I have not read the book Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. I am not even certain how I found the Facebook Group Women Who Run with the Wolves to join. However, scrolling down the Facebook page yesterday, this post caught my eye and then blew my mind as it describes my love affair with a woman's laugh.
Then it went on to described a sacred type of friendship I have only found since shortly before turning 40, almost four years ago. Before then, everything & every emotion was held back, held in and held tight for fear of someone really seeing me. I was so scared to reveal who I was.
Then I bumped into women who by choice or stumble, let me really see them.
The following is the post that caught my eye on Facebook:
Women Who Run With the Wolves Facebook Group
Facebook Post by Ariel Gill
March 15 at 7:39am
Chapter 11 – Heat: Retrieving a Sacred Sexuality
In this chapter, Estes tells us “A woman’s heat is not a state of sexual arousal but a state of intense sensory awareness that includes, but is not limited to, her sexuality”.
“In laughter, a woman breathes fully, and when she does, she may begin to feel unsanctioned feelings. And what could these feelings be? Well, they turn out not to be feelings so much as relief and remedies for feelings, often causing the release of stopped-up tears or the reclamation of forgotten memories, or the bursting of chains on the sensual personality.”
Have you ever laughed so hard you cried? Laughed so hard that feelings were released that were totally unrelated to the silly story or event?
“I have always thought of the kaffeeklatsch was a remnant of ancient women’s ritual of being together, a ritual, like the old one, of belly talk, women talking from the guts, telling the truth, laughing themselves silly, feeling enlivened, going home again, everything better.”
Are you part of a group of women who meet together to belly talk, to tell the truth, and laugh themselves silly? How does this enliven you? If you do not have such a group, could you imagine being part of one? How could you make this happen?
“In your self-healing trove, put small ‘dirt stories,’ Baubo stories. This diminutive form of story is powerful medicine.”
Do you have a cache of dirt stories? Will you share one here?
“A ‘sexual’ laugh seems to reach both far and deep into the psyche, shaking all manner of things loose, playing upon our bone and making a delightful feeling course through the body. It is a form of wildish pleasure that belongs in every woman’s psychic repertoire.”
Are you able to laugh without restraint about sexual stories, or do you hold back, hold in, hold tight? What might happen if you let yourself go?
I take for granted that every woman has a tribe of women to share with, to listen with, to hold space for them and to remind them they are not alone. I am learning that so many women wander through their lives alone and detached, relying on their spouse and children to fill them up emotionally and wondering why they are so empty and void.
"In laughter, a woman breathes fully, and when she does, she may begin to feel unsanctioned feelings." ~Clarissa Pinkola Estés
I am a shallow breather, sometime breath holder and a carrier of the weight of the world on my shoulders type of gal. When I am with my women, I both laugh and relax into full breath. Being able to share my truths, even the non-tidy, non-pretty truths allows me to set the weights down and just be me for a bit.
My tribe of wild women are people I can share any story with, express any shame to, and let myself go around. While we are each living different stories, there is an acceptance of common ground, which is trust. I trust them and they trust me. Difficult words are spoken when called for and while they are not always initially accepted as truth, each word is heard. These women sit with me while I sort out & feel my unsanctioned feelings.
While I wish I had this type of friendship earlier in my life, I am so grateful that I have them now. My heart breaks for women still plowing forward through life without real women friends because I remember how lonely my world felt before I connected to these women. I had a spouse, children, and a job, but I felt unseen and alone.
Until recently, I had no idea how crucial real belly laughing was to my physical and mental health. When I am with the girls laughing, I really do feel energy "shaking all manner of things loose, playing upon our bone and making a delightful feeling course through the body."
I have many, many things that need to be shaken loose from the dark recesses of my soul.
There is never a moment in my life now, when I alone and unseen. In the moments of fear or anger, I have no problem putting out a request for time from these women. Sometimes all we can arrange is texts back and forth. I feel safe sending my raw feelings out to them. I know and can feel the strength and love they send me via text.
When I am gathered with the women in my life and something shakes loose and falls down beside me, I do not feel the panic to rush to pick it up and hide it before anyone sees it. It has been truly liberating to let it sit there for all to see and then to feel arms wrap around me and hear a snort and a giggle and the throaty cackle rising up to voice the words, "OMFG I have one of those too!"
