A New Day

Funny how a word comes in to the collective consciousness.

Yesterday, I wrote about the loss of The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt.

I said posting daily taught me that done is better than perfect. That sometimes I will feel “meh” about what I write, and that is ok.

I asked readers for help!

And the wonderful Suzi suggested Cyranny.

And guess what the word prompt for today was? “Meh!”

Which is how I feel about today’s word prompt.

Meh.

And here I am, posting anyway.

Because the power is in the doing of it.

I could judge myself out of ever sharing my voice, my work.

Or I can take the risk. Lay it on the line. No matter what.

So here I am. Day one post-Daily Post.

Feeling meh.

But taking action away.

(Or maybe because of.)

Inspired by Cyranny’s Word Prompt: meh

Another One Bites the Dust

Today, I mourn the loss of yet another presence in my life.

I am bereft.

I have been working off daily word prompts for about a year that The Daily Post has generously provided.

They have given me an anchor to my days…especially helpful last year at this time when I was having to stay close to home much of the time for health reasons.

It helped me feel connected to the world and to my creativity to post once a day.

It ended up teaching me so much about creativity. About how just doing it is much better than trying to get it “right” or good.

It gave my perfectionism a real run for its money. I had to let each day’s post go, however I felt about its value.

Sometimes I loved what the word prompt prompted. Memories or associations I’d forgotten or never even known I had.

Sometimes I felt totally “dry” and annoyed at the word. Sometimes I’d be shocked when such a prompt led me to an unexpected and wonderful-to-explore place.

I learned to live with posts I wrote that I thought were total drivel. Posts I secretly thought were brilliant. Meh posts.

Thank you The Daily Post for this amazing year and all you have brought to my writing.

I get attached to things.

I’ve grown accustomed to The Daily Post Daily Word Prompts! I had no idea they were ending as of Friday!

I’ve had panic since realizing they were moving on. What will I do? How will I survive?

I have found wonderful readers and other bloggers to follow from TDP. I loved reading the myriad variations off a word!

I feel adrift, at sea. Alone in the great ocean of blogs.

To all of “you” out there: do you know of any similar sites?

I take solace today in Oleta Adam’s prolific rendition of “Everything Must Change,” which I hear in my head every time I lose a good thing in my life to change. She gets me through every time.

At least that never changes.

Gone Fishing

I was so relaxed yesterday here in a beautiful old house on the shores of Cape Cod that I forgot to blog!

I slipped! Oops!

But instead of beating myself up, I choose to celebrate this little break from my drive to “get it all done,” this break from my goal of a blog a day, this break from perfectionism.

Just as it feels good to show up for my drive, it also feels good to show up for my need to “be.”

The Urban Dictionary defines “gone fishing” as:

Gone Fishing

1. To checkout from reality. To be unaware of what’s going on.

2. To drop the duties of daily life and go do something else, something nice.

I hadn’t intended to do that, I always blog no matter what. But you know what, it was nice to “slip.” I think I have always feared relaxing my grip, my drive — that if I do so once, I will slide into some kind of lethargy. Lose all will.

Yet here I am, right back on schedule. Happy to write.

May you give yourself a little break today – some change in your regularly disciplined routine, some shift in your thoughts.

It really is OK. The sun will rise again.

It did this morning.

Anna & The King & I

One of my favorite songs in musical theatre is the song sung by the character Anna in the 1951 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The King and I.

I have always loved it, even when I was very young. I watched the movie version with Deborah Kerr, one of my favorite film actresses of all of the many Hollywood movies I watched after school.

Of course I wanted to be Anna. Never mind that she was a widow and having to go to a country far from home to make a living as a tutor and raise her son. Those things went over my head, I think.

She had a wonderful accent and wore gorgeous costumes. And she and the King had such a romantic and special relationship. I practiced talking and moving like her, and sang her songs, preparing myself for the day that I, too, would be a Hollywood starlet like her.

The lyrics of this song have grown more meaningful to me as I age. I feel I can sing this song with real conviction at this point in my life, having known great loves of my own.

Here is the scene from the film. Anna (Deborah Kerr) sings to the king’s many wives, letting them get to know her:

Hello young lovers whoever you are
I hope your troubles are few
All my good wishes go with you tonight
I’ve been in love like youBe brave young lovers and follow your star
Be brave and faithful and true
Cling very close to each other tonight
I’ve been in love like youI know how it feels to have wings on your heels
And to fly down the street in a trance
You fly down a street on a chance that you’ll meet
And you meet, not really by chanceDon’t cry young lovers whatever you do
Don’t cry because I’m alone
All of my mem’ries are happy tonight
I’ve had a love of my own

I’ve had a love of my own like yours
I’ve had a love of my own

Back then, I was not fully cognizant of the seriousness of the situation the lovers in the story find themselves in. They are servants to the King, and their love is forbidden. They indeed must be brave to try to be together, literally risking their lives to do so.

One would think that this ancient story would no longer be relevant. Sadly, it continues to resonate truthfully, reflecting the danger that still can exist between people simply trying to love one another.

I often catch this song floating through my psyche, when times get tough.

Be brave, young lovers, and follow your star. Be brave and faithful and true.

It never ceases to bolster me.

 

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: brave

Hollowed Halls

I felt the tickle of a trickle of sweat run down under my arm as I waited just beyond the corner past his locker. My mouth was dry, my heart pounding.

It was now or never.

I had to have a date for the dance coming up next weekend, and he was the only boy I could think of to ask.

He was a Kicker, not in the Popular league, so more within my reach. (Me definitely not being in the Popular League or anywhere near it.)

