What Color Are You? – Theme Friday

writer chick talks

No, it’s not a trick question. And I don’t mean your ethnic background or the dark or light of your skin. That’s just packaging. Albeit some of us use the shade of packaging…

To make a point

To justify behavior

As a reason to say yes or no

As motivation for love or hate

To feel a part of something or apart from something…

but I’m not talking about that.

Like the pretty package under the Christmas tree, it’s not the number of bows adorning the outside that’s important – it’s what the package contains.

So…I ask again. What color are you?

Green for the soothe of rustling trees

Blue for the cool of the ocean or expanse of the sky

Yellow for the warmth and energy of the sun

The crimson of passion’s depth

Gold like the truest of hearts

Pink at the height of health

Orange all tangy and citrus-y?

Or perhaps you are a rainbow of early morning hues, leaving watercolor footprints in your passing.

Or a kaleidascope stretching lazily across the evening sky following the promise of moonlight.

Or a riot of wildflowers roaming the open fields.

And I ask you once more – what color are you? The true-you that needs no name or address, no politics or boundaries and travels further than the imagination can dance?

copyright 2010

What color is Christine?

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Judgment – Theme Friday

purple day

The judgment in your eyes surprised because I thought I would find love there. I thought I would find kindred and hope but most of all – future. But the color was doubt – the promise, betrayal.

And I gave up my mountains and eternal sunshine for you. I surrendered my worldly, my material – all that I owned and all that owned me. All that I knew. To learn the geography of you.

And you gave me your stormy days and flinty sky – your shadow and hooded eyes. Your trust hid and lurked among the fortress of books you kept with care. Unlike my heart – which you stuffed in a drawer with the other junk you couldn’t part with.

I was the trophy you kept in the attic of some yonder day, some nether dream of what could never be. A victory won in your dream of dreams. Too good for the real. Yet the real wasn’t good enough for the now.

And when you slept your flight was solo – always. Your back, a closed door to my eager and hopeful embrace. Always time for details but never time for me, or us. Mocking danced in your blues and derision smiled in the silence that I could never pierce, never find ingress.

And you judge me still for daring to see you. For uttering the words that tell my truth. For opening the wound and letting it bleed all over your dotted i’s and crossed t’s. For making it messy and spilling out of the box you call home.

But let the moon and the stars and the open fields judge me. The sky, the night air, the jasmine whose tendrils stand watch at my window. The sun and the trees, the eyes that beam kindness, the hearts that know love. Yes, there I will be judged in the purple glory of dusk.

themefrilogo

What judges Christine?

The High Road

taking the high road

Life is a bowl of cherries, right? Well, not always. In fact, rarely. Let’s face it, often life is just one catastrophe after another. Large or small, it’s always something isn’t it? Whether it’s the car breaking down, a letter from the IRS or your new teflon pan melting on the range, it’s always something.

My mother used to say that hard times build character. I suppose that’s a philosophical way of saying that life sucks and you have to make the best of it. Perhaps. There is also that old chesnut of taking the high road. Killing people with kindness and so forth. But it’s not easy, is it?

Especially when people you trust and you care for, betray you. When everything you believe about someone turns out not to be true. Or that the truth you thought existed doesn’t. What confusion you can feel when that happens. What betrayal. It can be downright disorienting. It can make you feel like you are in an elevator doing a free fall from the 30th floor. And often, you can feel completely justified in being bitter and resentful about it. You can feel sorry for yourself for the injustice and unfairness.

But here’s the thing – that doesn’t get you anywhere. It doesn’t make you feel better. It doesn’t enhance your life. It doesn’t improve one damn thing. In fact, it just makes you feel helpless and unable to cope. It traps you into an endless cycle of fear, resentment and frustration. Believe me, I know.

Hard as it may be, the best solution I’ve found is to take the high road. To just decide that it doesn’t matter what others have done to you, what life has handed out to you – but what does matter is what you do about it. How you carry on and continue to make a life for yourself. Things, people, situations, all pass eventually. What you can do nothing to change has to become irrelevant in your mind. You have to let it go and move on. Take the high road, as they say. You never know – you might find something wonderful there, if you do.

WC

Pen – Theme Friday

pen-bw, power of words, pen mightier than the sword

The pen presses to paper
which gobbles the ink
the travel is endless
the sights, divine
Reality doesn’t matter
borders have no meaning
Time plays no part
Identities slip on and off
like a bevy of party dresses
that flutter in a flurry of indecision

The pen is freedom
a voice of descent
That can pass through walls
small minds
the hulls of ships
the bars of prisons
the airwaves
virtual universes
prejudice and bias
skin color and class
wealth and poverty
Through gaping maws
and the eye of a needle.