These are the women I will share the remainder of my life with, the real, the bad and the absolutely fabulous!
If you missed my earlier post on being a laugh collector, here is a link to it. And Then You Laughed.
I fell in love with Pigeon Pose over a decade ago when I first took up running.
After a couple of months running, I started getting pain in my left knee when I ran. My running was really more of a trot (still is) than running. I soon learned I had weak inner thigh muscles and a tight IT band that was pulling my knees and causing my pain.
The orthopedic doctor I saw told me to "stop running" and that I have arthritis in my knees. I knew I couldn't stop running because I was solo weekday parenting two small children and home schooling them. My marriage was dying a slow painful death. I needed running like I needed to breathe.
I just had to find a way to ease the pain caused by my running so that I could continue to enjoy this stress reliever. Researching my symptoms online lead me back to my yoga practice, which had sat unused on a shelf since my final trimesters of both pregnancies when every muscle was sore and stressed.
At first, due to my injury, this pose hurt a lot. I had to put towels under my hips & knees to ease into it. Then slowly as I healed and worked out the knots with a foam roller, I eased into this pose and it felt like heaven. It is called a runners pose, but I truly believe it should be called a mother's pose.
So much strength and tightening and stress is housed in a women's hips. What we lack in upper body strength, we make up for in moving mountains or book shelves with our core and hips.
Getting out of the house and running errands seem unthinkable in the first few days after bringing your second baby home, but very soon you master the toddler on one hip and an infant car seat on the other hip. Within weeks you back out in the world hauling two small people around with ease. We were made for this work, but most of us don't learn the self care we need to protect the muscles that wrap from our backs down and around our knees.
If you have carried babies, or wounded, or care for those unable to care for themselves, pigeon pose needs to become part of your day. In time, it feels like sinking into a warm bath at the end of a hard day.
Grab a towel or two to put where ever you feel tightness when you start this pose. The idea is to relax into this pose and into the ground.
This pose can be an entire nights yoga sequence.
Get quiet. Sit down and move into the pose, one leg at a time. Once seated my thoughts stay centered on trying to keep both of my sit bones on the ground and level. I can sit here all night. Until I could relax my upper body onto my thigh, I would put a pillow under my chest and head and relax there. It feels as good as Child's Pose.
If this is all you ever do, enjoy the feel of your hips opening. Your back and knees will thank you over the coming months.
There are several variations to move into after the initial pose. Each one as beautiful to the body and spirit as the beginner pose.
This is my go to pose as a mother, a runner, a desk sitter and an aging weekend warrior.
This is a pose for those of us who are aging and not as agile as we will need to be with the adventurous lives we lead.
Pigeon Pose Yoga Journal
Happy Rump Day my friends!
I saw this image on Pinterest and it made me smile from ear to ear.
For as much work as baby humans or animals are, they create some of the sweetest and silliest moments.
That is what I look like when I do Downward Dog after a long day at work.
The last time my whole world was in flux, I clung dearly to running (slow forward stumbling), hiking, yoga and whiskey while in the bathtub at night after I put the wee folk to sleep. For the past 9 months I have felt like I have been sucked into a whirling, ravaging twister that randomly spits me down to the ground and just as I get my footing snatches me back into the storm.
To tend to the wounds and bruises, I need to focus on my self care. I mentioned that I am participating in Deepak & Oprah's 21 Day Success Meditation on-line, 20 minutes start to finish on-line via my cell phone. I am also bringing yoga back into my life which to my mind feels like an additional half hour of mediation.
I need to find the time to run twice a week to get my weight back down and to provide my head with additional head space time. And I have fallen back in love with hiking and have a wonderful 5 mile loop that is challenging enough to make it cardio with the ease of a leisurely stroll in open space with the sun on my face and wind teasing my hair across my nose.
I gave up the whiskey a couple of years ago because I gave up the soda. Now red wine is the bathtub drink of choice.
In the coming days, I will be adding a yoga page to my website so you can see what my go to poses or sequences are. I am a big fan of Yoga Journal online for free video's. You can choose by the time you have allotted for your day "length" or "how to's" by pose. They also have a listing A - Z for poses!
There was a time when I was pursuing taking my yoga practice to becoming a teacher. I felt strong, light, free and ready to guide. Now I am a tight bundle of twitching nerves, knotted muscles, doubt and heaviness.
