Goldilocks is sated

We walk into relationships much like Goldilocks walked into that empty house…full of wonder, excitement, and curiosity.  I have had relationships that, much like the porridge, were too cold, and much like the chair, too soft, and much like the bed, too small.  There was not necessarily anything ‘wrong’ with any of them, but none of them were “just right.”  I have tried repeatedly and made great efforts in my past to make relationships just right, or at least right for me, even when I knew full well that the fit was not good, or the temperature was off…I tried to find someone who made me feel full, a relationship that made me feel, dare I write ?, sated.

I have tried in my adult life to fit round pegs into square boxes & purple circles into orange triangles.  I have tried to contort myself or modify my behavior to morph into something, someone, who would be a good fit for somebody else…and every time I failed, although as is my nature, I always felt I did my best.  I’ve tried to pretend I was okay with too cold a bowl of porridge and too soft a chair. After my last break up & disastrous attempt to be part of a ‘couple,’ I accepted the fact that perhaps I was simply not compatible with anyone, that I am or was, too set in my ways, too determined to have what I wanted and not terribly interested in having less…much like a spoiled child, if she can’t have what she wants and the way she wants it, she’d just as well have nothing at all.  I became convinced that contentment with another was unattainable, that I was not a good fit for anybody and nobody was ever going to be the right fit for me.  I remained though, as I always did after a break-up, hopeful…believing that my time might come and I could find a person with whom to share my life, and that happy medium & balance, of a fulfilling relationship but one where  I would not have to stray too far from who I was and what I wanted, or what I thought I was and wanted, that I would be “rescued” from a life of wanting…wishing…waiting…too cold, too soft, too small…

Last night, Thanksgiving Eve, I had a house full of family for a feast…to my left was the boy who loves my daughter and to my right was the boy who loves me, and across the table, my Dad, the best man I have ever known…the boy who loves my mom…all of us together sharing a meal, laughter and conversation, and being thankful, together.   I felt last night, surrounded by those I love, in a home I treasure,  that I had all I needed…What I want and do not have are just wants, not needs, and the list is small…I can count them on one hand.  I reminded myself that I have more than many and am thankful for it all.  I sat in that chair at the dining room table looking across the room, into a space that I love, that both my parents helped me to build, that is next door to my child and her children, and I felt like finally after so much time and so many tries, everything was just right…

Thank Full

During this month of Thanksgiving, many of my friends in cyber space are participating in an exercise of “30 Days of Thanks” and I am enjoying, every morning when I log on to the internet, reading their stories of their sadnesses and their joys,  but I am particularly enjoying that each day they are all forcing themselves to reflect on what is good in their lives and for what they are grateful.  It is so easy to go through the motions of life; the day in and day out and sameness of living and working and taking care of houses and children and parents and obligations, that we get consumed with our tasks and duties and don’t often stop to ponder any of the good in any of it.

I know some, and know of some, who have so much and don’t seem to appreciate any, and I know some and know of some who have so very little, and appreciate all of it.  I think it is so important to be thankful for all of the good, even if it is minimal, or to some, rather insignificant, because it could, due to weather or misfortune or accidents or bad choices or death, be gone in a wink.

It’s hard sometimes for sure to see your glass as half full when so many you know, or know about, have glasses that are running over.  It only takes a half hour at 6:30 with Brian Williams to be reminded that your glass, compared to much of the rest of the world, is in fact running over and that you even have a glass is a REALLY big deal.  We live in a world of tabloid magazines and reality television shows, that even if we don’t watch them or read them, we know about these people- their big lives are overflowing and examined; their big houses, their big engagement rings, their big weddings, their big parties, their big car collections, their big vacations, their big EVERYthings…that what we have can begin to feel so small…

It’s dark so early this time of the year I’ve started to watch more television than I usually do.  I’ve tried to watch some of what is “popular” and find I can’t handle more than a few minutes at a time…I could not even catch the Kardashian’s let alone keep up with them, I could if I was married BE a real housewife, but there was nothing REAL about any of the ones I saw, regardless of the states in which they lived, I could say Yes to the dress, but it would not be one that cost the same number of dollars that I spend in a year, or two, on my mortgage…I imagine if I were to start watching this kind of television regularly it would be too easy to compare my existence to one that is completely unattainable.

