Monday, September 28

You are Here to Risk your Heart

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” ― Louise Erdrich

On September 12, 2013, I saw this quote and I wanted to blog about it. It's been saved in my drafts since then sitting, waiting.  I write about what I know.  As I've said hundreds of times, it's about discovery; it's my process to gain an understanding.  As beautiful as this passage was, as much as I believed in its message, I couldn't relate to it.  It's like watching a hockey game.  You can cheer for your team at the top of your lungs -- "More cowbell!!" -- and you can share the excitement and the exhilaration of the win, but let's face it, the victory goes to the team.  Cheering from the sidelines is NOT the same as throwing on the equipment, giving everything you have and risking a loss in pursuit of the win.   Victory is for the brave.  I wasn't brave.  Not then.  Not until very recently in fact.

My friend Alison encouraged me to start trying -- to open my heart.  She said I was waiting, sleeping, resting.  I wasn't trying.    In fact, a few months ago, our sisterhood group had a tarot reading and my cards said that "he" was coming.  That he would find me. My first thought was that I was going to date a UPS guy because, let's face it, I don't get asked on dates.  People don't stop in here unless they're lost and looking for directions.  The ONLY guy who stopped by the cottage to "chat me up" was a 70-year old man with a belly full of beer and a bad pickup line.

I'm intimidating, I've been told.  I'm 5'9 and I don't slouch.  I am not a petite woman - Amazonian I joke.  My friend Anna-Lisa tells me I should stop looking for a man, because what I need is a warrior.

And then...he appeared.

I'm not going to lie.  I was prepared for a spectacular fail.  Actually that's not true -- I thought I was going to walk away with a new friend.  Maybe someone I could fix up with one of my single gal pals. Finding good people is never a fail and all my instincts told me he was "good people." I was raised as a tomboy and many of those traits have held over into my adult life.  Grabbing a couple of beer and "shooting the crap" is a good night by my standards.  It was a beautiful day.  Unseasonably warm.  A great day to kick back and sip some cold beer on a hot deck and enjoy some adult conversation.  How do you go wrong with a plan like that?  You don't.  Nobody loses.  Everybody wins!  It's a flawless plan!

I have a lot of rules.  This guy breaks a bunch of them.  My friend Shelley thinks that my rules are effectively in place to rule out 98% of earth's male populous.  She lives balls-out and I admire her for it. She thrives in stormy seas whereas I prefer lakes of glass...under clear blue skies...with a life vest. I always looked at my rules as the life vest but as I write this,  I realize they were my anchor.  They weren't saving me...they were stopping me.

"The Four Agreements" cautions us against making assumptions.  I had them.  Assumptions I mean.  In my defense, this fellow isn't a perfect stranger to me so...there they were...preconceived ideas.

He shattered each of them. One at a time.  Until all the little pieces lay at my feet.  Sparkling in the last few rays of a September sun.

It was profound.

Monday, May 25

Censors Beware

"Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself."
Potter Stewart

A few weeks ago the local paper ran an article about an  t-shirt at the local dollar store.  The t-shirt had the following image:

It seems that a female shopper was so offended by the image that she approached the storekeeper and requested that he remove the shirt from the display.  She very strongly felt that the image promoted violence against women.  The owner of the store refused.  The paper was contacted, as was Interval House (a local shelter for abused women and children) and a lengthy article ensued.  

As a woman I am not offended by the image.  I saw it myself on a visit to the store and it made me smile...I thought it was funny.  But then, I don't look to t-shirts for morality lessons.

This week in the paper, a letter to the editor referred to a photo  in last week's issue that "at best is in my opinion, extremely poor taste and at worst is blatant racism."  The reader goes on to say that "while I'm sure there was no conscious intent meant by the young man, the images and the act are, in essence, racist....The costume promotes the idea that being Mexican is humorous and, in turn, I feel, dehumanized an entire people."

The photo was a young man on horseback with a bad fake moustache, a poncho and a sombrero -- his promosal involved the word "Juan"...something like "juan to go to prom with me?" (paraphrasing) . I love puns so I remember thinking...punny.  I also remember thinking..."What the heck?  This article is two pages long?  It's a promposal!"  I read a few paragraphs about how this young boy planned his promposal but was not so engaged that I could commit to the entire article.  I don't recall any reference to the culture -- offensive or otherwise.  My interest started and stopped with the photo.  The visual stereotype was used to make the pun work...there was no ill intent, no hate, no prejudice, no racism.

We are bombarded by messages every day.  Lyrics, art, advertisements, newspapers, social media.  Hell, the Internet has been dubbed "Satan's playground."   I could learn to build a pipe bomb on the Internet but I didn't; I found a recipe and then baked a rhubarb coffee cake.

There is good and bad in the world and that's why as kids we are taught right from wrong.  Sometimes those lessons are fun, sometimes they are uncomfortable and painful.  Such is love and truth and growth.  Parents and teachers take great pains to instill these lessons over and over until they form the mortar in the subconscious foundations of our children.  The building blocks of everyday life lessons are bound together with moral judgement.  The kids grow up, we release them to the world and they build lives on the foundations their parents helped to create. Some crumble.  Some build empires.  It's not a perfect science...but it's been working for a long, long time.

Censorship doesn't help society.  Awareness helps society.  We need to learn how to filter messages -- good ones AND bad ones.  We need to wade through volumes of information and find the messages that help us understand our world.  Our true world...not one that's been edited by censors.

