Tag Archives: challenges

In my youth

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I’m painting (on canvas) for the first time in months, listening to a playlist on Spotify that depicts my life and times in words, songs.   “Rocky Mountain High” just played, which was, I believe, our 8th grade graduation song.   John Denver got me through MUCH in my youth.   The, what seemed insurmountable problems of youth, which seemed so very difficult, something like a blemish on my face, or my favorite Levi’s not clean for a date, etc.   I think about it sometimes, as I drive by the local high school and see these YOUNG KIDS and I question, “Was I really ever that young?”    And then, putting into proportion the immense deep feelings I had for a kid that I had hoped would last into adulthood.  I’m laughing now.  IF ONLY relationships were that easy!  ha!    But it’s nice to think about being so young, so innocent.  And certainly the woes of that time were real, and feelings are so deep because you’ve yet to experience life, to experience loss, to experience the pain of broken hearts or dreams.    I’m not meaning to sound cynical, not at all.   I guess I’m just saying, the innocence and naivety are covered with blankets of protection of our youth.

I’ve often written about music.  How important it is to my well being, to my mental health.  I simply don’t know how I could ever live without it.    In thinking about life’s necessities, and if I were given only one luxury, would I choose music over art?    I think I probably would!  And yet art is so important to me, ingrained in every aspect of my being.   I’m so fortunate that I have known passion for such.   I’m grateful for that.  I’m grateful for where my paint brush has taken me in life, and all the good it has brought me to.

Now, a song by Toni Child’s “I’ve got to go now”.   A song about a woman in love with an alcoholic, who tosses her and his children aside for the almighty bottle.   This song actually relates to the three major relationships I’ve had in my life.  All alcoholics.  The first, who physically beat me, the second who emotionally did, and the last, the one who gave me so much, and likewise, took so much of me when we parted.     “Must be addicted to all this pain, because I keep coming back for the shame.  Dear God give me the strength to leave, I’ve got to keep going, keep going this time”.   Powerful song, and an epitaph of my past relationships.    Listening to this song does not always make me sad.  Shat it does is get me in touch with the courage I have mustered in my life.  The starting over, the strength and fortitude that comes when you say goodbye to the one you love, because you know, if you stay, you will die before he.

Now, “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks.  I LOVE this song.  It’s been, what I call, my “recovery” song.  Questioning, seeing, surviving.  “Oh, mirror in the sky.  What is love?  Can the child within my heart rise above?  Can I sail through the changing ocean tide?  Can I handle the seasons of my life?”   I go to this song when I am questioning,  seeking strength, seeking guidance.  Doubt becomes certainty, becomes strength, endurance, and then even on top of that becomes the silver lining of it all.  “But time makes you bolder, and children get older, and I’m getting older too…”   Life, learning, lessons.   I’ve become the person I wanted to be, when it comes to morals, standards, strength.  And how did I do that?   Only after the landslide took me down.

Life these days is pretty straight forward.   I am working hard on myself, and my home.  I am focused, aligned, very content with my life.  Change is coming, I’m not afraid of it, nor am I afraid of how it will change me.    I’ve got a track record now.   All the difficulties have thickened my skin, but not my heart.  My heart is strong, my thoughts are clear, and damn, I just had pistachio ice cream!

Music?  A necessity for me.  I have an italian friend who says she couldn’t live without olive oil.  Me?  I couldn’t live without music.   What’s your necessity?

And now I’ll close as “Rhythm of my Heart” Rod Stewart, is playing.”The rhythm of my heart is beating like a drum, , with the words I love you rolling off my tongue, Never will I roam, for I know my place is home, where the ocean meets the sky I’ll be sailing!”  Have a great weekend!  Chase your desires, your dreams, or hell, just get yourself an ice cream, and sit and listen to your favorite tunes.    Love to you…

 

Happy Birthday, my friend

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We were so young when we met.  My God, were we ever that young?   The first time I met her she came to my house with my brother.  Dressed classy, wearing a very wide brim hat, my brother introduced her as his date.   I laugh when I think of this, because I know her very well know.  She has this one look where she puts her head up in the air, as if daring fate to come get her.    At first I thought she was a snob.  I suppose that is why I laugh when I think of that face.