Instead I continue to choose to watch the news each night, and for a half hour I am reminded that I have so much to be thankful for, so much to be grateful for; there is so much that is terrible in this world, that a half hour of news makes even the most simple life seem positively fantastic, and usually the last news segment is one of those “feel good” stories where I learn about a “regular” person who does or did something extraordinary and ALWAYS for somebody else…I’m thankful for everything that is good in my life and I am thankful too for all of the things that have not been very good, as those experiences and upsets and hardships are part of the path that has gotten me this far.  I suppose in the realm of things I am most thankful that I have the good sense to be thankful, and for all of my friends in cyber space who do too, and who are making themselves reflect on all that is wonderful in their worlds, I am thankful to be in your company…even if we are never in the same room…

Naked Navigation

I had no full length mirror in my house when I was pregnant with my first and only child.  I still had a tanned tummy, smooth & round & magical to look down upon.   About 12 weeks or so before my daughter was born, at a doctor visit, when asked by the nurse how I felt, and I remarked that I felt terrific,  and how excited I was, so close to delivery, that still, not a single stretch mark on what was once a flat as a board and nearly perfect 18 year-old stomach, that I had only gained 5 pounds, that really things were just great!!!

…the nurse, a much older woman than I, with ridiculously fake red hair but with the kindest understanding eyes, touched me motherly on my shoulder, “oh sweetie, you have a road map of them. You just can’t see them. They’re under your belly button, but you are young & I still see your tan line from when you could wear a bikini, so you’ll be okay again, but those stretch marks will probably never go away.”   She surely had no idea the damage she did to my psyche that day, she could not have imagined the downward spiral she was about to send me on, she surely had no idea that it would push me into a zone of self loathing & hopelessness I never expected to feel, or that the ‘blues’ that followed would plunge me into emotional eating & depression that grew me by 53 pounds in those last 3 months of pregnancy…I went from being taught & tan and perhaps likely to be back in my skinny jeans with an infant at my six-week-check-up, to being an overweight sad case who would suffer body issues & roller coaster weight battles from those weeks forward…

I read a short article recently about reasons why it’s good to be naked, why it’s important not to be squeamish if you are full of defects, but rather to “see” that all of those flaws are part of the story your body tells; where you have been, what you have done, to look at your scars, imperfections, and beauty, and accept and love the tale your body reveals.  Reading the article made me think it should be called “Naked Navigation” and that we should all do it, at least once, and SEE ourselves with different eyes…

I’ve never gotten back to my pre-pregnancy body, but I have gotten back into my pre-pregnancy jeans.  I am not in them now, but I intend to be again.  This body gave birth to the biggest baby in the nursery that bitter, bleak, week in January 1986.  This body has knees that are so scarred, that had been ripped open and bandaged every summer from bicycle crashes from the time she learned to ride a bike without training wheels…and most recently this past summer, the very 1st time she got back on a bike after more than a decade of being pedal free. This body has bad vein valves in the left leg & perfectly operational pumping valves in the right leg, and calves that have been two different sizes ever since a skateboard came flying at her at 14 years-old and hit her left calf so hard that her Levi’s had to be cut off her leg below the knee.   This body has a scar, under her left arm, from a splinter, more like a stick from a ripped 2×4, because on a construction site at 4-years-old, she did not listen to her Dad who told her not to go upstairs, & she tumbled down those unfinished steps & had her first hospital surgery experience & anesthesia to remove said stick from her tiny little arm pit.  This body has scars from two skin cancer surgeries, and still believes the chemicals in sun screen do more damage to the body than what happens naturally from the sun, much to her daughter’s dismay.  This body has dimples in her shoulders; She’s never seen or known another, until after the birth of her 2nd granddaughter, who has one in her little shoulder and one in her little cheek, and was certain for much of her life those were the spots where her wings once were attached…and at times she still believes this to be true…This body had more than 600 stitches when it finally had the money for the breast reduction surgery she wanted since she was in eighth grade. This body was told the recovery time could be as much as 12 weeks, but she was painting a house one month and one week later.  This body has a scar on its left elbow, from a time when she went down the rickety basement steps in her 130 year-old cottage carrying a 50 pound bag of salt for the water softener tank, and slipped.  This body has six symbolic tattoos that she drew & designed herself for the ink artists to interpret, each done by a different studio and each with its own story.

This body has been smaller & also bigger than it is today, this gray and cold November morning…& by the way, a magical number day, 11-12-13, but perhaps at no other time in its life has this body ever felt so loved.  This body has a right thumb that has wiped away the tears of her baby, and a right index finger that has lifted up the chin on her grown daughter. This body has lips that have smooched freshly bathed babies & tenderly kissed boo-boos & whispered ‘goodnight’ to the kind of man she never thought she’d ever meet…but she did, and she loves him, and he loves her back, even with all of her flaws and all of her imperfections…

Tell me about when I was born…

46 years ago this very morning a 22-year-old wife suffered a rather rough and horrible labor and delivery experience resulting in the birth of a baby girl.  This girl child, before she was an hour old, was found to have no hip sockets; a birth defect most common in girls and interestingly enough, more frequently found in Native American cultures, whose Blackfoot Indian  DNA, while less than 1/4,  this baby girl shared…So the story goes that before this woman’s sister was delighted to find her 25th birthday present to be a baby girl given her name, and before this woman’s husband brought her a candy bar called a Baby Ruth, this girl child was immediately taken from this new mother and put into a full body brace and moved to intensive care.