Its cargo, ideas
opinions
imaginings
dreams
new points
from which to view
A flame
eternal and
hope everlasting

themefrilogo

Jess’s pen writes magical things here and

Christine’s pen is creating universes here

Motorcycle Crashes, Train Wrecks and Life

motorcycle_crash

I had a great conversation with my friend Kelly the other day. She is the friend who had the terrible accident last Spring. While she is having hitches and slows on her road to full recovery, she never ceases to amaze me with her strength and her irrepressible spirit. Kelly was very excited because she had made a very important connection in her life. With another human being. Not just any human being, but someone who could truly, in all meaningful ways, understand what she’s been through.

It’s not clear to me how she came to know about him – but his name is Al Foxx and he is a comedian and a motivational speaker. Twenty five years ago he was in a very bad motorcycle accident and suffered many similar injuries to Kelly. Some, much worse. He was told he would never walk again, speak again or drive again. Yet, he proved his doctors wrong and not only walks, speaks and drives (in his words, ‘watch out!’) but spends his life making others laugh and helping to motivate and inspire people from all walks of life. I highly recommend you visit his website, watch the little vids, maybe even buy his book.

Kelly did. She bought his book online and through a series of emails over an initial confusion about the purchase she and Al became email pen pals. They have spoken on the phone and hopefully, this weekend, her husband has taken her to meet Al, who happens to be living in a town just a few miles away from her.

To hear her talk about him and their conversations did my heart so much good. Because I could see that finally she had found someone who truly understood what she’s been going through and just that fact alone has done so much for her morale and I think helped her not to feel so alone. While she is surrounded by friends and family who love and cherish her and are as understanding as they can be, none of us truly can understand because we’ve not gone through what she has or what she will continue to go through. I thank God, that she has found this wonderful human being to talk to – to be understood by and to be friends with.

One of the things that Al said to her which really impacted her and then me as well, is that ‘everybody has motorcycle crashes in their life.’ Meaning, that we all have those horrible events that traumatize and shakes us to our bones, none of us are immune, and none of us are less vulnerable than the next guy when it happens. And rest assured it will. In some way, shape or form. And I guess this was Al’s answer to the ‘why me?’ question and a darn good one I’d say.

train-wreck-1

Motorcycle crashes, train wrecks…life – it happens to us all. Especially when we don’t expect it – we never see it coming – and it can’t be taken back – that chunk of time, those moments. All you can do it pick up whatever pieces survive the wreckage and start building again.

I personally find some comfort in that point of view. God knows my life has been train wreck lately and the fall out is still coming. I wonder when (if) it will ever stop and just settle. Although I’m pretty sure there are a few more chunks that will thunk me on the head before it’s all said and done. On the other hand, it’s just my trainwreck and I’m still breathing, walking and driving – and the law of averages insists the wreckage has a finite timeframe. So, I just need to keep moving til then, right?

What does Christmas really mean?

I suppose it could mean many different things to many different people – it may honestly just be a matter of one’s perspective. For some it means the birth of Christ, for some it means presents and Santa Claus, for some it means good food shared with good friends, and for others it means depression, isolation and lonliness.

Aside from the religious aspects of the holiday, which I was (as I suspect were most of us) taught as a child, Christmas most definitely seems to have other meanings. Or should I say has come to mean other things to people. People the world over, celebrate Christmas, look forward to Christmas, devote endless hours to Christmas preparations – entire industries have been built on Christmas. So, I’d have to say that Christmas is a big deal.

I guess what I’m getting at is why is it such a big deal to people? Is it just because it’s nice to get presents, paid time off from work and to eat rich and delicious foods? Or does it go deeper than that? I have been thinking a lot lately about why Christmas is such a big deal to me. As far back as I can remember it has been important to me, and I’ve been trying to figure out how the importance was conveyed to me. Was it all the many old Christmas movies I’ve watched again and again since childhood, the pretty Christmas light displays, the Christmas music, the big party of it all? Actually, I don’t think so.