A disastrous marriage to my only brother, two sons that have brought so much joy to my life.  A friendship that has spanned over broken relationships, deaths, 30 years.    She was more than my sister-in-law, she was my friend through so much.   The laughter, the tears, the fears.   We have helped each other walk through some very painful parts of life.   And more important than that, we have LAUGHED our way through it.   Things that you never thought you could joke about, become humorous with someone who knows you like a book.

As years came to be, and she shared of her childhood, struggles, I grew to respect her more each passing year.   It isn’t easy for someone who has been walked over, to stand up and fight back.   But she has.   Stereotypic essential relationships that should have gifted her with confidence, esteem, and overall sense of self respect delivered exact opposite, or was meant to.   I witnessed things over the years that made me so sad for her.   But also, made me love her all the more.

After the divorce, and a bitchy evil “step mother” stepping into the scenario, I was summoned more than once to cease my relationship with her, after all, we were no longer related!    But that only served to set my heels in deeper.  Why would I sever a relationship that was essential to me?  Why would I sever a relationship based on lies that were being told about her?   More than once, more than a handful, I got into shouting matches with my family.   I was the bad one, for keeping up the relationship.   Shaking my head.    Yet it was this woman who stayed up with me ALL night, for months on end, playing Literati, helping me walk through some of the hardest times of my life.  No, I guess we were no longer related, but we were friends.  I know we will always be friends.

I have seen her shape from a broken uncertain soul, into an amazing woman.   Now a grandmother, she and her husband took a plunge and moved across country.  I encouraged her.  It was time.  Always a mother, she would still be available as she was when near, and this day and age of technology, a phone call can now be face to face, expressions inclusive.   But it was time for them to do for themselves.   I don’t think it was an easy decision, given the level of family commitment they have, but it was a good decision, for all.

I’ve watched my nephews mature.  They are GOOD human beings.  I’m proud of them.   Was she a perfect mother?  Why YES ( 🙂 )…. who EVER is perfect?   It’s impossible.  We are designed to be perfectly imperfect, she, no exception.    For whatever she would do differently today, she taught her children to NEVER GIVE UP.   It is okay to take a couple day sabbatical, but then?  Then you get up, and you start over.   Defy the powerful forces that had great potential to tear flesh, break your spirit.   Put your head up high, and walk however you must towards self love, acceptance, success.   Stick that nose up in the air if it helps you walk through fire, whatever it takes!    This is why I smiled at the beginning of the blog.  That snobbish look she can give, I know what’s behind it.

She has walked through fire.   She has taken my hand and walked with me, through fire.   I am in awe of her strength, and the person she has become.   I’m proud of her and what she has done with her life.  She is courageous, intelligent TO A FAULT.   I don’t care if her last name has changed, or where she is in the world, she will ALWAYS be my sister-in-law, and she will ALWAYS be the mother of two beautiful souls that I love dearly.   I am grateful for her existence in my life.

As typical, I sit here with a sign from above.   I am laughing, because I smell birthday candles.  I have actually gotten up and looked around my house to make sure there is no flame anywhere.   I bet you I know who is sending you birthday wishes from the other side!   The same person you drove 3-4 hours in bad weather to say goodbye, who adored your boys, too.  Or maybe?   It’s the person who I know loved you deeply.  The woman who I know you loved dearly.   I know when she died you were broken, felt like the truest form of love you had ever experienced had all been lost.  But it wasn’t!   You passed on what she taught you to your boys, and I know will, your grandchildren.   She exists in you, and no doubt, is very proud of you.

Thank you for all your love, support, friendship, hours spent listening to me.  Thank you for loving my art, for caring about my family in spite of all the difficulties in the past.   Thank you for sharing some of the BEST belly laughs I’ve ever had.    I am grateful for your existence in my life.  I am grateful for you.

On this day I want to wish you a very happy birthday.  You deserve the best.  You have fought your way through much, and you are still standing, as beautiful as ever, with the best looking legs I have ever seen on a real person!    Have an awesome day!   I love you, and I look forward to many more years with you and our “boys”.

Who am I if not a teaching artist?

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Here I sit on a Saturday night with my animals and a dictionary I bought in 1984 as companions. 30 years ago? Where the hell has 30 years gone?

I am amongst change, and for the most part, choosing to make these changes. There is truly much excitement, happiness, a new challenge is exciting and I will grow from this, become a better person. But I have realized that my identity, my self worth is tied up in what I have done for the past 15 years of my life. Who am I if I’m not a teaching artist? A publishing artist? A self employed artist?