The doctor who discovered this birth defect was sent a letter, and some photographs 15 years later from the mother, of a teenage girl on a stage in costumes dancing, a teenage girl doing a flying split on a basketball court, a teenage girl jumping and clapping with pom-poms on the sideline of a football field.  This mother wrote how thankful she was that the defect was discovered so early and that by the time the child was a year old, the body brace was removed, and her soft and mailable hip bones had been able to jam their way into her pelvis sufficiently to create enough of a curve in the bone that one could call it a “socket,” and that the girl child grew up into a teen who danced and cheered and laughed and lived and had no understanding really what her life could have been like, would have been like, had that doctor not discovered the problem as quickly, and acted as smartly, as he did.

So this morning, on the morning of my 46th year, I am thinking about the life I have lived, the life I am living, and all the things I still dream to do, and CAN do, and expressing my gratitude to the universe & the doctor, that I’ve not spent a life in pain, or in and out of the hospital in surgeries, or in a wheelchair, I believe that I was given a gift… This doctor, as cosmic clues in my world are very real, was the pediatrician on staff at the hospital the morning my own daughter was born.  When my child was just an hour old, before I was even taken to a recovery room, the doctor learned who I was, and came in and kissed my forehead and said, “your daughter’s hips are perfect, she’s perfect.”

Growing up, I liked to ask my mom to tell me about the day I was born.  I have heard the story many times.  My child, and now her children, also love to hear about the story of the days they were welcomed to the world.  This afternoon I am having a lunch date with three of my favorite women:  my Mother, my Aunt, and my Daughter.  We don’t always get along, we seldom agree on social issues, we all roll our eyes at each other at times, we are sometimes blissfully happy together and sometimes unbearably annoyed together, but we four women are connected by blood, and a story 46 years young…

More than words

There is something about turning the page in my wall calendars and ripping the old month off of my desk calendar that makes me feel so bold…Like I can do anything I set my mind to do.  It’s just a day, the first day of any month, but there is something in me, on the start of a new month that makes me believe all things are possible.  To be clear, I have in my adult life made some very bad decisions and choices and acted wrongly in a variety of ways…but, I have also made some wonderful decisions and fabulous choices and acted rightly more times than not…Today, on the first of the month, a raw, fall, windy, gusty, and gray day, I feel good about the next 30 days in front of me.  I feel in control.  I feel like I can make things happen.  I feel ready for action.

Driving home from work late yesterday afternoon, I was reminded why fall is my favorite time of year…the trees on my street are several shades of orange and when I looked to the west, the sunset made the sky a glorious shade of lilac.  Purple and orange are my two favorite colors, in that order, and silver is number three, just in case you care…anyway I digress.  I often jot down goals or thoughts in my journals or notebooks regarding changes I would like to make, in my life or with myself, or just ideas in general about decisions, but I seldom tell anybody what they are, as my fear of failure is strong.  I used to keep journals and spiral notebooks and pencils always in my purse or vehicle at all times because when a thought comes into my head, I often simply feel compelled to write it down.  Now with a smartphone, I have an entire “notebook” available to me at all times, AND I don’t even need to search for a pencil!  I looked at the beautiful shades of fall all around me yesterday and had to pull over to the shoulder and make notes…what I want to be different in this most beautifully colored time of year…changes I want to make while the world around me excites me, and while the colors take my breath away…before the landscape is dry and dead and brown and empty and colorless…

I slept poorly last night, which is not unusual given my age and frequently unbalanced hormone level, but I realized I was thinking and over thinking about the same things throughout the tossing and turning.  When I finally raised my white flag in surrender early this morning and got out of bed, I thought that perhaps my sleeplessness is or was a sign, more than a symptom of age…I do love signs…that it is time to do something rather than my more common behavior which is to write something…I woke up this morning knowing that there are things I have to change and I have ordered them in my mind by level of importance, but the fact of the matter, is that they all matter.  I have to make decisions and choices that reflect those changes and goals, or they simply won’t be achieved.  Saying them and doing them are two different things…I am a woman who loves words, but I need more than words to accomplish these changes.  I must do, not say…today I feel verb…I feel like I can do anything, and I have 30 days to prove it to myself…when you grew up loving School-House Rock, you know what it means to wake up and feel this way, it’s more than words indeed…Just in case you forgot, here is how the VERB song starts…it’s a good way to start a new month… anything can happen…

I get my thing in action  (Verb!)
To be, to sing, to feel, to live  (Verb!)
That’s what’s happening

I put my heart in action (Verb!)
To run, to go, to get, to give (Verb!)
(You’re what’s happening)

That’s where I find satisfaction, yeah! (Yeah!)
To search, to find, to have, to hold
(Verb! To be bold)
When I use my imagination (Verb!)
I think, I plot, I plan, I dream – Turning words into creation