Telling the truth is hard. Mostly, I think, because we don't know the full extent of the truth about ourselves. It's easier to go through life tending to the daily necessities than to sit down and confront ourselves. It's easier to go to work, get the groceries, do the laundry, clean the house and then fall into bed, than it is to be still and honest with ourselves.
I thought I was pretty good at telling the truth. I love conversation and have shared many evenings talking with friends about life and purpose and meaning.
Then I went to an all day writing workshop and discovered there are many levels of truth, and I was living in the top few. I wasn't strictly a surface dweller, but there were things I discovered that surprised me. We did several free-writing exercises, where you're given a topic and you start writing and don't stop until your allotted time is up. It would often start out completely innocuous, as I wrote about the minutiae of the day, sometimes just writing about the sound of the other writers scratching away in their journals. Then my mind would take a dive and go somewhere unexpected. Sometimes I kept writing, and sometimes I just didn't have the courage. Afterwards, we would share what we'd written, and I would be completely blown away by the truth that had found it's way out. And I respected and admired those that broke open their souls and shared their true selves. And I wanted to share just a little bit more, but wasn't quite ready.
I don't mean to suggest I have some dark, hidden secret that needs confessing. It's more pedestrian than that. It's the little disappointments that turn into big deals and bother us more than we let on. It's the fears that keep us from growing and trying new things, although we have another explanation for not being involved.
I'm drawn to those writers that embrace vulnerability; that share the good, the bad, and the things hoped for but not yet seen. I will get there, in time, but it's definitely going to be a process. If I were writing anonymously it would be so much easier! I know,though, that there are friends and family and co-workers who happen by this blog every now and then. And some of those very wonderful people have a habit of commenting about what I've written, and I need to be able to own up to my confessions in real life.
I don't think I'll ever write some big tell-all post (mostly because there's no big "tell-all" secret) but I am going to try to continue growing in the area of truth-telling, one blog post at a time.
So I think I'm good for today then.
If you're looking for more, may I suggest visiting one of the following blogs:
http://loraleeslooneytunes.com/ - I laughed, I cried, and then I went through a lot of kleenex. Seriously? Don't read this one in a public place, because sooner or later you'll get to a post about her son Matthew, and then you may fall apart a little. She is a woman who went through hell, managed to find her way back, and now has the courage to write about it.
I went to a concert this week. A great concert. An almost-sold-out arena concert with thousands of people who knew every word to every song and weren't afraid to show it. And I enjoyed it thoroughly.
It wasn't until the last song that I got up and sang along with everyone, and it wasn't until that moment that I realized how much I'd missed out on.
I'd sat in my seat, foot-tapping and clapping along. Feeling slightly annoyed with the two women next to me who were invading my personal space. Trying not to get elbowed in the head because they were standing and I was sitting and there wasn't enough space between us.
I knew all the words, and there was a part of me that wanted to get up and sing and cheer and participate in the concert. But I didn't.
To be fair, the people behind us weren't standing up and I didn't want to get in their way. Also, I have to wear ear plugs at concerts now due to an obscenely loud show I went to that did a bit of damage a few years ago. And although I can hear the show just fine, the ear plugs muffle the noise of the crowd and take me out of the moment. I feel a little bit removed from my surroundings and too much inside my own head.
I could have still sang. And I could have got up for the songs when just about everyone was on their feet. And I would have loved the concert so much more, if only I'd participated.
I realized that this is true for all of life. I can be present. I can enjoy and appreciate what's going on around me, but until I invest myself, until I participate in whatever is happening, my experience and enjoyment will only ever be muted.
Today started like any other day. Get up, shower, get ready for work, feed the cats, feed myself, a few finishing touches, and out the door to work. I felt a little scatterbrained for the first little while, running on autopilot as my thoughts bounced around from one thing to the next. And then I started to feel it.
A lightness in my being. A bounce in my step. A song in my heart. A welling up of joy and goodness that threatened to spill over into song if I wasn't careful.
The sun was shining, I was full of ideas, and my blog stats were up. I have a few greatbooks on the go, and the upcoming weekend holds the promise of laughter and fellowship.
In the midst of this happiness, I stopped and whispered a prayer for a family friend who is in the middle of a fierce battle with cancer. A prayer that they would see good days ahead.
When everything is going so very well I get a little bit nervous. I want to revel in this feeling, but at the same time I worry that if I let down my guard and allow myself to be swept away by joy I'll be too vulnerable if and when life takes an unwelcome turn. There's a part of me that seems to believe if I'm constantly cognizant of all that can go wrong, if I acknowledge that this can all change in an instant, then I'll somehow be more prepared when it happens.
I know that isn't true. You can't prepare for bad news.
