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August 23, 2013

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We impose rules on relationships because the limits give us an apparent control over our feelings and actions inside our unions. We feel more powerful when we maintain a hold on what we believe we can accept.
The truth is when we confine what we see as moral, or normal, or socially acceptable into a safe, defined space, we actually lose our power. We lose opportunity. We get small. The most powerful people love without pause, or reservation, as much as they can. They give hearts without preconceptions of how relationships should look, be carried out, or behave.
Love is not meant to be monitored, only given. Love as much as you can. Open your heart to a myriad of possibilities. Feel the power.

Bend July 17, 2013

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We do not mind being “seen” when we are happy. When life is in a sunshine spot-new love, big raise, plateau breakthrough, illness at bay, or just the first warm day after a long winter-we smile, we bounce, we put our feet and hands and hips and head right into the middle of Hokey Pokey days.

But in times of brokenness, upheaval, when outlooks dim, we prefer to remain unseen. Hiding our weaknesses, our imperfections, or yes, even our secrets is much more comfortable than admitting we may need help, we may need to cry, we may not always be that face we show to the world. 

Silly really, because none of us escape the down slides of life; none of us can be at peace always or completely; we all fail, practice, learn, fail again at many an endeavor before we make a mastery of it. In fact, we could manage better with a little boost, a friend on our team, in our corner, or at least a tissue and tea, kind words for our grief.

 When we lose the fear, expose ourselves on all sides, we become more likable, approachable, level headed, less critical, easier to like, even love, because we give everyone around us permission to unburden, unmask, and finally bend. It is the bending, after all, that keeps us from breaking.

Lucky Gal July 17, 2013

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I am lucky to be so strong, so without need, so able to bounce…back
I tackle struggle like washing my hair, every other day.
I take insecurity with my daily meds.
I wander though, unanchored by my relationships; I wonder…
Why does strength always hold hands with loneliness?
Where is everyone?
How wonderful for them that they function, decide, really live, even fully, without me.
I chant “I do not need” like a mantra until my brain holds it true.
Because you will never need me, I am determined to not ever need you…
too.

Real Love…….really? December 30, 2012

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It is when we look backwards, that most desirable gift of hindsight, that we find love, or at least recognize the signs. I first loved as a child loves, fully trusting, fully dependent, fully focused on fulfilling my needs, and being completely in love with the person who provides.  It is here that love stops for some; even as adults, they need care taking, their wants satisfied, taking, not giving, to feel adored, complete, and finally loved.

Then most move on to “crush”, first love, puppy love when we forget our own needs and spend all our time and energy pleasing the other person, hoping, manipulating, forcing them to love us, to give us value; it is often during this time that we learn quickly as females to give our bodies… and we imagine this is the super glue, the loan, the gift-that-cannot-be-repaid-nor-duplicated that will keep love alive.

Then we finally figure out who we are, our priorities, discover a self so inside that invitation only is mandatory. The closer one gets to their truth, the closer their love becomes honesty…and the closer we become to ourselves, the closer we can be to another.

It is risky. It is like going from Monopoly money to one’s life savings. The ante rises as we go from necessity, dependence to trust and invitation. It is a simple equation: the self gets bigger, the love gets bigger; the self gets honest, the love gets honest.

And so it is with him. I have grown into real love. I have grown into him. And nothing, NOTHING in my world is the same. I risk, I pray, I invite, and I give; not for him, but with him.

Falling December 19, 2012

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Funny how we call it “falling in love.” . We never say we are leaping into love, melting into love, elating, skipping…launching into love.  We use “falling” as if it signifies a mistake, a misstep, a trip on the sidewalk in the path of living, and so we skin a knee, break a bone, break a heart. Falling? The word implies you will be damaged. Falling lacks control, indicates something not yet mastered, and by its very definition of action, will eventually require a landing, a grounding ungraceful and jolting, an eventual dose of consequence and reality. Scary.

Or maybe, please, maybe, we call it falling because, at its best, it is unexpected, jarring, quick, and void of a safety net. Perhaps falling in love is more like a free fall, a strap-on-the-parachute-and-risk-the-mishap, exhilarating, beautiful, look-at-me push into the unknown. And the view? Well, from up here, it is the the whole, fantastic, worth-everything vista that straightens priorities, keeps you staring in awe, and presents all the world as a makes-sense place.

When We’re Ready December 8, 2012

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We play, when we should be a fan. We join, when we should stand aside.  We listen, when we should yell. We crumble, right when we need to be strong. We love, when we should walk away. I finally, about damn time, understand why. We spend so much time looking outward…at our parents, our peers, our news, our trashy TV.

“If I could only….” or “I want to be like….”. We cannot look in, inward, to where we become, to where we need to be, to where we should be running. Then someone comes along, and we swear we know them, understand them, are like them. Do they complete us? No. They are just like us. And they do not show us all the “shoulds”, they do not drown us in regret, they do not chastise us for not looking for so long.

We fall into open arms, finished sentences, full silences, and a yearning so great that, unready, would rip us in two. Instead, it drives us forward, welcomes us as we are, and begs us to stay beyond time or boundary. We cannot even look away, much less walk away.

Thank you…for somehow knowing when I’d be ready.