I remind myself that no matter where I go or what I do, I will always be an artist. It is up to me to keep my hands engaged with creativity, which I am pretty good at doing so. I design jewelry, I write, I bead, I paint, I draw, yada yada yada. Am I poo pooing my own talents? I know I have in past. In my teens and twenties I thought everyone could do what I do, that there was nothing special about my abilities. In my 30’s I realized, I was different. I realized that the years that I spent feeling “different” than my siblings, than my friends, than school mates, thinking different, coming alive at night and sleepy in the mornings, a lifetime of being called “overly sensitive or emotional”…. well, that is all part of who I am and who I was designed to be. And perhaps my feeling different than others was all a self centered narcissistic thought process?

Here’s the thing. I’m confident that I can be successful at that which I am choosing to participate in, that which I am shifting my focus and committing to. I KNOW I can… I already am! I see the opportunity, I have the vision, I was guided here, I WANT this! So why am I questioning my identity? Why is it (if it really is) wrapped up in what I have done in my past.

I guess it’s normal to feel this way, or to be thinking this way. I guess it’s because in some way I’m walking away from what I once believed was my “purpose”. Why can’t I have more than one purpose in my life? Why do I question that my purpose will not reveal itself to me just as it has done in past? And then again, will my future endeavor be much different than my past? Perhaps not with brush in hand, but with my heart, my outreaching arms?

In past I have habitually given more of myself than I had to give. In relationships, in work, in all. My passion provided me with the endurance to do this. Perhaps it is aging? Perhaps it is being guided (which I do believe is true) that I am shifting away from that which I know to that which I do not know. But then again, as a person with a sixth (and a sick) sense, I truly believe this is the natural evolution for me. This is what I’m supposed to do.

I remember in my 20s I was constantly seeking purpose. It was ridiculous. As I aligned with that which I was being guided to, I didn’t question it. I just “knew” and all that was laid out in front of me provided the path to purpose.

I am grateful I no longer see myself only being worthy in a relationship. I have, and what I hope will be the rest of my life, realized that being in a relationship, a committed relationship is certainly nice, and would fill lonely times, but it does no longer defines me. I am not who I am because of who I am with. My sense of self, my identity is not as someone’s girlfriend, wife, fiancé. I guess that is why I’m feeling tripped up about my identity being tied up in my accomplishments as an artist, as a teaching artist. The truth is, I will hold dear to me all the years, every student (well, minus a couple) that I had the privilege to teach, to introduce them to their creative side that many never knew they had. What a beautiful thing! So many wonderful memories, so many wonderful friends. And I’m not planning on leaving this industry totally, but certainly stepping away from it on a much larger scale than I have in past.

I’ve known for several years that I want to teach art, painting, drawing, whatever it may be, to cancer patients. I want to provide them with something fun, something healing as they go through the many challenges of treatment. This is how I want to teach now. I have not the means to do so yet, but I will. If it’s Gods will, I will. Am I feeling guilty that I’ve chosen to now seek financial stability in my life? I want to live out my days with no worries of disconnects, overdrafts. Do I feel like I am selling myself out? Hell, who knows. I don’t think so. Just as I have always known there was something else out there for me, and I am having a lot of fun in doing so. I have a reunion with old friends, meeting new ones… I AM happy with what I am doing…. so why am I feeling this conflict within myself?

I have been particularly bad at giving due credit to difficult days. When sick, or tired I rarely would attribute these things to my foul mood, or my lack of ambition. It was because I was lazy, or because I was bad, wrong, yada yada yada. You cannot see this, but I am sitting here nodding. Perhaps this is just a difficult day? Perhaps I am tired? Perhaps I am getting ill? It doesn’t have to be something monumental, nor do I need to be critical of myself. It just IS how I am feeling today!

I love it when people who hardly know me will “diagnose” my feelings. Seriously, like really? The thing is, I can be this way with others! I think I know what is best for them and I’m sure in some cases, I do! It’s much easier to see another person’s problems and solutions to those problems than to brave my own.

I have been thinking today that what if my purpose is to just be? What if I take all the pressures of perfection, of production out of my life and just wake up each day, take it as it comes, and do my best and feel that my best IS good enough?

