I bring food to the table….all kinds of food. They run me back and forth for various condiments and what not. I run all over for them because that’s my job and I do it well. I do it all with a smile in my quirky sort of way. I am known for my socks. I wear wild and crazy socks. Some people even call me “socks”. Most people have a sock drawer that may include other hosiery and stuff, but I have several drawers for socks alone. We are supposed to wear khaki pants, shorts or skirts. Khaki is neutral to me like jeans….jeans go with anything. I like to think that the uniform doesn’t even factor in, like jeans don’t factor in to the mix. I give myself license to wear any colors and patterns of sock wear whether they technically go with the uniform or not. However, for the past week I have been wearing my khaki skirt with a black shirt and plain black tights like I’m in some kind of mourning. I am annoyed.
When I am annoyed, it is bad. I haven’t been annoyed with my job for many years now. I enjoy the restaurant business for the most part. I like being busy, whipping around, making people laugh, horsing around in the kitchen and so on. It’s a living and I’m lucky. I can’t complain. That being said, I have never felt inspired to open my own place like many people have suggested. As much as I like it, my soul is not alive. I can do this job in my sleep. My parents always told me I would never make money doing what I loved which was music and art, so I should keep it as a “side thing”. I believed them… maybe because it was easier. Doing what I loved meant taking risks because I really cared. I was afraid I would never be good enough, yet I always intended to pursue my passions in the time I had off. Slowly my creativity dwindled to the occasional card or gift I’d make for someone and I never played music anymore.
I was just too fried all the time. I’d come home peopled-out. I never felt the energy for anything else. In the industry, this is commonly known as restaurant burn-out. The last stop for us is banquets. This is where all the burn-outs end up. You don’t have to talk to anybody. You set it all up, deliver the food, clean it all up, and go home.
I went through a phase in the mid nineties when I was totally burnt out and pissed off at everyone. If someone asked me for water, I’d look at them cross-eyed. I was Miss Crabby Pants. I felt put out by people even though it was my job to serve them… like I was being punished by having to do that job. I was feeling sorry for myself. I had become such a victim. Trust me it’s not something I am proud of.
One day I was talking to a woman that described her experience with a server who had waited on her. She talked about how the server had turned her whole day around when she was feeling sad and lonely. I felt really bad for having been such a surly server. It was a moment of clarity. We never know who we might be helping at the time, brightening their day when they really need brightening. It also dawned on me that I could quit. No one was forcing me to work there. It was my choice. I took responsibility for my life and my choices. I changed my attitude almost overnight through this awakening. As obvious as it was, it was a revelation to me. I realized I was in control of my own life. I re-decided to do this work and here I am 10+ years later, still waiting tables. People often ask me how I do it. I am always cheery. I feel happy. I like working, being of service. I do a good job.
That is until a few weeks ago. Lately, I have been very short fused and angry… annoyed. I don’t want to wait on people. I do my best to cover up my bad attitude because I am the manager, but I feel like a fake, a fraud. I don’t want to be there and I hope no one can tell. I am thinking about all the things I’d rather be doing and I’m not in the present. This is not good. I’m being a whiner to my close friends. That doesn’t feel good either. I notice how it snowballs into more negativity, so I’m doing a mind-set check. I’m changing to an attitude of gratitude. I’m reminding myself that I like my job. I like serving people and bringing sunshine to their day if I can. I make enough money at a time when many people do not make enough. It’s all good. This is not forever if I don’t want it to be. I am not in job jail as some call it. There is really no such thing. It is what I make it. My cup is half full. I Honor My Truth!
We took the Winnebago on a vacation to Potawatomi State Park in WI. It was a beautiful day that day. We stopped to get some lunch, but no one could sit still long enough to eat it because there were so many bees. They seemed to come out of no where and swarm us at the picnic table. I’m not a fan of biting things ever since a wasp stung me nine times in the eye on the playground.
It was sunny and warm so we decided to hang out for a while by the water skippin’ rocks. Usually, I’m not much of a rock skipper but for some reason that day I was so inclined. I was laughing and having fun right up until the moment I hit the duck. The little duck family was paddling by. I didn’t see them. They weren’t really that close to us, but me being the wildly spastic thrower that I am, hit the little duck right in the head with a rock. It shook and kinda tipped over and sorta swam away. I think? I’d like to believe that it did.
I think of that duck from time to time. I have to tell myself its ok somewhere in Sturgeon Bay….a grandma duck by now or maybe even in duck heaven. It is somewhere doin’ fine. I realize it was a total freak accident. I couldn’t do it again if I tried. However, it still really bothers me. Not unlike another more recent incident with a squirrel.
When I got my drivers license, I graduated from rock to car. I hit a squirrel. It just so happens that my parents were right behind me in their car and witnessed the whole thing. We were all going to a party somewhere. I wasn’t fully paying attention, probably contemplating some other thing I did or said that I felt stupid about. The chatter in my head plagued even more back then which is hard to believe. When we got to the party, my Dad said, “Did you know you hit a squirrel? I said that I knew. He seemed very disappointed in me. I couldn’t let go of it for a long time. I still think of that squirrel too.
I would much rather be the one that is hurt, than to have hurt someone else. The pain I feel when I hurt someone else is far greater than any pain I have suffered from something said or done to me. I have a difficult time forgiving myself. I think a lot of people have the same struggle. We are often less understanding when it comes to ourselves. I’ve heard it said, “Forgive and forget”, but we forget less easily. I will forget for someone else, but not for me. When I apologize and even amend my behavior, I can forgive myself over time. I have a heckuva time forgetting. I talk my way through it when I remember, but I still remember. I will think of it and cringe or feel sad.
I believe we need to forgive ourselves. We are human. It is our nature to want to love people. We are good people. We hang on to the things we would have liked to do differently… sometimes a little too long. I wish I could have a bunch of “do overs”, but I can’t. Now that I see how my life all fits, I regret the past less and less. I am grateful for it. My past blunders have taught me some of my greatest lessons…their value unparalleled. Focusing on the now and how I can apply what I’ve learned is where to put my energy. What can I do differently today? Rather than waste a lot of time and energy on yesterday or tomorrow. I’m at my best if I am following my heart. I’m at my best if I Honor My Truth!
