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Monday, April 20, 2015

Bringing You my Pens.......

A year ago...I wrote my...well...last post...at least I felt it would be...but then...we never really know the future...

I remember when I decided to embark on my...vision quest...2011...I was lost...tossed aside...and very alone...I had wanted someone...someone to call my own...and destiny said no...I had wanted children...and through many twists of fate...it never happened...I felt that I had been denied...all the things that I had asked for in life...that a glass ceiling made it possible to see...all that I could not have...and so...I decided to leave...I decided to go somewhere that it seemed no one else wanted to go...where the air is damp...the spiders large and where no woman should want to travel...alone...but then I'd often been alone...and was again...the writing was on the wall...Fate had twisted me...and so I twisted my life...and forced myself...beyond my fears and low esteem...to teach...in the Mississippi Delta...

The first day of being a novice...no...inexperienced...no...idiot turned teacher...I told my new students I loved them...before I had ever met them...and it was true...I loved them more than I loved myself...and it was through them...that I learned to love myself again...I traded with them...writing...really writing...and they gave me myself back...how had they known what I needed...140 students...bright...brilliant...beaming faces...questioning minds...sometimes frustrated...but always believing...and sometimes chewing on my pens...

Dalvin Franklin...yes Dalvin...turned me into a buyer of many pens...he was in my morning class...not the next Alexander Dumas of literature...but a sharp...quizzical mind...who finished all his assignments...often before other students...unable to keep his bottom in his seat...and...unable to use my pens...without chewing the end off...twisting them into unrecognizable...objects...and then promptly returning them to my desk...and taking another...because they were replaceable...Ms. Lew...why are you making us write this...Ms. Lew...this doesn't make any sense...Ms. Lew...one day I'm gonna make you write an essay for me...

That was two years ago...and...about four weeks ago...he contacted me...through Facebook...from far away...because I had done what I set out to do...and came home...Now..he had done what he set out to do...He had achieved what all my students had achieved...to beat the literacy goals for their school district...and move toward Senior year...and...whatever the future might hold...because we had written...and written...and written...together...but...on this day four weeks ago...Ms. Lew...I need your help...with English...

Now...he wasn't in trouble...but he knew that learning was serious business...and he knew that I had promised...to always be there...We talked for a bit...I did my troubleshooting...he did the question asking...and then the listening...at last...we brought the discussion to a close...just like in class...and I told him...I missed him...he told me that he couldn't wait...for me to come to my other home...home to them...to him...for the graduation that I promised to attend...if they promised to work hard...he told me that he was a good boy...and I said...I know...because...he was...

This weekend...he died...found twisted in his truck...somehow fate had chosen to take him...and like my pens...leave him an unrecognizable object...the difference...he is irreplaceable...there is no other Dalvin to take his place...I have found myself crying...at inopportune moments...unabashedly...

Dalvin...why are you making me write this...Dalvin...this doesn't make any sense...Dalvin...I am writing this essay for you...Thank you for contacting me...you know...you boys rarely do...thank you for making me take time out of my day...once again...to be with you...Thank you Dalvin...for helping me love again...to live again...thank you for pushing my buttons...and the buttons on your phone...so that we could negotiate...one last time...

Dalvin...you never knew this...but you...and all your friends changed my life...and I am better for it...I'll see you soon...in a couple of weeks...we'll talk for a bit...we'll both laugh...I know I will cry...just like I am crying now...but that's okay...it's all good...I know my way now...I won't be lost again...oh...and Dalvin...don't worry...

I'll be bringing  you my pens...




Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Words in the Wind...

When I was eight...I was told a parable...about a woman who did not understand the power of her words...she was asked to take a feather pillow...tear it open...and shake it in the wind...when she did...the feathers scattered to the four corners of the earth...the feathers are your words...then she was told to go and collect all the feathers...I cannot I'll never find them all-there is no way to get all of them back...

Recently...I have found myself discussing communication...well...the act of using your words...choosing carefully...before you speak...not because I am an expert at this...for I am not...it was only to express to another person...that once you have spoken...you have spoken...the words are out there...forever...they will affect...for a long time...and with each interaction we had...I could see feathers adrift in the sky...the utter helplessness...in the face of my opposition...as wicked pin feathers fell from their mouth...caught up in the swirling storm surrounding them...I walked away...because I could no longer sift through...to see the person...