Spring is almost here, which means I have made it through another difficult long winter in my life. I am ready to walk barefoot in the grass, to lay on cool red rocks and to soak up some sun.
Meditating, walking and yoga will guide me out of this storms path and allow me to reconnect with myself. I know when I can quiet the noise around me, I will feel more at ease and trust what my body is telling me.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!!
I love smart phones! My daughter asked me today on the way to school why people pinch people who aren't wearing green today? I did not know the answer and was driving so I handed her my phone so she could look it up.
This is what she found: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/38699/20150314/the-history-of-st-patricks-day-is-not-as-fun-as-you-think.htm
She told me that it is thought that the Leprechauns could not see you if you wore green and they would pinch anyone they could see. She also read that the pinch is supposed to give you some "green" to help you become invisible to the mean ole Leprechauns. We discussed that you would need to start pinching people several days in advance for the bruise to get that lovely greenish hue by St. Patty's Day.
We also discussed how much trouble one could get into in school for pinching others.
After dropping them off at school I listened to Day 2 of Deepak Chopra and Oprah's 21 Day Success Meditation while driving down to work. I am determined to stick to this 21 day program. I didn't make it past day 5 on the last go round. So far I am really digging the quick bites of content on this "success" track.
Pinching people to make bruises does not flow with the "centering thought" for today's mediation which is "I am here to bring more love into the world."
If you are asking yourself how am I meditating and driving, the answer is that I am not closing my eyes during the 15 minutes. I am using the time to focus on lowering my breath from my chest down to my belly. I am repeating the Mantra silently in my head when I find myself following my thoughts.
Today's Sanskrit Mantra is Aham Prema which means "I am love."
So my drive down the mountain was very meditative for the first 8 minutes.
Then my car dinged and the coolant low light came on and kept flashing at me. Aham Prema, aham prema, aham prema. Then my mind drifted to how pleased I am that I have dinner in the crock pot already. Oh, and how good it is going to smell when I get home tonight. Then to how good the corn beef if going to taste and how happy I am that I purchased two packs so I can eat my fill. Crap, I am thinking again. Aham Prema, aham prema, aham prema. Then I noticed my right foot is still kinda not feeling normal and I started stretching my toes since I have on flip flops. My mind wandered into the recesses of images trying to mentally locate a pretty pair of sensible shoes I could purchase to wear for work. Damn, I am thinking again. Aham Prema, aham prema, aham prema. Feel my belly expand like a balloon, exhale my breathe loudly out of my mouth. Then I saw a fox cross the road. I love foxes and coyotes. I don't get to see them often now that I don't travel farther into the mountains everyday, so it is a very special occasion when they cross my path. I can't remember what it means when you see a fox. Crap & damn, taking in a bigger breath and exhaling it super loud so as to snap my brain back into meditation. Aham prema, aham prema, aham prema.
Then I hear the ding of Deepak's sweet chime that sounds when the meditation is over, and I smile. I did it!
I made it through my second day of meditation!
My Angel Card today was Daydream.
"The Angels sent you this card because they want you to be open & receptive to new ideas.
Daydream to receive inspiration and wonderful ideas.
Allow yourself to dream big.
Give yourself permission to relax and let go."
We are packing up the truck to head down to Jason's parent's home tonight. His Dad has a slide projector and has agreed to let me show him my Dad's slides of Vietnam and he will show us his. I also have two trays of family photos to view.
It is super sweet of them to let us come down for a little vacation. I have heard that Jason's Mom was wiped out and had to take a quick nap after making cookies for the horde of children we are invading her home with.
As crazy at it is to pack up the six of us for an one overnight stay, it will be a really nice break from reality~much needed!
As soon as we get everyone settled in the truck, I will let go and relax.
Miracles Now by Gabrielle Bernstein, #24 Compare No More, page 54, 55
"Beneath the desire to compare is a deep rooted sense we are not enough."
"Set yourself free from the comparison cycle and be at peace with who you are."
I am enough. You my friend are enough.
I hope you celebrate your "enoughness" with pie! You deserve a pie.
Today is Pie Day 3.14.15! I have asked the Angels to bring me a apple pie!!
If it manifest, I will post a photo!!