Knowing this, I shall endeavor to fully celebrate the good times. I want my awareness of the fleeting and fragile nature of life to be a catalyst for greater celebration when life is good. I want to be fully present and allow myself to indulge in happiness. I want to imprint on my memory the smiles and laughter and sense of well-being I experience in those moments.
I approach cooking more as an art form than a daily necessity. I like trying new dishes more than whipping up old favorites, and my cupboards are well-stocked. There's something therapeutic about chopping and mincing, grating and slicing. Rubbing dry herbs between my fingers to release their flavors. Filling my house with delicious smells. I particularly like to cook things that need several hours of simmering, building anticipation for the meal all day.
Which brings me to tonight's meal.
Yesterday I ate a frozen dinner for lunch. Linguine, pasta sauce, shrimp, spinach and mushrooms. Sounds more appealing than it looked or tasted. For a frozen dinner it was ok, but as I ate the watery concoction I thought I could probably do better. Made fresh, it would have been wonderful.
I went online (to my favorite recipe site) and found a recipe for pasta sauce. After work I stopped at the grocery store and liquor store (for the dry red wine) and zipped home to throw it together. This particular recipe is supposed to simmer for 3-5 hours. Which means I probably should have waited for the weekend to make it, but I'm impatient like that.
I'm cooking it up tonight, and will eat it for supper tomorrow.
After getting everything together in the pot, I glanced (one more time) at the directions. Because I'm a faithful follower, particularly with a new recipe.
Bring to a light boil.
Ummm...the only liquid in the pot was the half cup of red wine. So it was thick. Very thick. And my dutch oven was three quarters full. Of very thick wonderful red sauce. As soon as it started bubbling, the pot nearly leaped off the stove from the force of the boil. It produced big red pasta sauce bubbles. Bubbles that did not stay in the pot. A bit of a stir and the sauce calmed down, and with some experimenting I got the temperature just right. Hot enough to simmer (sort of) without popping big red bubbles all over my kitchen.
And now I wait. First I'll wait until it's done simmering. Then I'll wait until it's cooled enough to refrigerate. Then I'll wait until suppertime tomorrow, and hopefully it will be fantastic. Good enough to justify the bottle of wine. Red wine, which I don't usually drink. So either I'll be making a lot of pasta sauce, or indulging in a glass or two.
i stand in front of the mirror. i came to get a bobby pin, but upon seeing my reflection decide I like the way strands of hair are escaping my ponytail. they fall around my face in a delicate frame. i smile at my reflection and think to myself - i look cute right now. navy thrift store shirt with pink letters - Las Vegas - slightly off centre. pink tank top peeks out from beneath. soft brown capris rolled up above my knees into makeshift shorts. bare feet.
happiness with a touch of longing reflects in my eyes.
I did not write this post. I stole it from a friend's Facebook page. I'm not sure where it originated, but it was too good not to share.
* I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.
* More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can't wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that's not only better, but also more directly involves me.
* Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
* I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to have fun." Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter?
* Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.
* Ok, that's enough Nickelback.
* I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
* Is it just me, or are 80% of the people in the "people you may know" feature on Facebook people that I do know, but I deliberately choose not to be friends with?
* Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.
* There is a great need for a sarcasm font.
* Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the f was going on when I first saw it.
* I think everyone has a movie that they love so much, it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the only one who really, really gets it.
* How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
* I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.
* I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
* The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text.
* A recent study has shown that playing beer pong contributes to the spread of mono and the flu. Yeah, if you suck at it!
* LOL has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to say".
* I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
* Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".
* How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?
* I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!
* Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using 'as in' examples, I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete idiot. Today I had to spell my boss's last name to an attorney and said "Yes that's G as in...(10 second lapse)..ummm...Goonies"
* What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?
* While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it...thanks Mario Kart!
* MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
* Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
* I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.
* Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
* I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
* Bad decisions make good stories
*Whenever I'm Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don't mind if I do!
* Is it just me or do high school girls get sluttier & sluttier every year?
* If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible.
* Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from, this shouldn't be a problem.
*You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you've made up your mind that you just aren't doing anything productive for the rest of the day.
*Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't want to have to restart my collection
* There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.
* I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
*"Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this ever.
* I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There's so much pressure. 'I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren't watching this. It's only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?'
* I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Dammit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
* I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
* When I meet a new girl, I'm terrified of mentioning something she hasn't already told me, but that I have learned from some light internet stalking.
* I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.
* Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising speed for pedophiles.
* As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.
* Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
* It should probably be called UNplanned Parenthood.
* I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
* Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn't know what do to with it.
* Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, hitting the G-spot, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I’d bet my ass everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time!
* My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the hell do I respond to that?
* It really pisses me off when I want to read a story on CNN.com and the link takes me to a video instead of text.
* I wonder if cops ever get pissed off at the fact that everyone they drive behind obeys the speed limit.
* I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
* I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.
* The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words, someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimated that there must be at least four people eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself. There's nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard before dinner.