Reflections on Death, pt. 2

972058_663004823727853_1191019364_nAll the rituals and stories we create around and about Death are largely to comfort and help the living. The dead generally need very little if any help from the living. They are dead; their jobs here are done. There is nothing wrong with this idea, at least not from my perspective. Do what must be done to help those in need, always. Do it openly, though. Don’t cloak the true purpose of what you offer.

Funerals, wakes, burials, etc. are all to help the living accept and integrate that a major rite of passage has occurred. Sometimes the dead do need help, but the help they need is often not of the variety we provide in most of our one size fits all death rituals. Perhaps they once did, but things change and no two dead people are any more the same as they were when alive. What may have been designed to help those along their path from one community at one point in time may be useless to the dead in this time and place. I believe ritual and tradition are in place to help the living, especially when we are grieving and need structures in place to help us figure out what to do next. The structure of ritual aid us, the living, in feeling like we can do something, that we really aren’t so helpless after all.

 

beauty in decaySadness and grief often put us in a place where we temporarily have no clue how to proceed. Even here our discomfort tends to fail those in need, leaving those grieving to figure out how to proceed after the fanfare dies down. We don’t like Death, fear Her mightily. We don’t want some sad, grieving person around reminding us of our mortality. We want them to hurry up and get over it already. Get back to being sunny or at least not grieving so we can feel comfortable again. Grieving is important. Sometimes grieving people do need help healing and integrating their loss. However “get over it already” isn’t the attitude to help either them or ourselves.

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Handling The Changes

images (1)Sometimes the process of becoming gentler, of becoming nonviolent doesn’t feel nonviolent or gentle. I think this is because we resist the changes, changes that we have asked for with our whole hearts. Only the new stuff is, well NEW! It’s an unknown. Sometimes the unknown is scary, thus “old habits die hard”. But in order to allow the person we truly are to come into being, we have to let go of the old, the comfortable, the familiar. Yes, even the pain that we hold so dear has to be released. In spite of beliefs to the contrary, our pain doesn’t make us who we are.

 

happy pansies

 

The process of opening our hearts, our minds, our souls is painful only because we, deep in our fears, cling so tightly to our old ways. It can be painless if we not only allow but encourage the opening, the changes. 972058_663004823727853_1191019364_nTry it first on something small, just to get used to it and to get a feel for how it works. Then continue with things of ever-increasing importance until letting go and opening to change becomes easier and more comfortable. It may never be that thing you dance for joy over but eventually it can become something you accept with grace, ease and even (gasp!) gratitude.

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Reflections on Death, pt. 1

A simple fact of life: some day I will die. We all will. I believe that’s a good thing. It’s a perfectly natural part of the process. Life happens, then Death happens. We claim to be enamored of the former and are so terrified of the latter that we barely speak of it, create huge swaths of seriousness and ceremony around it, and endless rules, rules, rules about how we must all respond when told someone has died (laughing is “heartless and rude”, celebratory sex is…. well, who wants to have sex “at a time like this”?, dancing is okay so long as you’re not actually joyous).

Our religious traditions create endless tales of how heavens of varying names are such beautiful, restful places far better than here, yet when someone actually makes it to this mythical place, when the transition inevitably happens we’re all seriousness and tears, often going on about how they “left us too soon”. What is too soon? Why is this a sad thing if where they went is so beautiful?

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If the person is very young we really have a hard time reconciling their death. Here is where we definitely lose the plot, asking “why?” interminably. Why not? Would it really be better accepted if they lived longer, you had more time with them and then they died? Maybe, but from what I’ve seen we’re a “greedy” lot and no matter how long we’ve had with someone we love, when they die we tend to wish there had been more time with them regardless of their age.

There is always the list of what we said and shouldn’t have, what we didn’t say and wish we could have, things we wish we could have done with the newly-dead while they were alive. There is always more: more to experience in someone’s company, more to say to them, more things to explain because we spoke too harshly for various and sundry reasons, more time to love and laugh and live with them. There is never a good time, never enough time; it’s always “too soon” for the living.

trail of roses

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Conclusions?

I came across this piece from years ago about the death of my father. I have no idea if I ever published it but just in case I kept it to myself all those years, here it is now in all its gory, pain riddled glory. May it help, may it heal, may it do honor to my father and all my Ancestors. Blessings.