That parable...had such an effect on me...that I have spent much of my life...with my lips clamped shut...in abject terror...of what might slip out of my mouth...I did not feel that I could control words...When I did...finally...choose to speak...I was ill prepared for the act of speaking...so much so...that my right leg increased its' muscle development...due to hopping...as I spent too many years...with my left foot...lodged in my mouth...

Ironically...our society has been barreling...toward communication without thought...We have so many devices to help us vomit our thoughts...only to find ourselves on our hands and knees...attempting to wipe up our mess...or...simply walk away...leaving others in our stink...To be fair...we all need to experience...putting our words out there...and then apologizing afterwards...unfortunately...many only get the first part...and never attempt the second...and then...to add irony to the ironical...we flee in the face of words...that should be used...every chance we get...I'm sorry...what do you think...thank you...excuse me...not to be confused with excuse me...please...I was wrong...yes...when it is right...no...when your conscience nudges you...and...I love you...

I have found...after a lot of hopping around...that if I keep a healthy dose of these words accessible at all times...I have little to regret...and when I use the words...no regret..I don't mean...speaking without conscience...I really mean...that my heart and my head...come together...embrace...and the words spill out...beautiful goose down...flitting gracefully...aloft on breezes...to the far edges of the earth...

The more I practice...the more comfort I feel...in saying...and receiving these words...and I believe...that  each day I move closer...to letting everyone connected to me...know how I feel about them...in a positive...nurturing way...even in the most awkward times...I love them...to the core of my being...I love them for all the laughter...challenges...quirks...disappointments...and picture perfect moments...in walking away...I don't love them less...just differently...if I stay...it is because I love them with abandon...and I'm not afraid to say it...every day...I cannot control responses...but I know that I do have it within me to control...

...my words in the wind...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

No Accidental Passenger...

Weeks have rolled by since my last post...I have been travelling...not a new experience for me...I often wonder at my ability...to start over...There are moments of marvel...and then...there are the moments of concern...I constantly struggle...to offer...my complete...wholehearted...permission...to myself...and my desires...to always try new things...new people...new places...

Before my big transition...my move from one part of the country...to the other...back home...to the place...that I have discovered I belong...I viciously stripped myself of belongings...dragging my past to the curb...passing the belongings...that I had believed...were deeply rooted...in my heart...to anyone who passed my driveway...and finally...when I could no longer force my muscles to move...I simply walked to my car...stepped in...started the engine...and drove away...

For days...I have awakened with moments of horror...as I remembered...this item...or that...which I had...just left...even my former roommate and friend has shaken her head...at the neatly left behind items...each of us whispering...I can't believe this was left behind...Just as suddenly...as these thoughts...threaten to haunt me...a sense of relief washes over me...and I feel like I can breath again...in a way that I never have before...Yet...even in these odd moments...of new found freedom...I have found myself asking this question...even though the things are gone...am I still carrying...with me...on my back...the heaviest burden of all...me...

I wonder...how many of us...clean out our life...of the physical...items...treasures...things we worship...people...and travel great distances...only to find ourselves...steeped...in the same situations...complications...relationships...problems...perplexed about the how and the why...I mean...it only makes sense that...throwing out the garbage...would make room for the new...the better...the healthy...yet...all that extra space we've created...suddenly fills...with the same...

I truly can't point a finger at others...the fact is...I still have...things...I have not learned to let go...I really don't have much left...that I can throw out...or drag to the street...or give away...and I'm okay with that...but it does leave plenty of open air space...for me to see...what I keep bringing to the table...what I wear like a trusty backpack...what I keep putting into the universe...what I keep attracting...I'm not punishing myself for trying...but I have to do more than hope...hope for a change...for something better...I have to do more than try...because trying isn't getting me voted off the island...that I am trying so desperately to exit...

I have no answers yet...I have plenty of questions...yet for all my ignorance...about myself...and the choices I have made...one thing is quite clear...I may have lightened my load...I may have packed my car...and driven over 1000 miles to reconnect with a place...that I once ran from...but the seat next to me was filled...with someone I have traveled beside my whole life...someone who...only I am responsible for...She may be many things...but she's...

...no accidental passenger...


