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Sunday, June 28, 2015

We're all running from something ....

We're all running from something once in awhile.  Aren't we?

We think we're doing a good job of hiding it ...but I've talked to too many of you.We make mistakes, we do stupid shit. I know the pain and the things I hid for years. Then we stew in it and let it harden us and change us.  We pretend like we're the only ones that have screwed up.  We turn our face away like we're the only ones that are hurting and we can't bear to be seen.

We go inside.  We close the door and pull the curtains and we hope someone, maybe everyone will forget. Will forget what?  Will forget the thing we've been stewing on for days, weeks or maybe years? Or should we forget that we're all just human and sometimes we're sad and vulnerable and we make mistakes.  We say things, we do things we just want everyone to forget. 

So if we're all just a little screwed up why can't we just air that stuff out in the sunshine instead of locking it in the dark and damp where it festers and grows?   The sun would bleach it clean.  Light is the best disinfectant. Yet we hide it all in the damp and the dark and feed it to fester and become a bigger part of us than it deserves.

I reunited with an old friend this weekend that I hadn't seen in 31 years.  We talked long and hard about those years we had missed.  Too many of them were spent hiding from people that we loved, hoping they wouldn't see and feel our pain and our disappointment in ourselves.

And how the hell are we supposed to learn and grow and get better if we're so busy hiding and trying not to screw up.  I'm sick of it. Sick of the judgement and the fear and the inability to just lay ourselves out there and know that when the shit goes down we won't need to hide from it.

And when we do change and become more of ourselves, there's always someone waiting in the wings to call out those changes and try to knock us back. I'm sick of it.  I'm sick of people that want to tell me what my right and wrong should be.  I'm sick of the self righteous and the judgement that seeps from the pores of too many.

And I wish I could go back and change those times that I was that person.  I wish I could cleanse myself of the tendencies that I picked up over the years that were based on the fear and judgment of others.  So many times that I felt I couldn't be myself and over time it changed me.  Fear is a relentless bitch. 

I want to spend time with people that have a heart for the humanity of others, not their own version of right and wrong.  I'm sick of the expectations of others that I will do their version of the "right" thing; Wear the right things, say the right things, be their version of the right person.  Who got to make up all of those rules and expectations and how did I get so mixed up in it?  You get mixed up in it when you're hiding from your own pain.  When you hunker down in the damp and the dark choked with fear.

I want to know that someone, anyone  ... will let us air out our fear and hurt and trouble. Air it out in the sun and bleach it clean.  I want to know that someone will watch me do something stupid and then lovingly and knowingly help me air it out in the sun.  And if my stupid shit has hurt them, they will care enough to say, "Hey, that stupid shit hurt me and I'd like to get it aired out in the sun so we can move on."

Because really, who gets to decide what our mistakes really are?  Yea, that's right, none of us.  That's between me and God.  So let's just shine that Light on it and see what happens.  And the rest of you can go about your own business.





Wednesday, June 3, 2015

I Saw My Grandmother at Starbucks this Morning .......The One That Passed Away

I knew today was a good day.  I felt it when I opened my eyes.  I felt it not from the sun or the lingering full moon or the flowers that are in full bloom.  I knew from inside.  I knew that my life was well aligned and all the uncertainty and the questions and the wondering about things was starting to ease into a sense of peace.  The struggles will remain, because life is riddled with those, but my sense of confidence and well-being had returned.

I took the girl to her last day of school and made my way to town, ready to take on my day.  I needed Starbucks time, both for the fuel and the time to plan some events of the day.  I chose a Starbucks I don't visit very often, ordered my fare and looked for a place to camp for awhile.  I chose a place at one of those long communal tables.  I sat down my bag and  looked up at my table partners, a mother and child.

Not just any child.  This child was angelic.  Hair spun like gold, eyes dancing and bright as the summer sun.  Her mother was leaning in, engaged completely with her child, a happy morning.  I could feel it.

I smiled at the sight of them.  Then I looked at the child's cup and written on it was the name Elsie.  I blinked and looked again.  We all know that Starbucks isn't famous for getting names right on our cup.  This was not a common name, Elsie.  The name of my grandmother.  My favorite person on the planet grandmother that I watched take her last breath and delivered her eulogy that more than 10,000 of you have read.  I shake it off and assume it must be Elsa from Frozen fame but still a nice coincidence. 

