Quiet like the dawn crashing upon the rocky shore of darkness.
Full of noise, full of life. A roar of silence.
Too loud to speak.
In all things I am.
I exist. Sentient.
Feeling, knowing, being. Thunderous. Mute.
Heaving towards stillness, the permanent precipice, the denouement.
Beauty in knowing acceptance. Birthing terminus.
The rocky shore of darkness as the light creeps quietly away.
Waiting to be reborn.
Me, spewing my bad poetry on an unsuspecting readership. It had to be done. Sorry all. Just one of those days/nights.
Today is a day for contemplation, and for many it is filled with a deep sense of loss. Rightly so. And not just for the losses that occurred 11 years ago in the U.S. but for the losses 39 years ago in Chile.
Today I chose to focus on all the blessings we have. The love of family. The gift that is Lily-Ann. Our wonderful animal family members. The home we have had for nine years now. My husband, and all that he does for us. The fact that I am able to make my way through life as a photographer and advocate. That we live somewhere that anyone I love is free to love whom they love without persecution. The many friends, though some are far away, who care so deeply for us. Our many communities that we are a part of, both irl and online. And these are just the tip of the iceberg.
Things may not be perfect but we are so very, very blessed. No… we must not forget the travesties this world has faced, and not just on 9/11, as they have shaped our lives in so many ways. However, to dwell on all the horrible things man has done does nothing to honor all the good that has also been done. And I will always choose to focus on the love, the honor, the heroism, the bravery, and the many incredible things our species has done. I do so with hope, because I refuse to despair for our future while lamenting the past. I believe in our children, and I believe they will lead us to a life filled with love and promise.
Today is a day for contemplation. So I have, and will continue to think on our world and the world our children will find themselves in. But I will do so with hope. If nothing else, days like today, have taught us love.
I’ll be honest, my brain has been swimming today. So many possibilities to consider, so many opportunities on the horizon, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Once I’m able to get a few things nailed down, and have made some decisions I’ll feel a lot better. But for now, I’m a little scattered and unfocused – which isn’t great for writing.
I really do wish I could share some of this with you. My blog is often times a way for me to unload, and I do use it (and you) as a sounding board when I’m working through things. But this time, I feel the need to hold back… at least until I make some precursory decisions. There will either be some major changes coming up in my life, or things will continue pretty much as they are with some minor changes.
Opportunities can be a difficult thing. Some require a leap of faith, while others require you to jump through hoops… either way there’s a lot of action. And possibly the most difficult thing can be choosing between multiple opportunities that come up at once. That’s what I’m doing now.
While I may not have much worked out just yet, I do know one thing: Whatever path I choose, I won’t change. I will still make decisions based on joy and love. After all, what’s the point of following our passions if they don’t include those two things?
That seems to be the one thing that has always remained the same for me… a passion for joy and love. I’m a very diverse individual, I wear a lot of hats. There are a lot of things that give me purpose, and a multitude of things I could find happiness doing. I don’t fit easily into a neat and tidy little box, and I’m totally cool with that. In all things, my passions seem driven by joy and love. And as long as you can find those two things in whatever you do, you can find peace doing just about anything.
Hows that for a long winded diatribe about, well… nothing. LOL
It’s no secret that I’m body positive. I think we should love and celebrate ourselves as we are. Fat, scrawny, or anything in between… Love yourself!
Of course, loving yourself doesn’t have to mean you love all your parts equally, and it doesn’t mean you have an unhealthy, romanticized view of yourself, it means that you accept yourself as you are. You can have parts you don’t adore (heck, if I could get rid of these “wings” quickly and easily, I would) but you can still celebrate and love yourself for who you are without focusing on some other persons view of who you “SHOULD” be. We need to be gentle with ourselves, and treat ourselves with kindness and love.
Recently I was talking with someone and was trying to celebrate with them on a weightless goal… This individual told me how they’d been several hundred pounds in their teens, and how even though they just celebrated losing another thirty pounds (and are, by many standards, very thin) they are still trying to lose more. When I asked why they were determined to lose even more weight, they explained how awesome it felt to go into stores to buy clothes and have things fit.
I’ll be honest, I felt this weird twinge of twisted self conscious, body awareness – like way back when I suffered from low self esteem and worried constantly about what others thought of me to the point where my assumptions about their views became how I defined myself. And this flash of “what must they think of me???” crossed my mind. It was very fleeting, but I felt it none the less. Looking back, I’m ashamed that it ever entered my consciousness… But it did.
Now as I look back on our conversation I truly feel sadness, not for that brief flicker of self doubt, but for this individual who at our age has such a warped sense of self. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be young, fragile, and to hate your body so very very much…. to the point where it makes you hate yourself. Then to have it further compounded by the inability to buy clothes at the teen trend stores… and to still be dealing with those same feelings of inadequacy now.
That high from dropping weight and the reward of buying new clothes from a favourite store or designer is huge… But when it gets to the point where it becomes an obsession, like any obsession, it can be dangerous and unhealthy. When are we going to learn to love ourselves? To accept our bodies and our many fabulous flaws?