Another message from my Angels to stop and listen. They sent me a message through Iyanla Vanzant today on Facebook. They are very persistent today.
Today my Angel Card was Listen.
"You've received this card because the Angels wish to get their message through to you.
They ask that you talk less and listen more.
Give your worries over to the Angels and trust that they've heard your prayer. If it seems like they're not answering your prayer it's probably because you are not listening.
Avoid noisy environments. Turn off the tv and radio. Be still and listen."
I know I am not alone in how difficult it is to take or create the time for self care, let alone just for listening.
I am going to admit a painful truth that I don't like to really acknowledge, I don't like to listen because I would rather pretend I don't know what to do. My guts and my skin react in very clear ways when I choose to ignore my body and my internal compass. I would rather allow myself to believe that I can't hear my Angels or my own inner voice. I keep so busy and so distracted so that I can ignore having to make decisions. Then I find that I can't sleep, my head hurting, my stomach aching, my scalp, my back and my stomach and my legs itching like crazy. I am such a pro at avoidance that I just keep scratching and popping ibuprofen to stop the pain until my body quits.
I am actively working on surrender and listening. Listening to my body and surrendering to staying in this moment, not worrying about the ramifications to infinity. I hear the Serenity Prayer in my head at least once a day.
While it isn't pretty to admit, I know I am not alone. I worry and stress and ignore and keep moving forward rather than stop and make the course corrections I know are needed. My friends know this to be true of me and they call me on this regularly.
Today I will take some time to be quiet and just breathe and see what comes into my head.
Today I will not stress myself out in Future Tripping Land. I will steer clear of the What If Forrest.
I will listen and just breathe it all in.
That is the only request the Angels have made of me today.
Happy Rump Day!!
I hope you have a blessed Wednesday. If like me you have already gotten side tracked from your goals, use today to make the course correction. I love that everyday I have the opportunity to start again.
Time to sit still and see if I am where I want to be.
I hope you allow yourself a moment or two to breathe and affirm that you are happy where you are going.
I never thought of myself as the type of person who would want to have a dead body in my dining room.
Like you I have laughed at the slap stick scenes in movies where Great Aunt So-in-so's cremains get knocked over or thrown out or as the family scatters the cremains off a mountain, the wind blows the wrong direction and they all end up inhaling and covered in their dead love one.
When the funeral home asked if I wanted to separate his cremains into more than one package, my initial answer was "no way, but as I exhaled, I knew that my sister and I would want to have our own small ceremony with our children one day when we can all get together.
On my way home from the funeral last month, I traveled with my dad through the Atlanta airport security and when asked what was in the box as they swiped it for explosives or gun powder, I proudly answered, "That is my father."
Jason states that I said this with the tone and inflection of Anakin Skywalker, aka Darth Vader, telling Luke that he was his "faaather." I think this has all been exaggerated as I am not a dramatic person. I was just irritated that we had to play this game. They knew what was inside the damn box. It clearly states it on the top of the damn box.
I brought my Dad home and found that the shelves that have sat empty for two years were the perfect place to put my Dad and his trains. They sit right above the sand I brought home from our beach stay in California and directly below animal bones my kids and I have rescued from drainage areas and hikes up at our old house in the mountains.
Again, never in a million years would I have thought myself the type to want to keep a dead person's burnt bits or as my Mamaw calls them the "cooked person", in my home, but I quickly have found a sweet comfort having him up on that shelf.
Jason said to the other night, "You finally have your dad where you have always longed for him to be, home with you."
He was right, I have yearned for my dad for decades. He was absent as many military parents are, but unfortunately, he was also absent even when he was home. I have waited for 30 some years to have my dad be home and to not cause trouble or stress me out with worry. I have an answered prayer in my home now. No more drama, fear or worry. My dad is now home, able to watch my children grow, and available for me to talk to in the middle of the night when I wake up worried and scared.
I don't have to visit a grave far off in another state, he is here in my dining room, which is an extension of my family room. He will bet with us at every meal we share at our table. He will watch over the St. Patty's Day meal and green drinks. He will watch over the Easter Egg dying. He is facing out my bay window where he will see the trees come back to life and he has the best view of the moon windows at the top of bay window area. From his location, you can watch the full moons slowly move from left to right in the wee hours of the morning. He will be here for the birthday parties that the summer bring. And he will be here when we put our Christmas tree up and when Santa arrives.
