Lets just be honest here...I don't like it.
I like pumpkin pie. I like turkey. I like family, friends, and fun.
Why is it that all those are ingredients for thanksgiving yet I dread the day?
This is clearly not going to be a fun post. Stop reading now if you can't handle the heat.
Don't say I didn't warn you.
I don't like thanksgiving because it is a day of potential sap. Running, dripping, oozing sap.
It is a day that is set up to be about bonding and reconnecting and loving on one another.
Family...being together...being all thankful together....gag.
The pressure to perform can be so huge that it chokes me.
Family comes in with their hugs and their smiles and their lovely sweetness and it completely overwhelms me. Don't get me wrong...I love the family.
Truly I do.
Family reading this...I love you. None of this is directed at you.
I am writing this to purge the mounting stress that is making my tummy feel all woogy.
Call it a self mutilating...I mean motivating.... counseling session.
When my family gets together it un-dones me. Undone. That is me.
Family that I love to be with...especially when it is one to one....can be daunting when unleashed in multiples of ten.
Juggling personalities, food preferences, interdepartmental memos, and insider family snark can leave me exhausted on a good day.
Add in a little sugar coma, stairway pounding, and familial hymn singing and I might just tip over the edge.
Let's not even get into the fact that I am somewhat socially retarded.
I think they make a pill for this.
Now you may think that I should just shuck the family and get on with my life.
You might be right.
But I think I will keep them for now.
I just need to be real about how I really feel. I feel overwhelmed. My family...being the lovely lovely people that they are...will be distressed to find out that this is how I really feel. They will be all ministering and sincere about not wanting to stress me further. They will think that they shouldn't come over. They would be wrong.
I want them to come over.
Family is very very important to me. I love being with them. I love playing games and talking and reconnecting.
It is just this stinkin holiday push. I can't take it.
Maybe it has to do with my intense desire to be consistent. Maybe it is my not so secret resentfulness about having to have "a day" to get together.
Maybe it is my wanting to buck the man.
Whatever it is, it irks.
I don't want to do it. Just because the rest of the world (ok the US) is doing it.
Just like when I was a kid and the whole world discovered strawberry shortcake
(the doll...not the food) and then I didn't like it anymore.
See...if I had been born pre-Abe Lincoln I probably would have really got into the whole thanksgiving thing. But no...old Abe hadta go and declare it a national "holiday". Ruined it for everyone.
Now what I get is a day that has this huge scary potential to be drippy. Somebody is going to talk about how thankful they are. It isn't that I am not thankful. I am very thankful. I could write an entire post on my thankfulness and how important i think it is to be thankful. Truly. I am thankful.
It is just the thought of going around the table, one by one, listing the thing that you are thankful for. sigh. Things could get awkward.
(I may need to go to the bathroom for about thirty minutes until this part is over.)
It is almost as intensely nauseating as a chain prayer.
I really hate those.
The only thing that saves you is the little hand squeeze "I pass" part.
Every eye is closed...every head bowed...everyone too serious to call you on the fact that you flaked in the prayer.
Not so much with the thankfulness. Grampa is sure to nail you if you try to pass.
People will laugh the family laugh that seems intended to put you at ease but in reality just makes you revert to a 9 yr old with deathray vision that you skillfully aim at your sister with her big flashing teeth.
Everyone is looking at you. You have to set a good example for the kids. Think of something...anything....you have to think of a whole new thing because somebody took yours!
Could we pretty please just skip this part? Pretty please?!
Oh...this is just going round and round. I am not certified for this type of rubbish.
I think I am going to change the subject.
I like pie.
Pumpkin pie is my favorite.
I could eat it warm or cold.
It is best when it is leftover and you go into the kitchen and sneak another piece when nobody is looking.
I like that last piece in the pan. But you have to eat it before it gets all watery.
I am very thankful for pumpkin pie.
"wow! this is a really good thought."
only to find out that it is such a good thought that you have thought it more than once before?
Like sometimes I am a genius and I remember that we need bbq sauce. So I buy some. Then the next time I go to the store I pass the bbq sauce isle. And I think...wow, I think we need some bbq sauce...so I buy some.
(once I got 4 bottles stashed away before the family started mocking me)
When my grandmother died I remember the family laughing and shaking their heads in disbelief over the fact that grandma had like34 packages of tp stored away in various closets around her house. They said it was probably a result of her going through the depression and living without. I'm not buying it.
She just forgot. Knew that she needed tp and kept sticking it away. Oblivious.
Sometimes we repeat ourselves.
Once I found a box with some old journals in it. I found this scrap piece of paper where I had jotted down an idea for some great journal entry...a new thought...a lightbulb moment....then deeper into the journals...like years earlier....I found an almost identical entry. A little note scribbled on the side of a margin.
Sometimes I repeat myself.
Have you ever said something to someone and they have to tell you that you told them the same thing yesterday? And the day before?
I hate it when that happens.
How is the best way to handle such situations?
If you are the "repeat offender"...what do you do?
Mostly, you just go "oh" and feel stupid and awkward. Right?