I jumped off a cliff once in Jamaica. Nothing bad happened but it wasn’t really that fun. It’s much more fun to tell the story than it was to actually do it. You should always point your toes. If your feet are flat, they slap super hard against the water… just an FYI. It really hurts if you don’t. Feeling then the expert, I later jumped off another cliff. This jump involved a rope that swung out over a very steep cliff. I did this with no instruction and didn’t realize until afterwards how crucial it was to let go. Back then, letting go was even more of a challenge than it is now. I freaked out. It went against all logic which told me hang on for dear life when I looked below. Had I not eventually let go, I would have swung back and smacked into the side of the cliff. I will not jump off a cliff again, nor will I jump out of a plane. A bunch of people I work with went sky-diving. They made fun of all those who declined. I could have cared less what kind of pressure they put upon me, I wasn’t doing it.
I know driving is technically more dangerous than flying, according to the odds. I bet the odds don’t matter to the people in a plane crash. I had one incident in a plane in which the flight attendant said, “Is anyone hurt?” It grounded me for a while. I’m not afraid to fly anymore. However, the illusion of control behind the wheel does make driving seem safer to me. I can't even see the pilot unless I get a chance to peek in and if the pilot can’t fly, I can’t help. I like to think I have more control over life than I actually do. I’m glad that I assume responsibility for my choices, but I must remember not to blame myself for everything. There are some things that happen whether I try to avoid them or not. Besides, I can’t fly to the grocery store. One day I may be able to fire up my little backpack like a Jetson would, but for now most of us drive unless we bike or something. I even go so far as to ride a scooter which I’m told is a “death trap”. What a horrible thing to say. I ride it despite the warning. I’m careful.
I could live in my bedroom, and still I would never escape the unknown. I have a friend who kept her baby away from people as much as possible and had all sorts of rules if you came over. She would never take her outdoors or where people were gathered. She never exposed her to other children. This friend was a “stay at home” mom so her child never went to any kind of day care. Her mother told her “good moms are home to raise their children”. She often felt like a bad mom for one reason or another. Now years later, her child is ALWAYS sick. She always has some kind of an infection, this, that or the other thing. She is ALWAYS on some kind of medication. This I find interesting. Try as we might, we cannot control everything. There is much that is completely out of our control. More often than not if I try to manipulate a situation, the effect is not the one I want. Sometimes the best I can hope for is to have little to no impact. I need to get out of my own way.
I don’t want to be reckless, but I do want to be fearless. Fearless does not mean that I am without fear, but that I move forward regardless of whether I am afraid or not. I am brave. Reckless means I do not stop. I do not breathe. I do not ask myself some simple questions. Is this my head or my heart talking? Do I even want to do this? Does the idea bring me a sense of peace, freedom, love, joy, humility, inspiration, courage? Or, does it involve a sense of jealousy, entitlement, revenge, envy, shame, resentment, fear? This can be rather tricky. What can easily happen is that during this process I travel from my heart to my head real quickly. It can happen in a matter of minutes and I am lost analyzing, plotting, and so on. I agonize over the decision because I am caught in expectations and looking for guarantees. These of course never come and therefore make it near to impossible to make a decision. I am forced to wait until the last possible moment up until which time I suffer. The breath can keep me grounded. I watch for words like, “Should, maybe, what if, if only, etc” There are the facts, and there is the truth. There lies much more beyond the facts so I can’t always look at them for answers. I don’t always look at the odds. I Honor My Truth.
He brought me the soup. I was craving something other than the daily grub I was eating at the restaurant. Delicious as it was, it got boring day after day after day. I was grateful for the meals they provided, don’t get me wrong. I am blessed to have more food than I can or should eat as I realize that some people on our planet do not. That being said, I wanted something other than the usual fare which was offered on our menu. My boyfriend at the time was kind enough to bring me a scrumptious Thai soup all the way from MN to WI on a particular visit. I think it’s called Tom Yum, but then that has coconut milk and this soup did not so I’m not sure. It was super good… the kind of good when the bowl’s not big enough and the plate’s not full enough. I ate it all and subsequently went to bed. I woke up in the middle of the night and seriously thought I was going to die. I laid there on the bathroom floor calling out to my boyfriend. He never answered and I assumed he, having eaten the same soup, was already dead. When I discovered he was sleeping like a rock does, I thought possibly he had tried to kill me.
I did survive only to try the soup a second time because I thought it wasn’t the soup the first time. Since my boyfriend didn’t get sick, I thought it was probably just a virus or maybe not my day. I was wrong. I was back on the floor. Again I thought I might die. I survived to try the soup a third and final time. Call me crazy but oddly enough, I loved the soup. I wanted to do an experiment. If I could possibly isolate a single deadly ingredient, it would allow me to order the soup minus the culprit. But I screwed it up; I was testing the mushroom, but I had some broth too. Duh. Just that little amount made me sicker than ever. My whole “system” had rebelled that itty bitty taste. I now stay away from the soup entirely, yet I’m still drawn to the soup and wish that I could eat it…..and that’s interesting. I want to try it and just see. Maybe things have things changed? Maybe I was imagining it… maybe it wasn’t that bad, or maybe it was my fault somehow. Clearly, I don’t trust myself.
I know what doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger, but do I have to keep learning this way. Must I continue to get myself in situations I crawl out of, just to know I can? It’s a track I must get off of. Insanity by definition is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. I guess in those terms I’d be classified insane. I’m not insane, but I certainly have felt like I was. Some relationships are crazy making in themselves. They seem to function like a system that cooperates whether the result is a good one or not. One person enables another to comfortably stay the same. I'm sure I have been both in this equation. If one person grows and changes, the system runs amuck. The balance is upset. I thought that I could change things that didn’t want to change. When I’m seeing the red flags, when I hear my inner voice, I must now pay attention. Denial of my truth starts smaller than I knew.
Two people ebb and flow or they don’t flow at all. The ebb comes from speaking the truth and shifting the weight around. Two people bring out the best in each other or they are stuck and miserable? One wants things to change; one wants things to stay the same. If one person is in misery, you’d think they’d want to change, but often they do not. And it’s the buddy system traveling through a storm. It’s a scary place to be without some company. I have assumed the role of company by choice or it would seem by force and found it hard to leave. I felt like a hostage. I was afraid to speak up when I sensed there was a problem. I would try being who I thought it was they wanted. I thought that I could change a person, make them love me when they didn’t. I realized it was impossible to change a person not interested in changing. Until the pain of staying the same is greater than the fear of change, people often stay the same.