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Insignificant Others...

Life is filled with significant moments...there is the day we are born...our first day of school...puberty...our first fight...or the time we threw up tomato soup...out of our nose...we remember these things...either with embarrassment...or with fondness...As we grow older...we accrue...significant people...our parents...grandparents...friends...and lovers...We continue grow...change...and soon enough...we reach our Indian Summer...it is there that we make pivotal decisions...will I stay with this person...will I embark on a lone journey...and possibly...will I ever find anyone... Even if on the surface...if you think you want to be alone...deep...deep down...those questions will be asked...and those questions...will break hearts...or fill them with love...

I have spent a lifetime...constantly aware of these...significant moments...and the people attached...As a woman with no family left...people have been most important to me...and although...I constantly struggle to understand...all the nuances of relationships...I have always found it difficult to let things go...to let people walk away...when they are no longer...well...wanting to be there...

The past four years...have left me...questioning the significance...of all the events that transpired...of my reactions...and responses...and even...my purpose in life...I have reached out...to find my path...to reconstruct...my life...to fill the emptiness...of loss...and to reconnect...with anything...or anyone...who I had unfinished emotional business with...and I cried...deeply...and soulfully...for all that I didn't understand...about those who I felt were significant...in my life...then...when I felt that my heart...had met its conclusion...I met someone...

Unexpectedly...after I'd stopped looking...stopped trying everything...and I was sure...that my journey ...was quite finished...now that...I was going home...significantly changed...my glass heart...broken...with all its sharp edges...glistening in the light...I felt had dimmed...in my eyes...and a newly set barbed wire fence...to protect what I had left...after all my significant moments...and people...had done their worst...and I was just standing still...he stepped onto my path...

The moment was not significant...at first...it was just another interaction...and my quiet bitterness said...oh...he's just passing through...he won't be any different...than all the others...who had significantly...affected my heart...and I tried my hardest...to believe...that he was insignificant...that this was not a person...who might change everything...who might...even change me...

The fact is...I am changing all the time...but the one constant...in my life...has been fear...and there has never been an intimate relationship...for me...that didn't have a significant amount of it...until now...until he...reached in...into my heart...to a place that I believed...had no room left...that place that believed...I would always struggle...with the fear of someone entering...or exiting...

Tonight...as I drove...to my home...for only nine more days...I didn't think about being alone...I didn't worry...that he would leave...I didn't stress...that he would discover...that I am not worthy...or that I have imperfections...I only felt...not still...but a stillness...a peace...and a deep passionate warmth...love...that I have never experienced before...that I only believed was possible...but feared I would never know...and...although...I am a woman...who looks for the significance...in all moments...I realized that this man...was not my significant person...but that we...he and I...found significance in each other...by accident...and...in a world...of disposable people...and transient relationships...we...together...significantly believe in love...even though we are filled with perfect imperfections...and weaknesses...and vulnerabilities...

I suppose...one could try and pinpoint...what exactly is significant about he and I...even we try...to label...or name...what we have discovered...in each other...I wish I had the words...to define...in greater terms...than simple love...but what we have found...is not complicated...All I know...is that the significance of our coming together...is that the moment...we saw each other...everything else began to fade away...and our path...together...was clear...and...suddenly...not overshadowed by all those...

...insignificant others...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

I Can't...I'm too Scarred...

When I was an actress...many years ago...I was lucky enough to work with some amazing...and talented people...I learned about the do's and don'ts of the stage...and among the plethora of directors...who led me to many an opening night...there was one...whose blend of truth and searing sarcasm...instilled in me...beliefs and philosophies...that have shaped my entire adult life...

Phrases like...What are you doing...Just make it happen...and the ever hilarious...That pause was so long a bus stopped, dropped off people and drove away...all exacted immediate action from his actors...and often shame...combined with a healthy dose of laughter...But...the words...that he spoke only once to me...which have continued to affect my adult decisions...were this...There is a fine line between fear and excitement...which will you choose...

As I review my choices...contemplate my decision to return to Colorado...and spread my wings...in my new...ever blossoming intimate relationship...with the blessings this man brings...to my life...I find that I am revisiting that statement...expressed to me...when I was fresh...and new...The interesting part...for me...is that...I'm not thinking about my own actions...but of the actions of those around me...