My father is dying, I am told. What does this mean, dying? He is leaving this plane of existance for another, preparing himself for a grand adventure where most can not follow just yet, nor would we really want to. We aren’t ready. I am confused, joyous and disturbed all at once.

Ronald Francis Alston is my father, but I can’t really say that I know him nor did I ever really know him well. My grandmother told me that he spoke of me often and bragged about me to everyone; he always called me his baby girl and was proud of me. Hmph. The odd things we find out at such late hours. Who knew?

I found myself bewildered at the sheer torrent of tears I shed for this man who had played the disappearing magician for much of my life: now here he is; POOF! Now he’s gone. “The Daddy Guy” he called himself when I was little and managed to see him. He was married to my mother for a time. His skirt-chasing and months-on-end disappearances finally got to my mom and she left him, taking me with her. He said cruel things to me during their divorce that I thankfully don’t remember. It was enough that my parents were no longer together. My mom was a very good liar and I have no memory of my dad being MIA for long months at a time. She covered for him well. If my brother, a few years older than me, ever knew differently he never said anything about it. I was well sheltered.

Now, on the other end of the phone was my heart-broken, somewhat estranged grandmother asking me if I wanted Ronnie’s ashes. He always said he wanted to be cremated, you see. I remembered this much, but even that memory was forty-eight hours in surfacing. Mark, my brother, told me that I had said to my father that I wanted his ashes. I did? Well, apparently so – more years ago than my memory cares to search. I was a little girl. All his life he held on to the utterance of his little girl and in his end times, he made it known that I was to have whatever was left of him that the fires didn’t take. At seven am after a long night of watching movies and dancing in my bathroom (a sacred pleasure of mine – the bedroom’s carpeted), I was in no shape to hear this clearly. Suddenly the mild nausea I felt from being tired and startled out of my sleep became numbness. I’m dreaming, right? Well, no because I could hear Gadget’s tiny mutterings under his cage cover behind me. Oddly, not even the dovey-birds, who coo at the slightest hint of movement any time day or night, made a sound. I shlumped off to bed again, tried to go back to sleep and instead found myself jabbering out loud. The sun seemed too bright to shut out anyway. A tear slipped past me and I flopped over onto my pillow. Doug was awake and hugged me. I wanted it to help, but it didn’t. I didn’t feel safe; I felt confined. I would’ve fought, but I was too tired, so instead I just lay there like a log staring at the red lights on my clock. What time was it? I had no idea, the symbols weren’t registering. Whatever. I decided that I wasn’t going to be one of these mourners who fall apart and blather on about how “HE’S GOOOOONE!” My dad was a funny, good guy and I was determined that I would remember all the good stuff I could about him, however little it was. I found myself smiling through the trickle of tears that came in steady succession. Besides, I barely knew him. How debilitating could it be to lose a father you spent so little of your life with? I was due at the gym where I work at two pm. I felt fine enough, so of course I would go in, even if I did have a sneaky feeling that I didn’t want to go anywhere. Sometimes I ignore my intuition – not always, but sometimes.

me, Aunt Elsie & my dad

I walked into work, said hi to Trish, admitted I wasn’t doing too great as I headed towards the back to clock in. She asked what was wrong and I fell apart – BAM! There she goes! Just like that. As we headed into the back to give me and my flood some privacy, my nose started bleeding. Doug had left less than five minutes earlier and already Trish was calling him to come get me. I was a wreck. It took him twenty minutes to come pick me up. My nose bled and the tears flowed for about seventeen of those twenty minutes. The nose bleed thing is a family trait, I later learned from my mom. Some people get head aches, our noses bleed. Woohoo.

Doug brought me a strong drink, which in the Stasiverse is a cup of regular Lipton tea – milk and sweet, of course. I rarely bother with caffeinated teas anymore, but these were rather extreme circumstances. He also brought me a coldcut sandwich. It made me remember the HUGE coldcut sandwiches my dad would make on Sunday afternoons. Every Sunday he and my mom would make coldcut sandwiches and watch sports. The time I remember best were always baseball games. My dad didn’t make ordinary huge sandwiches, oh no! He had to have his pickled hot peppers both on the sandwich and on the side! EE-GAW those were some damned hot peppers, at least they were to a 4-year-old. They made my eyes and nose run and my ears itch! And of course, the requisite drink was beer.