I must be true to myself. I have to speak my truth. I used to keep it all inside when it didn’t seem congruent. I conceded every time when there were times I disagreed. Under the guise of “easy going” and “going with the flow”, I found out I was hiding. It’s ok to say the hard things and cause a shift to happen, that’s what it means to ebb. Compromise sometimes, and other times stand firm. My feelings were an “issue” I would often try to skirt, thinking I could frame them in a way to fit myself into another person. I want to combine and coexist. I Honor My Truth.
Back in the days of small square psychedelics, and when driving across the Illinois border into Wisconsin meant we were instantly “old enough”, I was sure a miracle was about to happen. I would wake up and be brand new, but I didn’t. I woke up in a hospital too sick to move, and if anything, I felt older than the stars I wished upon. The night before I would have done anything to feel differently than I did, but this wasn’t what I planned on.
Careful what you pray for… is what my mother used to say. I paid no attention to her. I probably missed the good stuff. However, she told me I skipped kindergarten because I had polio which I believed for many years and it turned out to be false. To this day, I struggle with discernment… is what you tell me true, or is it not. I grew up in a house made of little white lies, so tiny they could fit in the eye of a needle… strands that tethered me to secrets that had no real beginning, nor could you find the end. It was mayhem. I don’t blame her. More than likely, it was all she could do to keep us from “killing each other” and get a little “me time” in between, which she got about next to none of.
She amazes me with her talents more and more as I look back, more than I was capable of or willing to see in the lean years… lean on love, lean on everything. I suppose it was tough to wrap your arms around the family den, one that had a long and winding hallway extending from Green Bay to Chicago where my Dad was working a majority of the time. I recently found out he had an apartment behind the Alfies’. Alfies’ was a beer and burger joint. They had by far the biggest bestest hamburgers. You could get a thick slice of raw onion which my Dad still loves… and onion rings. Don’t forget the onion rings. You could eat a whole basket in an eye blink and wind up with a butt the size of Texas, comparatively speaking. I believe the proper equation is - before Onion Rings=Rhode Island, after Onion Rings=Texas. I can’t believe I ate a thousand meals there if I ate one and never knew that he used to live nearby.
No one was talking then, no one talks much now, but we learn the bits and pieces. I don’t know when my mom had time to teach herself to sew. I came across a photo and we all were dressed up in plaid. Green plaid jumpers with clean white shirts, even my brother had one on. We were grouped around the tall gold chair in the living room. I remember trying to take the picture on the stair steps but someone threw a fit. Me and Linda always struck a pose. Did we feel we should be perfect or is just my “doctor” point of view?
Have a told you I’m a doctor? People tell me it is so and I act as if I am one, primarily a shrink. I use it when I need to sound professional and an expert on a subject. I make a diagnosis and subsequent treatment plan, following it all up with I’m a doctor don’t you know. No one ever says, “Really?” as if they might believe me which can get me into trouble. This gets me thinking I should drop the whole doctor, dentist thing entirely, but I’m not sure.
As I lay there in that hospital bed, I tilted my head back enough to see the name plate on the wall behind me… Debra Hadraba. The night was beginning to come back to me. Thank God I was 18 and they couldn’t call my parents. I fell back into the pillow to mull things over for a while. I hoped no one would find out, so I could hide there. I could avoid everyone but me. It would make things less confusing. I had already begun thinking I should make everyone else happy and so on.
I could only look in the mirror from the corner of my eye, just an itty bitty corner. I was sure I had a mask on, that this person wasn’t me. I found out that I didn’t, and was shocked that it was me. I was blotchy and swollen. I looked and felt like moms tomato pin cushion. The red was coming off, exposing all the stuffing underneath like I was a stewed one. I was a tomato voodoo cushion and I was full of pins, all assorted sizes, and even safety ones. If I could close those back together, maybe I'd be fixed.
My friend Wendy, in much the same condition, was minus one symptom that I had… fear. I thought sure my life was over and then called 911. Just prior to the ride with the beefy dudes in blue, everything was fine. We were laughing when nothing was that funny. I was madly rearranging her sisters Barbie Doll furniture using Kleenex as the dolls. Don’t ask me how this is done. I just know I did it. When that got old, I played, “Crazy on You” by Heart on my guitar and sent Wendy in a tailspin. It was the one and only time someone thought I was a rock star. Her mouth dropped open to her tonsils. I had planned on replacing that memory with many others. In those days, I was gonna be a rock star. Shortly after that debut, things took a turn for the weird. I got dizzy, hyperventilated, and the rest, my friends, is history.
My tactics for escaping were brief dodges at their best. They never changed me into someone I no longer recognized. I was always what remained. I learned very early on that you can run, but you can’t hide. There is no geographic cure for what’s missing or not right. There is no prize possession, no costume I can trade for one to make me happy. Everything outside of me does not make up who I am. I can lose everything outside myself, including my physical body. I am who I am inside. I cannot compare outsides to insides, even if my own. The truth is inside. I Honor My Truth!
I pulled up behind her at the stop sign. I swear to you, I have no idea what I did to piss her off, but I did. She flipped me off with a mean face. A mean face I could see from 20+ feet behind her in her rearview mirror. You got me what I did, but that’s the thing. Sometimes people have no clue what they did to piss us off. We call them idiots or stupid when often they’re just going about their business, doing something, thinking something, going somewhere else. We don’t know where they’re coming from, where they’re going, what they’ve been through…their perspective. Most likely, it has nothing much to do with us, no matter how certain we think it does.
Maybe they’re a tad preoccupied, not aware of a larger picture… how their life affects another. Their crime is more one of omission or perhaps apathy. The fact they may have done something that hurts our feelings is probably not intentional, just self-centered. It is our choice what we do with it. We have the power to detach and let it go or we can choose to brood and wallow in it. Give it more energy. Attract more of what we don’t want to it. If we are looking for situations to be offended by, we can find them. It’s easy. They’re all around us if we look for them.
