Into The Looking Glass

How many times do you look in the mirror each day? Ever counted? Now how many of those times do you actually take the time to look at yourself? Not to count gray hairs, not to tweeze an eyebrow straight, not to make sure you brushed breakfast out of your teeth. I’m talking about really seeing the true you. Most people don’t like to look that deep. They don’t always like what they see.

I’m finding a new appreciation for the mirror. I’ve been looking lately. I’ve seen things I do not like. I’ve seen all the emotional baggage I picked up from my mother, and my ex. We all carry that stuff around with us. Sometimes we don’t realize just how much of it there is or how it weighs us down. It makes us look and feel old and worn out, sucking the life right out of us. Once you look at it and recognize it for what it is, you can start to shed that baggage. It’s not easy. You have to admit what the problem was before you can let go of it. That means we have to forgive the ones who have hurt us, even it means forgiving ourselves.

It takes a lot of courage to look into that mirror. Sometimes we need the help of a friend to build up the nerve for that first peek. You need a friend who truly understands you even when you don’t understand yourself. I’ve always been the friend who can be brutally honest and still love you enough to help you through the crisis. I was lucky enough to have a friend to do that for me. Since she forced me to confront my demons, I am at least 5 times stronger than I was. But I still have many issues to work on. For instance, I haven’t actually seen my ex since we split. I know I will probably go all to hell the first time I do see him. But I’ll be damned if I’ll let him see it happen. It’s not so much that I still have feelings for him. I do still care about him; it’s hard not to after 14 years together. It’s like grief. What I thought I had is dead now. I’m still dealing with that grief even though most of what I thought I had has turned out to be a lie. That kind of baggage is hard to let go of. It hurts. It’s raw and bloody and it hurts enough to drive you mad.

But I have learned that I am not that person anymore. I am no longer the scared, dependent little wallflower my mother raised me to be. I have worked hard on forgiving my mother for that. I have worked hard on forgiving myself for not knowing how to stand up to her. I’m still working on forgiving the ex.

I am seeing things in my mirror that I love now. I love the passion in my eyes, the fire and strength. I love the weird and often perverted sense of humor. I love how my outside is starting to match my inside. I’m slowly chipping away at the façade that overshadowed the real me. Yes I still have a long way to go. But I have travelled miles and miles from who I used to be. I now see a creative, vibrant woman who cares deeply and laughs often. I’m learning to take risks that I never would have considered before. I’m no longer dodging the small mirrors in restrooms. I’m standing in front of a cheval in a mahogany frame deciding what to wear for my next adventure.

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Distractions

How well do you stay focused? Can you multi-task or do you have to do one thing at a time? What distracts you? The kids, the dog, phone calls? These are small distractions, easily dealt with. I’m talking about the big distractions. Things you simply can not ignore. A child’s laughter, a friend’s tears, the sound of your lover’s voice. These are things that stir the soul, things you can’t turn away from no matter how hard you try.

Sometimes we need the big distractions, just like sleep. We get so tied down to the daily grind that we can’t focus on what’s happening inside us or around us. Sleep allows us to subconsciously work through our issues in our dreams. Distractions do basically the same thing. Every now and then we just need to focus on something different, to block out whatever pain or stress is making us miserable. Then when we go back to that issue, we realize it’s not as stressful or painful as we thought. We can look at the situation more objectively and see how to work through or around the obstacles. Or we may realize that we’ve gotten over that pain that seemed to consume us.

I have learned to appreciate these distractions. Learning from the experiences we have is how we grow. I have a lot to learn still. And I look forward to the journey, no matter how happy or sad, how painful or pleasurable, how stressful or joyous it happens to be. I’m making new friends, trying new things, finding new distractions. I hope everyone tags along for the ride.

Convenience

Ever have a conversation with yourself? Anyone see you do it? Got a lot of funny looks didn’t you? Sometimes it’s not easy to have a conversation with just one person. Even the most solitary of people sometimes need the contact of another person. Conversations, like relationships, take some effort. They are not always convenient. Getting a loaf of bread at the gas station is convenient.

Relationships are not supposed to be convenient. They require effort on both sides. It makes no difference what kind of relationship it is, you still have to work at it to make it work. Even online relationships take effort from everyone involved. Effort and honesty are essential to any relationship, online or in person.

It’s not a game of ‘kinda.’ You can’t be kinda pregnant. I can’t kinda be your friend. If I’m your friend, guess what? You might as well be here for dinner everynight because my friends are my family. I have friends I love more than some of my relatives. But I also have friends who vex me to no end. One of my oldest girlfriends, who was my bridesmaid, I haven’t heard from in almost 6 months. I’ve known her for almost 20 years. Another girlfriend I’ve known just as long hasn’t spoken to me in over 2 years. It’s hard to be someone’s friend when they won’t talk to you.

