Friday, March 28, 2008

I Like You

Dale Carnegie once said, "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you."

Many people have commented on my ability to make friends. Some have held it against me. But throughout my life, I believe there have been spaces and gaps created in my world that were meant to be filled by new people, new friends. In the moments when those openings occur, it is up to me to discern who I will welcome into my life.

Some people come for just a season. Some forever. But each person confirms my love for people and renews my desire to meet and know as many of them as I am allowed.

Last night, I was reading through some old notes. There was a lengthy conversation between me and someone who I believe to be a forever friend and, in that conversation, he said that he had spent weeks trying to get me to like him. Reading it then made me angry. Reading it now makes me sad. You see, when it comes to friendship, I am easy. You need not try so hard. I realize that it is difficult for some people to accept my smile and my open arms as sincere. Past experiences, history and previous relationships color our perception of others.

But I am sincere. I am genuine. I promise you.

You don't have to get me interested in you. I like you. Most of the time, I like you before I even meet you. People fascinate me. I just want to know your name and your taste in music and food and movies. I want to know what makes you happy and what brings tears to your eyes. I want to know you. And selfishly, I need you in my world, if only for a day or a month or maybe for a lifetime.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Music of Your Soul

"Music isn't just learning notes and playing them, You learn notes to play to the music of your soul." ~Katie Greenwood

When I was 10 years old, I walked up to the front of the church, before my entire school, and asked if I could sing. While I felt the music within me from my earliest memory, that day I was given the opportunity to release it into the atmosphere and share it with the rest of the universe. And my musical education started that day. I began to learn how to string together the notes of my life and sing the songs of my soul.

Although my life did not take a uniquely musical route, there has been a soundtrack playing in my head for 37 years. The music is with me always, impacting my every day life.

I am constantly amazed by the musical talent of others and by their ability to pull from the universe the ideas and thoughts and dreams of the rest of us to unite us through song. They remind us that our feelings are not merely our feelings but that we share them with so many others. And that while we may feel lonely or broken or sad, it is a universal loneliness and brokenness. We are never alone in any moment of our lives. Some will say we are not alone because we have God and I believe that. But I also believe that we are never alone because we have music.

Music is a common thread in the fabric of our world. Language, culture, interests may divide us... We may be separated by land or sea... Our politics or religion may cause strife among us... But everyone loves music in the depths of their soul.

In times of joy and great happiness... In times of pain and sorrow... Everyday and every night... Take some time to listen to your life. Hear your soundtrack. Listen to the music of your soul.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

We still see you

Removing yourself from a situation and expecting it to just go away is like covering your eyes with your hands and thinking you're invisible.

You may not be standing in the midst of it or be in any direct contact with others involved but the situation still exists. You may not be able to see it but the situation lives on.

Any time we experience something that makes us uncomfortable, we naturally want to avoid it. And those of us who are sensitive to the feelings of others steer clear of anything that will cause others pain. If we have caused someone else pain, we want to avoid them as well. It is our gut instinct to run away.

Deep down I think we all know that we are not sparing anybody any pain, resolving any issues or altering circumstances by removing ourselves or limiting our involvement. The only way to accomplish any of those things is to stick around and work through it. But that's so hard. And it requires so much effort. It also makes us see ourselves for who we really are and acknowledge our role in these events. We can no longer blame others for our own behavior or feelings. It requires honesty and a commitment to make things right or at least make them less wrong.

And more times than not, it gets worse before it gets better. It's harder and the pain is intensified. It is darkest before the dawn. But surviving the bad times shows the character and strength of a relationship.

Covering your eyes until you think you're invisible might feel easier. But it only makes you look silly and prolongs the inevitable. We can all still see you. So, let's put those hands to good use. And deal with life... and eventually... get on with it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Power of YET

The word "YET" commands power. "Yet" is an adverb that has a few meanings, the most powerful of which is EVENTUALLY.

The power of the word "yet" gets lost in conversation. It's three letters take up very little space and it's utterance requires the slightest breath and nearly no effort. It falls from one's lips gently and almost softly. So we fail to recognize the significance of "yet." We neglect to acknowledge the mastery and control of "yet" and the grip it can have on one's feelings or thoughts.

Let me demonstrate. Read the following sentences and compare them. In these sentences, the definition of "yet" is "eventually."

I have not slept with all of your friends.
I have not slept with all of your friends yet.*

I do not want to marry you.
I do not want to marry you yet.

I have not gone to the grocery store.
I have not gone to the grocery store yet.

We haven't cut off your electric.
We haven't cut off your electric yet.

And my favorite...
I have not castrated the man.
I have not castrated the man yet.

Feel the power of the "yet?"

In each of the examples "yet" tells of something that is to come, something that will happen eventually. It implies a promise or a threat and sometimes, gives hope for something that will one day be fulfilled.

"Yet." Small but mighty, all-powerful... YET.

