Thursday, November 29, 2012

Just Go With The Crow

We live in a small town.  My husband calls it the 'boonies', to which I take offense because technically we only live about 20 miles away from Nashville.  However, it is true that 5 minutes from our house, you're bound to see hills and cows grazing, making you want to burst into song a la Julie Andrews.  I actually like it.  I like that at night, the low light pollution gives me a good view of the star-filled skies.  And in the mornings, I hear the cries of crows above me.

Ah, those crows.  Actually, I'm still a bit ambivalent about them.  When I hear crows, in my mind it's still a toss up between images of Alfred Hitchcock, or that romantic scene from 'How To Make An American Quilt' where a woman was led to the love of her life courtesy of this black bird.  

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Most often than not, the romantic image wins.  Of course it does.  After all, this is me we're talking about here.  Now this got me thinking.  (And yes, I do think of this every time I see and hear the crows hovering).  Wouldn't it be great if indeed there was some universal sign that could lead everyone to the love of their life?  It needs to be something unmistakeable, something you can't miss.  Otherwise we'd all just spend our days being paranoid about missing the sign and end up doing nothing but tune out everything else in our lives just to ensure we'd spot what's ours to have.

The funny thing is, most of us do this or have done that at some point in our lives, that paranoia-filled existence of wondering whether 'he/she' is out there; whether or not the one in front of us is the one 'meant to be', the shoe that fits perfectly.  There is no crow to watch out for, no magical spotlight that identifies, and certainly no strong, literal magnetic pull that would draw the two of you inexplicably together no matter how geographically far apart you are.  (And by the way, I think that would be amazing!)

No, all we have are our limited senses and an immeasurable capacity for risk-taking.  The truth is, inasmuch as we love guarantees and would prefer success over failure, we are also beings who prefer to believe in personal responsibility and freedom of choice.  You can't freely choose and still be guaranteed of success every single time.  It just doesn't work that way.  If it were that simple, I suspect that love or falling in love won't be too enticing anymore, won't mean as much as it does, and definitely won't feel as thrilling as it does.  Part of the reason why love has so much value is because it requires so much of us.  It calls for so much faith, and a hell of a lot of courage.  It's not for the faint-hearted, and definitely not for those afraid of failure AND pain.  It's all just part of the package, even if you do end up with the shoe that fits perfectly.

I think we're better off thinking of it this way.  Don't search for THE crow. Instead, go ahead and follow any crow. After all, regardless of where that crow leads you, love and relationships will always be messy.  A bird's a bird, and love is love.  You just have to really want it badly to survive it because whether you like it or not, at some point, it's bound to crap on you.  It's just the nature of things.  

Photo credit:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Celebrating Gratitude

File:Thanksgiving 1900.JPGIf you're in the U.S., this week has probably been very busy for you.  With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner, most of us are probably shopping, cooking, and /or packing suitcases.  And possibly all that on top of going to school or work.  So given the busy nature of this week, but still feeling the need to pause and take the time to reflect on things we are truly grateful for, I decided to take the lead of my blogger friend Marie of Rock the Kasbah and 'multi-task'.  Just like what she did (and I highly recommend you click on her link above and read her entertaining list!), she wrote things she's thankful for (for Thanksgiving), and combined it with her Christmas wish list.  I thought the 'Thanks/Wish' list was genius!

Anyway, here's my attempt at 'meaningful' multitasking.....

Thanks: We've completely settled into our new home and so far we're loving  the space we have and are grateful that we've had no major issues with it.
Wish: We could completely furnish and decorate each room as if I possessed a magical Sarah Richardson wand.

Thanks:  Our family remains relatively healthy and no one has suffered from any major health problems.
Wish:  I would stop being so crazy paranoid and stressed out with every sniffle, cough and slightly elevated temperature my son gets.  Does anyone have any miracle solution to this insanity????  

Thanks:  I finally found a great hair stylist here in TN, close to my home, knows how to listen to what I want, but talented enough to implement what she thinks would best suit me.
Wish:  I could say the same about finding a family physician and OB/GYN.

Thanks:  Two new babies were born in the Page and Manuel families this year and both babies are healthy and beautiful!  
Wish:  People would stop asking me when I would have my next one and how fabulous it would be if I had a girl!  

Thanks:  Writing still inspires, stimulates and invigorates me.  I am thankful for that and happy that somehow, I still find material to write about no matter how 'boring' my life is.  I guess in a way, I should also be thankful for that.  God knows I can only take so much excitement.
Wish:  That in the next couple of years (assuming the Mayans are wrong), I would find more venues for my writing and be able to explore new territory.  (It's so 'new' to me that I can't even specify on here what exactly I mean by that!)