Damn Feelings November 27, 2012

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Emotions….we refer to them as “feelings”. When feelings get hurt, we say we are “sensitive”. It is all assumed to be metaphorical, but I believe we manifest emotions in very physical ways. (There is a zing that zips down my torso and back up to my mouth during a really good kiss, or the ice ball I feel high in my stomach when dread comes…). I sat with some pain this weekend and  felt heartache. Now, it was obviously not really the muscle that hurt, but I had a squeezing pain that sat at the base of my sternum and reached sideways around my ribs and back again. Okay, say it…”so what?” But I learned something. We can work with physical pain, manage it, talk it down, breath through it; we have something tangible to tackle and we can see logical steps to a desired end. This is not always so clear for emotional states. So my goal is this: whatever comes, feel it….ride it…stretch it, massage it, warm it; take the steps just as if it were a diagnostic. It may do nothing but buy time to gain perspective, but that may be all we need.

Oh, so easy…..
But really, feeling life is living it. I would rather be in the game than on the sidelines, and pain will always be present, but thankfully, only recognizable against the backdrop of pleasure.

The Pedestal November 11, 2012

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“Do not place me too high on the pedestal; I may be unable to stay.” We are afraid to disappoint those who are brave enough to love us. We want them to love us right where we are, for who we really are, flaws and all the dirty underbellies that come with an honest union.

However, I have noticed a pattern in successful relationships, whether they exist between parents, children, friends, more-than-friends, mentors, or a hundred other combinations. We hang on to the pedestal. We idolize just enough so we are not foolish, but pleasantly captivated. A parent loves the child without regard to physical appearance, scholastic ability, desirable behavior, wit, or soul. The fifty year-long marriage is made remarkable by the gentleman who still sees his beautiful bride. Lifelong friends manage to lift one another to places we cannot reach alone. Love does not only see the good, but it  always see the good, even if it has to move past a shadow to get there.

The mystical pedestal makes room for unending forgiveness, physical desire, the silver lining, the strength to wait for the storm to pass and to believe in forever. No, we are not, cannot be perfect, but if we see one another as a little more lovely, a bit more clever, or more deserving than we believe ourselves to be, let us keep our relationships on the pedestal. They look amazing up there; perfect…for each of us.

The price of a stage presence October 30, 2012

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Many times we find ourselves pretending our way through life…oh, if we could only get paid for all those convincing performances! We use our manners, step aside, keep silent, please our parents, teachers, mothers, friends. This “faking our way” is easy, nice and smooth, up front, but the results can be scary. The drama manifests itself as resentment, depression, tension, regret, even illness.

On the other end of the spectrum lies living in truth, meeting life head on with brazen honesty. This way of relating to our surroundings is intimidating, even terrifying in the beginning, but the results? So very rewarding. We gain confidence every time we demonstrate vulnerability and are loved anyway; we gain credibility every time we tell a difficult truth; we put others at ease every time we throw up our hands and forget our manners when life gets crazy; we build ourselves up every time we accept who we really are, faults included and give those we love permission to do the same.

It is true…down “the road less traveled” lie infinite rewards. Go there and see.

Invisibility October 25, 2012

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Seems most people fear invisibility. They want to be noticed…. for their looks, promotions, children’s accomplishments, cleverness, courage, altruism. If recognition does not come naturally, well, that is okay because they can pin it, Facebook it, tweet it, scrapbook it, or blog it.There is a tightrope dance that teeters between “I am putting on my pajamas early tonight” (who gives a damn?) and “here is what chemotherapy meltdown looks like, really” (wow, how can anyone be so bravely honest?).

For some, including myself, the biggest fears lie in being seen. I have spent a few dozen years trying to blend in, fit in, stay in, melt in…even right into the walls. I have stood in the back row despite my petite frame, avoided cameras like the flash will make my skin dissolve off my face, worn little or no make up, even starved myself to seventy-two pounds so I could slowly fade away. I suppose some are naturally shy, and others, like myself, have been beaten metaphorically into submission through belittling, shame, and outright verbal abuse. The results are similar: my straight A’s were not A pluses, my breasts were too small to be sexy, college was too scary without alcohol and drugs to ease the tension, the awards were too easily obtained to be meaningful, my experiences were not worthy of an audience.

Then, in the span of a few months, I ran into some coaches, some blogs, some authors who all seemed to be gathering and telling me to speak.  People came into my life that appreciated my wit, my insanely smart ass sense of humor, my tiny frame, the way I moved, my sense of fairness, and my willingness to be truthful and watch the chips fall. In short, they love me…not the potential me, not the polite me, not the “I must act this way in public” me. They love the woman who wears sweat pants too often, then slides into something bordering on “please do not let my mother wear that” in nature. They love that I can shop in the girls and junior departments for clothes and shoes, but swear ferociously even in everyday conversation. They let me be quiet, they read my long emails, wipe my tears.

I am no longer shopping in the men’s section, hoping the fabric will not touch my skin and show its shape. I am no longer quiet when I am angry or hurt. I smile for the camera, enjoy and surrender a body I once tried to destroy, I write my heart out, I tell my mother off, I voice my sometimes unpopular opinions, I dance in my living room and forget to shut the blinds. I am visible.