I spent years healing...licking my wounds...cleaning out my closets...and putting vanishing cream on my deep...deep scars...During that period...I made many decisions...based on fear...I ran away...I ran toward...I sabotaged...I sacrificed myself...and then finally...when there was nothing left to do...I found peace...and I stepped over the line...and found excitement again...So...while I couldn't control...the actions of others...I knew what I wanted...and I was no longer afraid...to ask for it...to wait for it to happen...and to keep trying...consistently...with determination...and to move on...if my desires did not match those of another...person...place...or thing...

After a lifetime...of believing that I deserved...and would one day find...that one person...who would see me...for all my perfect imperfections...and that undiminished idealism...I suddenly...but not without preparation...find that there is someone standing by my side...seeing life as I do...and I am filled...with joy...and excitement...One would think...this is the end of my story...what else can be said...and for me...maybe so...but here's the rub...just as my quest...appears to be reaching a tremendous...joyous...culmination...I find myself faced with others...crossing the line...that fine line between fear and excitement...about my life...

Truthfully...I expect a response to my decisions...factually...I have made my journey an open forum...humbly...I have learned many a lesson...and shared my experiences...good and bad...with...everyone...So...I was not surprised to receive feedback...about embarking on a new journey...with someone else...What did floor me...is that for every yea...there has been a nay...that instead of excitement...I have received messages of...well...fear...encouragement...to remain alone...in bitter scarred tones...from voices...not my own...

Maybe...I need to clarify some things...being hurt...is not my goal...but it is a risk you run...when you decide to try...anything...and I like...that I take risks...over and over...I would gain nothing...by sitting still or hiding...I don't live my life for others...I live my life...so that I can share it with others...I live without regret...because I make the decision every day to cross that fine line...between fear and excitement...I feel them both...but I choose only one...and I'm excited about that choice...

None of us...can control...what others do...we can only control how we respond...and as long as another's choice is not directly affecting you...that other person...has the right to be excited about something...or someone...new...In a world with so much unhappiness...disappointment...and pain...isn't it a potential celebration...when someone can announce...something wonderful happened in their life...a reminder that your time is coming too...that joy is always...just around the corner...that everything good...is worth believing in...and that there is no shame...in optimism...

As for me...I have every intention...of grabbing this brass ring...and holding on tightly...with every hope and idealistic dream...that this is it...this is the one...because if I don't...I encourage that fine line...to develop into a huge welt...that becomes an impasse...that becomes a wall...and then he would give up...and walk away...ensuring...that my fears...become reality...Much can be said...about my life choices...I can't control what has been done to me...but I can control how I respond...I won't say that I will never feel fear...but...without a doubt...you will never hear me say...

I can't...I'm too scarred...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Pocket Full of Change...

The other day I was grocery shopping...money's tight these days...but I'm keeping it together...and when it came time to pay...I reached for the dollar bills...only to be confronted by a load of change...I quickly asked the cashier...if she would be too upset...if I paid with a lot of coins...Clearly uninterested with my plea...she accepted and sighed...as I continued to explain...I have so much change...that I was tired of looking at it...it was weighing me down...and I would let someone else deal with it...for awhile...

I started thinking about how much change I had been dealing with...for the past four years...It seemed...that as I was altering my life...I was paying the bill...for a lifetime of decisions...that others had made for me...and the ones I had made for myself...and still...I had a pile full of change...

Recently...I was offered an opportunity...to bring someone into my life...someone who embodied everything...everything I had asked for...all these years...and I felt that all of my change...had generated this person...as repayment for a lifetime of believing...striving...to be better...the best...woman I could be...After focusing...for four years...on my development...my growth...I felt...that I had reached a pinnacle...and...now that all the change was over...I was really ready to move forward...

As he and I connected...I shared with him...what I felt he needed to hear...you know...the...I have the responsibility to let you know...the...he'll want to hear this...and...basic facts...I'm on the other line...or...I'll call you in a minute...For me...that made perfect sense...because...in the past...I had shared everything...which other parties were not interested in...so I changed my approach...I would only pass on the bare minimum...not make a nuisance of myself...and spare my heart...for when they exited...after all...I had changed my perspective...on the longevity of relationships...