*This example was generously donated by a good friend who is a loyal reader of this blog and a lover of all things bunny.

Holidays are hard

For most of my life, I eagerly anticipated holidays and spending time with my extended family. It meant laughter and food and fun with cousins and aunts and uncles. The house was filled with the sounds of conversation and feet pounding on the floor as children rushed from room to room. Every light was on and every door was opened and in every space in every room sat a relative or two or three. Pure joy filled my heart on every holiday.

As I grew up, I would hear about how distressing holiday were for some people and that the holidays often ushered in depression and gloom. I didn't understand how one could be surrounded by people and not enjoy the moment.

Until now...

Holidays have become progressively harder for me. Much of it my own doing, as I have set standards for myself that I have not reached and goals that I have not achieved. And, while those standards and goals are unknown to the rest of the family, I feel like a disappointment and to some degree a failure.

This past Thanksgiving was the first holiday of a really difficult string of holidays. Christmas of 2007 was the best and the worst Christmas I have ever had. And as I rang in the new year, I felt a profound sadness come over me.

Today is Easter, a Christian holiday in which we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. The symbolism surrounding it speaks of new birth, new life, new beginnings... like the beginning of spring. It is a time for renewal. For starting over... It is a joyous time, for most.

This Easter and all it's newness runs frighteningly parallel to my life. I am starting a new job in a week and moving to a new home. And I am moving forward on my own. Getting on with my life, so to speak... Starting over... And it should be a joyous time.

But this holiday is hard, just like all the others. Maybe harder than the others because of the changes I am facing and all the NEW that lies ahead.

And I am sad. Incomprehensibly sad. And the sounds of family have faded from music to a dull, droning hum. And I can't wait for this day to be over.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


You don't have to be skinny to be loved.

You don't have to be skinny to be successful.

You don't have to be skinny to be happy.

You don't have to be skinny.

This is the message I hear.

If this is true... If this is the message we want to send our daughters... Then we must show it to be true. Live the example.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dad's Simple Pleasures

When I was a little girl, my dad and my grandpa owned their own grocery store in the heart of south St. Louis. Dad left the house every morning around 4 a.m. to start his day and he'd return home between 5 and 6 p.m. to a hot meal on the table, prepared by my stay-at-home mom. He started his career when he was just 11 years old, working in the family business. Then six years ago, he retired, after 56 years as a butcher.

When he retired, my mom had to get used to having him around the house. They had lived together for 34 years but had spent most of their married life separated by his job. They were only accustomed to spending about 4 or 5 hours a day together. And my dad had to get used to how things worked in his own house. It was quite the adjustment for the two of them so my dad spent a lot of time fishing. But eventually he developed a love for the simple pleasures in his life.

My dad is a porch-sitter now. He sits on the front porch of our residential street and watches the cars go by and the dog-walkers pass. In fact, he now knows most of the dog walkers by name and their personal stories too.

My dad is the mail-getter. Everyday at 10:30 a.m., our mailman arrives and dad greets him at the door. Then, like a giddy school boy, he races to the kitchen table where he sorts it and rips open his envelopes.

My dad is a puzzler. He sits in the basement for hours on end putting together puzzles. And now, they line the walls. His last puzzle took a couple of months to complete. But when he gets down to 40 or 50 pieces, he can barely tear himself away because he can't wait to see the finished product.

My dad is the remote control keeper. I know this is a common role for men but the television doesn't even have to be on for my dad to hold the remote control in his hand. It's like his security blanket when he sits in the family room.

My dad is a rose-grower. He has created a beautiful rose garden in the back yard. He is most proud of his blue roses.

And that's his life. I am sure my mom would love it if he would pick up after himself or close the cabinets all the way. But I think she gets the fact that the man worked 56 years of his life and now it's his turn to be a kid for a while. And Dad has found joy in his simple pleasures.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Apologies to Colbie Caillat

Dear Colbie Caillat,

You and I could have been forever friends had we met in the right space and time. Somehow the stars aligned in such a way that we crossed paths at the beginning of a pretty tumultuous time in my life.

Initially, I felt like your cd, "Coco," told the story of my life. I was feeling all "Bubbly" inside. I had found "Magic" in a man that seemed to be "Tailor Made" for me. Sometimes when we were together, I felt like I wasn't getting enough "Oxygen" but as soon as I let my "Feelings Show," the relationship became a "Battle." Eventually, I spent most of my time hoping he'd just "Realize" that we were meant for each other. And finally, it was just me and my "Midnight Bottle" lounging around on the couch missing all the "Little Things."

So, in an effort to cleanse myself from parts of the past, I had to destroy your cd. Rather than just tossing it in the trash or giving it to a friend, I had a special Valentine's Day ceremony in which I stomped the crap out of it until it scattered across the kitchen floor in pieces.

