Monday, October 31, 2011

Nervous Laughter--Halloween @ The Firehouse

He's ominous.
Wearing a long black cloak.
I'm nervous.
My mom and my uncle keep laughing.
That excited nervous laughter.
My head turns, searching.
I hear him.
Peaking over my shoulder,
He's right behind me.
There's blood.
I try to run but my feet won't move.
I try to scream but only whispering squeals come out.
It's death, and he's right here.
Staring at me.

The line is long.  We've been waiting for an hour already.  Screams.  Nervous laughter.  Excitement. The Firehouse.  We go here every year for Halloween.  To be scared.  By the firemen.  Firemen don't hurt you, right?

The lights go out.
Gasps can be heard from the warehouse room.
What's going to happen?
My knees are weak.
I clutch my mom's arm.
A death grip.
Search lights swirl the room...
More growling.
He's up near the roof awnings.
He's volatile.
He's aggressive.
Grabbing a rope, he swings down into the crowd.
The floor.

It's finally our turn.
My mom and my uncle laugh.
That excited nervous laugh.
My palms are clammy.
My heart is racing.
The eager and enchanting fireman pulls the rope.
The sliding door opens, begging for us to enter.
We step inside, not knowing the screams and torture that await.
And the door slams shut.
With us inside.
Like the blades of a guillotine.
We are trapped in the maze of Halloween horror.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Come Out of the Hallway, Little Girl

In case you missed it, you might want to read The Hallway...this post is in response to it.  

Out of the hallway, little girl,
You will run.  You will love, you will live, you will be.

Out of the hallway, little girl,
You will know your own beauty, potential and grace.

Out of the hallway, little girl,
You will find god's love, care and virtues.

Out of the hallway, little girl,
You will realize your Grandma's love for you, despite her problems, her addictions, her pain.

Out of the hallway, little girl,
You will come to know depression, sadness and escape; come to know it is not your fault.

Out of the hallway, little girl,
You will see god's love, the belief that you are perfect as you are, in this moment, simply because you exist, perfect, in god's love.

Out of the hallway, little girl,
You will find safety, security, in your own power, your own decisions, your own life.

Out of the hallway, little girl,
You will know tenderness, hugs, arms outstretched.

Come, out of the hallway, little girl.
It's not about you.
It's never been about you.
You couldn't have been or done more.
You were already perfect, loving, good.

Come, out of the hallway, little girl.
You are safe.
You are loved.
You are enough.

Come, out of the hallway, little girl.
Your life is waiting.

Me, as a little girl...

This post is in response to The Hallway, written about growing up, in my Grandma's house, and even, I dare say, getting stuck in that same mental state as an adult, as a parent, or as a lost little girl.  I was making dinner this evening, still lost and a bit unnerved about The Hallway post, when it occurred to me I could write what I wanted to hear, wanted to feel, wanted to say, to that little girl in me now, to that little girl then.  This post is unedited, unscripted, from that creative place of healing.  Inspired by Just Write.  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Hallway

The hallway.  
The space in between.  
The transition from one place to another.  

In the hallway.  
I hide.  I cry.  
I hesitate.
I can hear her cursing.  She never curses.  The music has been loud for hours.  The singing.  The distance.  I should have known when we got home and she was watering the lawn.  Watering the lawn.  And the sunglasses.  She is hiding.  She has secrets.  It was going to be one of those weekends.   

In the hallway.  
I hide.  I cry.  
I hesitate. 
I can hear her sobbing.  She's gagging.  She's vomiting.  She's screaming.  She's vomiting again.  I am 8.  I am 11.  I am 17.  I am paralyzed and never know what to do.    

In the hallway.  
I wait.  I listen.  
I hide.  
I want to go and reassure her.  Tell her it's alright.  Tell her there are people that love her.  That I will make it better.  Be better.  Love her more.  I want to go and make it okay.   Comfort her.  Stop her.  Rescue us.  Feel some security.  Some safety.   

In the hallway.  
I wait.  I listen.  
I hide.  
I was rescued often.  By my uncle.  He scolded me for getting involved.  For waiting there.  Pulled me into his room.  His world of books.  My white flowery blanket with ruffles, we sat and read.  Books of goblins and fairies.  Good and evil.  We were safe, in his books, in his world.  

In the hallway.  
The space in between.  
The transition from one place to another.  

In the hallway.  
I hesitate.

The movie.  The Sixth Sense.  The little boy is using the bathroom.  It's cold.  The music jumps.  The angry spirit of the woman in the pink robe swirls by...I am always scared like that in the hallway.  Always run like something is after me.  Like I won't come back.  Like I'll be stuck there forever.  Like I have no where else to go.  Always in transition.  Always waiting...listening...hiding.  From my life.  Waiting to be perfect.  Perfect enough to come out of the hallway.  Worthy enough for her not to vomit.  Not to drink.  Not to scare me.  