Now, see, aren’t you glad you stopped by to read this sorted tale of confusion? I was asked the other day how I was….. My reply was “Well, given that my biggest problem today is deciding whether to keep my hair long or cut it short again, I think I’m doing VERY WELL!” Tis true. If that is the only thing on my mind, then I have a pretty good life, don’t I? So am I CREATING this internal conflict to sabotage my happiness? Oh yeah, I’m fairly adept at that. I think we all can be.

Because I am changing directions of my sails doesn’t take from me who I am. My god given talents as an artist will remain and I will still delve into them, perhaps enjoy them more without deadlines! Another thing I have done in my past is taken whatever enjoyable thing I was doing and turned it into a business. Seriously! I loved to crochet, so I took it the next level and published with Leisure Arts, McCall’s… I loved floral arranging so I became a department head and full time designer doing such! I saw decorative painting and said “OMG, I can do this!” So I did! I love beading, designing jewelry, so let’s start selling it! I love to write, so I am working on a book and going to write articles for women’s magazines. Now, there isn’t anything wrong with doing these things. For one, it kept me well stocked in supplies thus assuring my “fix”. Good God, even flea marketing with girlfriends became a business. They will tell you how well I did at turning over furniture and making a profit on it…. even after using it for a couple of years!

But the constant shifting of furniture, my three season porch constantly filled with my next “treasure”… it grew old. I now want to simplify my life, quit the hustle and bustle of producing and accepting each day as a gift, and as a person worthy of that gift without accomplishing, or conquering the world?

Many times I have heard “I wish I were an artist, I wish I were you, I wish I had your life”… Well, you know, I do have a good life. When all is said and done, I do have a good life. But being a creative soul comes with it’s pitfalls too. When I am not able to create, I become restless, irritable. I think of Ernest Hemingway, and how deadly his writer’s block became. Well that and a whole lot of booze. I’m not implying that I would think about slicing my wrist if I had artists block (again), but let’s just say you wouldn’t want to live with me then! OMG…. Oh my God! What if I am feeling this way today because I fear that I will become that bitchy artist who does not produce? And more? What if I am feeling this way today because I have only ever based my self worth on what I accomplish? Well, holy shit Sherlock! Perhaps I’m onto something!

Now, as Scarlet O’Hara said…. “Tomorrow is another day”…. let’s see what it brings! I do know one thing. I am planning to take back my maiden name and ditch the name that came with the ex husband. He’s not around now, so why should his name be? I think I’m coming home. I think the changing sails will bring new adventures, memories, and a return to myself. I only kept his name because it was my “published” name. That sucker is on it’s way out!

“Why’s” are meant for children…..

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For the most part I’ve been doing very well.  Have been under the weather for a couple weeks, and this wreaks havoc for me.  Still, I’ve managed to keep a positive attitude and focus on all the good in my life, and there is much to be grateful for.

Today I’ve been thinking about someone I loved very much.   We were very close to a decade when things progressed with his drinking, I chose to say goodbye and I learned 4 months after he passed that he had passed the day after he turned 46.  To be perfectly honest, I think of him everyday, typically I can smile when I think about something he did, but today?  Today my heart is wrapped around questions that will never be answered.  I know better than to ask the infamous “WHY?”.   It only leads to more pain, endless tears and a heart that hurts so much, callousing seems to be the only relief.   That is no way to live.  At times I think it’s necessary to block off our heart until we heal, but to be longstanding, I don’t think it’s healthy.   In some instances, in most, asking “why” serves to push myself into a pit of pain, to which coming back from is harder each time I go there.   I have done this.  I am not living this way, I do not feel this way everyday, but today?  Today it’s a challenge to not go back to the second to last letter in the alphabet!

Life has a way of throwing us curve balls, doesn’t it?   I remember going through divorce, feeling hopeless, helpless, and comically (now) that my life was over…My feelings and thoughts were FAR from the truth.  My life began again.   My life got better, I got healthier, I was able to expand my horizons and open my heart again.   “We’ll make new memories”, he said to me as I worked through the crap.  And we did.  We made some wonderful memories.  Little did I know that they would have to sustain me the for the rest of my life without him.  Plans, yah, I’m here to tell you that plans have a way of falling down in midflight.  If you believe that everything has a reason, a purpose, then it does make the whole grief process easier, once you can get past the initial suffocation.   “Just don’t think about it”, I’ve been told repeatedly over the years.  I nod, sometimes I silently walk away pissed off, sometimes I turn my head and cry.   Sometimes it’s okay to think about painful parts of our past.  For me, it serves as a progress report of where I came from.   In sharing with a friend today I said “I know my life has gotten progressively better, I know this, I should feel nothing but gratitude”…True, I should.