I hadn't realized how much having that black box would mean to me.
The shelf my dad is on is right behind our dinner table. I truly like having my dad be with us every night as we sit down to our family dinner. We had joked that maybe we would put a photo of him on the front of the box, but I really don't want to see his creepy face staring at me, nor do I want to freak the kids out. It is enough that his hat is on the box. The simple black box is plenty.
We will see how the year plays out for me. If I am blessed to be able to afford to take my kids on a vacation with my sister and her family, we will create a ceremony for our children to be a part of to say good-bye to man they never really knew, but who none the less was their Grandfather. They will know him through our stories and photos from years gone by. What a precious gift we have been given that they didn't have to see what he became. My sister and I have the blessing to share only the parts of our childhood when he was our "Daddy".
I am already pretty certain, I will keep a good portion of him in the black box to stay with me for always.
It is good to have my Dad home.
I love the feeling of leaning deep into the curves while driving in the mountains, the three seconds of gliding where you whisper the quick and silent prayer with your release of breath, "please let the tires stick to the road" and "please don't let there be a deer around this corner."
I so love to drive. It always has been a wonderful mental escape for me. A long car ride and good music have healed many a broken heart and calmed me down enough to accept and face my problems. Many difficult decisions have been made with the windows down and my hair whipping around my face and tears streaming down my cheeks.
I am wishing the snow would melt away and that the roads would dry up so I could blast the music, sing at the top of my lungs and drive with the windows down and escape for a pressure for a little while.
If the roads were dry, I would probably quit my job today, pack an overnight bag and drive as far as my mostly full gas tank would get me. Not sure where I would go, but I am certain that it is not the destination I am longing for, just the journey.
Just another long ass day of non-sense and bullshit and explaining reality to people who don't want to hear me.
2B or not 2B, that is the age old question.
My answer is 2B.
I choose to be all that I can, although I am still figuring out what all I have to offer. I choose to keep slogging through the thick muck that threatens to suck the shoes off my feet. I choose to take Dory's advice and just keep swimming and when when my arms get tired I will flip over and float for a bit and soak up the sunshine on my face.
I choose to allow myself to be merely human and will pack up away the superwoman martyr cape and let the world know the me that I have hidden for fear of not being enough. I choose to let my children see how hard the world truly is for most of us so that they don't grow up thinking when you hit a wall that you just give up. I don't want to scare them, but life is full of walls and struggle. Everyone gets walls and struggle, not everyone gives in and gives up.
I choose to be present in as many moments as I possibly can, even if this requires sticky notes, alarms to remind me to exhale and belly breathe, and scheduled down time where I just walk and think.
I choose to be outside more. I choose to take my kids with me outside. I choose to get more fresh air in my lungs, more sun on my skin and more wind blowing through the leaves in my ears.
I choose to work hard and take pride in what I do.
I choose to keep striving for financial independence or as I like to think of it as being able to pay all of my bills and set a tiny bit aside for birthdays, holidays and emergencies.
I choose to wear my heart on my sleeve and keep sharing my heart even when it gets handed back to me in pieces.
I choose to put myself first, without explanation, without meanness, without guilt, so that my reservoirs are full when others need me. This is a very difficult choice for me. It requires more courage and guts than I currently carry with me. This is a muscle I need to work and train daily.
I choose to be wordy, emotional and full and bursting with expression.
I choose to wear ninja pants and flip flops every day that I can because I feel fabulous and free and ready to kung fu the fuck out of the bad guys. These pants also make me feel ready to foxtrot at a moments notice.
I choose to be kind to my body. This body created and nurtured and birthed two healthy children and that was one of the coolest things this body has ever done. Then it fed them for the first years of their life. This body has danced me gracefully around the a decent portion of the USA and Italy up to the Netherlands. These feet and knees which scream at me to start doing the strengthening exercise I was given a decade ago so that I can continue to walk up the sides of 14,000 foot mountains so I can stand at the top of the world and feel like a National Geographic Explorer, again & again & again.
I choose to forgive those I feel have hurt me and in doing so, I release the anger, hurt, hate, and poison from my body.