While all or most of those things have served to reinforce my love of Christmas there has (for me) always been one resounding theme to it. That theme is, our best. The thing about Christmas that makes me really love it is that it seems to inspire people to be at their best, do their best, show their best. It is the one time of year when people can be kind, happy, cheerful, etc. for no reason other than the season. People just seem to try harder to be happy and kind then. And I think that even as a small child I felt that, I sensed it and I loved it. I never quite understood why it seemed to disappear not long after Christmas but it was always something to look forward to for me.

I admit it, I am a closet optimist – which likely accounts for much of my cynicism – I really just want everyone to be happy – and somehow believe it is my job to bring that about. Silly as it sounds when I type the words out here on the page and debate whether or not I’ll publish them, it’s true.

So I guess I will just say that Christmas means a special kind of time out, from the stresses and disappointments of life – it means a new opportunity to be happy, to show our happy selves, to share ourselves with others and to be nice for no reason at all. Yes, that’s what it means to me…what does it mean to you?

If a Giant… by Teeni

If a giant reached out to touch a freshly mown field of grass, would it feel the same to him as velvet would feel to a normal sized person?

Yes, it’s an odd little pondering, I admit. But in recent years, thoughts like this have begun rolling around in my mind more often. Like marbles in a wooden labyrinth, they roll tentatively from one end of my brain to the other, desperately avoiding the holes that will send them into oblivion, where they will be forever misplaced in my faulty memory banks. Some of these ideas survive, fortunately, because I try to write them down before they escape me. They want to be more than just ideas, I think. They want to grow and if I let them, I think they will become much more.

I don’t know if there are more of these wonderings in my head now or if I am just more aware of them. So many things have changed for me in such a short time. I have no idea where to lay the blame. Could it be one of the many medical diagnoses or the treatments I’ve endured? Or is it just normal wisdom coming with old age?

I’ll probably never know how or why things happened the way they did. But I do know that my brain doesn’t work the way it used to. I don’t have the attention span I used to have and my memory stinks. But other things have changed as well. I feel more creative. I’m much more reflective. I can laugh at myself more. I learn in smaller pieces but I make it interesting and try to apply things. I enjoy it. I have ideas. I entertain them and let them linger in my mind, no matter how silly they may be. Ideas and creativity are extremely important. So I don’t stifle mine anymore or shoot them down. They may not all go somewhere but that’s okay.

Everything begins with an idea. And I’m beginning to think that it is healthy to just soak in your creative ideas at times. It is important to free your mind from stresses and periodically just let it wander … and wonder, learning odd things here and there as it goes. I think it helps keep your mind young, fresh, and alive. And you shouldn’t have to schedule a weekend away to do it. Take a few minutes at a time. Learn to relax, breathe deeply. Allow your mind to switch into a lower, slower and calmer gear. Ideas great and small will begin to form without much coaxing, if you will only allow them to. Open up and let them form. They may take you someplace big in life. Or they may just remain interesting, entertaining little ideas.

The question at the beginning of the post occurred to me when my husband and I were driving in the car, most likely on our way home from a food shopping trip – a very mundane task, I know. But I look at things a lot differently now. In the passenger seat beside my handsome man, I looked over and saw a field of freshly mown grass with a little hill in the middle of it. It looked like a giant palm could have fit there like a long-lost puzzle piece. I tried to picture how it would feel if I were fifty times my current size. I visualized stretching out my enormous arm and placing my gargantuan hand right in the middle of that sweet smelling field. Individual blades of grass would be miniscule compared to my oversized hand. Would I even feel them at all? Would they register in my consciousness? I think they would. I think they would feel like a carpet of cool, soft velvet. I might even pass my hand back and forth a little bit to “pet” the grass, “fluffing” up any blades that had been bent over and immersing myself in its sensation, the reaction it evoked from me.

Maybe this one wasn’t my million-dollar idea. But I let the idea grow. And it did. It turned into this post.

Always wonder.

Always learn.

Always love.

Always laugh.

Always live.

Thanks for letting me get a little creative and expressive over here, Annie. Hugs to you and to anyone reading – thanks for your time!

Teeni

Does Time Matter?

Through the ages mankind has always had an issue with time. I know I have and I’m part of mankind so there is at least some truth in the above statement. Much of our lives are built around time too, time clocks, alarms clocks, pocket watches, Times Square, lunch time, break time, quitting time. Aarrrgggh time, time, time controls us and we don’t ever have enough of it for the things we want.

It pervades our language – the clock is ticking, time waits for no man, the time has come, all in due time,
in the nick of time, marking time, time is running out, just in time
and many more examples exist. Face it kids, we’re stuck in time – oops there’s another one.

