own. I was just the boss of me, and my manager was a wonderful woman who has since become one of my very best friends. Life was good.

Then I was promoted to a management position again. The last six years I’ve been responsible for a small group of men in the warehousing/trucking industry. You would think that would be much easier than an empire of 30-40 women, wouldn’t you? As a woman raised by, sister to, and mother of amazing men whom I respect and adore, you would think it would be almost effortless, wouldn’t you? I even learned management skills at the knee of my mother who ruled in several hospitals across the states.

When I stepped in with an integrative mind-set and offer the respect due, the appreciation of knowledge and skills each one offers, and the open-ness to feedback on an ongoing basis as issues evolve, wouldn’t you think there would be a sense of job satisfaction and ownership?

Nope. There’s always that one, right? The Agitator.

My team is experienced, good hearted and hard working. I have the best assistant in the history of the universe. They produce under shitty conditions of extreme cold and heat. I value their knowledge and abilities. I call them in to warm up or cool off, I ask their opinions in decisions that effect the ease of their work, I bring in lunch from time to time, and I thank them every single evening when they leave. I keep up on their monetary needs, their home lives and their physical well-being as best I can. We pull together as a team and get it done, except for “the cactus”.

I have met some pricks in my day, but you, sir…

As I drove to work this morning entertaining the faint and enjoyable idea of tossing this guy into a wood chipper,(just quietly, in my mind, you understand) I listened to a podcast  and heard this idea that everything we did was spiritual, everywhere we stood was holy ground, that our every thought, word and action was an act of creation. Everything from our meals, conversations, to the work we do was a divine creative offering to the world.

What?!?!

No. Give up my satisfying wood chipper scenario? Consider my work place sacred ground? If somebody suggests something biblical, could it not have been to cleanse this place with fire or something epic like that? Sigh…

Yeah, yeah. My people know I shove positive stuff in my head every day, and I’m always using myself as a guinea pig to see if some new piece of knowledge is valid or a crock of shit. So I decided, as I pulled into my parking space, to consider my work place holy ground for the day. I did have to sit in my car for a few minutes to gear up for it.

Today was interesting. I did find myself, with some compassion, wondering just how miserable a life one would have to have to be such an ass. My dad likes to say that it’s better to have a skunk inside your tent pissing out, than outside your tent pissing in. My thought on that was, re-locate the skunk and avoid the pissing. I’m giving this test a few more days.

I stand before you with a wood chipper at the ready, on sacred ground. 

I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

 

 

 

The Celebration


And then she said, “Rise,

get up out of bed and stretch yourself

to greet the day…

With the finest ingredients

make your favorite dishes and

serve yourself

on the china you save

for the special ones…

Pull on that dress, put on those shoes

you only wear to feel

like magic and scent yourself

with the fragrance you save

in the drawer you never

open…

Go now, quickly

to where the music plays

and dance to your favorite songs,

watch the beauty of

the moon rising in a sky

you’ve never seen before and

let yourself laugh,

arms and heart open wide

in a celebration

of you.”

 

Sacred Ground


Life paused to watch her

as she stood there,

confused, heart-broken and

a little angry…

Rendered almost helpless by the weight

of the dirt, the sharpness of the stones that

surrounded her, teeming with the biting pests

that caused her to shudder

uncontrollably.

Life watched as she closed her eyes,

tilted her head a bit to one side

and listened to the rising winds whisper to her

the story, once again, of how

this came to be…

and with her hair whipping wildly

she opened her eyes, knelt down and began

to mix the dirt and rock and biting things

that caused her to cringe…

and as she did

she tore pieces of her heart with dirt-stained fingers

and planted love relentlessly.

Life watched, as she did not waver

from her task even when it called the storms,

brought the lightning, thunder, hail and biting rain.

When others came to mock her, or call her

home to safety, she would tilt her head

just a bit,

listen to the sound of the winds

tell her story again,

and wave them away.

This would be her garden

her Holy Place

her Sacred Ground…

And when, in spite of all that came before,

the tiny shoots of tender green

broke free and tipped themselves with the first hint

of color in the face of the storm,

or perhaps because of it,

Life bowed to her

and chose to express itself,

as it does to this day,

in the beauty of the garden

she created from It.