I am sorry. It had to be done. I wish we could have stuck together a little longer. Your music is fantastic and I loved singing along with you in my car. But eventually all that fabulous music simply served as a painful reminder.

And so, again, I offer you my apologies, Colbie Caillat. It was good while it lasted.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I've always given mankind the benefit of the doubt. I have a friend who believes that people are not born good but they must learn to be good. I believe the opposite. I believe we are all born good. There is a goodness deep within each of us and it is up to us to discover the goodness, grow that goodness and share it with those around us.

I believe in the goodness of others. And for years, I have believed in the ability of others to recognize goodness as well.

The laws of karma say that your deeds dictate your experiences. While, my motivation for sharing my goodness with the people I encounter on a daily basis is not merely to gain better life experiences, there's a small part of me that silently hopes that others will see it, appreciate it and return some kindness my way.

There are days when I wonder when the returns will start to come in. I know it is selfish. But I wonder. I'd be lying if I said otherwise. I wonder when my time will come. I wonder when it will be my turn to experience the goodness.

There are other laws that say that if you are ready for anything, anything can happen and that in order to receive good things in life, you must be ready for them.

I'm ready. I'm ready for some goodness. But I'm going to guess that it will come when it's time, and not just because I think I'm ready.

Midnight Caller

Over the last few weeks, I've started sleeping in split shifts, thanks to my new friend, the Midnight Caller.

A little over a year ago, I had a secret admirer whose tactics were frightening. Notes duct-taped to the windsheild of my car or stuffed into the mail slot in my front door made me more than uneasy. Then my car windows were broken and odd things were taken, like socks. Nevermind all of the expensive items that I carelessly left in the back seat... Finally, the effort to garner my attention became so unnerving that I packed up, dropped my belongings in a storage unit and moved back to the security of my parents' home.

I am still living with my parents but a few months ago, I stayed at a friend's place for a few days while he was out of town. It was a huge test. Was I ready to live alone again? The first night was torture. I laid in bed, staring at the cieling for hours before exhaustion kicked in and I reluctantly fell asleep. But overall, the extended weekend went well. I enjoyed the time alone and feeling more in control of my day-to-day life. Afterward, I decided I was ready. So I have been looking for the perfect place.

Then, last week, the Midnight Caller starting harassing me. I only call him or her the Midnight Caller because the phone calls are only coming after midnight. The first night, there were three calls. The second night, there were two. Last night, just one... And once they start, I can't get back to sleep again.

I'm angry. I am slowly regaining control of the different areas of my life. The waters were finally calming and the boat seemed steady. And now, this stranger is rocking the boat again. So I have to revert to having my friends meet me at the door when we go out and walk me to my car and take all of the precautions I was advised to take last year.

There are other, more attractive, less scary ways to get someone's attention. Calling in the daylight hours might be a start.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Not being wanted by someone is one of the harshest realities in this life. Especially when you are suddenly unwanted by someone that you want and that wanted you... for a while. To be unwanted is to be undesired, unaccepted, unneeded, unsought, unwished for. Those are some strong words!

How do you deal with that?

This is where I usually give you a long, drawn out explanation of how you deal with it but in this case, I really don't know. I have been trying to deal with this situation for about two months now. And while they say that time heals all wounds, I ain't seein' it. It feels to me like every passing day makes the weight of this burden heavier. The longer I have to go without a valid or somewhat reasonable excuse for why I'm unwanted, the harder it is for me to deal.

I am not above showing my weaknesses on this site. I do it all the time. But I pride myself on being able to take my life experiences and spin them into something useful, something from which others can learn and from which we can all grow. But I am honestly at a loss here.

So it's your turn... I need some advice. How do you deal?

You don't have to leave a comment here for all the world to see. You can always just send an email to Your thoughts, ideas and swift kicks in the backside are appreciated.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Sisterhood

Sisterhood: the state or kinship of being sisters; sisterly companionship.

Women need other women. We must surround ourselves with females who will edify us, encourage us, pull us out of the depths of our own sorrow, lift our spirits, give us guidance. Women are the best friends to other women and the best teachers too.

It is through female relationships that women become powerful and strong and successful contributors to society. Only another woman can teach you to find value within yourself and only she can show you that your self worth is not wrapped up in what you do for a living, how many children you have or what man stands beside you.

Enrobing yourself in the sisterhood of women gives you inspiration to strive for what is better, offers you the opportunity to sit in the presence of a proud people and soak in the wisdom of years and experience and inherent knowledge that comes simply from being born female.

And once taken in by the sisterhood of womankind, you wonder why you ever fought it. More times than not, women are not rejected BY the sisterhood, they simply reject it for selfish reasons, most of which revolve around men. Men can give us many things but they cannot replace our internal need for other women in our lives.

If you commit yourself to female friendships, you will find an undying loyalty, unending concern and helpfulness and an eternal resource from which to draw what you need when you need it.

There's nothing like the sisterhood.