But I must know. 

I smile at this beautiful angel and I say, "Honey, what's your name?" And there in what now feels like slow motion she says, "Elsie" with a shy little smile to her Starbucks stranger.  My heart melts, I am covered in chills and I smile at her mother and say, "Oh my, that's my grandmother's name."  We chat that her beautiful angel is also named after her grandmother and what a wonderful coincidence with a not so common name on this summer morning.

I lean down and say to little Elsie, "that's a beautiful name, honey, you must have a big heart because everyone I've ever known named Elsie has an amazingly big heart." 

I return to the counter, retrieve my drink, still a little shaken and covered in chills.  As I pass by little Elsie I can't resist knowing more so I persist.  "Honey, what is your middle name?"  And in the tiny voice of a preschooler she says, "Rose". And now I'm unable to speak, I surely must not have heard her correctly so I ask one more time and she confirms.  Elsie Rose.    My exact grandmother's name. 

And my tears well and the mom's eyes get soft.  Thankfully she's not afraid of this stranger who has now completely inserted herself into their morning.  I tell the mom that my grandmother was a huge part of my life and I was with her at the end and delivered her eulogy that so many have read and how it always makes me feel like I have honored her well.  The mom is wonderful and kind and lets me have my amazing moment with her daughter.  And I'm grateful to be in public because I find a way to swallow the sobbing that has risen in my throat. 

So today is a really good day.  It's a day of knowing and assurance and love and protection.  My angels are all in place, with Grandma taking the lead.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Pause From Those Freakin' Expectations. A Dream.

Expectations are a real bitch sometimes. 

Aren't they?

We all have them.  For each other, for ourselves.

Sometimes I want to close the door on the little fuckers and take a break. 

I want to award us all a slight "pause" in life from expectations. 

For a short period of time, a couple of hours, a whole day maybe, my God should I dream of a whole weekend?........... just to let the expectations cease.  No one waiting on the project to be completed, the meeting to be set, the SAT tutoring to get scheduled, the dishes to be done, the exercise to happen. 

No one looking at me and thinking where I've been, what I've done, what should I, could I be doing.

My mind to slow down and gently set all of my own expectations for myself aside for just a freakin' minute.  Just a little box by the door where I'll pick them up later.

Even those that love us unconditionally, like our parents, have expectations.  That we'll stay safe, and happy and fulfilled.  Everyone has expectations, some more realistic and healthy than others.

Just a little break.

A break from thinking of others and what they expect of me and how disappointed they might be in me, especially those that are unwilling to expect more from themselves, I absolutely want a break from them.

I even want a tiny break from the dreaming of what could be for myself.  The hopes and dreams and good stuff.  I even want a break from that. 

So tonight I tried to do this for myself.  I ran a bath so hot  and full of sweet smelling bubbles and I lie there thinking of nothing until it ran cold.  But you can't really think of nothing can you?  It's impossible.

So instead I decided to dream about what I would do with those expectation free hours.  My own private pause.

I would put on my favorite pair of jeans and the old boots I've loved for years. Shake out my favorite broken down t-shirt.  I'd stroll into a broken down bar where, unlike Cheers, no one knew my name. 

And in my little dream, there would be an old bartender that made the drinks with a nice long pour and knew how to weave a good tale.  And the pool table would be free and the jukebox would be full of classic rock.

There I'd mix with the locals who didn't know my name and didn't give a damn about wondering who I was. And we'd laugh and shoot some stick and sing along as loud as we wanted. Pull out some air guitar when appropriate, because that's what happens when a great song comes on and you're holding a pool cue.  And the table would have just enough warp to let you know it had been around awhile and didn't expect too much from itself. 

Just a few hours.

Then I'd come home, gently pick up my expectations from the box by the door and carry on.  Simple.

But it isn't. Simple.

So maybe we all need to just give each other a little break.  Give ourselves a break.  Maybe it's time to crank the Tom Petty and sing because you can, not because you're good, like he did.


Maybe we just need to remember that what will be will be and to just try to give each other a little break.  Or give ourselves a little break.   From those freakin' expectations.

And if you see me in your bar this weekend, please just buy me a drink and put some more quarters in the jukebox. Maybe some CCR?  You pick, I'll sing along.  Pass me the chalk.


What's your pause day look like?