Sometimes it’s just time for a big change. Bye bye hair. Still some on top, but buzz cut on the side and back. Whole new look. I needed it, especially in this heat. Fun fun!!
“In the right place, under the right conditions, you can finally stretch out into what you are supposed to be. ” — Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
How long do we wait for the right place and the right conditions? It may seem to some of us that we take a long time to stretch out; that we spend much of our lives contorted and bursting apart just to come together again. I have.
The right conditions seem to involve some sort of special magic; a particular brew that mixes together to concoct the spell where the microcosm in which we move feels easy and the skin that we wear no longer needs tailoring.
Some folks that we meet seem to have been born with this magic as they whirl around with the twinkling Universe hovering nearby. But most of us aren’t so lucky. Some of us seek it, but I see now this maybe isn’t how it works. It may be more like how a seed turns into a tree. It’s just dumb luck. It just waits encased in its shell until all the conditions are perfect and then bursts forth into the world.
But most don’t get this far.
Maybe I’ve just tried too hard to make everything happen. Can I be more like that seed? Just quietly sitting on the forest floor gathering the magic conditions to crack me open. Will I be one of the lucky ones?
And once I am that wonderful entity, crawling with life and fluttering with each breath of wind, my roots firmly reaching in all directions: then I will know I am who I am supposed to be.
I am Snap Dragon
with fire fingers
which have lost their click
I am Rose
that has learned to kneel
to hide my height
I am Queen Anne’s Lace
now a pauper
begging for freedom
I am Bird Of Paradise
roaming the sands
I am Tulip
because no-one will listen
I am Bleeding Heart
I am Iris
but never seen
I am Freesia
saving your soul
while lost in the night
I am Marigold
filled with riches
only a few can see
And I Crocus
much as I speak
I’m heard as a toad
We are Pink
We are Hellebore
We are Mugwort
for I can never be
The ripped raw slash
A wounded animal
once again dragging
my leg pulled from
It was the sweet smell of bait
luring me to the center
as I sniffed my way
to the heart of doom
Each time coming away
more caked with sap
leaking from torn open
from crawling toward you
It has been a week of contemplation and ultimately deciding to let go–surrender.
For months now I’ve been preparing (with the online course) and then trying to get a job here. For any of you out there who have tried in recent years, you may know it’s no fun task. Online job searching and applying has become, it seems, like all our communication now: a distant and computerized grind. It takes anything remotely human out of the chore. There is no more going into a place (like a store for instance) and asking for an application, where maybe you might have a real person see you. Everything is handled by some invisible robot now.
So I have been reduced to my statistics, and sadly they aren’t good. And don’t believe the lies they tell you. This America we live in now (or maybe even before), isn’t the equitable place everyone may believe. No, it’s really about the bottom line. It’s not about knowledge or experience: age does not bring wisdom folks, it brings the fact that you may just cost too darn much. Or in their minds you might anyway.
It doesn’t seem to matter that younger folks may not have the savvy for a particular job, or the personal presence shall we say (at least in some instances). I’ve noticed that many of the ‘kids’ seem too busy checking their phones to really know how to talk to a real person. But bosses and companies don’t seem to mind this flaw as long as they can keep hiring these kids cheaply.
And I’m not even asking for a lot of money! I just wanted a job. So does my neighbor. But try as we might, we just keep getting rejections, no matter how stellar our resumes may look. So it was time for me to just take a breath, because honestly, my breathing was getting too rapid about the whole situation. I was getting Indeed.com anxiety. It was nuts!
During a meditation it came to me that it was time to give in. My arms were heavy from swimming against this current. Fair enough. So time to take another tactic.
I applied to volunteer at the local soup kitchen. Within 10 minutes they called me. I start tomorrow at 7 am. No, I’m not a good person. This totally isn’t about being generous. It’s about me. I won’t lie: this is doing something for me. I need to feel like I have meaning.
And it didn’t hurt to apply somewhere and have someone say yes.
I’d like to take this time to invite all my readers and followers to feel free to ask me questions or simply wonder about my poems. I’ve had some folks be confused about them or describe themselves as people who don’t generally understand poetry. I suppose I have trouble with most poetry myself.
As I’ve gotten more into writing it, I know it can be quite obscure to others and maybe only makes sense to the poet. But maybe that’s the point. That we all interpret it differently. I’ve decided that’s the beauty of poetry. It’s more like a painting than say an essay which may try to make a particular point more emphatically.
With my poetry, I may get a picture or idea in my head. And many times it may be something that only I may understand to be a truth. Still, the words may resonate because they may create a picture in one’s mind or instill a feeling anyway. This is why I would hope you all will comment anyway without fear that you aren’t ‘getting’ the (my) gist of the poem. It doesn’t matter.