You can’t be someone’s friend when it’s convenient. A friend is not just a booty call. Don’t be my friend just when it suits you. A real friend is there anytime you need them. Whether it’s an important issue or just to shoot the breeze, a friend is always available. We all know that life happens. But we can’t get so caught up in our own little realities that we ignore those around us who care about us. We all need to feel needed and appreciated. We all want to feel loved and respected. We all need that contact with someone else, be it physical, mental or emotional. I don’t ask more from my friends than I’m willing to give. Even if you don’t think I can help with whatever has put a burr up your ass, call me. Even if it’s not the most convenient time for me, I’m still available for that conversation. You never know. I just might be the answer you’re looking for.

stormy weather

I’m sipping hot tea, listening to the radio. The house is quiet. It’s not often I get the house to myself. Makes for a good opportunity to write. I have four stories I’m working on right now. But the knot in my shoulder keeps distracting me. Too much stress from the day job. It doesn’t help that my hormones didn’t get the memo about getting dumped for an older woman. And yesterday was the one year anniversary of my father’s death.
All around, it’s been a stressful week. If I owned a gun, I’d go shoot something. Maybe I’ll find a Schwarzenegger movie and watch stuff blow up. That usually helps. Or I could go to bed early and hope I sleep more than four hours. I need a drink, among other things. Guess I shouldn’t have tried working on the erotic short story. I’ll stop grousing now. Hope the weekend goes quickly.

Cravings

What do you crave? What one thing can you not live without once it crosses your mind? Is it a milkshake? A song you just have to hear? Crawling into that college sweatshirt you just can’t bring yourself to throw away?

Cravings and desires are important. They are signals to what is vital to us, and what is dangerous for us. The things we are passionate about do not define us, necessarily. But they do paint a picture.

My picture is changing. The colors are becoming more vibrant, bolder. I’ve been the introverted nerd for so long it feels strange to see in such rich colors. Being passionate about things is something I’m still getting used to.

I’m discovering that my cravings are changing. Some things are still on my list, but there are some new things, too.

So what cravings are on my list? Let’s see:
Music I can sing along with
Cooking dinner for family and friends
The scent of fresh laundry
Wind in my hair as I drive too fast
Words, all words, written and otherwise
Honesty from the people I care about
A sexy voice in my ear
A caress from someone who understands me
Laughter and joy and passion

I don’t think I could live without these things. Some things are easier to acquire than others. The harder it is to achieve some things, the more you appreciate them when you get them. However, you have to be careful not to hold on too tightly. If we are meant to have these things that vex us so, they will come to us when the time is right. That doesn’t make the desire any less. I keep seeing the Corvette I want and can’t have right now. But I know I will appreciate it more when I do get it. I’ve already found the perfect heels to wear when I drive it.

Unwritten

Unwritten. What does it mean to be unwritten? Words not dripping onto the page? The muse not paying attention to pleas for help? Playing mahjong online instead of writing? Life can be unwritten, unplanned, unscripted. I often hear writers say they let their characters lead them through the story, only vaguely following a sketchy outline. We can be unwritten as people, too.

People who know me know I’m in the process of ending a 13 year marriage. I went from my parents to my husband. No time to find myself in there. In that respect, I am unwritten.

In the months since the breakup, I have written more journal entries than I did the entire time I was in high school. I have also meditated and had lots of long conversations with people who love me for who I really am.

I’m just now learning who that person is. I like the feel of rain on my face. I love to sing. I’m writing more and I’m actually happy with what’s on the page. I don’t need anyone’s approval. I do want people’s opinions. I can have friends who are hundreds or thousands of miles away and still love them for the true friends they are. I am smart, funny, quick with a helping hand. I love one-liners and good comebacks. I play poker and don’t drink sissy drinks. I love football and MMA and boxing.

People who ‘knew me when’ tell me I’m like a different person. I carry myself differently and smile a lot more. I’m happy with the gray in my hair. I don’t stress over little things. I’m learning what I can control and what I have to trust to God. I love my own idiosyncrasies. I’m learning to release inhibitions that were never mine to start with. I have a wicked sense of humor. I love double entendres and dirty jokes. I’m comfortable with myself for the first time in my life.

Hopefully I won’t intimidate people. I’ve been told I do that. I truly find it weird that anyone would be intimidated by me. Regardless to how smart or straightforward I am, I hope I am approachable. I’m finding the best version of me. It’s starting out to be very interesting. I think it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

So for now, I will drench myself in words. I will feel the rain on my skin. I will gladly share the words on my lips. I am no longer unwritten.