The thing is, I never thought it would be forever.  I thought our lives together had come to a halt, but would eventually turn the corner and back around again.  Yet this is foolish thinking.  How many psychiatrists tell you “If it doesn’t work the first time it surely won’t the second”.  But what if?  What if?  On and on and on.    My life changed the day we parted ways and it changed further the day I learned of his death, a mere 4 years after we split.   To his parents I guess I was far gone.   For me, I sadly realized I had never left.  Still, life goes on.

Was watching an episode of 24 the other night and Jack (my hero) was asked by a very distraught agent “How do I live with this?” having acquired information that sent her into sadness and guilt.  “You just do” he said.   I nodded.  Yeah “you just do”.

Today my mother was told she was “legally blind”.   She can see things, but not well.  She shouldn’t be driving.  Fortunately they believe it’s all cataract related and she will do fine after surgery(ies).  Her first being next Thursday.   My comment to her “Well no wonder you haven’t been telling me how beautiful I am!”   Where would I be without a sense of humor?

For those who have and think there is nothing to mourn.  An alcoholic, an addict drinks himself to death, what’s to feel sorry for?   Having gotten in touch with the severity of my own addiction, learn more everyday how deeply rooted it is, all I can say is “You’ve apparently never lost someone you love to such an awful disease”.    Yet who am I to say that?  Perhaps they have?  Perhaps that is why they feel this way?  Still, it will always serve as a solid oak tree covering part of my heart.  Protection.   If that’s what you can call it.

Letting go, accepting doesn’t mean you never revisit the past.  A very intelligent man said something to this effect the other day, and it has stayed with me…”Every step you take, your past changes too because you see things differently than you did the day before.   Every step you take your future changes, because again, you see things differently than you did the day before.  Life is about a series of steps, not leaps, bounds, steps…”  I find that profound.  I can look back now without the intensity it once had, seeing things differently, and sadly having more compassion now for what I could not tolerate then.  That doesn’t mean anything would have changed with us, that the chapter of us wouldn’t have closed, but to see things differently means growth, perspective.

I’m off to get ready for a fun day tomorrow in Boston.  Am very excited about this.  Spending time with girlfriends, meeting new friends and getting reenergized to dive into my new business.    Very excited about this.   The decision to do this changed everything for me.  My situation hadn’t changed, but my perspective did and has.  Hope, it’s called hope and it’s a wonderful thing!   Life isn’t always fair, it isn’t always easy.  It is, however, worth living.  It’s about reaching out to others when you need encouragement, help.  It’s about helping others when they need it.   I’m starting a new chapter in my life, a fun one, one that I know is good for me and one that I know I will succeed at.  I need this.  I need this challenge, I need this newness.  I am grateful for this opportunity, and more grateful that I’m open minded and willing to go on this ride! ♥♥♥

Country girl…

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Having just licked my fingers for the remainder of the butter that was on my english muffin… the same English muffin that I also frosted with sugar free jelly… I acknowledged to myself the ridiculousness of this.   I like butter.  I don’t want to eat plastic (margarine) or the supposed butter clones that are healthier, I want butter!   I love butter!  It’s sort of like going to a restaurant and having French fries, fried seafood and a diet pepsi.

As a kid in grade school my best friend’s parents owned a dairy farm.   We would frequently visit the area where the vats of fresh milk were and skim the top of the milk, thus whipped cream.  It was better than ice cream.   I’m sure now the Department of Agriculture would frown on this, or worse yet, fine you.

Why am I sharing these mundane details of my day?    Well, yesterday, on my way home from running errands I was totally aware of and enjoying my surroundings.   I love going by the farms, we have such a beautiful working farm here, generations of family owned “The Miller Farm” that I admire every time I pass.   They used to put vegetables out for sale and a tin can for you to pay for them.  With my hands firmly on the steering wheel, sitting up straight, I existed and were “in the moment”.   I love the country.   The authenticity test of loving country life is a smile at the smell of manure (well, I admit, sometimes it’s enough to make me gag).   The smell of freshly mown hay, grass, the sighting of farm animals, wildlife, nature, running brooks, dirt roads, chimneys bellowing smoke lending warmth to it’s creator, wood piles, well they are not only a daily sighting in my life, some a staple in it.    I feel secure within the mountains and I love the energy they emit.  I am a country girl and I love Vermont.

