Status Quo

“Allow me to recreate myself,” she said to no one in particular.

Then she realized that as she had never really let anyone get to know the real her, how’d they even be able to tell the difference?

Somehow, this realization took most of the excitement out of the whole idea.

In the end, she decided she might as well stay herself.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt

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

Martyrdom

A thorny crown of my own making

Embedded in my righteous mind

I no longer feel the pain

You cut the wood, laid it at my feet

But the cross I bear I made myself

My tears became the stain

These things are woven into

The life and form I take today

Don’t know how to cut them out

Can I survive their extrication

Or am I Siamese with myself

Forever connected, inextricably devout

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: thorny

Quirks and Smiles

I have penchant for: clouds, everything arranged in the cabinet with the labels facing out, blazing sunsets, pastel sunsets, (any and all sunsets,) thinking some place is “just a little farther” but it’s really quite far, flowers (especially daisies,) bright toenail polish, the little pads of a cat’s foot, a baby’s laugh, finding a missing sock, picking at a broken nail, poking my tongue with my pointy inciser tooth, a blade of grass breaking through a crack in a sidewalk, sharing a laugh with a stranger, coconut anything, my husband’s hands.

You?

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: penchant

Unlearn Me

Such a good girl

Learned early on that love is earned

Don’t rock the boat

Don’t step out of line

Now I know

I disobeyed my own instincts

Pushed away what made me me

Learned to sit on my own impulses

Well, I’ve started a reeducation

Gonna free me from my self

Gonna be a good girl to my own girls

Get a masters in following my own heart

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: disobey

PSA

It is with great sympathy

That I must report

The end of an era:

The Era of Me Caring What You Think.

What you think about me or what I am doing with my life. About anything you think about, really.

(And when I say “with great sympathy” I’m being ironic, in case you missed it, being so wrapped up in your own megalomania and all.)

Buh-bye!

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: sympathy

To the Core

I used to hate myself.

Seriously. I hated just about everything about me. I was fixated on the way I looked: I felt like a monster, something grotesque, misshapen, disgusting.

This was painful, and difficult. It is hard to relate and be in the world when you have that kind of hatred for your body.

But as I look back, the most painful kind of hatred I felt towards myself was the hatred I felt for the ways I felt and thought. I felt tormented by my own mind and feelings and sought escape in every way imaginable, including close contemplation many times and one failed attempt at ending my own life. I could not get away from this internal self I so hated. I felt like a freak trapped inside a monster’s body.

I wasn’t born with that kind of self-hatred. It developed slowly over time in my early years following trauma that created a kind of split from my own core. Losing connection to my core made me vulnerable to the outside world in a way that was devastating.

With a healthy core intact, dealing with bullies and the other social pressures at school is painful and impactful but does not warp one’s self-perception.

With a healthy core intact, a person can withstand the challenges that exist in most childhood homes where there are people with untreated mental issues, and where there are emotional, sexual and physical abuses or neglect as a result of parents who themselves were abused or neglected.

Without a healthy core intact, the affect of these kinds of external forces become stronger, louder than one’s own innate internal sense of self, sense of well-being, of any innate self-support. As a result, these events, people and experiences bend and shape one’s sense of inner and outer self and reality.

The best way I can describe living without that connection to my core sense self is to have been like a tissue blowing in the wind, this way and that, getting stuck wherever the wind took me.

I do not have multiple personality disorder, so I cannot speak to what that experience is like, and I do not mean to offend anyone who does. But I have sometimes imagined that what I experienced was somehow related. I could not hear my own internal voice most of the time. I was “hearing” the world, and it was loud and dangerous to me.

Living when you are disconnected from your core is terrifying. It is suffocating. It is lonely. It is deadly.

I am lucky, because even though that connection was severed, there was always somewhere deep within me some sense of something to keep fighting for. One tiny shred of connection to a core that I could imagine if not feel or often hear. I didn’t trust it or understand what it was. But it was there and I could sometimes hear it in the very darkest moments.

Like the moment some years ago now when I had the razor blade that I had bought and planned to use in my fingers and held to the skin of my left wrist, ready to end my suffering. That tiny shred began to whisper to me, “What if I am wrong? What if it could get better?”

That tiny shred, and the realization in the moment that followed that I was reneging on a promise I’d made to my two cats – whom I loved desperately – that I would always look after them, that they would never know fear or be homeless again after their difficult early lives feral on the streets of NYC, saved my life that day.

I have written about coming home to my own core within myself in previous posts Dormant Child and Cutting the Cord.

The work of healing my fractured soul has been profound, difficult and beautiful. It is on-going work, but I have come such a long way.

To re-connect with and then feel a permanent connection to my own core self – to know my own essence – has been at times a shockingly powerful and painful process. And at the same time, the most intricate, exquisite and intimate experience I have ever known.

One of the greatest gifts of this this connection to my core, this freeing of my inner selves (every age I have ever been) and this healing of the traumas of these selves into wholeness, has been a growing love and appreciation for my self.

I have learned to love my body for what is does, not how it looks. I have grown a gratitude for my physical abilities and strengths, and try to find joy in moving my own body, using my own voice. Today, I have reverence for all that my body contains. It contains multitudes and is wise beyond my mind’s own wisdom. It holds the Truth, and it never lies.

I look for the miracles within and without, and because I have cleared away what I can of the detriment that is not of my true essence, I find them. The detritus that remains from my past does not clog my joy as it once did. I love the detritus, too, for it holds important information. There is often even gold to be found in what remains.

I genuinely enjoy my own company today. I like the way I experience the world: my own peculiar sense of humor, the unique way I think and feel. I am no longer tortured by my own thinking. I am no longer tortured by being me.

This is huge. Not to say I do not experience anxiety, racing thoughts, negative or critical thinking (the Inner Critic, the Critical Mind, the Ego, whatever you want to call it.) I do experience all of those things and more (panic, depression, the pull towards self-destruction.)

But I am no longer a tissue blowing in the wind.

I am a mighty tree, strong and constantly expanding into the world around me. Yet I am flexible and can withstand whatever weather comes my way because I am rooted, and those roots go deep. I take nourishment from the elements that support my growth. I no longer look for sustenance from sources that can not provide what I truly need to thrive.

I live in light today. There is darkness, yes, but it is a different kind of darkness. I no longer fear the dark places, because I am always there. I trust myself to see myself through whatever comes my way.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: peculiar

With much love and thanks to the gifts and work of Suzanne Connolly.