In all the chaos of the past few days, I’d forgotten my dad was an alcoholic. It was part and parcel of his life as skirt chaser/sports fan/insecure-lost-child-in-need-of-mental-help. It seems so insignificant now, but to realize that all that hard drinking, smoking and partying are what contributed to the recurrent strokes that have incapacitated him and what will be his undoing on this plane. Alcoholism may not seem a big deal, but the grand smiles, loud voice and ready laughter of my father were ultimately undone by this exact insignificant thing.

He had a beautiful smile. Such lovely teeth! I remember as a child his perfect white teeth. And when he laughed, it came from deep inside. He never faked amusement that I could ever tell. So many things seemed interesting to him. I remember riding on his shoulders as he, my mother and I went down the stairs of our house on the way to who-remembers-where, singing at the tops of our voices “All together now!” from my then-favorite movie, The Yellow Submarine. If there’s one thing I remember about my dad’s singing it’s that he couldn’t carry a tune if you strapped it to him. It never seemed to bother him, though. He sang anyway. My mom has a beautiful voice, as does just about all of her family, but my dad was tone deaf. His side of the family had their own artistic talents, but music was not one of them. Ronnie was great with words.

I only saw him cry once and I thought it the saddest thing on earth. When my great grandmother died, at her funeral I saw him with a slow trickle of tears, no sound, just the tears, the red eyes. Now it’s my turn to make tracks for the slow streams down my own face. My children have seen me cry before, though it isn’t a common occurrence. It takes a lot to make me cry. But that is a tale for another time.

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Pretty Dresses

The Zombie Apocalypse is coming. Or aliens from space. Or major financial collapse followed by catastrophic war. Or an asteriod is hurtling millions of miles per hour towards our little bluish ball. Either way, our lovely little home is doomed and life as we know it will come to a rather grey, grumpy and frumpy end. You see, once all this awful happens, people won’t dress in any way pleasing to the eyes. We will suddenly all choose to dress in drab browns, greys and black. Women will no longer desire to dress pretty. We are doomed to dress like men in the same styles and colors a la Chairman Mao’s revolutionary China. In our new dystopian world there will be no pretty dresses. Unless you’re a woman for sex hire or privilaged and ridiculously useless and frivolous. Everybody knows that serious and useful women “don’t care about such things”. I also have a lake front house in the middle of the Kalahari I’d like to sell you.

I have no desire to live in anybody’s post apocalyptic world, especially if there are no pretty dresses. We’ve already established that I am frivolous and damn proud of it. If “serious” is my reward for so-called growing up then you can keep your grown up. I’ll have nothing to do with it, thankyouverymuch. The “no pretty dresses” idea is basically a continuation of the current mindset anyway. “Serious”, or as the current fad happens to call them “real”, women we’re told have any number of amazing attributes that make them completely capable of running the entire world with both hands tied behind their backs, raising brilliant children that contribute great things to the world (because she is the penultimate mom), is belligerently soft and vulerable and unquestionably drop dead sexy (presumably because she just dropped dead from dealing with her impossible load). Nowhere in these amazing attributes, I’ve noticed, is this mythical creature playful or joyful or appreciative of her appearance (unless it’s because she’s “owning her power” and “expressing her fullness”). This poor miserable creature who can not only bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan can also hunt down, kill and dress the (wild, rank) pig, build the house, the stove, the plumbing, the cooking utensils AND the pan. She doesn’t require the help of any man, only her community of Sisters need bother offering help. But the man isn’t forgotten. No, no, no he’s the whole POINT of her belligerent vulnerability and forceful softness: “I’m all pretty now, dammit! You’d better appreciate all the trouble I went to for this! Now, get on your back so I can ride you like a wild woman and enjoy myself!” ::scowling and tapping her foot impatiently::

Well, I have to say I don’t know any women like this. (At least not all the time, though this may certainly be a very fun way to play. “Yes, Mistress. Your will is my bidding!” ::bows low in abject worshipfulness then hurriedly assumes the requested position::) I don’t think any of the women I know are acquainted with anyone like this, either. And every one of us likes to be pretty. We like pretty clothes. We like to be noticed – gay or straight – by the people who mean the most to us. We like pretty dresses (or pants; some of us don’t much care for dresses). We don’t want to hear how pretty is frivolous or only for the professionally pretty. We don’t want to hear how we’re “pretty for a (fill in the blank)”. We are pretty. We are beautiful. Period. End of story. And sometimes even the most practical of us likes to wear pretty dresses.