I have spent time in cities, 30 other states.  I appreciate and seen many different ways of life, culture of others.   I feel the busy energy as I am first driving into Boston, New York City and the many others cities I have visited.  The fast pace hustle and bustle holds within it evidence for all five senses, smell being my least favorite.   I have been gifted with a trip to Newfoundland, Canada, a cruise in the Caribbean.  I visited the Myan Ruins in Tulum Mexico, stayed at a 5 star resort and zip lined over a jungle in Mexico.  I have climbed Diamond Head crater on Oahu, Hawaii, and while I am not what you would call a world traveler, I am grateful for where I have been, what I have been privileged to see.    Still, within the scope of all of these beautiful places, upon my return, when I start to see the mountains, signs of country, rural living, I smile,  I am home.  I am a country girl and I love Vermont.

My surroundings are breathtaking and the seasons bring more than a temperature change,  With it comes many chores.    I am no stranger to shoveling or raking snow off from my roofs, chipping ice, sanding and salting my driveway, my walkways, throwing wood into the pickup, throwing it out, stacking it and gathering kindling, starting a fire.   I am no stranger to the hazards of driving on what others may consider primitive style roads.  I own a lawn mower, a wheel barrel, this contraption that they call a “snake” to help unclog drains, pipelines.  I drive a jeep, and truly enjoy venturing into the woods with my furries in the back seat.  The quiet, the beauty, the sights all breathe joy into my lungs.  I have reluctantly participated in the cleaning of chickens that my father and sister just slaughtered and plucked, fed livestock and more.  I drive 40 minutes or so to the nearest mall, and 15 or 20 minutes to the closest grocery store or bank.  I grew up in and live in a town which have no street or traffic lights, that have volunteer firemen.  A flashlight is one of the survivor tools of the trade, particularly on a midnight run to the outhouse!    I own and operate a saws, hammers, screw drivers and my favorite, a wrecking bar.  My tools that may surprise you.  I have fished for dinner and brought home pizza, have camped in the wilderness in just a sleeping bag underneath the stars and skinny dipped in ponds and lakes at dusk.   I have tiled floors, wall papered and painted walls, sanded floors, dug out walkways and laid 20″ heavy blocks.   I know what it’s like to live in the country, to be self sufficient.   I also know what it’s like to be so fed up with Winter that I swore I would never live through another winter in New England.  Just when we’re all about to jump ship, put a “For Sale” sign on my house, just when we’re climbing the walls and suffocating in cabin fever, spring will show welcomed signs of its arrival, of rebirth and the changed attitude “I can do this, I can do this”.   As soon as the weather is warm enough to go outside in just a sweatshirt (well, jeans too!) the memories of the harshness of the past winter fade away and are replaced with the awe of the new season.    Our backs may heal from the shoveling but are once again tested with rakes, hoes, and again shovels if gardening.   I have grown vegetables and eaten cucumbers and tomatoes right off the vine and delighted in fresh eggs that bring with them the most beautiful color of yellow you can imagine, and the tastiest of eggs.    I have eaten venison, sugared off (making maple syrup) with family, with friends and enjoyed what we New Englander’s call “Sugar on Snow”.  Yes, I know what it’s like to do physical work, to maintain my home, my land to the best of my ability through the trials and tribulations of all four seasons, living, surviving independently and reveled in the benefits, the outcome of all.  Yes, I am a country girl and I love Vermont.

I have owned rabbits and chickens, dogs and cats, ridden horses, ponies and a mule.  I have climbed trees, rode a toboggan down a steep hill, skied the prettiest of mountains, skated on frozen ponds and once fell partially into freezing water and was thankfully rescued.   I’ve cooked marshmallows and hot dogs on a stick that I cut in the woods and dined in exclusive restaurants atop five star hotels.  I have learned, through experience, that I am allergic to bees.   I have been bit by dogs, nipped by horses, been stuck in the mud, the snow, and have walked out of a boot barefoot, from the boot being sucked into the mud with such grip that I was unable to pull it out.      I’ve walked on railroad tracks, walked in the rain and been on a lake in an aluminum boat when a thunderstorm has rolled in.  I’ve picked apples and pears, strawberries, peas, clipped pussy willows and rhubarb, made the prettiest of wreaths and florals from materials hunted in the woods or my own yard.    Yes, I am a country girl and I love Vermont.