There are people out there sleepwalking. They know not what they do. This is not some lame excuse for it, that it’s almost like a sickness, but it is. It is a comatose condition. They’re not conscious. We can forgive them. I can forgive myself. I know how easily I can get lost there, and in truth, sometimes I do. The ego rears its ugly head and it gets a hold of me. It could be that devil childhood pain, so deep, unrecognized. It orchestrates reactions I have to little things… with defensive remarks, crabby complaints, negative banter I unleash. Or its unresolved resentments, I’ve held onto for too long…or the many other silly things that mean nothing to me now. I can even laugh about them, but some seemed so life and death. A battle will rage inside of me as the ego fears demise. This happens only if we let it and I don’t. I am aware.
Some will seek revenge to try and soothe their pain. I’ve never seen it work. They talk about it, think about it, dream about it, plan. They believe that by turning the perceived wrong back around and to its owner, they will find relief. It is the eye for an eye premise that leaves both to lack an eye. This makes no sense in its perpetuation of the suffering it’s hoping to avoid. It drags it on and on throughout the generations and stores it in the collective consciousness of the planet. Peace is only felt in freedom. I can only find freedom if I do not attach myself to what is done or said to me. If I don’t claim it by defending myself, I will keep my power. If they try harder to attack me, it only weakens them. If I continue my detachment, eventually they tire. If gaining power is their objective, they must ultimately go elsewhere. If peace is their desire, it won’t come to them in this way. No one ever will find lasting peace and love through harming one another.
I was driving another day and telling a friend this story...the story of the angry woman. I was demonstrating the nasty grimace and finger that she gave me. I turned to my friend in the passenger seat and mimicked it the best way I could. I made it real. At the same time, a driver pulled along side of me and mistakenly thought I was aiming this finger+face at her. I madly shook my hand, my head and tried to mouth the words..."no, I didn't mean it for you....etc, etc, etc." I do not think she understood and drove away, maybe feeling much like I had, maybe wondering what could have done. I did not feel any better. Revenge is not the answer.
So we must forgive ourselves, we must forgive each other. I cannot stand in judgment, lest I attract a judge to me. Let’s go easy on each other. Let’s not be jumping to conclusions… assuming that we know a heart…assuming that we know it all. I’ve done some crazy things. I’ve done some stupid things. If I can’t finally forgive myself, I can’t finally be free. I cannot be useful if I am chained by my regrets and how I see myself. I cannot be useful if I’m bogged down by the unworthiness I feel. It’s time to let that go… to stop pursuing proof of my inadequacy. It's time to open up to the possibility that we are all worthy of love. This is the truth. The rest is in our way. I Honor My Truth!
I’m not that special. I can’t be the only one in the world who has a couple things, those pesty little things that make you cringe when you think about them. You wish you could forget them. Too much time “going there” will send you crawling in a cardboard box, preferably a shoe box. I knew there was a reason for saving them. I could hide quite easily in a shoebox at my moms. She has a gazillion in her closet. They are organized and they are labeled. I could quite possibly go unnoticed for a decade if I tried. The box with “fall patent leather heels” or the one with the “dressy spring pink flats” would be safe, both seasons are brief and it’s on a rare occasion that any one of us gets fancy. We don’t do fancy often.
My mom loves shoes. She’ll tell you, “I’m a shoe person”. Shoe people buy shoes, yes, but they also buy shoe notepads, shoe charms, shoe nick knacks, and salt n’ pepper shakers. I haven’t checked, but if there isn’t one, there should be a shoe lover store at the Mall of America. That place has a store for every fetish, every passion, and the every thing your mom collects. Let’s say she’s into cows and suddenly does a switch to, lets say, chickens, the Mall of America’s got you covered.
I want to run, I want to hide there. I must say that my “cringers” are selfish stupid things I’ve done to other people. It makes no sense to tell you. It serves no purpose in the present. I’d still find it hard to do so without a detailed diatribe of events leading up to and including what happened, so it’s better that I don’t. I may have had my reasons, even ones that make some sense.The fact is that it is much harder to live with things I’ve done than what’s been done to me. I don’t care, I think its’ harder. Now when I am harmed, I feel sadder for their pain. I’m sorry that they did that to themselves. They have to live with it and it’s a burden like no other. I know.
I remember when the rationalizations stopped working like a drug does. How I justified my behavior no longer eased my guilt. I did what I did and I can’t change that. It hit me like a rock, more like a boulder. I came out of my denial and as I’ve heard it said before, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt”. I could cry you a river of pain and disappointment, a river long and wide, but its never made me feel better. When I took responsibility for my life, I shuddered at its state. I no longer was a victim of what had been done to me. There is some fear in this, but there is also power.
I am in charge of my life and what I do now. I claim my past. It had its reasons and its lessons. I choose not to regret it. I claim my present. It has its challenges and its joys. I make choices with awareness. I claim my future, though I know not what it is. I do know who I am now. I know this more than I would have known had I not learned these lessons. I learned to pay attention…to say I love you when I feel it… to cherish what I have, not covet what I don’t… to thank you for your kindness, your compassion, and your care.
If I could do it over, I’d have sat and really talked to my grandmother the last time that I saw her. I sat outside and partied with my cousin. She sat inside and waited. I can’t get that moment back. It’s over. It is done. If I could, I would forget it more than often than I do. I only have this moment and there’s a lot that I can do now. I Honor My Truth!
I don’t have any kids. It seems I forgot to plan. I didn’t consciously decide not to have children, yet I didn’t decide to have them either. If someone asked me if I wanted kids, I would respond, “well yah of course, just not right now,” or “I just haven’t met the right person yet,”as if time would never run out. But it does. Growing up, I considered it to be a given that I would marry and have a family one day. That day never came. I assumed there would come a time, once I got my “ducks in a row,”when it would seem “right.” Even though I consistently heard, “you will never be ready,”I thought at some point I would be ready-er. But what does “ready” really mean anyway, other than – I am going to follow my heart despite the challenges. We prepare as best we can, but there will always be unknowns. We follow our heart for the most part, without expectations.
