- Sitting on my swing:
I had wings once,
Stubby little things with no feathers,
But they grew, a little stunted.
I stretched and flapped, refusing to be flightless.
For a time I knew the sun, the wind
But I never trusted those wings.
I feared they would falter,
And somehow bring me back to earth.
Surprisingly, it was not my wings but the sun.
I forgot it can blind you.
I hit a wall, repeatedly until I had no strength to try again.
For a long time I was content to be broken,
To suffer and forget about the sky.
Part of me believed this was the inevitable price of dreaming
Dreams I was never meant to have.
Now, I sit in my cadge and people call me a survivor and inspiring.
They think I have persevered beyond my handicaps, limitations and self-inflicted harm
But they are wrong.
If they only knew how it hurts to breathe, remembering.
How the sweet voices encouraging me to raise my twisted wings
Only serve to remind me of the carelessness that got me here.
How long will I stay safe in my cadge?
My heart still remembers, still longs to fly.
But I do not have the will to believe in second chances.
And my heart curses me for such a selfish betrayal.
AC Nov 2012
I am a person who doesn’t really do labels of most kinds but I realize that this rule -like so many others- was only applied to the people outside of my head. For a long time I wanted to be the “good daughter” I’m not sure I even realized how far that one went until I didn’t want to do that any more. I wanted to be a “good student,” in HS and college. I never sassed my teachers and always did my homework.
I have tried and will continue to be a “good friend” though I know I get too caught up in my own stuff sometimes. When I was married I desperately wanted to be a “good wife.” And I became another person to try to pull it off. I knew that I was a “good teacher, bad writer and someone who loved to sing and make art.”
But now precious few of these way of identifying myself feel real or wanted. And the terms I find myself thinking in feel different; sometimes comforting and others threatening. So many of the labels I had hurt to try to retain. I know there is something taking that space but I don’t know what it is. There are so many things I could do and I could be. And I know that the “you must have a purpose” part of me would love to just latch on to anything to keep from being a void. But that is where I am.
I have met a lot of interesting people lately that have caused me to think of myself in different lights and for that I am grateful. I have a strong inclination that the person I used to be is fading away. I am uncertain of the person I am becoming but I trust change. Some seeds take fire to sprout.
It has been a while. In fact I have seriously contemplated taking down my blog b/c of lack of motivation to write about anything of real substance or meaning. Not that those things are not happening but I know that when I do not write-journals or anything- I am avoiding my thoughts and feelings.
I find something interesting and flashy: a project, new dedication to my job ect and intentionally forget about the rest. It is hard for me to define what it is that I am running from other than failure in general. I am a person who perseveres, who survives but I wonder often, “at the cost of what?” What I mean is that for every choice we make we say yes or no to something. And I have the increasing feeling that the more I “survive” the less I really live. To live one has to be willing to fail, to try and inevitably lose sometimes. To survive one must only breath and keep going. I know that this is a mellow-dramatic and perhaps overly dark assessment of things but it is how my heart feels.
My latest distraction has been “trying” to date. Please pause for a moment while I laugh at myself. Though I did learn a few interesting things about myself, my nature and dating in your 30’s; most of what I learned was that my heart is not in it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an adrenalin and pheromone junkie like everyone else on that planet but the moment that I was at risk, I had to give anything, I shut it down. And that is just unfair to good people with different intentions.
So here I am smack in the middle of self assessment again. There is a part of me that feels like I should go back to counseling. There is a part of me that will not do that and there is another part of me that wonders when I will love/believe in myself enough to know I can make it and cut myself a break. But that feels very hard.
It is hard to look at the people I love in and out of my family and wonder if I only get the chance I lost. If I really don’t want kids or if I’m so scared they’ll be like me that I will not do that to my nonexistent spawn. I am so sick of listening to the same stories in my head but I don’t know how to change them. I’m so tired of being Alice giving very good advice and seldom following it.
What is the point to this self-pity rant you ask? That is if you are still reading. I’m in the moment between breaths. My old life is finally out of my lungs and I am happy for that. But I have no idea what the intake of new air will bring. So I hold my breath foolishly like a child, knowing that my body will make me breathe again, just like it made me live again.
