Estate Wagon Dreams

Francine was beyond tired. The kids were being brats in the back seat and she had more important things on her mind than who was putting buggers on who’s arm.

Just one more errand to do, and then she could drive back home, get the kids started on their homework, and head back to the bedroom to have some alone time. She had a new mystery she was dying to start, and she just wanted to lay there, read, and finish the half-eaten jumbo candy cane pole hidden in the bedside table drawer.

Just as she was about to make a left into the library parking lot, some car from the next lane over pulled in front of her. She jammed on the brakes, which sent the kids flying into the back of the front seat and her heart into a flip-flop. After the shock wore off, she rolled down her car window, and honked the horn, yelling after the car, “Freak!!”

Hearing the shrillness of her own voice, she was surprised that that was what had come out of her mouth, but it was the worst thing she could think of to say in front of the kids. She looked back to see if they were OK, only to find that they were actually more than OK. They were cracking up over it all.

As she rolled the window back up, she quickly decided that they could forego the library for today. She gunned the gas, heading straight home to that bed and that candy as soon as humanly possible.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: honk

Staycation

I’d love to go under, pass out into a dead faint

Dive deep into unconscious oblivion

The sweet nothingness of the void

A reprieve from this ever-chattering brain

Its ever-on-guard survival mode switch on

Escape the pressure from within and without

To know the quiet beyond the quiet beyond the quiet

A true depravation tank from myself would be sublime

Inspired by The Daily Post daily Word Prompt: faint

That’s Amore

The first time I really fell in love was with a very talented chef.

We met each other just as the whole celebrity chef phenomenon was starting to really cook. He was just beginning to rise as some of the mega-star chefs of today such as Bobby Flay were just starting to blaze.

The restaurant world was abuzz then, and I was a small part of it. I was a server at the newly opened second restaurant of a long-time successful NYC 3-star chef. Being a perfectionist and a Betty-by-the-Book type, I was an excellent waitress and often asked to serve food critics and VIP fellow chefs.

One morning I went into the kitchen before service started and something felt different. Like some animal sense, the hairs on my arms stood up. My body vibrated. My back was to it, but I literally felt compelled to look over at the line.

There I saw the most incredible pair of hands at work. I was mesmerized for a moment. The way they touched the produce was so…intimate. So sensual.

My cheeks blushed with heat and as I looked up to see who belonged to those hands, my eyes met the sweetest almond-shaped hazel eyes.

It felt like I literally poured into him through his eyes. Time just sort of expanded and the moment felt like forever.

I gathered myself together, and just before I turned to go back out on the floor, my eyes found his lips, which had a sexy little smile dancing across their fullness.

That was it for me. My life changed course in those moments.

I fell hard that day. He had been brought in to the restaurant as sous chef, and our paths were to cross daily. I was involved with someone else at the time, though it was a dying relationship.

I literally fell under a kind of spell. I made some choices that I am not proud of today.

Chef and I began what would end up being an extremely important, passionate, ultimately heartbreaking (twice) relationship.

We were young, emotionally wounded, and both out of control and lost. But boy, did I love him.

It still makes my head swim to think of it. The story of us is epic and blog-worthy. But not today. I’m not quite ready.

When I tell you that he was the most talented of them all, of all the star chefs then and the star chefs-to-be (the ones who were behind the star chefs who have since risen to fame,) and maybe even of the current culinary stars, I am not exaggerating or talking from my entranced heart.

He was truly gifted. His food was the most flavorful, exquisitely layered food I have ever tasted, and I have had the pleasure of some incredible meals then and now.

A meal under his talents was a total body sensual experience and left you with an amazing high.

People became diehard fans, literally traveling across countries to follow him wherever he went.

Our relationship ended dramatically, not once but twice. My heart was totally shattered.

But I was gifted a love of fine dining that remains to this day.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: flavorful

A Critical Juncture

I am a recovering perfectionist.

In “A Skin Horse Awakening”, I wrote about my perfectionism, and what I believe the genesis of this “ism” to have been in my life. (Or perhaps I should say “who.”) I don’t believe I was born with the affliction of perfectionism.

Let me walk this back. Perfectionism is bandied about a great deal these days. People jokingly refer to themselves as a perfectionist, and we all think things like “Oh, they work really hard to get things right,” or maybe that they are a bit anal (as in detail-oriented,) maybe a little bit OCD.

According to Wikipedia, Perfectionism, in psychology, is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting high performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.[1][2] It is best conceptualized as a multidimensional characteristic, as psychologists agree that there are many positive and negative aspects.[3] In its maladaptive form, perfectionism drives people to attempt to achieve an unattainable ideal while their adaptive perfectionism can sometimes motivate them to reach their goals. In the end, they derive pleasure from doing so. When perfectionists do not reach their goals, they often fall into depression.

When I say that I don’t believe that I was born a perfectionist or with a perfectionist gene, I am saying that I learned to be hyper-self-critical. I guess maybe perhaps you could argue that my being extremely sensitive is genetic, and therefore in a way that part of my perfectionism is genetic, as in I am extremely hard on myself and yet I am very sensitive to feeling like I am being criticized…maybe that being “so sensitive” is genetic?

If such a thing even exists. I can never know another’s internal experience, what life feels like for them through their nervous and other systems. I can only know my own.

So really, how can anyone, from my family (“You’re too sensitive!” “You are so sensitive.” “Don’t be so sensitive!”) to psychologists/people we label experts at such things be able to say that someone is “highly sensitive” or whatever? What do they mean? Are they really saying we are very emotional? More emotional? What does that even mean?

(I think perhaps it means that they are uncomfortable with our amount of feeling so they label us as “highly sensitive.” A label to explain away their discomfort.)