Clarity always comes after commitment or should I say, a more defined clarity. I have found myself very clear when it comes to following my heart… clear about the first step. More is always revealed as I move forward, one step at a time. As with anything, having children is a decision, an intention and then the steady crafting of small steps to get there. I’m not going to wake up one day and say "OK" now that I’m ready to be a doctor, let me just go ahead and be a doctor. Having a baby requires finding a partner, securing a stable home, procuring the finances and so on, not to mention the 9 months it takes regardless. If I was going to adopt, there would be other steps to take, etc. I was never interested in raising a child alone, unless the circumstances demanded it. Sure it could have just happened, but it has always been a good idea for me to breathe and, when possible, have some kind of a preliminary strategy for any major life event. This is what I meant when I said that I didn’t plan very well. Actually, I didn’t plan at all. I kept back- burnering the idea.
As I got closer and closer to the time when I could no longer have children, the boyfriends I chose were less and less of a candidate for fatherhood. It became a running, “not so funny” joke among my friends. The standard response to exciting news of a new man in my life was “I’m sure he’s nice and all, but does he have a car, a job, and a place to live? We know they can rely on YOU, but can you rely on THEM?” If I in fact I did want to have children, one thing I could have done would have been to weed out those men that were not “father material," allowing myself the possibility. I never did. Not only didn’t I plan well, I didn’t choose well to begin with. It would have served me well to “act as if” because what I have come to find out is that the same criteria can and should be used for a husband or boyfriend. What was I doing in the first place? I dearly loved them all regardless of their shortcomings. I have my own and I’m not complaining. I made my choices. I never said anything.
I know some women who run potential partners through some kind of sieve early on in the dating process, especially at my age. It is one thing to learn during the process of getting to know someone that their goals, dreams are incongruent with yours and therefore decide to go your separate ways. It is another thing to spend years with someone denying, even avoiding a conversation about basic core desires and values. I lived my life so much for and through other people that I wouldn’t know what I wanted if you asked me. I was a clone. I molded myself according to what I thought the other person wanted in hopes of never being left and certainly never wanting to be left for being myself. If I was never really me, then I could never really be abandoned. Since I never dared being myself, I will never know what could have, what would have happened. I never shared what I thought or felt under the guise of being easy-going, of being what I thought was the “perfect” girlfriend. The more I kept everything inside, the less I knew who I was. I couldn’t have told you what kind of eggs I liked much less whether I really wanted children or not. I let life happen to me. I let my partners define me. I did this more and more and more over the years. I turned into a conforming well-loved blob.
By the time I had “the conversation” with my last boyfriend, although coupled with doubts and fears, I had a strong desire and felt he was “the one.” I was on the home stretch of my capability. Looking back, had I not been at the end of my fertility rope, I never would have said I, we were “ready”… my wanting to have a baby while also knowing I couldn't trust him were not ideal conditions. Yet I knew that my window of opportunity was closing and I didn't want to lose him. I didn’t want to accept the juxtaposition I had created for myself. I thought I could work it all out somehow. I thought if I could change myself, he would change into the person I wanted him to be. Potential is a difficult thing to let go of, to give up hope on. This plan was not a good plan.We broke up and I found myself sitting in a doctor’s office being told I was already through menopause.
By this time, I had pretty much accepted that I wasn’t going to have children. However, when a professional was telling me….”you’re done," it hit me in a deeper way. You see, I never lost hope for a miracle. My mother had my beautiful baby sister at 44. I was young yet, wasn’t I? I was sitting there having just broken up with yet another boyfriend of many years and I was being told I was “done?" I would never be a mother? While I never could quite imagine having children, on the flip side, I could not imagine being a woman without the experience of being a mother. Was I still a woman? Am I and my life somehow incomplete? I never had a strong urge, a sense of urgency in the matter. I never experienced a clock ticking. Maybe I was always too busy to hear it, but I felt resentful that it wasn’t louder. Why was I different from the other women in my life who seemed to have heard a clock so loud it could not be ignored…..kind of like the buzzer on an alarm clock as opposed to the radio. One can sleep through the radio, but the buzzer-it begs to be shut off immediately.
It is beginning to make sense. I am accepting my choices. They are mine and no one else's. It is not the fault of some boyfriend that I left in the dark. My fogginess is only a result of my unconscious living. My regret is only that I did not give voice to my feelings and my fears, that I let time decide. However, if I know anything about life, I know this….it will continue to make more and more sense as time goes on…as the pieces of my puzzle come together. My life is what I have made it and it has been in line with my purpose to the best of my ability along the way. This is improving as I am more willing to be myself. There is less inner turmoil. I Honor My Truth!
2 More Days! ...to take part in my WINTER SOLSTICE SPECIAL - My new CD is done! Read about it and watch my latest music video in TIME ON FIRE or go directly to HONOR YOUR TRUTH! I am blessed by your love and support to keep moving forward. I would love to include your name on the CD jacket as a sustaining patron for ordering early. Love, Debra
Welcome to Honor Your Truth
The “Is it True?” Series Episode Eighty-Seven
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”
I was in Toys R Us years ago. I have a huge toy collection and I like to check out toys. I know, imagine that -LOL! I must admit I went through a Polly Pocket phase... that is the original version with all the moving parts and teeny tiny people in teeny tiny worlds in little plastic purse capsules. Polly Pocket was bought out by a company that deemed their teeny tininess immaterial to their charm and turned them into somewhat static blobs like the “new” fisher price toys. I suppose it may have something to do with small moving parts being hazardous, but the toys just aren’t the same. The Fisher Price farm, airport, garage, etc were so cool. The cow had legs that moved but now everything’s immobile and boring. DUH!
I was standing next to a little pip squeak of a girl who concurred with me in regards to the Polly Pocket. Although we could not see eye to eye literally, we understood each other. The new ones were stupid. She grabbed some mermaid thingy from the shelf, looked up at me and said, “I Like It!” with such certainty and pride and then she scooted away. I thought to myself “was there ever a time when I was sure, like that... when I liked what I liked and I didn’t care what anyone else liked or thought about me. She was just darling. Her face had remnants of lunch and she had sparkly eager eyes. Her hair was up like Cindy Lou Hoo. I love Cindy Lou Hoo hair. In the 80’s, I used to rubber band a little tuft on the top of my head and spray it blue. We have Cindy and the 80’s to thank for the scrunchy.
The scrunchy may be one of the few things to have had any kind of lasting value coming out of the 80’s, The scrunchy will live forever in the drawers and purses, glove boxes and night stands of women with 5’’ or longer. Scrunchies and music of course, that’s it. Music from every decade will never lose its appeal entirely as there are always people who will keep on listening to it. When CD's first came out, who didn’t run out and buy stuff they listened to back in High School? I can’t be the only one. Being “stuck in the 80’s” is a rather common crowd. I have a friend who still loves Devo and would wear a red energy dome on his head if he could and still hold on to his law practice.