Then...quite suddenly...I found myself...at an impasse...he said he needed...I said I hear you...hold on a sec...he was hurt...I tried to smooth things out...It was all so logical to me...and then I heard...myself...I haven't been in a relationship for four years...you've got to give me a break...I didn't know...and his question...why...why didn't you know...I know what is important to you...what...what is it that you do all day...where...where did you get the idea that I might leave...how...how am I supposed to know what you won't tell me...I was stunned...back peddling...stammering...defensive...scared...and then humbled...

 The truth is...I have changed...all by myself...adjusting to imaginary scenarios...unable to believe...that the words...be yourself...don't mean...be what I want you to be...that for all my believing...part of me had stopped...stopped believing in that one person...who wants to know all about you...that loves the down and dirty...just as much as the angelic think tank...and...even more honestly...after four years...I could only hear myself...I had selfishly assumed...that I was beyond being selfish...that I was now the very best...of me...and that I no longer had need for change...

The fact is...all that change...weighing me down...it still spends...and maybe the weight is needed...to keep me closer to earth...All that humility...really isn't any good...if I have to go around telling everyone...that I am now humble...and if I have to reason away my behavior...in the wake of another's needs...especially a man...who knows every flip of my hair...upturned eyes...and nod of my head...maybe...I should stop counting my change...and start using it...unselfishly...

I'd like to say...that I'm all done...fixed...fantastic...I'm not...I'm just different...now it's time to change again...we all have to do it...and I think I should consider...the idea of including...this other wonderful person...in my future decisions...if I want him to be there...for the future...I don't know if this makes me humble...or wise...or even thrifty...but I do know...that everywhere I go...I think I better keep some with me...you know...

...a pocket full of change...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Isn't That Romantic...

I've never thought of myself as a romantic...idealist...yes...believer in love...yes...hopeful about the future...yes...but the concept of being swept away...that someone would come along...and save me...from...everything...or anything...just didn't make sense to me...and I've never seen myself as powerless...frozen...yes...conflicted...yes...lost...yes...but I knew that all the answers lie in my heart...and head...

As I walked through America's place to shop...and wear spandex...with a tube top...Wal-Mart...I was overwhelmed...with the hearts...flowers...candy...balloons...over sized stuffed animals...and tremendous push...to give in...and tell someone that they are special...that even though you haven't said it this year...that you really do love them...and love comes with a price tag...

I forced myself to walk the aisles...and contemplate...why I had never cared for this holiday...and how I felt about it now...that my life had morphed...changed...blossomed...how I would approach this holiday...with someone new in my life...and what I believed it really meant to be romantic...and here's what I came up with...

Romance...is being tired...coming home...and the other person has taken care of dinner...Love...is doing the dishes...which you hate to do...after the other person has made dinner...Romance...is doing the dishes together...Romance is watching someone's eyes...and telling them...that it is wonderful the way they shift to the left when they speak...or that you love the ending of their very loud laugh...or that you could talk with them for hours...or brushing that strand of hair out of their eyes...letting your hand linger to trace the shape of their face...and Romance is about buying Finding Nemo for him...and he buys you the electric sander you've been eyeing at Home Depot...

The cost of Romance...is great...it is risking your heart...over and over...acting with the belief that if you give...that committing the act of giving is enough...it is putting their needs before yours...it is asking what they want...and remaining steadfast in the act of giving...when they choose something different than what you might secretly wish...and staying in the room with them during the discussion...

It doesn't matter how you candy coat it....or what rose petals lead you to the decision...to give of yourself...again and again...each time you do...each time you Romance the apple of your eye...sometimes dollars will be spent...but not necessarily on only one day a year...Odds are...you will Romance without dropping a dime..after all...that mountain wildflower you picked for them...doesn't come with a price tag...

Imagine what it would be like...to see a door being opened for you...through the eyes of Romance...or that soup and cornbread...made just the way you like it...with fresh corn...as a visual representation of that other person...Romancing you...by keeping you warm...and nurtured...and cared for...or waking to...the dogs already having been walked...on your morning for handling the responsibility...because it's cold outside...and they wanted you to sleep a little longer...then...instead of waiting for February...you take that person's hand...and you say thank you...right at that moment...letting them know that you see them...really see them...I don't know about you...but really...any day...

...isn't that romantic...