Monday, January 28, 2008


Sometimes... silence nearly kills me. It is paralyzing. I don't know that others, especially the ones I love, realize that. Silence sends a message.

"Silence, they say, is the voice of complicity.
But silence is impossible.
Silence screams.
Silence is a message, just as doing nothing is an act.
Let who you are ring out and resonate in every word and every deed.
Yes, become who you are.
There's no sidestepping your own being or your own responsibility.
What you do is who you are.
You are your own comeuppance.
You become your own message.
You are the message."

prison writings - my life is my sun dance - leonard peltier

Knowing it and living it

Knowing something and living it are worlds apart. There are so many things that I know in my head. I may have studied it or heard it a thousand times from the people in my life or learned it the hard way. But no matter how I know it, I can't always grasp it and live it.

Tonight, I had a conversation with an old friend from college. Truthfully, he and I have gotten to know each other better in the last couple of years than we did while we were in school. He was encouraging me and reminding me that I deserve more than I have been settling for in life.

It's not that I don't know this.

I completely agree with his assessment of my likable personality. He couldn't be more right about my quick wit and great sense of humor and my intelligence and generosity. And sometimes I think I am "very pretty." But knowing all of that and living as if those qualities earn me the right to be treated like a queen is really tough for me.

Over the last week or two, I have been treated very poorly. I have never had anyone be so mean to me. Not in my whole life. But I have continued to be supportive yet honest. And I have offered encouragement and love and concern. All because it is in my nature... but somewhere in that nature, also because I believe that you reap what you sow and you SHOULD get what you give. And if you should get what you give then I should be getting someone as wonderful as I am.

But knowing it and living it.... are worlds apart.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

"Tis better to have loved..."

Alfred Lord Tennyson once said, "'Tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all."

Is it? Really?

Once a relationship has ended and your mind's clarity has returned and you have the ability to separate the good from the bad, there is still considerable reflection to be done. The end of a relationship is the beginning of a lot of work. It is the beginning of work to rebuild courage, trust, or self-esteem, etc. Or it is the beginning of working on being single again or finding new friends or creating new opportunities for yourself. And before you can begin that work you must reflect, in a healthy state of mind, on what worked and what didn't so you know how to proceed in life.

I find myself at, seemingly, the end of several relationships at this time. One, in particular, is very painful and CLARITY has yet to arrive. I think she might be delayed for a while as she tries to travel through the storm of emotions that are lingering overhead. But as I work through the emotion and talk to friends and try to find some semblance of sanity, I naturally look back over the last few months and examine moments and words and feelings.

A few nights ago, two of my friends drove me around the city in the car like a baby who couldn't fall asleep, trying to get the crying to stop. (Eventually, we got ice cream and that worked wonders.) As we drove, one of them turned to me and said, "Would you rather have never known him?" And I thought briefly and said, "Yes."

Right now... Today... at 1:15 on a Sunday afternoon... I can still say that I feel as if never having met him may have saved me this pain. Nevermind all the wonderful that there was. But I think it's better to never have loved and not lost...

Maybe one day the wonderful will outweigh the pain and I will change my answer.


So, apparently, God helps those that help themselves. But what if you can't help yourself? What if you have been put in a situation by someone and that someone is the only one that can get you back out of it.

Years ago, when my sister was about 6, my best friend and I put her in a big rubber trash can and put the lid on it. We stuffed her in there, closed it up and carted her around in it. She volunteered so it wasn't like we put her in there against her will. But eventually, she wanted to get out. And she couldn't. She needed our help to pry off the lid and lift her up. In hindsight, I realize that she could have suffocated in there and that was a foolish and dangerous game to play. The point is we put my sister in a helpless situation and we were her only way out of it.

Sometimes, we allow others to impact our lives in such a way that we find ourselves in helpless situations. We give others the ability or the control they need to put us in a place that we can't escape without their help. At times, those people will reach out a helping hand and pull us back to safety. But what happens when those folks just turn a deaf ear to our cries for help? What happens when stopping life for a moment to assist is inconvenient for them? What happens when they have decided that you are not worth helping or you're not a priority for them? What happens when they walk away?

You are left, trapped or drowning or suffocating or whatever sensation you feel... And they go on about life, unaffected. How do you help yourself? And how do you ever let anyone in again?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

If only I could make a man love me...

My parents' generation finds great comfort and almost ultimate achievement in marriage. My dad believes that a father is responsible for his daughter until another man, preferably her husband, takes her into his care. And while my parents got married very late in life, by their generation's standards, the fact that I am 36 and single and can't seem to make a man love me distresses them tremendously.

A lifelong relationship, whether it continues in marriage or simply commitment, sounds like a nice idea to me. Throughout my childhood and teen years, I envisioned a perfect life with a husband and about nine boys (enough for a baseball team) and a couple of dogs and a house on a nice city street lined with trees. Essentially, I wanted what my parents have. But life doesn't always turn out they way you think it will.

The results you get in life are due, in part, to what is meant for you. And in part, you get what you get because of the choices you have made along the way. My life, I believe, has been delayed in many areas because I have lacked focus for that which would get the results I desired. I was distracted by pretty things and bad boys and excitement. So distracted, in fact, that I missed opportunities and people as they passed through my life.

I'm a passionate person. Passionate people get distracted. We throw ourselves whole-heartedly into the moment. But we sometimes don't realize when the moment is over and we get caught up in it. I like to believe, however, that we live life to the fullest. we experience so much more than the people sitting on life's sidelines. And I have to wonder if that's better than moving through life on cruise control, doing all the right things and following the patterns that have been created by our parents and their parents before them.

I am different. (If you read this blog often enough, you know that.) And I may be a bit of a disappointment to my parents. I know I am a worry to them. But I have lived. I have dined in France and traipsed through the tulips in Holland. I have parasailed over shark infested waters and driven with the rooftop down along the coasts of the Southeast. I have been to two World Series, one a tragic loss and the other a triumphant win. I played Division III volleyball and basketball and I have coached basketball alongside Ralph Sampson and Dee Brown. I have sung at Powell Symphony Hall and recorded background vocals for a rap group. I have been in love and I have been loved.

I would hate for the measure of my life to come down to one thing: if only I could make a man love me...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Just Sell Lemonade

Suddenly unemployed, I've been occupying much of my time with my five-year-old nephew. He is one of the most loving children I have ever known. Throughout the day, he will come by just to give me a kiss on the cheek. Randomly, he offers up an "I love you" or an unsolicited compliment. It is nearly impossible to be in a foul mood when in the company of this child. Even when he misbehaves, it's difficult to stay mad for long.

Yesterday, we sat together on the couch for a couple of hours. We watched some television and talked and I sang to him a little. (He likes that and I take advantage because I know someday he won't want his old aunt singing to him.) Finally, I told him that I needed to get to work finding a job. He looked up innocently and said, "Aunt Michele, you spend too much time on that phone and on that computer." I told him that if I didn't get a job, all of the presents I get him would stop coming. And he smiled and sat quietly for a moment before saying, "I've got enough presents from you. Why don't you just get a regular job like taking tickets or working in the lemonade stand at the ballpark?"


Why don't I? If I am just working for a paycheck, why not just sell lemonade at the ballpark? And if I am not just working for a paycheck then what is my passion? And how can I do that for a living?

If only I got paid to sit beside my nephew and sing...