It makes me wonder if this universe is rigged with this time thing, you know? I mean maybe the great god of creation or whatever Supreme Being you happen to believe in set it up so we could just get things done. An arbitrary measure or adversary against which we could race, bet, think, do? It’s possible. Because really what is the point of time? What does it really mean in the longrun? That you can only have so many days to do something, to get something to create something. That once that arbitrary measure runs out so does your opportunities? It’s true that bodies age and with that so does our sense of time, possibly our inspiration to do things, achieve things or maybe we just get tired? On the other hand there are those out there who seem to defy time, look and act years younger than they are.

So maybe time has some aspect of agreement involved in it? You know like, you agree that time passes and things age as time passes and things change as time passes and stuff like that. But do they really? Is that really true or just a little game we’ve made up as part of the bigger game of life? I can think of dozens of examples of when I bent time so to speak.

Like I was running late and I had to, had to, had to be at a place at a certain time. Magically all the lights were green, the traffic disappeared, a parking spot appears right in front of the building. Or mom is coming over in fifteen minutes and somehow I’ve managed to clean the house before she gets there, or the man of your dreams finally calls and you’re showered, shaved and wriggled into that sexy little black dress in ten minutes flat. The fireman that manages to get the baby out of a burning building despite the impossiblity of it? And a million other examples that I’m sure you could think of in your own life.

More and more I’ve started to think that time is the enemy but not in the classical sense – not that it is going to beat me but my belief in its importance is going to beat me or us. It’s more a matter of the thinking, that it’s too late for a goal to be realized, for love, for happiness, for change, for a clean start, for anything really. I don’t believe that anymore and I’m glad. I think that time is starting to become my pet instead of the other way around. I will treat it nicely if it behaves and if it doesn’t then no desert for it.

How about you?

Whose Life Is It, Anyway?

Did you ever wonder if you were really living your own life? I don’t mean that in a shallow sense like the kids, the job, blah blah never leaves you enough time for yourself – I actually mean it in a more literal way. Like someone you love suddenly dies or has a terrible accident – and you become so distressed that you practically will yourself into becoming them. That you so don’t want that person to leave your life you begin to lead their life for them, rather than your own?

I know, WC, where the hell do you come up with this stuff? Hard to say but it has nevertheless been on my mind lately. As most of you know there has been lots of crazy action around me the last few months and it seemed to start when my friend Kelly had an accident that should have killed her but which she was too stubborn to die from. When I learned the news I actually felt myself do a funny little thing – not one of those out of body experiences but it was as though I was driving east and suddenly I picked up the car and turned it west and drove that way. And it stopped feeling like my car too.

Obviously in extreme situations, we will react with stress and our stress manifests in different ways. In my case it seemed almost a personality transplant had taken place. I often found myself thinking I didn’t recognize myself and was confused by my own actions, my own thoughts, my viewpoints. Though I suppose some part of me remained or I wouldn’t have questioned anything, I still felt obsessed, possessed and not truly under my own will.

Suddenly things just happened to me, rather than my making things happen. Odd, that. Not like me. I would get irrationally upset about things that never bothered me before. Saw danger where there really was none yet it all seemed very real. In fact, for a while, I couldn’t drive without the image of someone slamming into me. I thought incessantly about Kelly’s children and family – natural you might think because of the situation – but it wasn’t the thought so much as the viewpoint of the thought – as if I were thinking for Kelly.

And suddenly many other things seemed to go to shit in my life as well. Inexplicably. As though it were now my turn to ride first class on the shit tour. Blow ups with friends, room mates, my dog acting weird, clients not paying me – yeah it was shoveling faster than I could shovel it out. With me, just shaking my head and asking WTF?

Though there came a point that we realized Kelly was going to make it and we could let out a collective breath, it didn’t return me to myself, so to speak. I still felt weird, odd, strange. Not me. So instead of ignoring it which I’d been doing and hadn’t changed a thing I made myself think about it, examine it, turned it into a science project if you will and I realized something very interesting. That I’d done this before – the first time when grandfather died, then my brother, then my father (that was a real tough one) and now Kelly. It gave me pause to see a pattern like that. I was tempted to just say, ‘well, that’s natural, that’s normal, we all go through loss and stress and so on.’ But I really couldn’t buy that for me. I am a strong person with a very strong personality and strong will – I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t some decision on my part involved in it. I don’t necessarily rational decision but decision nonetheless. And when I really looked at it I could spot the decisions – see them, almost hear myself think them. And it goes something like this, “I’m not going to fucking let them die, no matter what.” Spooky, huh? I thought so.