I choose to forgive myself for those I have hurt. I will continue to acknowledge and sit with these feelings and then release the shame, fear, and guilt.
I choose to be a forever learner and as I learn better, to do better.
I choose to be full of love and joy. I choose to share that love and joy with everyone I meet.
I choose to be physically strong again, which means committing to lifting heavy weights to build the muscle that I will need to live the active life I choose for the remaining decades of my time on this earth. I choose to create the body that will make me a capable grandma in the years to come.
I choose to be an example of self care and self love.
I choose to be a woman who takes care of herself mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually and in doing so, be a strong shoulder for those I love and a mentor for those who are just starting their journey to freedom and independence.
I choose to be, to matter, to count, to be seen, to be heard, to be worthy, to speak my truth, to teach by example and to thrive.
Happy Rump Day!!
Today's Angel Card is Shower of Abundance
The message was that Abundance can take many forms including more time (2 hour snow delay), opportunities, or clear ideas!
I gladly accept Abundance in my life!
"He hadn't loved me well in the end, but he'd loved me well when it mattered." ~Cheryl Strayed, Wild
I am trying to let this sum up my feelings regarding my relationship with my dad. It is the kindest way for me feel both the love and the anger about the shitty hand I have been dealt.
I have had so much going through my head this weekend and I have done my best to capture it in bits & pieces on a post it note program on my phone, on draft blog pages, and in my journal in hopes of turning into a coherent thought on my dad's death, but I have been quite able to really dive into all of it. Memories and feelings bump up against me all day long. I know this is part of the grief process, but it isn't quite what I expected it to be. It feels nothing like what I know of grief. Most of the grief I have experienced has been of romantic love or some sort. I have always felt I would have the time to make amends to the people I have hurt and that those who have hurt me would eventually find the words to answer the "why's".
Death is not like that. It is just done. I can keep searching for meaning and something that will make it all make sense. My grieving is stuck in the find the good in this story. I can dig through his stuff and replay videos and reread my words to him, but I will never get to hear him explain why he couldn't get his shit together and be a man not slowly drinking himself to death.
My girlfriend Theresa sent me this very timely quote:
“When we’re anxious, disconnected, vulnerable, alone, and feeling helpless, the booze and food and work and endless hours online feel like comfort, but in reality they’re only casting their long shadows over our lives.” ― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly
Instead of writing or consciously thinking about this grief thing, I have been escaping. I am "anxious, disconnected and vulnerable" and have been comforting myself with "booze and food and work" and Pinterest. I have been planning adventures and creating lists of gear I need for these travels on Pinterest. I have created a "Wild" folder and adding to my "Outdoor Fun" folder. When I have exhausted distraction, then I just want to go to sleep and for my brain to stop.
While the escaping hasn't been bad for me, I left my emotionless marriage so I could feel every up and down and I don't want to get stuck in this emotional robot mode and yet, I am avoiding feeling right now. As a normally big feeler, I know I am avoiding feeling one more thing. I can tell I am in a place of big emotions that haven't been expressed yet. I can feel the storm brewing inside me.
I have read more this week than I have since right before my divorce at the end of summer 2010. Before my divorce, it was unusual for me not to read two or three books a week. I was a stay at home mom with young children who went to bed by 8 p.m. My husband traveled Monday through Friday, so I had a lot of time each evening to myself. I haven't had the attention span to read even a book a month since then. I haven't had the time alone since then either.
I am just now understanding how much I need time to myself. Quiet time. Large amounts of alone time.
In the past 7 days I have read three books.
Reading, like walking or hiking allows my brain to focus and all of the side worry and problems stop. I get tunnel vision when I read. Time and space outside of my book stop for me. I need to start walking again so my mind can process some of this before it explodes.
On the way home last week at the airport, I picked up the book Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. I went to the movie theater twice to watch this movie and I am not a movie theater type of gal. I love when I can purchase a book. It is a luxury I no longer take for granted. I used to spend hours at the bookstore reading and searching and picking two or three paperbacks without thinking. Then, much like my love of wine and peach whiskey, I started to tally up what I was spending on pleasures and had to look for ways to cut corner. Now most of my books come from the library, where I amass fines on a regular basis due to how long it takes me to read a single book at this point in my life. My wine now comes from a box and I sip my peach whiskey a little slower. Still today, when I read a book that really reaches my soul, I have to purchase it. I have fallen in love with buying my books "used" off Amazon.com so I don't feel bad marking them.