Back then, I also wore my hair in a side ponytail. I always wore it on the same side- the left. If I put it on the right, it felt strangely off. I was uncomfortable until I switched it over. There is no way I would be able to wear it on the right side and continue my day with any kind of normalcy. I would feel katywompus all day, no guarantee what would happen…so I kept it on the left. I am kind of ambidextrous overall. I do different things with different hands. I throw with my left, bowl with my right and so on. However, I do none of these well so I wouldn’t recommend it.
A friend of mine bought me a ring. That’s what he said….”I got you a ring.” I thought I was going to pass out until he handed me a hula hoop. Thank heavens I was sitting down. I stood up and immediately starting hula-ing. Historically I could never get the hoop to circle around me more than once… that onetime resulted merely from a good initial send off. I gave up trying a long time ago and prefaced every attempt with a statement regarding my “non-hooper” status. As usual, I did just that as I arose from my chair. I sent it off for its single swoop and said, “I’ll try, but I can never do this.”
Despite my poor and sassy attitude, I found that I was doing it. The hula hoop was circling round and round until I tired of it. I kept stopping and starting again to make sure that it was happening, that I was not hallucinating. I thought it must be some weird fluke. I was amazed. I am no professional by any means, and to some my “hooper” status is loosely held, but I can hula. I would have never tried it again had the opportunity not been given to me.
Once again, more evidence to support the idea - “there are the facts, and there is the truth.” The facts cannot fully define the truth. The truth is often not readily accessible, outwardly apparent, fully realized… it remains to be seen. The fact is that in the past I was never able to hula hoop. I don’t know why, but for the most part, the facts are usually a moot point once the truth is revealed. The truth is that I was capable of hula hooping all along. There were components of hula hooping, many having nothing to do with the physical technique itself, that I needed to learn. Sometimes we must trust and take action. Sometimes it takes a while. When the truth comes to light, it is important to honor it, give it courage and respect. Let it blossom. Honor Your Truth!
Some subscribe to the idea that if one does not get caught, it never really happened. I have met a few. They seem more upset having been discovered than regretting what they did. I ask myself, “how is it that they sleep.” We cannot understand. I remember when all the things I told myself stopped working. The ways in which I justified no longer did their trick. Oooh Youch! No matter how many times I went over reasons that used to make such sense, I could not escape the sting I felt from hurting someone else. Despite all my explanations, I did the things I did.
Suddenly, I was pierced with pain I could ignore no longer, situations from the past. I would rather be the hurt one. They may have long forgotten and let it go in time. They may not have even cared or noticed for that matter. Maybe it was of no real consequence to them. I’ve made many an apology as I made the shift to living conscious. I no longer operate out of some childhood pain, wandering aimlessly through this world looking for someone or something else to heal me. I take full responsibility for myself and what I do. I make my choices. If it bothers me, I deserve to make a mention and an apology if it warrants one. Maybe it matters to no one else but me, but that’s enough. I yearn for peace.
I do have one person that would probably prefer never to see my face again though he probably rarely thinks of me. It is I that does the thinking. I still cannot forgive myself these 20 some years later, though it would appear that he’s well over it. It is my problem, not his, to fix. There are some situations when it is best to stay away as the simplest of contact would injure them or others further. We ask ourselves, “Is it necessary, kind, is it helpful? What is my motivation? He cannot heal my sadness. It is the cross I carry, until I lay it down.
A physical apology quite often can be selfish. The harmed person should not be made to feel responsible for fixing the one who harmed them… for taking care of their feelings, yet it’s so often turned around. A woman publicly made fun of me when I was visibly upset already. I scurried off. She came running after me and said that she was sorry. I forgave her and kept walking. She kept chasing after me, re-apologizing. Apparently, the response I was giving was not big enough to cure the emotional pain she carried. It was not about me. When I've mustered up the courage to say something, I hardly realize when a subject flips around, until I’m thinking later.
I can forgive someone else much easier than I can forgive myself, so I gotta keep my street clean and if it’s dirty, clean it up. If I don’t, the repercussions are more than I can take. I’ve “learned my lessons” well and I try not to re-learn them. I save time for all the new ones. There are those things that I struggle to accept and I think about them sometimes. My grammas voice as I heard her talking in the kitchen. She was waiting there to visit. I remember her laugh and the way she slapped her knee. I never came in to talk. I was busy drinking beer with my cousin on the porch. It was the last time I saw her alive. The time I told my little sister I was coming for a sleep over. She had my old room all set up for me. I never made it there. I don’t remember why, but I can still picture her face and disappointment. It’s things like these and I’m sure that there are others I sit here not recalling. They will surface at the oddest times, the perfect times I need them. Maybe they serve as a reminder to pay attention and to be present. When I am being the “real” me, listening to my inner voice, I do not compromise my values. I show up how I truly what to be, how I truly am. My ego does not get in the way of it. I Honor My Truth!
My grandma Marguerite was such a classy lady. She was a fiery red-haired painter that smoked cigarettes like putting incense in a burner. Graceful whirling tufts of bluish grayish haze would rise above her head and linger while she worked. She was majestic as she sat there, a ballet dancer in the mist. Her best paintings were of flowers, not outside flowers, but inside flowers. They were glorious colors held in vases and on tables that you knew you shouldn’t touch. We were dutifully forewarned to be careful and behave. Occasionally, a petal would have fallen, a bloom was brown or out of place, but even then, somehow it was perfect.
There was the room my grandma painted in, the living room, and the room with the TV. After she had her stroke, she was always in the TV room. She never painted much again. She tried, but she was paralyzed on her right side. Had it only been her left, she could have painted ‘til she died. That may have given her some solace and a place to put her pain. Who knows the reason for such things, a way to make them fit? It seems unfair that we accept them? Why not hold onto injustice as a way to say we care? Yet what purpose would that serve, so we focus on what’s next. That being said, it never made sense to me like some things end up doing. She spent the remainder of her years with the TV smoking. She cried out loud when asked to quit.
