Tiny Dancer

This quote from my friend and author KJ Ramsey kicked me square in my elastic waistband, comfy pants.

unless peace begins within my very breath + bones, it might just be performance.

Gah. I feel attacked. Well, not really attacked, but uncovered. Revealed. The phrase has bubbled around in my guts for a couple of days.

Why?

Why is it dwelling and gurgling in my soul?

Truth be told y’all, it’s conviction. Conviction is easily defined as declaration/pronouncement of guilt, sentence, judgment. {And if you’ve been hanging around here long enough, y’all know that I come from a long line of guilt riddled/flinging women.}

But why did this particular quote convict me so?

Because. It. Is. ME!!

I’m in a pretty strange season of deconstructing, uncovering and discovering Self. It seems somewhat silly, at 53, that I wouldn’t really know Self; but I am learning and unlearning more every day. The little revelation nugget shared by KJ really cut me to the marrow.

Has my life been a performance?

Have I learned how to behave based on the cues from “directors” in my life?

Have I acted in a way just to please an “audience”?

The short answer to the above questions is yes. But y’all know I can’t just give a short answer.

As the daughter of big time people, in a small, small town; there is an element of constant performance.

Don’t behave in a way that disgraces the name.

Be a good girl.

Smile and always be gracious.

I was that girl for a little while… My mom would tell a particular story of my childhood, over and over. I don’t recall my age but it was my very first dance recital. I had practiced and practiced and felt confident in my steps. When the little dance number was finished, every other child ran off stage. (Allegedly), I remained steadfast and blew kisses to the roaring applause of the crowd.

The birth of the performer.

I used to think she retold the story because she thought it adorable. As I grew older, I realized it was mostly an accusation, a spotlight on my flair for being dramatic or need to be the center of attention.

Ironically, I truly dislike being the center of attention. My exterior is somewhat a misnomer. It would appear that I like to be seen, but truth be told, it’s armor. (And a scoop of rebellion.) People are quick to make assumptions about you based on outward appearances. For some, the exterior is porcupine-esque. If you look dangerous, people will not approach. It’s safety. It’s protection.

For years, I was the shape-shifter. If I was more like “this”, So-and-So would approve of me. If I was more like “that”, What’s-Their-Name would love me more. Shape-shifting is performance. It isn’t authentic. Neither is people-pleasing. And it was pretty good at that as well. But you know who wasn’t pleased? Me.

I was a pretty good phony. Making it all look like life was ok. While I quietly recoiled and lost Self. It took decades for me to realize that I wasn’t happy and neither were the people around me. It was up to me to stop performing and seek Peace.

I had no clue what Peace looked like. I still struggle with it. The need to be valued and seen and blow kisses to an adoring audience simmers beneath the surface. The need to strive and please still bubbles up occasionally. The sure fire way to quiet that urge is Truth.

Truth speaks and reminds us our value is non-negotiable. To others, it simply is or it isn’t. Our performance does not increase our value. “But if I do this, they will love me more”. Nope. If love and acceptance is performance based, it isn’t genuine. No act of service, gift, performance will tip the value scale. It just teaches others how to treat you.

The Critic will watch for your misstep, that’s a given. But, the Fan will applaud when you rise up. They will truly roar with adoration for being authentically, albeit clumsily, Self.

I am an eternal student. I will always seek new and interesting pathways. I will always ruminate on the ways of old and uncover their meaning. I will always learn a way to dance through my chronic life. Even when the physical body is unwilling; my soul still will tap dance.

Performance or Peace?

Excuse me while I just shuffle-ball-change my way, exit stage left.

I choose Peace

Mary Lee’s School of Dance circa 1970-something

Birthday

Dear Big Brother,

Today, you would have been 58 and in a few short weeks, I’ll be 50… You could see 50 so closely the day you left this world, were you excited about it?

This is such a weird journey on my own. Yes, I have lots of people in my circle, many of the names and faces you would remember. Our family-circle has shifted and changed and it still isn’t right without you here. Even though we not super involved in each others day-to-day life; I always had the promise of you. I always knew you were at the other end of an email or phone call. And now, now I can’t help but feel a little lost.

So in true Little Sister fashion, Big Brother, I have a few questions…

Is there Bingo in heaven, if not, I bet Mom is super pissed

Has Dad made peace with God yet?