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The Question

It occurred to me last night how fortunate I am. I was having a conversation with Doug, the spousal unit and it somehow came around to food. We both agreed at the time we didn’t need any. Our refrigerator and cabinets are packed to the gills with food. We won’t be going hungry any time soon. Later that night as I was washing out the cat’s newly emptied dish, for the first time in my life the question asked itself in a whisper: is this all there is? My material needs are all taken care of. We have everything we need and quite a lot of the things we want. I live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood in one of the most beautiful and livable cities in the country. We have two good cars. Every person in my family has their own computer and smart phone. Our children have plenty of clothing and food. Sure, I could have more money, more stuff, more noteriety and I may yet choose to have those things, but to what end? What purpose would they serve? They aren’t the answer to the question. They won’t fill the hollowness. It all seems pointless when I look at the things we’re supposed to want as modern Americans: we’re supposed to work to make money so we can live in nice houses, have “nice” stuff, do fun things (that don’t seem all that much fun in the actual doing) and pay high fees to send our children to schools to learn to do the same program all over again one generation more. I’ve married and managed exactly that. Now what?

There are plenty who would counsel me to stop questioning before I drive myself mad. I have the things I’m supposed to want and now I should be working on getting more of the same and “planning for the future”. The future what? What’s the point of “future” if it looks pretty much the same as now? There are others who would say “Why, yes indeedy, Missy! This is exactly all there is so better make the best of it!” Except that’s a lie. I know it is. If this is all there is then I wouldn’t be asking the question. It simply wouldn’t be available to ask. And I wouldn’t feel the pull to seek answers I know are there. The ones who would counsel me thus are among those who have given up or have never dared in the first place. My asking the question apparently makes these people uncomfortable. They make light of it or give answers that aren’t well considered in an attempt to shut me up quickly before I infect them.

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The thing about giving any attention, even a moment’s worth (Pat Parelli says there are four moments in every second), to the question “is this all there is?” is that no matter what you are compelled to search out the answer. You can’t ignore it. You can’t shut it down or walk away from it. Like a specter it will haunt you, whisper endlessly, sing from the shadows, give you no rest, drive you utterly mad until you give in, surrender, seek. Some of us don’t give in. These are the truly mad ones, though most seem to think them perfectly normal. The grinchy, the bitchy, the fearful, the numb – these have heard the question and ignored it, tried to run away. Some numb out preemptively so as not to hear the question in the first place. They know it’s there, have heard others mention it and figure to head off the madness by making sure they never hear the question for themselves. We have created whole religions in the attempt to stave off the madness of the question, offering different variations on answers that somewhat soothe many and are often of little use to those of us who have entertained the question. The reason most do not hear “the still, small voice” is because we’d rather not for fear of what it may demand of us.

I prefer to live by the addage “follow your heart”. Right now, in this moment, my heart feels still. I can only follow what is moving, right? Or perhaps not. Perhaps what I am to do is follow my heart into the stillness. Maybe in the stillness lies the answer to my questions, which are really only one question. “Is this all there is?” No. But in order to find the answer, to find the meaning behind the otherwise meaningless I’ll have to use my tools differently, turn the gem and peer into another facet or perhaps focus deeply upon the fire in its heart. And I will need to employ tools I already have but have never before used. I am no longer afraid. At least not in the moment. If I pull back and get ahead of or behind where I am then I can become very afraid, worrying over things that have gone by or may never come. I doubt and fear as though these are my natural state of being. When I lose focus and fall out of trust then yes, I am very afraid. Even so, I know with every particle of this being I call “me” that the only way is forward, through the question and the questing. For once you entertain the question there will only ever be the quest.