 

Fire Breathing Dragon


I see her now, so small, Crayola in her hand…

Printing pain and joy too huge for her vocabulary.

Later then, with lead and ink she scrawled

outside the boundaries of what she should have known,

and later still, her little blue plastic typewriter

tapped quietly as her unacceptable exuberance lit the page,

or her unexpressed sorrows bled through the keys.

She recognized the looks, and heard beneath the questions,

felt the discomfort she caused and only understood

that her voice was too big for her body to hold

and too much for others to want to hear.

Her friends would tell her when she shared how beautiful

her words, but where is this pain? What is this song?

This is not how we know you.

Then came the Silence.

Decades of coloring inside the lines.

I see her now, and she is different.

She walks in and out of view, quietly making her way

as the light and shadows illuminate and hide her face

from those who wonder.

She makes her way without second glance, or hesitation,

around those she allowed to mark her, and she is unafraid.

She knows how to be alone, how to fall and rise, how to burn.

So she takes her seat, puts fingertips to keyboard

and sets the dragon free to breathe fire

one more time.

 

 

 

The Other Side of Judgement


I posted a short piece a few days ago that sparked several conversations with a few more, I’m sure now, to follow. Such is the nature of the surprise epiphany. Following my silent, and mostly unnoticed, anxiety at being invited down (a childhood) memory lane, came the realization that my view of who I am was somewhat skewed by my relentless and unforgiving self-judgement.

Having a deep aversion to discussing the growing years didn’t keep me from enjoying the memories my family shared. My parent’s sharing their memory of their first kiss brought tears to my eyes. They love each other with a commitment that humbles me. I made everyone laugh when I said I enjoyed the wedding, since I was born 7 months later (a little too big at 9lbs to qualify as a preemie).

We finally put it together that my middle brother was dragged to our front door by a teenage neighbor boy demanding my dad punish him for throwing rocks at him and his buddy. The same teenage boy I had just slapped the fire out of for trying to drag me inside to show me his etchings. I was eight, and my brother was six years old. My dad, knowing none of this, pulled my brother inside and told the guy to take a hike.

My brother had my back. My dad had his.

We learned the timeline of my baby brother getting beat up by bully and pals, my middle brother beating him up (and afterwards apologizing for the pain inflicted), the bully’s older brother on the hunt for mine, and my subsequent dating of the older brother which resulted in amnesty. We had each other covered without discussion.

We agreed unanimously that our baby brother’s escapades were merely training for his service to our country as a Delta Force operator and left it at that.  I remember him gifting me with several things he liberated from someone else, at which time I would quietly have them returned, having no knowledge (of course) how they arrived on my property.

I consider myself a facilitator of unravelling unfortunate events.

The sister-in-law who posed the “favorite memory” question, was horrified when she read what I wrote. Being one of the most loving and sensitive people I know, she was appalled that she could have caused me distress from such a harmless suggestion. After her text of apology, I had to call her immediately to thank her for making me see what I had missed my whole life.

I would never judge my son the way I’ve judged the child I was.

Empowered to experience the invisible link of family, I was able to see past my spawn of satan behavior to the good memories that were woven through that time. I remember the first poem I wrote for my mom. I know she still has it. I remember singing with my dad when we did the dishes together (maybe he was making sure I didn’t hide them under my bed again). I remember my middle brother following JB and I everywhere and being so pissed about it, and then beating up anyone who picked on him for doing so, because that was my job. I remember the Christmas I got a Cinderella watch and a Malibu Skipper. I was unusually good that year?

I remember putting my baby brother in my doll stroller because he was my baby.

My sister’s inadvertent pulling of my emotional trigger blew away the long-time prison where I’d locked away “little me”. I admire that little shit now, even as I bow to the parents who didn’t leave her on someone else’s doorstep.

I don’t have enough lifetimes to repay my family for remaining always beside me.

I owe my sister at least one Tito’s and cranberry. She’s a keeper.