My grandfather took good care of her and was in love until he died. They slept in the same bed unlike my other grandparents who never slept together. My Mom’s mom slept on a hide-a-bed in the TV room and my grandpa had a room of his own filled with model boats he built and watches he collected. He had drawers chock full of “green stamps.” He smoked Luckys like a chimney and in the literal sense. He used to stick his head inside the fireplace and blow smoke up out the top. I don’t think he ever used the stamps. They added up to something but I have no idea what. Both grandmas would talk back to the TV. My hide-a-bed grandma would laugh and slap her knee and my painter grandma would yell and scream and swear. She’d say words I hadn’t heard much, but I knew that they were bad. They had a spooky air around them like church air or like school. People held their breath and waited, until the moment left the room.
I used to ride my bike to see her in the summer. We would sit out on her patio. But when she had her stroke, I stopped going on my own. I didn’t understand and no one had explained it. The grandmother that I knew was gone. I didn’t know what to say, how to talk to her, so I never visited again. I saw her only on vacation, or on holidays if that. Only 2 things stayed the same, the boisterous way she voiced her opinions to the people on TV and her living room. Even after the stroke, my grandpa kept it up. It was completely white and flawless. The couch was huge and puffy. It looked cozy like a cloud you floated easily upon. Everything else was silver and gold... a castle made of glass and it was gorgeous.
We were not allowed to play in that room, much less sit on that couch-ever! Oddly enough, no matter what house they had, you had to pass through the living room in order to get to the other rooms, so we were tempted on the way. We did take a family picture on that comfy couch once, possibly the only one with my parents both together. It was luxurious and soft. I can’t imagine what a nap on it would do. It may have cured me of all ails and every disappointment… or been a place I could escape to where peace and safety reign. Maybe if I were royalty, or a bratty little heiress like we’ve seen somewhere in movies, I could boss them all around and do just what I wanted. I could jump and jump and jump, on that couch until I tired. I’d fall deep in it and sleep. I’d dream of houses made of pillows. I’d dream dreams that would come true.
At a point I don’t remember, all the furniture turned to plastic. It was covered up like death would protect itself from life. I doubt they ever entertained there, I’d be surprised to hear they did… that they sat there with martinis and talked important things. I’d wonder about the ashes since the adults I knew all smoked. But ironically the “living room”, never took on life. It was more of a museum, beautifully designed. My grandma was an artist, so a masterpiece of kind. I’m sure it was a fortune, even more so in hard times. Was it evidence to them that everything was fine, even if it wasn’t? Did it make them feel OK, feel accomplished, good enough? Was it a symbol of some status for those who came to call?
Or like china I don’t use, while I’m waiting for “the” day…the bath towels I leave hanging and soaps left in the dish. My dressy clothes in closets and champagne lost in the frig. The books I've put aside for later, the rainy day bedroom. The packages I’m hoarding, the things I’ll look at soon. The mail I’ve left unopened, the calls I mean to make. The list of things I haven't done, the words I haven’t said. What is it that I’m doing, what am I waiting for? Life is meant for living now, fun is meant for having now, and cake is meant for eating. Do what it is that feels good. Trust your heart to know. Honor Your Truth!
People are also like trees. We have a history. It is a long and winding road. We are strong. We can also bend in the wind. We can choose to see the glass half full. We can grow and change. We can Honor Our Truth!
I am never bored. There isn’t time for boredom. There isn’t time in general for all I want to do. A friend asked me what I would want if she won the lotto. I answered in a flash…time, if it only were for sale. Even amidst a painful event, when one might say “just give it some time”, I wouldn’t trade it in. I’ll just grin and bear it, thank you. Life goes by way too fast to rush any of it regardless of the circumstances. Ask someone with cancer. They'll tell you live like were dying. It's scary, but it's true.
There are many repercussions for being in too much of a hurry. We miss the little things. When our mind is fixed on where we are going, we aren’t fully where we are. We don’t remember lovely nuances, specific details because we are never really present. This kind of harried stupor leads to accidents, forgetfulness, and not to mention illness. I know I’ve said this once before “I hope that time will fly by quickly,” but now I wish it couldn’t. Times like waiting in a line, in an office, or in an airport I’d take back in a heartbeat if I knew that life was short. I wish I’d thought to just enjoy them.
I was grounded in the Denver airport, which is an airport you’d just assume never hang out in. Plan ahead if you’re passing through in winter ‘cuz it happens. I had a boyfriend who liked to ski. We would fly from Chicago to Denver, and then Denver to Aspen. When flying through the mountains, you can only hope your pilot has the benefit of eyesight and instruments. It’s a better situation all around. We had been sitting on our luggage for a good 3 or 4 hrs… not long enough to consider heading for a hotel, but way too long for comfort.
I was not complaining mind you. In fact, I considered the snow-in to be a blessing. Skiing with my boyfriend and his brothers was terrifying. They’d take me way up on the black runs and I’d crawl down hoping not to break something. One less day on the hills meant one less chance I’d wind up in a hospital. On the other hand, the more eager stranded travelers had started going nuts. Wildly flinging all their arms around and claiming rights to compensation. The powers that be finally warranted it safe enough to fly or just got tired of their whining.
I couldn’t see my boyfriends face when I turned to tell him I was scared. They’d be blind without their instruments in such foggy blowing snow. Yet I felt the push and shoving, as we climbed aboard the plane. No one seemed concerned as I, except to know the time we’d get there. There was some kind of air leak or God knows what. If you put a napkin down, it would blow to the rear of the plane. They set the drinks down really fast on the napkin until they abandoned beverage service all together due to bumpiness. Several times we dropped a trillion feet at once. You know its kinda bad when the flight attendant says, “If you’re hurt, raise your hand” and she did. I turned to my boyfriend and even he appeared afraid. We were the only flight to make it out that night.
The next day was a gorgeous sunny day. The snow glistened on the mountains. You could see every tree on every hilltop where its branches met the trunk. It was brisk and mighty clear enough to see your breath and those around you. Audible and visible sighs hung in the air from all of the relieved. The rest of his family arrived without a hitch, along with all the other travelers that were delayed the day before. A few hours later everything had changed and there was no need to force it. Tomorrows always coming, we can’t stop it if we try…so then, what’s the hurry. Yes I’d like to get there, wouldn’t everyone I’m sure. But at what expense do we allow? What sacrifices do we make? The flow knows not to worry. The flow knows only trust. And in the flow it all gets done as easily as it should. Honor Your Truth!