And if someone doesn’t “feel life”the way I or someone else labeled sensitive does, are they “insensitive” or unfeeling? Just because they do not seem to experience life the way I do, they are less sensitive? You see what I mean? (It is somewhat crazy-making for me, actually.)

Anyhoo. Perfectionism. Not genetic, in my humble opinion.

I learned to be hyper-critical of myself and to expect extremely high standards of performance from myself. I learned to care deeply and to depend greatly on what I thought others’ were thinking of me. To value other’s evaluation of me above all else, especially my own.

This relationship to myself and the world and myself in the world was learned. I learned it from a master, my father. I am not sure where he learned it. I am quite sure he suffered as much from it as I have. I am also sure that he had great regret later in life around the price of his untreated perfectionism on his relationships with himself, the world and the people he loved.

I am so grateful that I am in recovery around this. I do not have to suffer at my own hands anymore, or cause undue suffering in my loved ones out of my perfectionism.

One of the most tremendous sources of help around this for me has been the work of Brene Brown. You may have heard of her TED Talk on Vulnerability. If you have never watched it, I highly recommend it. Seriously, stop reading this and go watch it! Then come back ; )

She has been on my mind the past few days as she posted on Facebook from Houston, where she was volunteering her clinical services, making a plea for donations of clean, new underwear for those recovering from the hurricane. First things first, please take a view.

Here are three ways to give NEW (still in package) underwear. Please keep in mind that we need a variety of sizes for men, women, boys, and girls, including XXL.

1. https://www.amazon.com/…/2O89ZX93O…/ref=nav_wishlist_lists_1

2. Collect new, packaged underwear and mail it to the address below. It’s our local Hillel and they are collecting for us. This is a really great neighborhood or school project. If you’re purchasing, we recommend Hanes or Fruit of the Loom. UFE doesn’t process or give out anything but underwear!

Undies for Everyone
1700 Bissonnet St.
Houston, TX 77005

3. Give cash and Undies for Everyone will purchase wholesale: https://secure.lglforms.com/form_e…/s/uFpr61ITEItxPeN4Lo9zpA

Brene is an amazing woman. I could write blog after blog about her and how she inspires me. It has been through her work that I have had true shifts around my perfectionism.  I mean, I could understand before that I was one, but then what? What do I do to help myself out of it? Through it? She defines perfectionism a bit differently, and that difference has made all the difference in my being able to make shifts and heal. She defines it so:

Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: “If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”

She writes further:

Perfectionism is defeating and self-destructive simply because there is no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal. Additionally, perfectionism is more about perception – we want to be perceived as perfect. Again, this is unattainable – there is no way to control perception, regardless of how much time and energy we spend trying.

Perfectionism is addictive because when we invariably do experience shame, judgment, and blame, we often believe it’s because we weren’t perfect enough so rather than questioning the faulty logic of perfectionism, we become even more entrenched in our quest to live, look, and do everything just right.

Feeling shamed, judged, and blamed (and the fear of these feelings) are realities of the human experience. Perfectionism actually increases the odds that we’ll experience these painful emotions and often leads to self-blame: ‘It’s my fault. I’m feeling this way because I’m not good enough.’

To overcome perfectionism we need to be able to acknowledge our vulnerabilities to the universal experiences of shame, judgment, and blame; develop shame resilience; and practice self-compassion.

When we become more loving and compassionate with ourselves and we begin to practice shame resilience, we can embrace our imperfections. It is in the process of embracing our imperfections that we find our truest gifts and strengthen our most meaningful connections.” B. Brown (2009).

Wow. I mean, just yes. And yeah, this is a daily practice. It is a struggle one day, a breeze for the next three days, and then the shit hits my internal proverbial fan and it feels like I am at day -4. And then I feel free of it again. But Wow and Yes. And I’ll take that over interminable suffering in the depths of the hell of my own mind being run by unchecked and uninformed perfectionism.

If you know of what I speak, I recommend her work and any of her books.

It is a lifelong process, but it is truly gratifying to find true relief.

Oh, what a journey it is, this coming to life. This learning to relax into all of the things I used to hate so about myself. To even begin to embrace and yes, even find love for all my parts. Especially the ones most imperfect.

To pull my own self down off the self-built marble column I had constructed so long ago into the real world where I can be with others, be a fully-fleshed human being among human beings. To smash the statue-like full body persona I had so carefully made and let the flawed imperfectly beautiful person I am start to live and breathe and love.

 

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: critical

The Draw

What is it about you?

I cannot let you go.

I feel pulled towards you

no matter what you do

(or don’t do) to me.

This attraction I feel for you

is magnetic…hypnotic…

(it’s…pathetic!

That’s it, no more!

You are dead to me!

Just say no! Walk away!)

God, I love the way your cheeks flush

That little curve at the side of your mouth

Those shining eyes that sparkle wickedly

You’re so funny, and smart…

Hey – what are you doing later?

Me? Oh, nothing. Yeah, I can meet up late tonight.

Sure. I’ll be waiting for you. I’ll be there. Waiting.

(How did that just happen again?)

 

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word prompt: magnetic

 

 

 

 

 

Inhabitant

This body o’mine

Through her I’ve met the world

She’s been gentle with me

But her, I’ve pushed and hurled

She’s taken hard knocks

From without and within

I’ve treated her rough

Lived a life full of sin

She’s asked little of me

Given me all that I’ve asked

Less-than-loving I’ve been

At times, she’s been trashed

I’ve wasted so much time

Hating parts I deemed flawed

The time has come to make peace

And to treat her with awe

I see her now as she is

A miraculous home for my soul

I thank her daily and nurture her

She’s a beautiful part of my whole

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: inhabit