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Hurt and Anger

When I am angry, I fully realize that I am not in my rational mind. It feels very out of control; out of control does not feel good. Many people recognize the lack of feel good, but miss the bit about “not in rational mind mode”. It’s at this point when people become hurtful towards each other and things spiral out into the stratosphere. Next thing you know you’re apologizing for saying “things I didn’t mean”. To my way of thinking that’s a real waste of energy when it’s far easier to give each other space to get a grip on yourselves, get to the source of the hurt or anger, learn what needs or desires are not being met that brought on the anger or hurt feelings in the first place THEN talk to each other about the source of the issue(s). From there a good solution can be reached. Work out the anger/hurt/disappointment for yourself first so you can see clearly and have a coherent discussion. I prefer this way of dealing with intense emotions. It helps prevent the later discomfort of having to explain something I said that yes, I did mean but probably not the way you understood it.

It sounds like a hellacious amount of work and steps but it can all be done at the same time. While you’re cooling your heals and getting your rational brain back you can help the process along by acknowledging that yes, you really are angry. As soon as you acknowledge you are angry/hurt/disappointed/whatever you can then move immediately into dismantling said anger. I like to write it out. For me working my issues out on the page keeps my irrationally controlled mouth from spouting anything awful. My “something awfuls” tend to be all the worse because I am speaking my perceptions, I tend to be brutally blunt and I definitely mean them. Thus the above comment that I may say things I mean but maybe not the way it would be understood. I hate explainng myself. It’s damned uncomfortable. I prefer to think about things and give myself the opportunity to decide if what I’m thinking of saying is worth sharing and if so, how to share it in a way in which it will be heard and received the way I mean it; if not, it can just get tucked away into my thoughts for later deconstruction. This doesn’t always work but it’s always worth the effort. Any insight gained can always help keep explosions at bay should a similar situation arise another time.

Sometimes I need days or a week or two to work through things, repeatedly revisiting the issue(s) from different perspectives until I can have a coherent conversation without diving head first into emotional overload city and exploding on the hapless individual expecting a more reasonable (pliable?) being than the scalding, raging she-beast in front of them. Sometimes the ish just needs handling in the moment and the chips will fall where they may. In those moments where I am a tiny ball of red matter* it really is best to leave me be. I will courteously request/warn you to do so. Most people are perceptive enough to do as I request. Those who aren’t…. Well, I’m back to the part about needing to explain/apologize for the way my truth spewed forth. If you find yourself in need of space, please be kind enough to request/warn those around you. And in the event you have someone in your environment who likes behaving like a dorkwad, when you spew on them they can’t claim they weren’t warned. You spoke, they didn’t listen.

My preferred manner of handling anger/hurt/disappointment has lead people to believe in some instances that I am infinitely patient (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA) and/or don’t really get angry/hurt/disappointed. I’d just rather not work my feelings out in public, thankyouverymuch, though I will if the moment calls for it. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and it has nothing to do with any one person in particular and I need space. If I get demands for my attention instead, I can get ragey and that tiny ball of red matter is there all shiny and cute and red and…. ready blow worlds to bits on impact. Again, I need space (and if you’re in a similar state, you do, too). Breathe deeply and get to work on sorting things out. It really is better to take issues to the page (or the gym or for a run/hike or….) to get your brain back to logic land so you can have relatively rational discussions that won’t require later apologies.

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*red matter: red, liquid-like matter that creates black holes (and subsequently destroys any nearby planets) from the 2009 Star Trek movie. Seriously adds new meaning to the phrase “a little bit goes a long way.”

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22: When We Fail Our Superheroes

A sleeping pill prescription??? Our soldiers need and deserve so much more! We need them to be badasses while enlisted, sure, but when they come home it’s OUR DAMN TURN to help them integrate, to heal. Twenty-two veterans and one active duty soldier every frickin’ day take their lives due to PTSD. 22. That’s kind of like going to work one day and finding your entire department – GONE, your favorite big box store staff – GONE, the entire staff of your favorite grocery store disappeared – GONE. Every. Single. Day.