I am a highlighter, a corner folder, an under-liner and white space note taker. It is silly habit, but when my kids one day open my books, they will see the words, images and quotes that spoke to my heart. They won't have to read an entire book to get a feel for why I hung onto it and kept it by my bedside.
Having recently buried my dad and spent hours sorting through his personal belongings, I came home with a sense that every item in my house should matter or I need to throw it out (donate it). I have felt the pressing down on my head each day as I look at all that I have accumulated and continue to carry in this world with me. I don't want people to wonder why I was holding onto something, some slip of paper, photos of people my children won't recognize, or trinkets I have tucked away into my collection of hat boxes. I want to use and love & document what I have and gift the rest to Goodwill.
After the divorce it was the coolest thing when my bookshelves only housed my books, not my exes. I was so excited when guest would stop at my bookshelf, that they were seeing only me. I hope that when my children have to sort through my stuff, that they will have seen me read the books on those shelves and hopefully they will have picked a few off and read them as well.
My dad had whittled his library down, but it wasn't the size, but what he kept that confused me. It isn't what I would have expected. It just all seemed so random. Much to my dismay, he had stopped reading as he aged. Everything on his book shelf was old, as old as me. He had dozens of these small blue linen covered three ring binders which his notes or thoughts from each of the books of the bible. I opened them hoping they might have been sermons he had written, but they were only notes. He had an encyclopedia set that I feel I had read every page of every big book in my summer in the middle of no where. I know encyclopedias cost a small fortune back in the day, but I couldn't summon up any interest to pay to ship them back to my home. He had a ton of cookbooks, and while I know he loved to cook, I have no memory of his using or recommending any of the books. Although through stories I have told, my children remember him cooking a duck for us in Germany.
I am pretty sure they have images of a big goose with the neck still attached that he bought off a cobblestone side street from a butcher with a big hearty laugh, but it really just looked like a big chicken. I don't begrudge them the creativity they have filled in the holes with. That is what I have been doing, searching for treasures to fill in the holes I have in my memory and heart. I have wonderful memories (and found the film negatives to prove it happened) of my Great Grandfather roasting a whole pig in a pit he dug at the lake house one family reunion. I would love to recreate that with my children someday!
Picking through my dad's belongings was really weird, and that isn't even descriptive enough to describe what it feels like to walk through someone's life. It is awful and embarrassing and interesting and humorous and degrading rifling through someone's drawers and tucked away boxes of trinkets and trash. My dad's place was gross and dirty and that was after my family did a clean up of the worst of the nasty smelling trash. I suspect however, that regardless of the cleanliness state, digging through someone else's stuff always feels dirty.
I try and imagine what it would be like to have someone enter my home without me, rummage through my stuff and create an image of who I am.
I don't know why I want someone to be able to do this, other than in creating a home where this is possible, I am figuring out who I am.
"I never got to be in the driver's seat of my own life," she'd wept to me once, in the days after she learned she was going to die. "I always did what someone else wanted me to do. I've always been someone's daughter or mother or wife. I've never just been me."~Bobbie, Cheryl's Mom from the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Me too Bobbie.
I was too scared when I was young. Then I was married and in the serious business of raising babies. Now I am looking forward down my path and can see my last little birdie flying away on her strong little wings far too soon.
I have been counting on tomorrows, that are not guaranteed to me.
I think so many of us hold out, planning and waiting for that time when our life becomes our own again. I am excited about it because unlike my life prior to having babies, I know what I enjoy. I know where I want to go. I have a list of things I want to try.
While watching the movie Wild, my heart broke for Bobbie when she realized she would not get to be just her.
I worry I won't be gifted time to be just me. I hear the clock ticking. There is not a moment to waste, placating and pacifying those I love. That is why I am pushing so hard right now to release the weight and burden and forgive and let go. That is why I feel edgy and anxious. I want to be present, now. For the first time in my life, I feel like I am ready to just be me. I don't want to wait until my children grow up. I don't want to wait. I want to stretch my legs in this fabulous feeling of me. I want them to know me, as me. I want to be me now.