When I take the time to sit back, to review,  and in this case write about so many things I’ve done, my cheeks pucker upward, a smile comes to my face, I have been blessed.  I am blessed.   Yes, I am a country girl and I love Vermont.

As my joints grow painful, my back amiss, and the cost of living rises, I am not sure that this is where I will always live.      I sometimes long for an easier life, a house on a lake equipped with a rocking horse on the porch and a partner carrying in the wood to start a fire in the stone fireplace.    I sometimes long to have less responsibility, to be able to go back to the archaic “women’s work” and let someone else to the labor.    I sometimes long to trade in my wool lined barn coat for a long cashmere coat, my sorrels for fashion boots, and my hats and gloves for regular, more frequent manicures and pedicures.  I sometimes want to bolt from the challenges that comes with living in the country, and trade my house in for a condo.  I sometimes want to live where I never have to do these chores again.  But you know what?   I will always own cowboy boots, I will always hold dear, of my upbringing and years living in New England, in Vermont.    Don’t get me wrong, however and visual me being a hick from the country who picks my teeth at the dinner table.  I can dress to the nines and hold my own while socializing, and have many times, shocked others when they find out I am a Vermonter.  Not sure what the Vermont stereotype is, but I assure you, while we do have “country folk” who talk with a back hills drawl, many of us are or can be sophisticated, abiding proper dress and etiquette when necessary.  When all is said and done, when I climb into bed and pull the covers up to my neck, I smile, I thank God for the life I have known, living in rural New England.  I am a country girl, and I love Vermont.  I so love Vermont!   ♥♥♥

 

Right where I’m supposed to be

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I lost today to sleep.  Not sure why I am so tired lately, I fear what it may be, perhaps why I am too chicken to go to the doctors.  My body hurts.  My bones hurt.  Could very well be arthritis, though I have dealt with that for years and it hasn’t felt like this.    I could very well be sleeping because of the pain, it is exhausting, still, I need to find my big girl panties, get my ars into the doctors.  One things for sure, I never have to look really far to find someone way worse off than I am…. I will live. 

Years ago I remember meeting an elderly woman (These days I categorize those 120 years old as elderly J) who shared that she had “The Big C”.  It took me a few minutes to figure out what she was talking about, obviously before my family started to diminish and the diagnoses kept steadily coming.  Now, I know far more than I ever wished I knew.   I have said this before, and I may very well be repeating the same blog (forgive me if I am), I wouldn’t wish this journey on anyone, but I wouldn’t trade my personal growth for the world.

I have dreams that I want to fill, actually only a couple of them.  I have questioned myself why I have not been actively pursuing them?  Do I think that I am going to get more time by putting them off?   Time waits for no one.   It will certainly not wait for me.  As Kramer used to say from Jerry Seinfeld show “Giddy up!”

I seem to have lost a decade of my life.  I look back, I was so engrossed in the sorrow, then my own health, I cannot tell you much about it other than what I worked hard daily to accept, to walk through.    Others have suggested to me that I am/was dwelling, I don’t think so.   I do think I walked through hell and back and there are days when I’ve unwittingly taken an express train back there, but I don’t live there.  My present is not my past.    I know where that decade went, I don’t know how else to explain it.  I know where I was, what I was doing, but time eluded me.  All of this was all part of my life, all constituted chapters of my story, all contributed to who I am today.   

A truth seeker, I never want to be “protected” or “lied to”.   I do not want to miss a moment of my life including, yes, my death.  I want to be aware, of course I hope it is pain free, but I want to leave this world knowing I am leaving, I want to see my life flash before my eyes as it miraculously does, and I want to feel the journey.   I like being knocked out with anesthesia.  I love counting backwards and boing…done!  Do I think I will wake up from death?  Who am I kidding?  Not on this planet, but in a realm I have felt and seen glimpses of before.