I mentioned that I’d change my “wings” if I could. I love my body. I love my rolls, and my belly button that looks like an upward pointing arrow, my stretch marks…. My body is proof that I have lived and lived well. I have rocked this body, and I love the stories it has to tell. And while yes, if there was a fast, easy, healthy, and effective way to tame my wings (those hanging bits of skin under my upper arms) I’d do it, but I certainly don’t obsess on them. In fact, I rarely think of them at all, and when I do, they certainly don’t make me hate myself – ANY part of myself.
We really do need to learn to love ourselves, regardless of our shape. Embrace yourself. Treasure yourself. Honor yourself. Celebrate yourself. No matter your size or shape, treat yourself like the incredible being you are! Sure, there may be something you’d change if given the opportunity, but let that something be about YOU and not some seriously demented standard of beauty the media shoves on you. Shower yourself with love and affection!
For those of you still holding a mirror up to the world in search of your own personal self worth? Love yourself first. Know that you are amazing. Others will follow your lead.
The thing we say to our children now, will impact them for the rest of their lives. Lily-Ann is five now, but one day she’ll be thirty-five and she’ll hear my words reverberate through her mind. What I say to her today will one day become her inner dialogue. It’s a scary and weighty thing.
The one thing I find myself saying, that I try to catch myself on before it slips out, is “How old are you?” in a rather shaming tone. If she’s acting like a nincompoop, using baby talk, whining, or feigning that something is just too hard (when I’ve seen her do it dozens, if not hundreds, of times before) I’ll ask her how old she is. If I catch myself after the fact? I try to goofy it up a bit by wrinkling up my nose and saying in a goofy tone “Are you two? No… you’re three. No, wait, that’s not right…” I hate the idea that my frustrated “how old are you” may one day be what she hears in her head when she feels needy or stressed.
It’s a heavy thing, knowing the small things we say or do – sometimes out of frustration or exhaustion – may one day shape our children’s inner dialogues. I do my best to fill her mind with things like “if you work hard enough, you can do anything” or “be gentle to yourself”… but I’m only human, and, well… chances are I’ll still mess her up.
Being broken is part of the human condition. But I’m doing my best to shape my daughter’s view of herself into something positive. She is strong, she is capable, she is utterly fabulous, and she is deeply and truly loved – THAT is what I want her to remember when she feels weak, when she feels tired, when she feels broken.
There are few things as truly good for the soul as dark rich soil and all the life contained within. Of course, there are few things as jarring for the body as cultivating a yard gone to meadow and then planting said yard with perennials. So while my mind and heart sing out a blissful YES, my body wimpers, sobs, and groans in protest – but it’s worth it.
One of the greatest tools for ripping apart the surface of a yard yet to become garden is the Garden Claw. And for my parent’s purchase of said tool years ago I am grateful. It takes some work; jabbing it into the ground, twisting and wrenching, ripping up that tough top layer filled with root and unwanted growth. My arms were already sore from the previous begun cultivation, but without this particular tool? I can’t imagine the work it would have been. With all the tree roots in our yard, there was no mechanized way to really dig in – and I don’t mind having the chance to feel truly involved with this process.
There isn’t much that’s all that gratifying about jabbing, twisting, and pulling up clumps with the Garden Claw… nor is there much to take joy in while you use your hand fork to rake through the mess pulling out unwanted plant and root – inch by inch. Shaking loose the dirt held within each clump. But the next step? It makes it all worth the effort!
Feeling that dark rich soil that waited for you, hidden just beneath? It’s pure heaven. Watching and discovering the infinite life contained within stirs the soul in ways nothing else does. Connecting with the Earth at the most basic level, on your hands and knees as you commit each tiny plant to it’s home.
I’m not a gardener. I don’t know the names of all the crawling creeping things within the soil, nor do I know the names (common or proper) of the perennials we planted the last couple of days. But I do know that we all need to find a way to connect to our Earth. If you ever need to see deity, to feel the Earth breathe life and to know that we are all connected? There is no simpler way to do so than to pick up a trowel and go find a patch of dirt that has been lying in wait for someone to tend it – to turn it from dirt to soil. To create with it something amazing.
A bit cornball? Maybe. But that’s me.
I’m still out sick, officially, but this couldn’t wait:
The Ugandan Parliament is currently looking at a bill that would allow the death penalty for something called “aggravated homosexuality”. Sexual Minority and Gender Variant people in Uganda already face a dangerous rode, as Uganda is one of the few nations where homosexuality is illegal. Please take a minute to write to the Prime Minister, urging him to NOT pass this bill during their upcoming session.
Action must be taken immediately, with a deadline of April 2nd. So please, please take a moment to write a brief email or to send (with guaranteed delivery prior to the second) a letter to the Hon. Amama Mbabzi.
Facing judicial punishment for simply BEING is a human rights travesty, but the idea that an individual could be put to death for love? There are no words that are adequate.
Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi
Office of the Prime Minister
P.O. Box 341, Kampala, Uganda
For more information on this bill, and other human rights issues, please visit Amnesty International at http://www.amnesty.org/ and http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR59/001/2012/en/fa2f38d6-dc7e-44cc-b295-5016f57154c5/afr590012012en.html
I’ve been out sick the last couple of days. I’m still sick today, but have a little less cold and flu medicine in my system – which gives me a spank more lucidity. So figured I should make an attempt to post something through the haze in my head.
One thing I envy children is their resiliency, their ability to bounce back and to just keep going. Lily-Ann is the one who passed this virus on to me, but did it knock her out? Heck no. She had the sniffles, but was determined to just keep on keepin’ on. Her contagious period occurred while she was out of school on the weekend, and she wasn’t about to miss any of the fun. She had a runny nose, but was otherwise unaffected. Me, on the other hand… I’m a wreck.
I was out cold all of yesterday, stuck in bed, loaded with a plethora of remedies (both home and store bought). Drippy, sore, cranky, and exhausted. And today I’m not much better – though trying to make due with a little less of the store bought remedies… but as soon as I’m done this blog post it’s back under the covers for me.
There isn’t much I envy of children, but that ability to bounce back is truly a remarkable thing… and it’s not just virus related. They have an incredible capacity to fight back, to push until they see things righted. If only we could harness that power – the good we could accomplish.
Ahhh well… That’s enough musing from me. My typing skills are getting worse the longer I’m attempting lucidity. And I’m also beginning to drip on my keyboard – and that’s the kind of lovely image I strive to leave y’all with.
Keep your friends close, and your netti pots closer.
I have always believed in doing what I can to make things better. Well… no… scratch that. In my ADULT life, I have always believed in doing what I can to make things better (let’s face it, we weren’t all philanthropic teens, in fact I’d venture to say a lot of us were pretty self-serving at that age, but we grow, we change, we learn). But even as adults not all people believe in trying to make things better for others, not everyone believes in leaving the world better than we found it. So when I come across people who are doing their best to improve things? It always warms my heart.
I had a discussion via FB with a fellow MomWriter yesterday. She was venting, and was tired of people telling her she was too idealistic, tired of being told that it wasn’t worth trying so hard. I shared a little of my personal philosophy on why folks are often so ready and willing to give up.
There’s this whole idea out there that we should “think globally”, but the fact of the matter is that’s a very daunting thing to do. How can one person really make a difference when there is soooo much wrong with (and in) our world. One person is not going to make a difference on a global scale. What we need to do is to teach people to think locally. You may not be able to change the entire world, but you can change the world for ONE person in ONE situation.
Do what you can, in your home, in your neighbourhood, for those you encounter in your day to day life. Stop that kid from being picked on. Pick up the trash on your street. Start a recycling program at your workplace or in your school. Plant garlic in that abandoned lot two blocks down.
You don’t need to change the world to make a world of change in the lives of those around you. THAT is what we should focus on. And with enough people doing that? We really can change the world. We just need to do it, one person, one block, one neighbourhood at a time.
I’m feeling generally dissatisfied tonight. Just too much going on that I’m really not all that happy with, and no time to sort it all out just now. …and this isn’t due to my January blah’s. It’s not a blah feeling, and it’s not January. This is me, wishing I could just shake the snot out of people and tell them to wake up – but I’m too tired to put that kind of effort out. So for now? I’ll just gripe briefly and feel dissatisfied. It’ll pass, one or two things will get worked out, and I’ll be back to my chipper self. Right now though? I’d be quite happy to take a paid vacation somewhere… most anywhere… anyone wanna send me some place? Please? No? Well, ya can’t blame a grrrl for trying.
I don’t know. People can’t move forward as a group when there’s dissension. Discord and argument for their own sake? I’ll never understand it. Work together, compromise, make change happen. Create progress. In a small grassroots group this should be easy. It has always been easy in the past. Even when we’ve disagreed we do so peaceably knowing we need to work together for the common good. Two or three people causing strife for what seems like the fun of it. It doesn’t benefit anyone, and I just don’t get it. Give the wrong individual the illusion of power and see the friction they can create. And that’s what’s happened here. One person voted into a position in the interim… temporarily. And it’s a role with no power, a figure head, someone to present to the public who can put voice to the decisions the executive has made… and suddenly there is no end to the conflict. It’s a comedy of errors that has resulted in near-atrocities, that thankfully for the long standing reputation of another board member was able to be smoothed over. Ugh. So many of us have considered just walking away, but the idea of leaving all our hard work to bring things this far in the hands of individuals who would run things into the ground? Not something we’re willing to do.
There you go. That’s my gripe. Volunteering is sooo not worth this type of headache, but there are some things we do for the good of the collective, things that most people will never have any idea we’ve done… things that need to be done. It falls to us. Often because there is no one else willing to pick up the torch. So it’s onward, and we truly hope upward.
If I try to pass the torch, will you be there to pick it up and run with it?