Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Things That Get Trapped in the Tar

Walking in to work every day, I cross a busy street.  I look down a lot when I walk it seems and am paid to notice stuff.  In the tar of that street, I have noticed that things collect.  A penny, a pair of sunglass frames, a large washer. 

I grew up on the leading edge of sprawl in a suburban '60's house on a reclaimed pig farm.  Every house that broke ground was an olfactory insult.  Our house was the first in our subdivision.  Oh, these weren't the tract houses of today that get vomited out overnight at the expense of every tree and green thing.  At this point, a house was still a point of pride for the builder and less about profit margin.  It had real plaster walls and was solid enough to withstand being struck by lightning.  In that neighborhood, concrete joins were sealed with tar. 

Summers there were slow.  No school.  Pickle.  Swinging Statues.  Barefeet.  Red Rover and lightning bugs in an old mayonaise jar.  Flying down Rossford hill on my bike.  Jumping through lawn sprinklers and sitting on the curb popping bubbles that the heat made in the tar.  It should have been perfect.

It wasn't finished when we moved in. My dad finished the entire upstairs including a sprawling dormitory room, a full bath, a small office, and a master bedroom with built in cabinets and tons of storage. It was a glorious space, but one that still makes anger and fear creep over my heart. I hated that house and what happened there.  I hate the way it broke me.  I hate that it silenced me for most of my life.  Like one of those sabre-tooth tigers they found in La Brea, part of me got trapped in the tar of that house.  The wild part.  The innocent part.  The strong part.  The best part.

Things that Collect in the Tar

An old penny
twisted aviator frames
a large washer
a busted pen

lightning bugs in mayonaise jars
spent ammo from a berry war
children laughing
relentless sunshine

cracked heart
twisted memories
spent innocence
busted dreams

I sit quietly and
pop the rising bubbles
I release them

Friday, July 19, 2013

Read the Signs

I had to run an emergency errand this morning - gift and potlucky thing for a retirement party at work.  On my way to work, I passed a throng of kids, each walking with their buddy, holding hands, grownup in the front and bringing up the rear.  Guessing it was a field trip of sorts.  Anyway, the kids were walking along a fairly busy road.  All were pulling their imaginary air horns and trying to get the motorists to honk as they drove by.  No one did. 

I laid on the horn and jubilation exploded on the sidewalk.  There's nothing quite like the jubilation of a five year old.  After that I heard them receive many more horns.  Each time ecstatic dancing broke out.  I had to smile.  Who doesn't love a good horning?  It's such a better way to use that particular feature than I generally do. 

As I drove to work, I wondered why no one else had honked.  Did they not recognize the universal gesture for Honk Your Horn?  Were they just not paying attention? 

Either way it was a reward paid out just to me for paying attention, reading the signs and acting.  It was a pretty fucking fantastic reward actually. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What Happens at the Nail Salon...

I got my nails done yesterday, part of the save-me-from-killing-someone therapy.  Nothing special.  Just the usual.  An hour in which to pamper myself and turn the phone off. 

While they were drying, a woman sat down opposite me.  She was older.  Her face both smooth and wrinkled in a way that absolutely fascinated me.  Her energy was palpable across the nail dryers.  Sweet.  Nurturing.  Mama.  She struck up a conversation and I couldn't help but stare enchanted by this being.  She grew in beauty as our conversation progressed.  About 15 minutes into the conversation, she sheepishly admitted that she had left her teeth at home.  Only then did I notice that she had no teeth.  But she was still just radiant to me.  I told her as much and she smiled.  I smiled back.  It was a secret exchange between two pixies masquerading as old women. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Bear & Peacock

If you had asked me, I might have told you that I see peacock energy as mean spirited and beautiful but in a vain way.  The mean girl equivalent of energies.

Yesterday I was encouraged to look a bit deeper when a peacock appeared randomly sitting on a headstone in Cave Hill Cemetery and then much later I happened across a headstone with the name Mary Peacock.  OUCH!  Spirit doesn't get more direct than that.  So, today, I'm trying to tease out what that might have meant without getting all airy fairy and over interpreting what might have been a coincidence.  But wasn't.  (I mean how many times do you see a peacock anywhere outside the zoo?  How many people do you know named peacock outside the game of Clue?)