I wish I were wiser and less afraid. I wish I had more compassion for my heart and what if feels. I wish I could accept that if I never fall in love again, get a “better” job or leave the state of Georgia that I will be fine, that I could even be happy, but I don’t believe it.
There is some deep place in me that keeps shouting it’s not good enough, it’s not safe enough and I am running out of time. The perspective part of me knows that most of what I just wrote is total BS. I have done amazing things and will do more and those accomplishments are mine. Many of them I did without the benefit of the life experiences that I have now and make me even better than before. But my heart doesn’t hear any of that. It only hurts when I don’t expect it, like tonight.
I know that my life will work itself out and I will be okay with it again. But it feels like it has been a long time since I felt that way. In January I will have lived here for two years and been divorced for one. It feels like such little progress, though I know the precious ground I have earned. I fear the first real steps on my own, I only see land mines hidden beneath the flowers of possibility.
I went to a dance party at the studio where I take Latin classes tonight. I always get a little anxious beforehand, mostly b/c it is my nature to be so. Tonight there was a small group, all people I knew from my classes. I did not expect to find how warm and funny everyone was. I don’t mean to imply that they are not that way usually but I am not usually open to letting that in.
I have noticed over the past month or so that in my own small ways I am seeking out opportunities to let people back into my life. And not in a passive, they come they go kind of way, but in a way that asks me to offer something in return- vulnerability.
When I first came to Valdosta almost two years ago my life as a knew it had just fallen to pieces at my feet. It took the better part of that first year to remember how to breathe and live again. Once I was on the path of rejoining the living I knew I had to start doing things for my own happiness, to maintain my grip on the now. So I took up dance.
Never having danced before I walked into the studio across the street and decided that I would learn something new. It was difficult for a long time to feel like I was making progress and not handicapping my partners. But with the encouragement of my classmates and teachers I stuck with it even when I wanted to just give up and cry. I know that may sound a bit childish or over the top but I’m not sure you can understand how hard it is to re-start your life unless you have had to go through it. After that pain is gone you are left with questions about yourself and the choices you made, the things that happened to you. It makes everything a raw patch, so what would normally be nothing on an average day feels like you are being stabbed. And then if your me, you wonder things like ” why the h*** did you put yourself out there in the fist place?”
But I digress b/c I didn’t give up and tonight I could see it. I know that I am easily flustered but I didn’t care. I kept the apologizing to a shocking minimum and laughed a lot. In fact my teacher said “you are so fun.” I like that the light I feel in my life is finally starting to show through. I know that I have done a lot of work to get here and there is still much to be done. But I would be remiss if I did not mention these interesting, generous group of people who have helped me to remember that my life is wonderful, silly and still going forward.
So I would like to take this small moment to thank them: Hanna- it is a blessing to have someone who has walked in your shoes, Alvero- for not letting me give up, Chester- for making me practice one more time to know that I can do it, Will- for making me look you in the eyes, Tiffany- for a big heart so generously given, Ananda- for your smile and conversations, Gloriana- for you patience and sweetness. Thank you all so much. Weather you knew it or not you helped me to find my way back to me and for that I am so grateful.
I don’t think that I had ever watched a subtitled movie until I saw “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.” I was so drawn in by the story that I for got that I was reading everything. I know fora lot of people the idea of “reading” while watching a movie is off-putting but I must say for a little extra effort you are missing so much! Here are a few (very different) subtitled movies that I enjoyed. They range from family to adult in subject latter. I hope that something makes you want to give a foreign file another look.
PG 13 This is an epic story with fantasy/ magical elements. If you like things like “the Lord of the rings or the Chronicles of Narnia” this would be right up you ally. Please keep in mind though it is from an Eastern point of view, if you are looking for uber happy this is not what you will find. However you will find truly honorable heroes, people who take honor to its furthest limits and love that spans all obstacles.
R- (I would not give it this rating) This is a wonderfully sweet and adventuresome story about a girl who wants to make her father’s life better and solve a mystery of the everyday find while finding love. When I think about this movie I see Madeline as if she were a real person. It is funny and light-hearted.