In the hallway.  
I hide.
picture source

This post is linked to my response..."Come Out of the Hallway, Little Girl"...I encourage you to read it too!  :)

(Repetitive writing style inspired by Heather's post "Do You Know What I Mean?"  at The Extraordinary Ordinary.) 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

You Can Tell By His Shoes...

I am 5 minutes late for my blind date.  Some last minute primping, lip gloss, earrings check, I am finally good to go.  A chinese food place I drive past every will be dinner for the night...and, well, hopefully fun, free and tasty.

I drive around the building, and give a smile and wave to my waiting date.  He's tall, dark and handsome.  He looks interested, which makes me smirk with delight.  I park around the corner and make my entrance.  Hair long and swaying in the wind, I feel like a model standing in front of a fan, ready for the glam shot...until...screeching halt.

What.  Is.  This!?  Hi-Techs.  Oh shit.

This is bad.  This is really bad.  Do I escape now?  I am already here.


Maybe he will be a nice guy.  We can just be friends...because I cannot date a guy with those shoes.


When I was dating, I would rate a guy two ways--by his rhythm and his shoes.  Ask any of my life long friends and they will tell you, we had it down to a science.  My girlfriends and I would go dancing almost every weekend.  We did it to survive college.  It would provide the much needed stress relief, distraction from the monotony of studying, and the laughs to carry us to the next Friday night adventure.  With all that experience, a girl could perfect her assessment of a guy, and that's just what I did....or what I told myself.

Let me give you a few examples:

The Swinger
This guy will know how to dance...likely have slacks with a collared shirt and sleeves rolled up.  He will sweat a lot, but it will be worth it.  He will lead, you will spin and twirl and feel like a girl.  He will buy you drinks--martinis, and he will be the perfect gentleman.  His attraction to you will be slightly more than you have for him, but you will have a blast, which will leave you wondering if there could be more.

The My So Called Life, Jordan Catalano
This guy is probably short--he's wearing a heel!  He will have baggy jeans, college or rock t-shirt.  He may know how to dance, but probably the same dance style over and over again, with little to no variation in his movements.  He will want to present himself better than he really is but he will be a hard worker, diligent, and maybe if you are lucky, thoughtful.  He will likely offer to buy you a beer or a shot, and he might even have I know how to run my fingers through my hair just right along with the seductive head nod...enough to leave you wondering about his real personality.

The I Got In With The Fake ID Guy
This guy is a kid or worse, still wants to be one.  He is probably best at hip hop or breaker styles, but will have rhythm through all dance forms.  He isn't old enough to buy anything,  so go buy your own drink here.  He will be sweet, but out of his league.  His buddies will all talk about it the rest of the night, either to make fun of him or because they are jealous.  He will wear a t-shirt, his pants will sag and show off his underwear of choice, and he will use all the correct and current lingo.  You might find him attractive, but in that, I'm old enough to be your mom way.  Insert gag here.  

The Slacker

 This guy is the ultimate free loader.  The surfer.  The snowboarder.  The beach guy.  He is laid back and will do or say anything.  He is very low key, but knows how to have fun.  Unfortunately, he will likely have no sense of rhythm, waving his hands in the air to every song, and in the moments he really gets into it, he will bite his lip.  He will want to get you drunk, but expect you to pay.  He will drool on you, slop his beer on you, and although you might find him attractive, you realize it will never be worth the hangover, ever.  And, when you look down at his feet, to avoid having to see more obnoxious dance moves, you notice he has nasty toe nails.  Ugh.  Major, major buzz kill.  Walk away now.

Mister Hi-Techs
And then, here we are, back at the Hi-Techs.  This guy doesn't care much about fashion.  He will be ready for an adventure, spontaneous, smart and willing to get a little dirty.  He will be strong, and quiet.  He won't really know how to dance, but he will be willing to try just about anything.  This guy likes to be comfortable, and he starts with his shoes, a level of practicality and logic, clarity and focus.  This guy makes sense.  Just not to the fashion or dance world.


So, what happened on the date, you wonder?  Did my I'm so perfect at determining the personality of a guy by his shoes philosophy work?

It was like our soul's were old friends.  Conversation was easy, fun, and without pretenses.  We shared  stories.  Sad stories.  Funny stories.  Laughed.  The food was terrible, but the time with Mister Hi-Techs made it all worth it.  I couldn't have been more surprised.  And you would have never guessed...

I married Mister Hi-Techs.  

The comfort, practicality, and logic has taken me to beautiful and exciting places, places I would have never expected.  I am grateful for him every day.  The Hi-Techs "got lost" when we moved in together shortly after our engagement, but a part of me wishes I would have saved them.  It wasn't the type of shoe I was looking for, but definitely the man of my dreams.  