There is no truth in censorship; only ignorance.  Denying information doesn't make it simply hides the information from the unsuspecting and, as the old saying goes, secrets will out. Censorship is a tactic for fools and cowards; for dictators and totalitarians.  When someone is so arrogant that they assume to know what message is the "right" message for me...well,...THAT is what I find offensive.

To the lady in the dollar store, I suggest you partake in some deep introspection to discover the true source of your fear and insecurity.  It is not a t-shirt.  Perhaps you've been treated badly and I'm sorry if you have.  Nobody deserves to be mistreated.  No woman, no child, no man.  Nobody.  Plain black t-shirts are not your panacea.

To the man who felt dehumanized by the pun, I feel sad for you.  You know there was no ill intent. You said it yourself.  So either you're an attention whore or you've been marginalized at some point in your life because you are a visible minority.  It happens.  I know.  I've been marginalized because of gender.  But the whole world didn't do that...just a few schmucks along the way.  Get up, dust yourself off and try not to take yourself so seriously.

Thursday, April 30

Coming Home

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.” —Virginia Woolf 

I am fortunate enough to have fallen in with a spectacular group of women. (If they agree to it, I'll tell you more about our sisterhood in future posts.)   I posted a link to this blog in our group page to share this site with them. To do so, of course, meant a visit. A homecoming of sorts.

What was intended to be a quick visit and a copied link turned into an evening of remembering for me as I read through old posts. I laughed out loud at some of them and got a little teary when I read about my Grandmother. I saw how far I've come across the years.  I can't believe that I made no posts in 2014.  Except for a brief moment of regret at that oversight, I still find joy in my posts which makes me so very, very grateful for my chronicle. It reminds me. It comforts me. It grounds me. It celebrates me. Coming here and not posting tonight would be like passing an old friend on the street and looking the other way. It's just not right. So I thought I would take a moment and feed my blog. 

December 2012 - We can celebrate the fact that the world didn't end in 2012 as predicted by the doomsayers. I got scolded by someone who thought that the collective consciousness should avoid any conversation that contributed to "end-of-the-world negativity." All I gathered from her comment is that she didn't read my blog. It hurt my feelings for a second but then the world kept spinning....pun intended.

February 2013 - You should know that My Asshole Cat ("MAC") did not survive the harsh realities of country life. He either contributed to the food chain or got married and moved can choose your own ending to that story.   His replacement's name is Buddha but I refer to him lovingly as Kitiot. While he's not half the gentleman MAC was, he is his reincarnate when it comes to his need to be heard. My daughter named him Buddha which is a complete misnomer because he acts more like the head of Chaos; hence the nickname Kitiot.    He's only allowed outside during daylight hours.

My kids have flown the nest which makes this Wordpecker an Empty-Nester. I've always known that "empty nest" meant the kids moved out but I was not aware that it also refers to the fact that when they leave...they take  e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.   The mattress for the futon/couch/spare bed is now in my daughter's apartment while the "harder to store" frame is leaning on the wall in my kitchen where my dining room table used to be.  Instead, I have a lovely new couch on my credit card and I eat my dinner at my desk because my daughter left with my table and chairs.  Strangely, she did not take her cat.

So I have a cat in my empty nest...hmmm....that seems so metaphorical. (We may need to explore that in a later post.)

I'm at the lake, gearing up for Summer 2015. Exciting times here at the lakeside as I hammer out plans to exchange my seasonal for a permanent year-round-home.  (GOD I LOVE PUNS!!)  I cannot tell you how excited I am to grow my roots again. In the last 7 years one of my constants has been my love for the lake. I cannot imagine being anywhere else. It is my place in this world. It is where I find my magic, my inspiration, my belonging.   It is home.

Monday, August 12

Head Case

So here's the thing. We learned a couple of years ago that my sister had a brain tumor that we would later come to find included stage 3 cancer. Her prognosis was poor and she was preparing for the worst while hoping for the best.

Over a year later she has a new, optimistic prognosis and is well on her way to recovery. So we're writing her story. Which means one more blog.

I have Intermittent Tappings of a Wordpecker where I write about the world I see. I have a private blog - Uncivilized Me - that captures my most intimate thoughts - thoughts not fit for public consumption. My sister and I have now built BigBrainInc on Wordpress to build her book and tell her story.

So what?

So during this project, Intermittent will be just that. Things I feel I need to share with and about the world I live in. Uncivilized will continue to serve as an outlet for my most deeply personal experiences...a way for me to remember some important developments in my inner life. My diary so to speak.

Stick with me bloggers and followers. I promise to check in, but be patient as I venture down a new path. My sister's story would be the first telling I have ever attempted. It is important to me to do it justice. I promise to keep you apprised of our progress.

Monday, August 5

Still drinking coca cola? Watch this!

I've been living in my head lately, posting often to my private blog with little consideration for my conversation with the world I live in.

Then I stumbled across his video and thought...Yah...let's rag on Coca Cola.

In previous blogs I have talked about my immense loathing for Coca Cola. They are not good global citizens. They pirate resources in collaboration with corrupt governments of underdeveloped countries and replace fresh water with coca cola stands for nations that need nourishment.

I have a real hate on for Coca Cola. They lack conscience. My blog, my topic. Sorry.

Check out the video, brush your teeth, be sure to floss and...oh yeah...stop drinking coca cola.