When veterans take their lives that’s an indictment; it says we as a society have failed. EPICALLY. If we’re going to ask our men and women to take the hit for us then we need to step it up and help them when they come home. Listen to their stories. Help them get effective care. Help them get service dogs. DO SOMETHING. Don’t just let our super heroes rot in confusion once the skills they took on to protect us are no longer necessary and become a danger to themselves and sometimes others. Sending them to prison isn’t a good option and it’s not care. It’s a stop gap. Letting them go homeless is a crime and a piss poor way to show gratitude for their sacrifices and those of every soldier before and after them. Neither is it an option though it is a damn slap in the face to them and every other soldier who sacrificed and is still sacrificing so we can sit comfortably in Starbucks and complain vociferously about the military-industrial complex and the evils of “The Man” while sipping on our lattes and throwing massive sales and barbecues on Veterans and Memorial Days.

Reach out to a veteran, to a soldier. Let them know they are not forgotten, they are not alone and that their sacrifices were not in vain. And help them adapt to civilian life when they come home again.

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Here’s the link to the video that sparked this post since I can’t seem to figure out how to get the embed code working.

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My As Yet Unnamed Poem

I wrote this awhile ago and only just rediscovered it as I was looking through my files for a place to park the poem sniglets that are rolling around my head at the moment. I thought it was unfinished but it seems just fine to me as is. Here ya go!

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You have seduced me
as the haunting echo of a three quarter melody.
I find you in the
dark places of my soul
waiting for me;
I hear you from the farthest reaches
calling to me
from my soft
vulnerability
beckoning my return.

To touch you is to
taste you warm and fruity
and sharp.
I roll you round my mouth
deep as blood.
To see you
is to experience heaven
splayed across my bare skin
like stars.
I catch your scent
fragrant earth and sweet herb;
my only desire is to
burrow to your core and
wallow in your essence!

We touch, dissolve
into one another
blending and separating;
the light of centuries
shines forth from our eyes
millennia
we breathe in unison.
I stretch my soul above you
like a tent
your shelter,
your haven,
your sweet sanctuary.

Bittersweet the piercing of my soul,
joyous the singing
of our Selves into being.
No fear of depths
I am endless.
Entwined are we
eternal our voices
lost in the dance
caught in swirling currents.
Breathless.

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My Life In Moments When….

I realized today that meme that’s been going around the net for awhile “That (awkward) moment when….” could easily be used to describe all those interesting moments – awkward, awesome and otherwise – of realization. So, in no particular order here are some of my “moments”.

a dozen pink roses & petals

~ “That awkward moment when you realize that though you enjoy animals, having lots of them drives you crazy.” I live with four dogs, two cats and a parrot. I could ditch every one of them tomorrow and be blissfully happy – except for the parrot. I like my parrot. She’s capable of sharing the room with me, of being near me without being on me. Anyone touching, being on or rubbing up against me constantly will drive me to scream. I need my personal space and don’t much care to have it invaded by anyone. I like sharing space, even being near enough to feel each other’s warmth. But constant contact? No, thank you! I’m not so cuddly as I once believed.

~ “That moment when you realize that being you is what you’re good at.” It’s all I can ever be, no matter how hard I might have wished on occasion that I was someone else or somehow different so people would like me better, or think me more fun or prettier or somehow anything other than what I was. The only problem was I had no clue how to wear masks. I’m honest to a fault at times and as a result am a horrible liar.

himpie daisy chain~ “That awkward moment when you realize a person you deeply respect and admire has a big attraction to you but for reasons too many to bother counting, an intimate relationship won’t work out so you agree to be friends only to discover you each have different ideas of what it means to be friends.” Just because I can switch from attraction mode to friend mode in a flash doesn’t mean everybody can.

~ “That moment when you realize you still think of mirrors as you best friends and always have since you were really little.” Even when I was nearly 200 pounds I still adored my reflection, never giving into the rampant self hatred so many women seem steeped in these days. Even when I was younger and was teased mercilessly about being “ugly” and believed the lies, I still enjoyed looking at myself in the mirror.

~ “That moment you discover just how much you hate even the idea of dieting.” The second someone so much as mentions weight loss or dieting I tune them out. If they’re selling something I pretty much lose interest on the spot. I tend to feel the same way about people harping on “flaws”, “bikini bodies” (take the body you have; put it in a bikini. PRESTO! You now have a bikini body and are ready to enjoy the beach!), going on about “getting ready for summer/the beach/shorts and bare arms season”. Anything trying to tell me I’m hopelessly ugly, unglamorous and flawed unless or until I purchase their product or that of their affiliates is summarily dismissed.

Me, glorious me!

Me, glorious me!