Finally, I would like to leave all of you with the ultimate wish...That no matter where you are in life, that you'll always find far greater things to be thankful for, than your wishes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

And Love Saves the Day!

Today marks one of the most special days in my parents' day when they felt remarkably joyous!...Today is my birthday! 

There is absolutely one thing that I've learned to look forward to when my birthday arrives, and that's the birthday blues.  Yes, you heard me.  I look forward to my annual self-flagellation session.

Well, 'self-flagellation' might not entirely be accurate.  I guess I just call it 'birthday blues' but really what I mean is some serious alone time for self reflection.  I can almost hear some of you saying, "But don't you already do that every day???" The answer is sure, yes to some extent.  But a birthday is serious business for me and therefore I feel more pressure to make the contemplation more productive.  And while most people would prefer to celebrate with friends, I actually prefer spending it by my lonesome, and this has gotten even more pronounced as I got older. Having my birthday without getting at least two hours of alone time is something I deem tragic.  I must admit, I crave some solitude, some time to be left alone with my thoughts, and most especially my questions.  It's just who I am.

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Last night I went to my bff's house to celebrate her eldest son's birthday. Birthday boy is also my godson.  Then BFF shared that birthday boy said something profound to her.  We're not sure if it was a product of watching too much Aladdin or Mulan or some other Disney movie but he said, "When I marry, I want someone who sees me.  I want to be seen, Mama."  

This got me thinking.  Aren't birthdays about this as well?...being 'seen'.  And to be seen is not merely about getting attention and being made to feel special for a day, although those are great perks to enjoy.  

To be really seen is to be understood, to have a soulful connection with another, to be heard and felt in spite of silence.  To be seen is to be accepted and loved, truly purely loved, welcomed despite your flaws, idiosyncrasies, wounds and baggage.  It's to be treasured both for your gifts, and equally for your failures or never-to-be-realized potential.  

I had more than a hundred birthday messages online, from close friends, not-so-close friends, new friends, old friends, mentors, former students, and family. To all of you who took the time to send me your messages on this special day, I am sincerely grateful!  You have made me smile.

But what truly fills me on this special day is the opportunity to reconnect with old friends...friends (and select family members) who have known me for decades; souls who celebrate me even when I feel like there is nothing about me to celebrate.  I feel most humbled and honored by friends telling me that they value me for being trustworthy, wise and that my written words on here have made a difference somehow.  These are birthday messages that truly remind me what birthdays are about -- a celebration of the perfection in one's imperfect existence.  At the end of the day, a birthday celebrant knows that the day is not quite complete unless she hears from those who truly see her, mold her, feel her.  The day is never really quite full to the brim unless she hears from Love......well, that and a slice of chocolate cake!

Happy Birthday to Me!  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Object!!

Last night was a long night, made even longer if like me you were holding your breath for hours.  Anyway, today is a new day and forward is the only way to go for all of us!

I want to say my morning was perfect but again I found something strange in my inbox.  A few weeks ago, I said that my day was ruined by a 'strange' coupon sent via email.  Well today, I got yet another surprise from one of my email accounts.  When I checked my inbox, I found this ---

I'm offended.  Troubled, to say the least.  And admittedly it's not because of the fact that I'm married and never signed up for any such dating sites.  It's the fact that I'm getting emails from a site called ''.


Next week is going to be my birthday and though I am undeniably aging, I refuse to label myself 'senior' at this point. What's more, if indeed I were single and looking for dates, I resent the fact that my 'date-able pool' now belongs in the 'Senior' category.

I don't mean to disrespect seniors and / or the elderly population in general.  I have great respect for them, trust me. It's just that, though I've repeatedly revealed that I tend to be attracted to men 'more mature' than my 'very late 30's cohort', I'm not quite at that point yet of saying that these are the ones bearing senior citizen cards.  Maybe they do, maybe they don't.  But I'm not admitting it.

I have a lot of gray hairs.  I have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis.  My back and different joints hurt.  I'm seeing more lines and age spots on my face which translate to putting more effort at fixing myself when I need to step out of my house.  More time on the treadmill is also now required if I just want to maintain my weight, let alone try to lose a few pounds.  So yes, I know I'm really getting older.  But please....can we delay the 'senior' label for, maybe a couple more decades???

What labels do you find yourself resisting or protesting these days?....whether justified or not...