Ode to JLC

On a day when I couldn’t win the race,
he bowed before me with a huge vat of glue.
It was only at that moment that I realized
how fast I had been outrunning
how broken I was.

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What’s the Point?

Post academia, my consideration before doing anything has been to what end? Why am I doing this? What is the point? As a student, my consideration was simply to learn. I need to apply that to my life. I don’t necessarily need to know the specific lesson I am intending to learn, but rather, that I am still intending to learn, and that which I glean will have been the point.

Hold Up A Mirror

Not a wise thing to do when one has the flu, but I do not mean to literally ‘Hold Up A Mirror.’

It is often easier to see in others what we may fail to see in ourselves: our own goodness – our helpfulness and compassion – our humanity. When others seek my advice, I listen to what they say when they explain their situation and what they feel to be viable options, and I then reflect their words back to them. When they acknowledge the soundness of what I say in response, I advise that I simply have mirrored their words back to them.

When one is powerful but doesn’t realize it, one is not powerful.

You, as a friend or confidant, hold the ability to empower someone who comes to you perplexed, seeking a solution for one of life’s messes. Permit someone to see that they not only have answers, but that they also have the strength to do what needs to be done to rectify what they view as out of kilter. All you have to do is metaphorically hold up a mirror.

…TO YOU

Did you have an older sibling who died young, and now you are older than your sister or brother? That’s where I am. On this very day, in fact – on her 67th birthday.  My sister Judy was the age of 58 when lung cancer made her physical presence disappear. Made her voice disappear. Made her thoughts stop. Made those who were the beneficiaries of her unconditional love less loved.

I am a year and a half older than she was when she died. Still, I feel myself younger than her. Lesser in many ways – though none of them negative, as my sub-status allowed me to be student to the master. Or mistress. Or whatever is the appropriate term for a female genius with an incomparable compassion for every single person she met. Every. Single. One.

The totality of her being evoked feelings – not words. It is that overwhelming combination of feelings of love and regard and debt and gratitude that creates a reverence that still lives as if she still lived. Which she does not.

Birthdays still exist; aging stops. Happy Heavenly Birthday, Judy.

As her son, my nephew, is wont to say on timely occasions thus: Stop smoking, damnit.

Seeing It In Print

After a doctor’s appointment today, she ordered blood work and an x-ray. On my way from her office to the hospital, I thought about the amount of time I have spent over the decades doing just this: driving hither and yon to have tests for both nonexistent and existing conditions. When I arrived and was waiting in admissions, I looked down at the requisitions. The ‘rule-outs’ were very disconcerting, but this is what I read that stopped me in my tracks:

“History/reason: 60-yr-old woman […]”

I thought they’d erred in printing the paperwork. Yes, that was my name – but who is this 60-yr-old woman it is referring to? Those thoughts took place in a second. It was just the first time that, as a woman in her 60s,  I saw a description of me in print.

I hold a Master of Science in Gerontology. I happily share insights with (and have a profound understanding for) others as they adapt to, troubleshoot, and process their respective agings. Let my reaction serve as proof positive for the veracity of the adage, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.”

Sunday Sermon

We used to watch the TODAY Show. When Willard Scott would offer birthday greetings to centenarians, sometimes he would say, “And she still lives alone!” That infuriated me. He was telling thieves where to find an easier target.

I was reminded of that this morning when I looked on Facebook to see which of our friends were attending an event we were interested in. There were the names of everyone who had clicked to say they were going – friends as well as people we didn’t know.

It should not be general knowledge when someone’s house is vacant. Paranoid? You bet – but that doesn’t mean I’m not being realistic.  If you want specific people to know you’re going somewhere, tell them – not people you don’t know.

Just As I Thought

I’m not sure how old I was when I realized that I was closer to death than I was to 20, but it ultimately became the wake-up call I needed to no longer allow Lyme Disease and its coinfections to keep me from my writing. I started duking it out with the spirochetes in an effort to reclaim my brain, or what’s left of it. Much to my surprise, I won. Sort of. The writing came out as poetry – for me, a win akin to a literary version of Foreign Accent Syndrome (“But I write nonfiction! Not rhymed diction!”) Okay. My poems in the book don’t rhyme, but you get the gist.

Somewhere in between that revelation and this post, I published, Seed Vigilantes, self-serving poetry (is that redundant?) to prove to myself that, as I was known to do in my younger years, I was still capable of organizing words well enough to elicit a reaction from a reader. Sort of like the point of this blog, only for cost. That the content was my personal truth seemed secondary, if not tertiary, to my objective. The challenge has been to get the book into the hands of those who don’t know me, but when one is lacking in notoriety or digital media acuity, it is a next-to-impossible feat to accomplish. Thus, I am left with one question:

Did I write words of substance that would engage those who don’t know me, or did I just write reveals which touched the emotions of friends and family?

It’s all well and good to be a champion poet in my mind but, occasionally, a girl wants to know if she’s capable of playing with the big fish in the poetry pond.

A few people have congratulated me on my bravery, presumably in revealing personal experiences, and I have ineffectively tried to explain that bravery requires an understanding of potential risk. There was no risk – thus, no bravery – in my telling of my truths. Actually, there was the potential for one risk: Learning that I am not the writer I have thought myself to be.

The good news? No one who doesn’t know me has heard of the book, let alone read it, and so – just as I thought – there was no risk.