NA, Like most French comedies this is about a slice of life. The family is ridiculous and the main character is hounded simply because he is happy as a bachelor. It’s you typical romantic comedy.
NR- This could have been a simple they break people up scam kind of movie but what I liked about it is they only break up people who are not good for the other person in the relationship. They don’t destroy happy lives because they get paid to. It follows a typical: character though one thing but was wrong and now has a different point of view.
NR (R) Though this might seem like something it’s not, I actually enjoyed this film. Yes there is a lot of sex but not in an exploitative way. It is the story of a woman who struggles to understand her sexuality on her own terms and not as society deems she should. I found it heart breaking at moments and uplifting at the end. If the subject matter doesn’t bother you this is a very interesting film.
PG 13- This was a sweet story about finding what makes you happy in life instead of settling for something else. The wife is very doormat-ish in the beginning but finds herself along the way. If you like movies like “under the Tuscan sun and Fried green tomatoes” you would probably like this too.
NR (R) I wasn’t sure I was going to like this one at first but the story kept me interested. The gigolo takes on his profession as a side job to make money. He is not terribly attractive but is kind to women. The twist being that he is engaged and eventually she finds out about it. This was surprisingly sweet and sad in places.
(R) Violent and has disturbing sexual violence- I only watched the version in Swedish and loved it so much I refused to watch the American one. If you like a good mystery/thriller and can take violence this is for you. I loved Lisbeth’s character, she was so brilliantly written and acted I don’t think I have ever seen anything quite like her before. The story she unravels has many twists and turns, in the end I had to watch the next two to see what happened to her.
The girl who played with fire
The girl who kicked the hornets nest
PG13- This was a surprisingly sweet movie about a person finding their true calling in life. The main character goes from being a Cellist to a person who prepares the dead for burial. It is quiet moving to watch him learn to really care about his clients (though they are dead) and see the impact that his work has on the lives that he touches. If you are a fan of understated movies, this is one for you.
The Syrian Bride– Arabic
NR- It is hard to list all the things I love about this movie. It will break you heart. The whole movie revolves around a wedding but because she is a Golan Heights resident once she crosses into Syria she will never be allowed to come back and see her family. The love shown by her family an their determination to see her settled in the best life possible is so moving. The bride’s determination to follow through no matter the cost is inspiring. This movie feels more like a documentary then a feature file. If you like that style or like inside into different cultures this would be one for you.
I started taking Latin dance classes about 3-4 months ago at the studio across from my apartment complex here in Valdosta. There were a lot of reason’s that pushed me towards doing something besides work for 8hrs a day every day. I needed the social interaction, the exercise but more than those things I needed to have fun and remember that I was alive.
So I started taking Salsa and Bachata. Though they have similar moves they could not be more different in attitude and music. Salsa is technical, fast and athletic. Bachata is slower (though it can be fast), has more styling for the women and is very sexy. Normally I would have shied away from the latter but I didn’t quit know what I was getting into at first and then I was hooked on it so I just have to deal with my issues. Which is why I love my dance classes so much. It gives me a safe place to learn to trust people and myself again and realize that I can be sexy and it’s not the end of the world.
I know that may sound strange to some of you but I was raised very conservatively and spoken and not it was very clear that if you enjoyed being attractive or getting attention that you were a bad person. Even in college I avoided situations were I would be noticed. I didn’t hate myself but based on a lot of other stuff I thought that it was batter to watch and choose who saw me than run into the limelight and have toe pay the price of being seen.
So now I find myself here…a 30 something, divorced, who is so ready to be over the “shy girl” thing but I”m not. If anything the tumultuous end of my marriage left me feeling even more insecure about myself. So I jumped, I had never taken a dance class before in my life. I was not a social dancer in high school or college. I learned the fox trot for my wedding off a DVD and that was the extent of it. And I am so glad that I did.
Not only do I love dancing b/c it challenges me mentally and physically. I love that there is a place I go and laugh, cheer and get frustrated with myself twice a week. I have off days and forget that I’m learning and I am so grateful to my classmates and teachers who don’t let me give up and encourage me to keep going.