And so the pattern began and has lived on – some dumb part of me believing that through sheer will I can somehow continue another person’s life by being them or acting like them, carrying on for them. With no mind to my own life and all the many things that I need, want, have. Well, I’m here to tell you folks, it can’t be done. It really can’t. I can only truly live my own life, as can anyone else and that’s how it should be.

It’s a relief in a way to realize it – so much guilt I now don’t have to own, so much worry, so much grief. I can empathize, I can understand and I can grieve but it’s not my job to continue for them. And so I can just tend to the job of being myself and living my own life. Which is hard enough, eh?

So, any of you ever feel that way or is this one of those posts that you wonder if I’m smoking crack or something?

Sixteen – Theme Fridays

“There’s sixteen things you have to know about men, if you’re ever gonna be happy with one, ” Grandma said to me that night on the porch. Summer. Hot and sticky. And we swung on the porch swing, in tandem with the moon.

“Are you listening to me?” Grandma asked.

“Uh huh,” I murmured but I was watching the stars in the sky and only hearing her a little bit. What did I need to know about men? What could she possibly tell me? Why didn’t my little brother come and interupt this conversation like he did all the important ones? I hoped this wasn’t going to be like the ‘talk’ I had with Mom a few weeks before.

“I’m only going to tell you this, once, Stella. So listen,” Grandma said and her voice would not release my ears.

I nodded and the porch swing creaked for emphasis. The stars winked out as I lay my head back and closed my eyes. “Yes, okay,” I said surrendering to her intent.

“They won’t never put down the toilet seat. Live with it.”

I cocked an eye at her – was she serious? This was advice?

“Never say a word against his mama. No matter what she’s done to you, to him or anybody else. She brought him into the world, and for that you gotta be grateful.”

“Whose mother? Who is he?” I asked sending a lazy eye out toward the night to find an intruder.

“If he remembers your birthday, he’s a keeper. If he remembers your birthday and your anniversary, other women will be jealous of what you got.”

“But I’m not a woman,” I protested. “What women will be jealous? Why do I want that?”

“Sssh and listen. You will be a woman and you will remember this, if you pay attention,” Grandma chided.

I closed my eyes again and went along.

“They’re as bad as babies when they’re sick. Make them soup and they’ll be happy. If he’s after you all the time, it means he is not after other women. That’s a good thing.”

“After me?” I came out of my slouch and spied again into the night. “Who’s after me?”

“Child, just listen,” Grandma put her hand on mine and squeezed. “Just listen.”

“But why are you telling me this? I’m not a woman. I don’t even like boys,” I pointed out. “And I’m pretty sure they’ll never like me, either.” I ran my tongue across metal braces and could not imagine lips landing there.

“Because you will be a woman, you will like boys and I won’t be there then to tell you.”

And we shared a look, one I’ll never forget – there was a secret in her eyes that told me I should shut up and listen. I sat back and let her talk.

“They have hair in places you can’t imagine – but you’ll get used to it. They never understand what they did wrong no matter how many times you explain it. If he says he is sorry, forgive him and forget about it. They do their best which is usually not good enough but you can’t get blood from a turnip. If he makes you laugh it’s worth more than gold. If he holds you when you cry you’re in his heart.

And tears formed in my closed eyes but I didn’t know why.

“He’ll tell you he loves you by opening pickle jars and fixing clocks. You have to hear the words in what he does, not what he says.” Grandma stopped and I opened my eyes to meet her stare. “Are you listening, Stella? Are you really listening?”

I nodded and I really was, even though none of it made much sense to me, I had a feeling it would – sometime later. I had a feeling that when it did mean something to me that I’d remember this talk on the porch on a hot, sticky night and smile to myself. “What are the other two,” I asked.

Grandma squinted at me for a minute then smiled. “So, you were listening and counting too?” she was pleased.

I moved in closer, now anxious to hear the final two important things I needed to know sometime in some future life with a man I would someday love. “Are you going to tell me?” I asked.

Grandma nodded and her blue eyes twinkled in that devilish way of hers. “Tell him he’s the only one for you and always was. But keep a love letter around from an old flame just to keep him off balance.” And then she laughed loud and deep from her belly and I laughed too. For a long time we laughed.

And when I went off to bed that night, I wrote down the 16 things in my diary, so I wouldn’t forget.

Discover Christines world of 16