I want to make me happy now. I want to take care of my needs and desires. I want to choose what makes me happy without having to take into account anyone else. I want to live the best & boldest life I can, however it is baby steps for me. I am still inching my toes forward to the edge. I am still curling my toes over the edge. I like to call my procrastination, savoring.
noun (pl) -ries
1.the path described by an object moving in air or space under the influence of such forces as thrust, wind resistance, and gravity, esp the curved path of a projectile
2.(geometry) a curve that cuts a family of curves or surfaces at a constant angle
Because of the thrust & the wind & that damn gravity, my current trajectory around the planet grief has me circling round and round my past. This is where I will orbit for a while, but I know that at some point I will slingshot to the next planet in the healing process.
Some days, I become aware that I am not at all present and on auto-pilot pleasing others and choosing what is easy instead of what I want. In the wanting to be "just me," the most important thing I strive for each day is trying to stay present and grateful.
Each moment I am able to stay present and be quiet allows me to recognize when I am actually being me and how good and right that feels.
There are moments when you catch a glimpse of yourself in someone else's eyes. It is grounding when you do. What I saw in this woman's eye was to be grateful, because you have so much more than you know.
Lana brought a girlfriend home after school for a stay the night. A brunette image of Lana, Smokey night time eyes, blue streaks in her hair & some sort of punk or rock Joan Jett type of thing going on. They drove me crazy doing girl things, nail polish on, nail polish removed, more nail polish, loud giggles and non stop eating.
They were still awake at 5 am when they woke me up. I was pissed. I am not a good waker upper.
I got out of bed in an angry what the fuck blur and I think I stood in Lana's door looking at her trying to figure out why there awake. I faintly remember barking at them to go to sleep, NOW!
As always, morning came too soon.
Anyhow, I have been on a rant lately about how I can't figure out how most people survive month to month. I have been in a poor me, I can't figure life out head space. I don't make enough to cover all of my bills. This is a huge deal in my head. I live very simply and what I make doesn't stretch to cover what I need to pay.
The gap between the top end you can earn and still get free healthcare and maybe a couple hundred in food stamps is no where near enough to take care of a family. Getting a raise of a hundred dollars a month is enough end receiving benefits. $100 a month can cost a family $450 in health care & $400 in food.
I have heard this debate for years, but couldn't grasp how someone would choose to not strive for better. But doing a little better cost our top end, but still tragically poor families the assistance they need. Even a $5000 a year raise isn't enough to offset what they loose. Most would be lucky to break even.
To make it financially, most of us will have to be part of a two income household. This fact of life pisses me off. I was very spoiled for two years when my ex-husband paid his alimony. Alimony plus what I was earning was good. Bills paid & a little sat aside for birthdays and Christmas. I had a plan that was going to get me pretty damn close to independence. I had a plan but, life, well she is a fickle beast. Things have not gone financially as I had planned.
I am hoping that as the courts take a new look at mine and my ex's financials that I will be given a small token of child support. But I am very aware that there is a high chance that I will continue to receive nothing.
So here I am all full of venom about the inequity of starting over and women not being seen as needing to make a fair wage when Lana's friends mom walks in my door.
I know the look on her face as she tells me she loves my home.
I remember the first time I walked in. I knew it was mine. I felt it down to my toes. This is where I would raise my children and create my new life. I smile and tell her I love it too. She starts telling me she is up in mountains where there is very little affordable housing. She works for Goodwill making $8 hour. She is looking for work, but like me has come to believe it is all in who you know. The good jobs never make it to the employment section.
We briefly share our shit. I told her I don't own this house, just renting. She is looking at it like I do every day when I come home. I smile and feel like the most blessed mom on earth. I sit in the silence of living in a single family home. The gentleman who lives in the apartment above me is quiet as a mouse. I didn't have the heart to mention the back yard and my kids running through and around the house all summer long in sheer freedom. She is walking around & looking with big sweet eyes. She tells me she hopes to move down here. I told her I couldn't find any work up there in the mountains. She asks if I used to live up in the huge house in the mountains. I tell her yes, but it is all his now.
In her eyes I can see that she is looking at what I have and hoping she will make it to this place. Me, well I am just trying to hang on to it as long as I can.
As she is leaving she touches the big huge wood front door and says to me, "I sure hope you can keep it."
I whispered back, "me too."