I have not been moved up into the intermediate/advanced versions of both of the dances that I am taking. I would by no means says that I am as good as my class mates (all of them have been dancing for a while) but I am better than I used to be. And I’m still challenging myself and not settling for okay. Like to-night, we were supposed to work on some styling while we did our moves. I didn’t quiet get to the styling so I have assigned myself homework to get comfortable with it so when I go to class on Wednesday I have a better chance of at least giving it a go with a partner.
To that end of getting better and challenging myself; I have agreed to go with some classmates to Jacksonville to visit another studio and go to their dance part on Saturday. I am actually a bit scared but that is b/c I don’t trust myself. I know that I have the basic stuff down and I should have a little confidence in what I can do. I am hoping to have the chance to get to know my classmates a little better and have some fun. I thought that it was important to write about this now as opposed to post b/c I don’t often celibate those moments when I have done something brave and good for me. I usually shrug and think something like “well you should have been doing that all along,” quickly followed by “it all going to go bad,” never giving myself the recognition that I was unhappy with my life and did something about it. I said I wanted to do something besides work and I am. I wanted to meet people and try to make some friendships here I have the opportunity to do so.
I’m not saying it will all be roses. I will at the very least have blistered feet and a nice chunk of humble pie. But I also might have a new friend and realize that all my hard work has amounted to something. Something that I love to do. So here’s me standing on the edge totally jumping.
I know I have been quiet for a while. It’s not that I haven’t thought about the blog or haven’t had things to say. But I have found (over the past year or so) that it is best to write after a situation is resolved, so I have some perspective, instead of in the thrall of the moment. It can become a serious TMI in a heart beat.
That said, it is a little calmer now and I think I am beginning to see what my life might be like on the other side. At this point what I am dealing with is all me, the rest has been resolved, salted and burned never to resurrect itself again. But there are a lot of questions I have for myself about who I am, who I’m not, who I want to be and how the heck I got this way.
Example, I used to be a bold-ish, laugh all the time, a shiny, happy type of person. I knew what I was good at and had confidence in those abilities. Now I am afraid to laugh, to let anything good in (not because I don’t think I deserve it) because I don’t want to feel how much it hurts that she (the happy girl) was in a coma and is now trying to wake. I want to really live again, to let myself love my life again and stop being afraid that at any moment my life will fall like cards. So I have set out on a mission to find what I love and try my best to hold on to it even if I’m terrified.
In that spirit I have taken up two new ways to challenge and make my life more colorful. I have always wanted to learn to play a musical instrument. So I bought a bamboo flute (above) and am going for it. I love the sound and it is helping me to learn music instead of just sight-read. Also I look forward to doing something soothing after 8 hour of computer screens (I have three) and stat order after stat order.
The second is so out of character for me that I shocked myself when I took it on and then continued with classes. I am learning two different Latin dances. Bachata (slow/sexy) and Salsa (fast/challenging). I never would have said that I wanted to dance, liked to dance or had the self-confidence to get out there and just have fun. But I find myself practicing in the living room and I just bought my fist pair of “real” dance shoes. Who knew your needed felt to turn properly?
Last night I went to a local restaurant the hosts a Latin night to meet up with some of my classmates and practice in a “non-class” environment. Let me say that at the best of times I don’t like rooms full of strangers, add to that performance anxiety and I could have spent the night on the bench. But my teachers and class mates are so wonderful and made me laugh at myself and get out there anyway. I ended up having a good time and even ran into a co-worker while I was there.
It is interesting that dance lets me learn to trust parts of myself that I haven’t before and I like the person I am when I’m dancing. There is so much of who I used to be and how I used to feel about myself that lives in this hazy place called the past. But when I work on music or dance, it is something that I am doing for me, in the now and has no ties to any of that. And that is liberating. I know that I will sing and draw and inspire young people again someday. But for now they are the field lying dormant, waiting to be fertile again and while they rest I will explore the other pasture newly cleared and full of possibility.