I am the least peacock-y person I know.  I don't care about my clothes as long as they are clean and fit reasonably well.  I hate them when they are tight or reveal too much or they are made out of strange fancy fabrics that wrinkle and require special care.  I don't really dig wearing make-up.  I don't think I look any better for all the tricks and artifice.  Nor do I feel better wearing it.  I feel completely fake, like an overly waxed and shiny used car with a bad oil leak.  I don't fuss with my hair and am pretty much a wash-n-go kinda girl.  What you see is what you get.  Perhaps there's been a little slide in this area of my life.  Not a big one mind you.  Certainly not big enough for peacocks in cemeteries.

The peacock on the headstone sat there in the rain, bedraggled and missing quite a few of his tail feathers.  The word that came to mind was beaten down.  THAT feels like me these days.  Beaten down by a job I don't love anymore.  Hell some days I hate it.  Beaten down by caring for an aging parent with Alzheimer's and the ever smaller loop of her thinking.  Surrounded by crazy drama and irrationality on all sides, I am sinking.  Bedraggled just like that damn peacock.

But still, the peacock had the energy to jump up onto the headstone rather than sit in the mud.  And when I sit with him, I feel like he is a message to my inner peacock to not give up.  The sun will come out again soon.  I definitely have an inner peacock.  The energy that helps me know that I am beautiful from the inside out, most beautiful when I am just being me.  The inner peacock making the outer show unnecessary.  My inner peacock could definitely use some shoring up.  I am not being me, my tank is so low that I am constantly tired and irritable, lashing out, and having problems with my boundaries.  BAD problems with my boundaries.

I have talked about the boundary thing and why they were lacking in my life in other posts, so I won't rehash it here.  Boundaries are a very recent acquisition for me - recent as in sometime in my 40's.  Before that, they did not exist.  Not at all.  I did everything that was asked of me and spent my entire life trying to origami myself into shapes pleasing to those around me.  Shapes I instinctively hated.  I was never angry at myself for throwing everything aside to become this other thing.  My life hinged on maintaining the fakery.  No, I lashed out instead at the person who seemed to make the demand that I be, do, say, think certain things.  Relationships failed.  Friends moved on.  Even family became tarnished.

I don't know how or when those things changed.  There was no a-ha, born again moment I can point my finger at.  It was more a gradual thing, with soft edges and low tidal changes.  I shed those personas and people either adapted to those changes or moved on.  I got OK with that too.  I knew that when I was Velveteen rabbit real, those around me would be too.

When I hit the goggles looking for images of
peacock or bear for the post,
I never expected to find something like this.
Isn't it absolutely charming?
More here
So how did the girl approaching asymptotic realness fall off her line?  She allowed the folding to start up again.  New job, new co-workers, new pressures.  Good daughter, compassionate caretaker, unselfish child.  Allowed the folding until I am once again angry and unhappy.  Grateful for rain and cemetery peacocks to help me realize how far off the line I have drifted.  Time to push my little coracle back into my own river.

So what about the bears?

I did a journey the other night asking for help.  A certain hawt-as-hell Viking vamp called me over to him, pointed at something tiny and black just lying on the ground unmoving.  "I can't pick it up.  It belongs to you" was all he said.  I scooped the small form up.  It was neither limp nor rigid.  It was alive but barely.  The outer covering felt like the cheap velvety felt that covered a bank I had had as a child.  I turned it over to see if it might be the bank and found it was the tiniest of black bears, barely the size of my palm.  I was instructed to carry it with me from now on, which I did, I do.  It has grown much over the past few days.  The coat is more true velvet and less the slubbed velvet it was when I picked it up.  It scratches at my liver.  One day it will scratch through and insert itself back inside me where it belongs.  Until then, I will continue to nurture this little piece of myself.

Mean Girls Are Never Pretty

Mom's sojourn in Memory Care ended when she could no longer stand and became what they term a 2-assist.  She transitioned to Skilled C...