I’m only a novice. It is the joy of the words and the feeling when they make their way into my head like visitor getting off the train at the right station. Sometimes they just keep riding that train and refuse to step on the platform. But on the days they are happy to jump down and into my waiting arms–these are the days I feel rich.
So, remember: don’t worry about asking me who this visitor may be and what they are saying. I understand it may be a language you don’t understand. I will do my best to explain if you want. Or you can tell me what you heard this stranger saying to you…
The law of unintended consequences….
I heard this term used today and it was new to me. It intrigued me. In looking it up, I found that the context that it is often in reference to the human effect on the environment (usually negative). But I wondered about it within my own life. Surely this law has played a role somewhere….
In thinking about it, initially I believed it was my haphazard approach to living that would bring unintended consequences to my life. So many of my previous decisions seemed terribly unplanned; my huge degree of boredom would motivate me into life altering steps with utter abandon. So then, of course, there would always be unintended consequences to these choices. Ones that propelled me forward down a path that allowed no turning back.
Sometimes, others choices set me down these unintended paths–the consequences to be paid then were hefty and to be dragged with me forever. But they defined me too and made me the person I am. Good? Bad? At moments, either/both… The weight of these, had they been changed, could have reset the entire course of my journey. Had they understood the consequences completely, where would I be now? Different consequences I suppose.
But really, even with a direct approach to life, I still face things unintended. Don’t we all? Think about it: what may be the unintended consequence of each action we take? It’s all ripple effect. It can be huge. Or maybe just something simple. The point is that nothing we do is without meaning. We bounce off of something else.
Maybe I am simplifying this concept.
But really, when it comes down to it: many things we do come with great responsibilities.
So now that this is in my head, I will try to be more aware of its presence: in my life and in the greater world. By its very meaning, I won’t be able to change anything I guess, as the outcome will be unintended. But maybe, if on the front end I think more carefully, the consequences can be good.
Watching an interesting TED talk today about a young Arctic surfer (yes, you heard me right, that was Arctic surfer), he said something that really struck me–not about surfing, but about sacrifice. As you can imagine, someone who surfs in frigid waters does a fair amount of sacrificing. He does it in part to get away from the normal tropic crowds, but also to take these amazing photographs. To paraphrase very loosely he said something like: most things worth any kind of real joy usually involve some kind of sacrifice.
That gave me pause.
I began thinking about some of the things that take sacrifice but bring joy:
- 9 months of carrying a baby: the worrying, the weight gain, the hormone shifts, the vomiting, the swelling, the potential dangers involved…
- being in a relationship: any kind really. It’s constant ups and downs, bargaining (with the kids, partners, co-workers, family members), tears, give/take, compromises, giving away parts of yourself at times
- having a dream or goal: these can take huge amounts of time, money, changes in lifestyle and re-evaluating ourselves for the final outcome
- moving somewhere new: leaving friends and family behind; leaving a career or job, doing something scary, taking a leap of faith
- starting over (with a job/a person/or alone: leaving your comfort zone, stretching parts of yourself you may not know you had, or totally remaking yourself
- helping others or someone else: living with less than normal, learning about other cultures (which maybe is uncomfortable), focusing less on “me”
- giving up something completely: getting used to life “without”, feeling what it’s like when others perceive because we are now “different”
- changing our point of view for the greater good: getting into arguments (political/family?), battling within ourselves over the old point of view, reconciling what’s right/wrong
- coming out: about our sexual orientation, addictions, mental health, illness, abuse, political view or anything else we’ve been keeping inside for fear of judgement, shame or condemnation
- sharing our home with animals: limiting our work day, getting up in the middle of the night, cleaning up hair, poop and vomit off the floor
- Waiting: for anything you want, it can be excruciating at times because we are a culture of wanting everything now, having patience is like hot iron swirling in our bellies…the loss of precious time while we wait
- standing up for what you believe when others around you don’t agree: this can be going to rallies or being a vegan, it can bring agitation or arguments from others, confrontations or simply tiresome questions
- sharing our home with children: never having peace and quiet (or rarely); suddenly realizing you have to sacrifice so much and become a very good teacher when you hardly know yourself (or much else for that matter…)
There are so many more things…what can you add to the list? And it all comes down to mindset like anything else really. We give to get. Nothing comes easily really. It seems like many things feel like work these days, and trying to pick out the little pieces of joy can be tough. But when you think about the sacrifices we make all adding up to something beautiful–that it’s the wrapping surrounding the gift inside, then it doesn’t feel quite so much like drudgery.
So when you are climbing that next mountain and it feels like hell: the boots are giving you blisters, the sweating like a banshee and the mosquitoes buzzing around your head: remember that when you get to the top you will see this incredible view of the world below. Every step you took to get there was worth what lies before you as you look out. See it as you breathe the joy and try to remember that you couldn’t have experienced the splendor without a bit of pain.