~ “That awesome moment you realize no matter what, you’re happy with yourself and the way you look.” At least I’m alive! And so what if I’m getting older? Everybody does. The alternative truly sucks.

~ “That awesome moment you realize aging is optional.” Just because I get older doesn’t mean I have to be broken down and used up. The body works on “use it or lose it” principals. I plan to use as much of my body as I possibly can. Older is fine (see above) but aging? No thank you. I’ll pass.

~ “That awesome moment when you realize happiness is a choice and you can choose not once or twice, but every moment of every day. The choice of what to focus on is up to you.” I tend to be pretty happy. It doesn’t mean nothing crappy ever shows up in my ‘Verse, it just means I choose not to focus on it. No, I don’t pretend it’s not there. I just don’t make a habit of sitting and staring at it while wringing my hands and asking unhelpful questions like “Why me?” When all else fails and I can’t think of any better questions I’ll ask “What can I learn from this? What’s my take away?” I get much better answers that way.

~ “That moment when you realize that though you’ve made some stupid choices and avoidable errors in judgement, in spite of it all you came out okay. And you’ll continue to be okay.” I’m human. I don’t always get it right, but that’s okay. I’m not supposed to. I’m perfectly fallible because that’s part of the human experience. Sometimes I get it right; the longer I live the more stuff I get right just by virtue of experience and committing those experiences to memory for later use (a.k.a. learning). I also get stuff wrong. This is the learning part. It’s all good!

~ “That awesome moment when you realize forgiving isn’t so much about the other person as it is about you.” I no longer deal in “forgive and forget.” No, I will not forget, but I will behave as if. If I say I’ve forgiven you I have no interest in bringing it up over and over and over again every time something goes differently between us than I’d prefer. Now, if you consistently do the same thing I forgave you for, then we have another issue entirely. Now I may be cautious but I’m still not interested in hanging onto that thing you did, whatever it was. I’m just going to make sure you can’t steal my money/kick my dog/eat my last cookie again. But hold a grudge? No. That takes too much time and energy I could invest elsewhere. Besides, grudges interfere with the choice to be happy (see above).

kewpie doll~ “That moment when you realize you’re a recovering potty mouth and you’re okay with it, happy about it, even.” Yep. I’m a recovering potty mouth. I used to swear like a pissed off trucker in NYC as a matter of course. Then I decided I wanted to be more “spiritual”. Of course, everyone knows spiritual people don’t swear. I finally realized that was total b.s. but then thought I’d like a more creative and expressive vocabulary, so I decided I would continue the practice. Problem is, I’m a seriously passionate person. When I get excited whether in a happy or not so happy way, the potty words come tumbling out. I decided this is perfectly fine and just part of who I am. I like me and that’s the important part.

~ “That moment when you realize it’s okay to be girly AND a tomboy. You really don’t have to pick.” Which is great because I really am both. I love dresses, stockings (the kind worn with garter belts not panty hose, which tend to feel like boil-in bags), sparklies of all kinds. I also love action movies where there are Space Marines, giant monsters trampling stuff, Marvel super hero movies, flicks where there’s a lot of things going boom. I hated the Titanic and going to any kind of chick flick will generally make me wish for death. Or opt for needles to be shoved under my nails instead. The Oxygen Network is likely to leave me gasping for air. And I like video games. A lot.

~ “That moment you realize weight lifting really is your thing even if you don’t want to look like a fitness competitor.” I love dance. I love yoga. But I REALLY love working out in the gym! It’s my favorite form of exercise and as such fairly easy for me to take up if (ha! WHEN) I drop off exercising for a time. Nothing quite does it for me like lifting.

~ “That awkward moment when you realize you’ve just spent the last few years of your life pursuing the wrong idea.” It’s a good thing I caught it before I got too invested and miserable.

at my favorite table in Borders~ “That awesome moment when you discover you’re a multi-passionate person and it’s totally okay.” I’m a curious person and can find something interesting about just about anything given enough time. Things I find interesting I get passionate about, spending hours, days, weeks, months delving into. And then, curiosity satisfied, at least for the moment, I move on. Some things hold my interest for years, others for hours and it’s all perfectly okay because it’s perfectly me.

That’s all for now. I’ll probably do another listing of moments when at another date.

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