We got along okay, I thought. I sat behind him in history and sometimes we exchanged a few words. He at least saw me. I made him laugh once with my impromptu impression of the teacher.

I spotted his cowboy hat and forced myself to call his name, my heart suddenly full of hope. He turned and came over my way. I felt like my whole life was about to change.

My words tripped over my tongue and landed between us with a clumsy thud, but he got the gist.

He paused for what seemed a lifetime. My heart sank in the silence.

“Nope, I have to say no. But don’t feel bad. I wouldn’t say yes to a dance, not even if you was Susie Moore.”

Susie Moore was hands down the most popular girl in school. She was everything I was not: pretty, petite, outgoing, a cheerleader, funny.

I laugh a curt, self-derisive laugh and say “Oh yeah, of course!” a little too brightly, a little too pushed.

I walk away, my hope around my ankles, the taste of recognition of my non-Susie Mooreness bitter in my mouth. I’d known it already, but having it stated to your face is a whole different ball of wax. Especially from the mouth of your major crush.

Never again, I vow silently to myself. Never. Again.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: popular

I read my writing for the first time in a public forum today. It was amazing to share my words live, and to experience the other writer’s works.

Because I was so involved with that, I thought I’d repost Old Baggage for today’s word prompt, but this came to me instead. 34 years later and I still feel the sting. Isn’t it amazing? How intense our early experiences can be?

 

Risk Aversion*

I read my writing aloud in public for the first time two weeks ago.

I began this blog a year and a half ago as a way for me to begin to break the silence and shame I felt inside.

You see, I grew up in an environment that encouraged me to suppress my feelings and my true thoughts. In essence, I learned to hide my truth.

Because of things that had happened to me when I was young, I was afraid that to speak my truth would bring pain to others in my family. I needed their love, so I learned very early on to present a version of me that would be pleasing for them and others. It was literally a matter of survival, keeping my truth hidden.

Additionally, problems in our family were not acknowledged verbally for the most part. We pretended to each other they did not exist. If it was something that absolutely could not be hidden, there was a real strong pressure to keep the family problems secret, to keep them inside the home. I was not verbally warned not to seek help. But I knew it was considered dangerous.

So I learned to keep my true self buried deep inside, hidden far away from my family, and from the outside world.

I got so good at it, I lost touch with my own true self. I had hidden it so well, it became hidden from even myself.

I am a performer, so I need to be able to use my truth to reveal the truths of the characters I play. I learned to go deep within, but I found that as much as I loved bringing what I could to my work, there were internal tensions that made it very challenging. And so I began to embark on unraveling those tensions, to see what was underneath, to find more freedom and to expand my capacity to reveal through my work.

It has been an amazing process. I did not set out to, but I have ended up finding my self in the process. I’ve been making a deep excavation within, bringing out the remains into the light.

It has been excruciating at times, terrifying, wondrous, exquisite, mind-blowing, beautiful, sad beyond belief. But most of all, it has been a becoming whole.

In the process of finding me, I discovered that I wanted to be able to own and share my truth without fear or shame. So I started to practice doing so.

First in small, safe ways. To trusted people. Then, I began increasing the risk level, expanding my level of comfort by extending myself into the world in ever-widening circles.

This blog has been a hugely gratifying experience. It has been so important for me share my true internal experience, my real creativity, here. There have been times I have felt so fearful after hitting the publish button…it has felt so risky…what if someone in my family reads it? What will they think of me? If people know this or that, will they see me differently? Will they judge me, label me, only see me this way or that?

I realized that I was so afraid of only being seen for what has happened to me or what I have done, the mistakes I have made, or what I have NOT done or accomplished. I didn’t have a sense of being valuable just as I am, not what I do, did, will do, haven’t done.

The blog and posting has been stretching me in so many great ways. It has also helped me learn to let go of needing to be seen a certain way in order to feel valuable, safe or lovable.

What I did not expect was how amazing it would be to have people read and then reach out to share back. That has been and continues to be such a gift. (So thank you.)

And then, I had the opportunity to submit a piece I adapted from a blog post for an evening of work written by women on what it means to identify as a woman.

When I began writing this blog, I had never, ever intended to read my work anywhere, but there I was, sending it in, in hopes of being chosen, so I could share my work live, in person. (What?!)

When it was selected, I was ecstatic. And terrified.

Every childhood-conditioned muscle in my body was braced for trouble. Every old voice that wanted to keep me silent was working on my psyche: Who was I to think I had something of value to share? What if I upset people? What if someone was unhappy with what I had to say?

In the week before the event, I was questioning my sanity in having chosen to do it.(What was I thinking?! Why was I putting myself through this?!)

The fear and the voices continued right up until showtime and as the first readers read their work.

And then, my name was called. My turn. I gathered together my courage and began the long walk down the aisle, my heart pounding in my chest.

And then three steps from center stage, I suddenly felt something click inside. When I stepped into the light, I just knew in my bones that I was in the right place at the right time. I felt a sense of home inside. I felt warm. I felt safe.

What an amazing experience! It was an experiment, but it turns out I love sharing my words live, and also experiencing the words of the others involved. Who knew?

I am so grateful to whatever healing force inside me has been leading me on this journey to be free. It is a beautiful thing to break free of the shackles of one’s own past and to be able to freely express one’s own self.

*(Written 10/17/17, but I used a draft from Oct. 1 and didn’t realize I needed to change the date before publishing it! So here it remains, looking like I wrote it Oct. 1. But I promise I wrote it 10/17/17.)

Reposted in Response to The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: risky

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