I guess you can look at this silly, but sometimes true, shoe assessment of a man and know it might give you some sense of security about dating, and it might also be total shit.  If I had met Mister Hi-Techs out dancing, I would have never given him the time of day, simply based on his shoes, and that seems absolutely absurd to me now.  Well...not so absurd that it isn't a requirement that we always go shoe shopping together...those things are not coming back...we all need some fashion sense!

I guess, to make my point, we all sell ourselves short sometimes...creating stories we think will protect ourselves from getting hurt...but it also prevents us from living life...I'm just so grateful I didn't miss Mister Hi-Techs...

A special thanks to my dancing friends, without you, I wouldn't have a crazy post to write...those adventures were the best.  :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

I Can Hear the Rain

I am lying on the bed.  Drowsy with sleep.  My eyes opening and closing.  


It's raining outside.  The first rain of the season, early, but welcomed.  The trickling of the water, cleansing, nourishing.  I needed it.  To feel it.  To hear it.  Rolling down the roof, into the overflowing gutters, drip, drip, hitting the plastic toy bucket below.  I like the melody it plays.  It reminds me of our drumming classes.  



Pitter-Patter, Pitter-Patter, I can hear the rain.  
Pitter-Patter, Pitter-Patter, I can hear the rain.  

His little fingers tip toe along the surface of the drum.  Feeling the stretched leather, and whispering, he continues to mouth the words. 
Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, I can hear the wind.  
Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, I can hear the wind.

Caressing the surface with the tips of his fingers in a dizzying whirlwind motion, round and round, round and round.  It really sounds like the wind, the beginnings of a rumbling of something bigger.  I see the excitement in his eyes as the song progresses, sure that he is filled with the anticipation of what's to come, waiting and ready.

Boom.  Boom.  Boom.  Boom. I can hear the storm.  
Boom.  Boom.  Boom.  Boom.  I can hear the storm.  

His arms are flailing now as he bangs the drum in full force.  There is no inhibition, no hesitation, not even any rhythm, but I love it anyway, hearing and seeing the storm come to its fruition, the anticipation of its final arrival only seconds before, the excitement, the banging, the freedoms.  


He rolls over.  I wonder if he'll wake, or if we can both get a few more moments to this wonderful, lazy, rain-filled afternoon.  I drift into and out of sleep again.  My eyes heavy and closing with each fall of another rain drop.  

Miss Percy will be muddy now, I think.    

I didn't plant my seedlings in the garden yet, I think.  

I refuse to go there.  I am not going to allow my mind to race, to think of all the things still left undone, of all the things I need to finish.  I am enjoying lying here, listening to this pitter-patter rain, breathing in this moment.  

Sleepy afternoon.  Where is the storm?

(Drumming moment and photo, courtesy of Mz. Marianne's drumming classes at Adventures in Rhythm.  Thank you, Mz. Marianne!) 

Inspired by Just Write.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I Can See It In Your Eyes

"You are getting sick.  I can see it in your eyes."  I remember my grandma always telling me these words.  I could never see what she meant, until now.

I can see it in his eyes.  Glassy.  Watery.  Not full of life the way they usually are.  His eyelids are puffy.  He looks tired.  

I should have known, I think.  He was coughing in his sleep last night.  He didn't sleep well.  He was restless.  We were both restless.  I was annoyed that he wouldn't go to bed.  Now it all makes sense.  I feel terrible I got so upset.  He must be miserable.      

He clings to me.  He wants me to hold him.  He has a fever.  

We don't get sick very often.  Hand washing.  Eating at home.  Germ diligence.  I'm thankful for Sid the Science Kid's recent episode about germs...Sid always explains science better to my kid than I can...ironic, considering I was a science teacher.  Maybe my son will want to be more patient washing his hands...I'm hopeful...even just for a moment.

The fever.  It's higher than usual.  I rub his back.  I feel his head.  He cuddles in under my arm, silent and still.  Definitely not his usual self.  

He asks to watch a cartoon.  Shaun the Sheep is our new favorite, and we will both laugh.  

Season two on Netflix.  Each episode provides relief...from his watery eyes, sore throat, fatigue...from my worries for helplessness in making him feel any better.

We trudge through the day.  Bouts of energy lead to trains and track strewn across the living room floor.  Optimism that perhaps it might be a one day thing, soon leads to worry.  The fever is still high.  He is more lethargic than before.  When should I take him to the doctor?  What if this is really a bad one?  I rest assured knowing that when we need to go, I'll know...I hope.  

A second dose of medicine leaves him sleeping, on his tummy, one arm hanging off the side of the couch, the other arm crumpled under his body.  He is snoring and drooling.  He seems content, finally.  We leave him resting here until we go into bed for the night.  