I showed up the first day of a performance class at the Art Institute and I felt like a weirdo. We all sat in a circle and the professor asked us to share a little bit about ourselves…always a personal nightmare for me. Circles with people I don’t know and being presented with the question, “let’s go around the circle and blah, blah, blah.” Once I was asked to state what animal I felt most like and why, then express myself as that animal, frickin’ horrifying. Anyway, I felt like I had no business being there. I was always told I would never be a “real artist.” There was always something wrong with whatever I created, be it art, music, whatever. It, I wasn’t good enough. Of course, I could do it as a “side thing”, a hobby, but that’s all I could ever expect it to be. Art school was considered “spinning your wheels” and wasn’t “real college.”
Everyone in the class was so cool, and me, well, I was a color coordinated freak. Everything I wore matched everything else. While it may work well as a table dressing, I was one fork short of a total nerd. As a result, I felt as I usually do, like there was something wrong with me. We were asked to keep a journal and to make matters worse, I enthusiastically blurt out, “I’ve always wanted to start a journal.” Duh! The room fell silent. Those willing to volunteer to do a performance the following week were asked to raise their hand. Although I didn’t have a firm grasp on what performance art was I raised my hand. I was attending another school and I was flunking out of boredom. I took this class; yep you got it, as a “side thing.” I didn’t really know what it was, but I knew I wanted to do it. To me, multi-media performance art meant combining all the things I loved doing into a thematic kind of little show. Perfect.
I did a lot of performance in that class. I was always volunteering, doing extra work. I loved it. I listened to critiques. I didn’t say much. I am a reclusive extrovert. I took some more classes and slowly, I started to get to know other students. I started hanging out with one girl in particular. She told me that the first day of class she thought to herself, “Who is she and what is she doing here, she doesn’t belong here, etc. however,” she said, “You are not at all like I thought you were.” She had been thinking all the negative things I feared others were thinking about me. I then realized all the lies I told myself so I could feel better, “I must be imagining things, people don’t think things like that, it’s all in my head, etc”. I had proof that I could read the minds of others though every book and therapist told me that I couldn’t. While initially what she said gave me comfort, I later understood its implications. I thought about high school and so on.
I must admit I have been wrong about a person, place or thing. It is my fear that colors and shades the way I see things. Like glasses can, depending on which ones you are wearing. There are many kinds. Perception is not only what I take in from all my senses, but it is also my understanding of it, what I decide the information means. How I put it all together is the result of my past experiences, present circumstances, culture, prior knowledge and biased opinions… any number of things which I may use to support even a gross misperception. “Is the glass half empty or half full?” shows just how people view the same thing differently. Do I see with fear or do I see with love? My initial reaction does not always constitute my perception. My perception does not always initially constitute the truth. The more in the present moment I can be, the more accurate my perceptions. The more connected I am to the voice within my heart, rather than the chatter in my head, the more truth I actually see. I can trust myself to know, so I can wait. The truth will always reveal itself to me. I Honor My Truth!
No one knows this like the gold digger. Pan after pan, hope after hope, kinda like pull tabs. I’m not judging, just saying, because if I was sitting there with a beer in my hand, I may pull like the best of them. However, I have never pulled a tab. I might even be saying it wrong, not using proper pull tab lingo. I didn’t even know they existed until recently. I can’t remember where I was, but they were in piles on tables all over the place. I was my usual doofus self and said, “are those coupons?” I don’t really know what one does with them. I would venture to say there are many things I am completely out-of-the-loop on.
I haven’t played the lotto much either, maybe 3 or 4 times. Frankly, I was thinking about this and it might not necessarily be something to brag about. What does it mean when I can’t even fantasize ever winning? My mom did always say “We are a family that is not meant to have money.” She repeatedly implied that if we did, it would be nothing but trouble. If we had any money above and beyond the bare minimum, we'd all be dead, crazy, stupid or otherwise. Interestingly enough, all of us are at best making ends meet, some are really struggling. My Dad at 76 is still waiting for his “ship to come in” and my mom is still rolling her eyebrows. Now odds are I won’t win the lotto. It is probably not in my best interest to live my life as if it’s only a matter of time, so let me just go ahead and kick it on the couch with a bag of chips. On the other hand, it still might be interesting to reflect upon why I don’t ponder the possibility... imagine what it would be like, if only for a moment.
Nevertheless, I have made some progress. I used to say, “I never win anything,” whenever the conversation called for a response of that nature. I do have a sister that says she never wins anything and when challenged, would argue her case with certainty. Yet even with this negative mindset, she often does win… money, prizes, games, etc. You definitely want to bring her to the fair. It appears to work just fine for her. But I saw “The Secret.” I know thoughts have energy. I know about the power of intention. Although in addition to envisioning, I lean even more towards the idea that, “if you build it, he will come.” The smallest bit of action is where the real power lies. It affirms that I believe the thought and therefore, adds more oomph. Meaning, not only do I focus my attention on that which I want, I begin to take the steps towards it. I must build the bridge that spans the gap between where I am and where I need to be in order to receive what I desire. It may be a physical bridge; it may also be emotional, spiritual. Regardless, I must begin to act. So if winning the lottery was my dream, for starters I must buy a ticket. Because of course it is true, you gotta play to win.
I must be fluid. What might look like something I desire might be something different all together when I get closer. My perception can color a thing. With more information, my perception can change. I see further when I get there. As a kid, we would comb the coast of Oregon, hunting for rocks and shells. Sometimes a beautiful shiny colored thing would pop up at you. You’d reach to grab it, and discover it was neither rock, nor shell…but green glass from a bottle. I love the color green and I love those little glass pieces softened by the water. I imagine they come from someone’s love note in the sea. The note’s been found and the eager lover left the bottle in the sand. What means nothing to some, might mean everything to others. What looks like “gold”, might not be. What looks like only shiny rock, may actually be “gold”. I might find that I don’t want the “gold” when I get it or think I don’t want it when I do. I can’t get too far ahead of myself. My mind may be miles away from my spirit. It’s best I keep it all together in the present. Presence, patience, calm consistency, more will always be revealed. I Honor My Truth!