20 years ago now, when Bruce Springsteen came out with a double cd hits and dvd I went into work, excited, talking about it with coworkers, they of course younger and one said to me “Yeah, my mom is excited about it too!”  And so began my awareness of aging!   Lately seeing things on facebook “Remember these?” things out of my childhood and some?  Some out of my teens and twenties, now antiques!    Yikes….

When I look back at my life it feels I have lived many lives in this one body.   I need to stop looking back and chastising myself for the things, decisions I would do differently today.   I think back and see the growth in myself and I sometimes cannot relate to that person I was then… all I have to say to that is “Thank God!”

Time waits for nobody.  I am only fooling myself if I keep putting off what I want to get done.  Perhaps there will be no tomorrow here, will I regret, too, those things that I wanted to do but didn’t pursue?  

I am now past an antique (50 years and older).  I would not want to go back unless I could go with the knowledge that I have now.  A life not well lived?  Quite the contrary.  I think I have lived well, wealthy in terms of fulfillment, I have taken chances, I have pursued a career I wanted, have succeeded at what I set out to do, I have loved, I have lost, I have cried and I have danced.   I have spent time alone with myself, I have spent time with loved ones and even some that I despised.  I have been happy, I have been sad, I have stepped forward and back.  I have found out through serious illness not only what I am made of, but who I am and today?  Today?  Today I like who I am.  There are things about me I should again, work on improving, things that I do not like about myself, but they are few and far between.   I am on the right track, I am again finding peace, acceptance with some harsh realities.  No, No I wouldn’t want to go back.  Perhaps because I am tired, perhaps because I don’t feel well,perhaps because I feel I have lived an honest life, perhaps because I know, I know who I am, perhaps that in itself is my purpose?… I am right where I am supposed to be.

I am right where I’m supposed to be.

So now I will return to the warmth of my bed, thank God that I was able to take care of myself today by resting, and I shall accept that I am a human being, not a human doing… I am right where I’m supposed to be………

Living well….what defines your life

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Much of my life I spent thinking that everyone else had the “secret or answer” to life, and I was the one left out, running, scurrying around looking for the key to happiness.  I ALSO thought that the difficult times of my life did not count towards what defined my life or self, only the happy times.

Thank GOD for maturity, growth, and knowledge!

Today I see things so differently.  First off, life is so much more than just about being happy.  Happiness is something we strive for and can and may achieve in spite of all the obstacles, challenges and things that come into our lives.  I know now that it is the challenges, the difficult parts of my life that have helped build my character, helped form and shape the person that I am today.   Lessons and gifts come in so many different packages.   There is always something positive in every situation if we choose to look at it.  That does not discount the humility or difficulties and yes, emotional pain that comes with many lessons.  One of the greatest motivators for change for me is in fact, pain.  And it is through our pain that we learn, we grown… we realize we are stronger than we ever thought we were, our perspective may change thus bringing new light into our life.  We may not like them, but they are an important part of our lives.

I really have no jealousy over anyone.  I may envy others financial security at times, but even that is a fleeting thought.  I was watching a biography on an artist whose life was difficult and he struggled with depression, and difficulties throughout his life and then it hit me…. Wow… his life isn’t just about the fact that he is now a popular (and dead lol) artist… we read (for me I suck it up like a sponge) about their lives, wanting to know more about them, and it was at that moment that it really hit me… our life is defined by the script in its entirety of when we were conceived or born, to death… and for some, even after… by want they leave behind…. their “legacy”. 

When I look at it that way I am not so hard on myself, but instead proud of myself for all that I have lived through and learned from… AND use my experiences to help others with!  Also the capacity in which I am able to love, to give to others, to feel.  I am so far from perfect, and it is so relieving to know that I am not the “odd man out” looking for the answer or secret to life.  We are all just doing our best, trudging along, living our lives, making decisions.  It makes it so much more interesting to look at others, to see how they choose to live their life, how they make a living, what is important to them, what isn’t, and so on.  And it always intrigues and inspires me to see or hear about someone whom I know has experienced great challenges and emotional or physical pain/struggles  in their life and to see them laughing, smiling and happy.   What an amazing person!  That to me is wealth.  That to me is the highest level of living!  It isn’t about status, commodities or anything like that.

Today I am proud to be me,,, Today I am grateful that for this day I can enjoy some relaxation time, I am crisis free at the moment, and I see so much beauty all around me….