Is Grandma Hedges still gloating over all the times she gave me the wrong ingredients to a recipe, so I’d fail and she would be needed to make it right?

Is Uncle Stan still playing the piano and telling bad jokes?

Did DiAnn make in the gate ok? She probably gave Saint Peter a rough time

I don’t remember Grandma Blanchard, does she remember me?

Does Jesus still do the water into wine trick? Golly, I hope so

Uncle Hink still has a harem, doesn’t he?

Will you save a seat for me, next to you? I’ve got a lot of shit yet to do here and lots of people to annoy.

Miss you much.

XOXOXO,

Me ❤️

p.s. I still haven’t forgiven you for locking me in the dryer, but we’ll hash that out when I get there

That’s Not News

I miss the days of the 6 o’clock news. The days before CNN and other ’round the clock news channels. When the news was a matter of reporting facts. The stuff that happened, the weather and sports. Simple. 

In my little community, our newscasters were rockstars. The female weather caster with instantly recognizable hair, became the go-to hairstyle for many a local lady. 

We would see the lead newscaster out and about in the grocery store and lose our mind. We’d begin conversation like we were talking with a movie star, I wonder how many autographs were signed in the produce aisle. 

Today we report on the celebrities and the stupid crap we are supposed to be impressed by. We’ve made people famous for being absolutely shameless attention whores with zero talent. I just don’t get it. 

Athletes making more money than any human aught-to for playing a game.  Their political opinions and shenanigans shame their team. If any one of us were to behave so audaciously on our jobs, we’d be canned immediately.  

Take back your/their opinions and agendas. Take back your reality tv. (Or the perception of reality.) Take back the tv that does nothing to feed your soul or fill our life. 

Give me back my 6 o’clock  news. Give me back the way meals were shared around a table, as family. Give me back the ability to see facts and truth played out on the news. 

Give me back my Saturday mornings. Start the day with Davey & Goliath and a little bit of principles and values. Give me back, Mr Mustache and the simplicity and silliness of my childhood. The absolute awe and wonder of puppets and turning a letter of the alphabet into a cartoon. 


I don’t want to be a child again, just have a childlike joy and faith. Simple. Before the world spun out of control. Life. Simple. 
Photo credits:WIFR

I’ve Been Slimed

 

The day after (the election) feels as though I’m in the  sequel to Ghostbusters. For those of you who are not familiar with Ghostbusters 2, allow me a moment to share the CliffNotes version of the storyline…

The ‘Ghostbsters’ find themselves bankrupt after a heap of lawsuits. Lawsuits that came about AFTER the citizens were spared from some big evil marshmallow dude. NYC  officials extend a restraining order so that no more ‘damage’ can happen to their city.

However, problems arise, as they always do, and the Ghostbusters are needed again. The people who cried out for their heads now need their help, [again]. It seems as though some evil is flowing through the veins of the community, infiltrating every crevice of life.

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It is discovered that it is indeed  flowing through the veins of the city. A pink ‘mood” slime is flowing and bubbling beneath NYC. A slime that feeds on negative emotions and anger. As fear and craziness ensues, the slime thrives…

Looking around social media today, I can’t help but feel slimed. Fear and panic, ugliness and broad sweeping beliefs that the sky is falling.  The vacant faces of news correspondents wondering how the heck we got here. Yes, the world has changed overnight. Finger pointing and hatred gets us nowhere.

I’m not one to give in to the panic, at least not today. I’m not sure if it’s having grown up in a politics loving family or the fact I’ve survived so much in my life that I refuse to give one faction that much control. I refuse to give in to knee-jerk reactions, fear and hateful speech.

I may be just one person, but I’m not going give another ‘one person’ that much power. [Unless it’s Jesus himself] I will not bury my head in the sand and hide. I won’t protect myself from impending doom and worry about ‘me’. As in the Ghostbusters movie, good vibes and unity can change the charge of the slime.

Hope is alive. Hope is universal. Hope is unifying. Maybe it’s a cheesy sing-along-song to unite us or maybe it’s the unity found in the  beloved Cubbies winning their first World Series in 108 years. 108 years y’all!!! For 107 years, the mantra has been “maybe next year”. This was the year!!!! But seven days later, the world is going to end.

I’m going to do my part to make a positive stamp on this life. We win, friends. The light always wins. A little flicker of a flame cancels out darkness. Always!

So here’s my a little ditty to get us connected….Love…Love keeps lifting me…