In the middle of the night, he wakes, coughing, trying to catch his breath.  I pick him up quickly.  Holding him, I tell him to breathe.  I worry.  His fever is still high.  His arms fall limp against my chest.  He wimpers, trying to fall back asleep, trying to stay awake.  He obviously doesn't feel good, what can I do?  

I hold him.  

I rock him back and forth.  

I hug him.  

I reassure him that he will feel a little better tomorrow.  

I tell him I love him.  

In that moment, I realize, how grateful I am, to be his mommy.  And, despite my growing fever and sore throat, I know this love, this moment, is making us both feel just a little bit better.  

making it a little better for both of us
(picture from 3 years ago)  


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Just Do It

I remember the moment clearly, sitting in my therapist's office, the sun glistening off her hair, her eyes staring intently at the words coming from my mouth.  We are discussing my refusal to exercise.  She asks me, "Why not just do it?  Just get up and run.  Just get up and move?"  I have no answer.  I am indignant.  I am baffled.

I ran (and fell) on the treadmill.  It's not that I am afraid.  It's not that I think I can't.  I just don't want to...I don't care.  I am angry.  I am rejecting reality.

Just Do the Nike commercial....Just Do It.  I wonder what it feels like...the practicality of just doing it.  Why not just do it, then?  I want the body movement.  I want the time for myself.  I want the healthy lifestyle.  I want to lose excess weight.  

It's always black or white with me.  Always the right way, the wrong way.  Always all or nothing.  The insistence to do it all with great attention and meticulous detail.  There is no shade of grey.  No, just do it.  


There has to be a list, a method, structure and rules to follow.  There has to be rigidity.  Rigidity that shows how hard I am working, how much I am worth it.  

If I could go to a gym, get a trainer, go to classes, they will all tell me what to do, tell me how to be healthy, tell me what is right, what is good.  If I could get the right answer, then I would do it right, then I would get the success I longed for, be the perfect person I am trying so hard to be.  They will tell me I am worth it, worth all the sweating, the breathing, the work.  They will help me get to that place...that place where I am worth something.      

Oh, I I sabotage?!  When I do one little thing wrong, when one little thing doesn't go as expected, doesn't go right, I'm done.  That's it.  It's over.  I'm flawed.  I'm not perfect.  It's hopeless.  And, I stop.  I prove that I can't just do it.  

Trainer or not.  Gym or not.  Classes or not.  I am rejecting my own power.  My own potential.  My own authority.

Every part of me wants to embrace exercise.  The perfectionist in me, the it-will-be-better-when-I-get-there part of me wants to control it all.  It's why I can't even call it exercise.  It's why I create a pattern that says I can't just do it.  

How do I get anywhere?  How do I get to this place where I can, authentically and honestly, just do it?

That pretentious ass-wipes gym was everything we wanted it to be.  The play space for my son.  The number of classes for me.  The joy in body movement.  The healthy lifestyle.  The living.  The cost, unfortunately, is out of our price range right now.  I know we will have that one day...well, I hope we will.  I did embrace how much I want that lifestyle...the joy in moving...

Through all of this...writing, reflection, heartfelt desire for a better, healthier me...I realize that I am not living in my power.  I cannot give "healthy" over to a gym.  I cannot give "exercise" over to a trainer.  I know me.  I know my body.  I know healthy.  I even know exercise.  I believe I am beginning to understand just do it.  

So, I call on all of you, that struggle with  changing that part of your life, that part that you want more from, that part you know isn't at its fullest potential, its maximum joy...I challenge you to embrace find your own ways of just doing it...

Instead of telling ourselves we aren't there, that we will never get there, that we don't deserve there...
Let's believe: I am enough.
Let's stand in our own power.
Trusting that we know what's right.
Let's be gentle with ourselves.
Know that we are doing our best.
We are living in the moment.

I am going to begin by simply embracing body movement how-ever and when-ever possible.  I am going to be happy moving...dancing...running...laughing...hugging...keeping my body moving...and just doing it...any way possible.  I will run (and NOT fall) on the treadmill.  I will dance with my son and my "Moves Like Jagger" or any other fun dance song.  I will take long hikes and short runs with Miss Percy.  I will practice pull-ups and push-ups with my little guy at the park.  I will ride my bike to the library.  I will do Yoga whenever possible.  I will practice mindfulness toward my body, my breathing, my living.  I will be grateful for all that my body does for me, for all the times I've taken it for granted, overlooked it's strengths, it's power to heal.

I encourage all of you to embrace it too.  To know your power is is yours...and it is there waiting for JUST DO IT.

This is the final, in a three part series that discusses my return to body movement, my relationship with exercise, and well, even a treadmill or two.  Be sure to check back to Hitting the Gym and The Tread-ed Truth for the full story.  Again, I thank all of you for taking the time to read these words on the page.  I hope you enjoy them, and if you haven't done so already, be sure to sign up to receive blog posts by won't miss a thing!  Thanks, and enjoy embracing this moment!