Is there a time that you can think of where you felt good about hearing...
"yeah you told me that already".?
Makes you feel dumb, huh?
Ok you don't have to admit it if you don't want to.
It makes me feel dumb.
If you know me you know that I hate to feel dumb.
Ignorant...fine. I can say idk. No problem.
But if I feel stupid...wellll...I tend to close up like a tickled clam.
This is what happens when I hear someone say the dreaded words,
"you already told me that."
They actually don't even have to say the words. I can see it in their eyes. They look down and away. Maybe for only a second but I know. I see.
"have I told you this before?"
I dread the answer.
Now I am going to tell you something really opinionated. (you are shocked, I know)
In my opinion, it takes a really strong and loving person...a true friend...a pal...to look you in the eyes and lie to you.
"what? No! go ahead."
This is what I am looking for.
I need friends that will let me ramble on.
If I get to the end of the story and I sense that maybe this was a replay I might say that I am sorry if I have repeated myself.
If you lie to me and pretend that this is the first time you have heard this story about my child, or my great (ancient) sports play, or my daily personal brilliance...
I will love you.
You will go up a notch in my list of wonderful people.
I will get all warm and fuzzy. I might even tear up a little bit.
It will make me feel good.
I think that it is respectful and good and right.
I will do the same for you.
What happens if it is not a good story?
What if it is a dreadfully boring story?
What if it is gossip? Or heresy? Or worst of all...a story from the local news. ACK!
Sorry, I can't take it.
I have been known to stop you in your tracks. Well, maybe not you...but those like you.
You know who you are.
I used to have to do this with my mother. I love my mother.
I lied to her many many many o' time as she repeated stories to me.
Long stories? Boring stories? Yep...lied through those too.
I could look her straight in the face and absolutely convince her that I had never heard that story before.
(well, ok, she couldn't see very well)
But I really could, and did, encourage her to go on with the stories.
Unless it was a story about how people wait in grocery store bathrooms to kidnap teenagers and drag them to Disneyland to be slave labor costumed characters. She heard it on the news. She wanted me to be informed.
There is a reason I don't watch the news!
Lalalalala...I don't want to hear about it.
So I might gently say..."oh right, I remember you telling me this story."
Or, if feeling cranky, I might say..."yeah mom, you told me that yesterday."
Or if that didn't work...and the kidnapping descriptions are getting particularly grim...I might even have to say..."mom. seriously. you told me this already and it creeps me out...can we change the subject?"
She's mom.She took it like a trooper. Sometimes she would wait an entire day before she tried to tell me the same story again.
I believe, to the very bottom of my heart, that listening to one another is one of our most valuable friendship tools.
Our stories are important to us. They are us. When we are talking to one another we use our words to give, or at least reveal, pieces of our heart.
It is never fun to be shut down when opening up a piece of your heart.
When it happens to me it makes me feel...more than dumb...it makes me feel... rejected.
Strong word ain't it?
Maybe I am oversensitive...scratch that...I know I am oversensitive.
But I do not think I am alone in this.
When you say "yes, you already told me that" you are essentially saying "I don't want to hear you. You are bothering me."
Think about it.
It is not very respectful.
If you are a kid and you say something like that to your parents you had better duck.
If you are a working person and you say that to your boss you might want to think about googling the location of the nearest unemployment office.
Why do we get to say it to our loved ones?
Can I clarify here...I am not talking about someone nagging you and you drawing some boundaries.
I am talking about stories. Events. life.
I hope you know what I mean.
Respect my stories as a deeper part of me. I have shared with you. Then I have loved you enough to want to share that part of me again. Feel honored.
If, in the interest of honesty, you feel that you absolutely must tell me that I am repeating myself....I mean like I am in the middle of the story and all laughing or crying or whatever and I stop and say..."oh dear, have I told you this before?"
You, in all honestly, wisdom, grace, and mercy are allowed (with the utmost of respect and maybe a light touch on my hand) to look me in the eyes and say....
"well, yes. You have told me this before. But I would love to hear it again."
Then do it again tomorrow.
Arrayed in splendor
The words ring hollow when compared to your great worth.
You are not object. You are entity.
You cannot be contained nor neatly rounded off to fit the size and shape
of any pre determined peg hole.
You are soft and strong. Stoic and emotive. Delighter and delight.
You shoulder pain that would reduce most men to fetal curled positions
rocking back and forth while calling for their mamas.
Those called for mamas are our sisters strong
with wild heartbeats
they pound the drums of war upon the taunts of any enemy
brave or dumb enough to pick a fight with loved ones.
These sisters feel the hurts not only of themselves but those around
both seen and felt for miles
as sadness from a hurting one sings siren calls for help
that woos a mama/sister heart to actions
far beyond the realms of personal protection.
Determination to see justice win can fuel another and another tender stroke
upon a fevered brow .
Satisfaction in a tended heart can keep a sister soothing long into the night.
Tenderness prevails upon exhaustion flooding broken hearts that beat
both in and out of their own breast.
Strength borne of softness.
These same brave sisters also taste the ache of weakness
brought about by failure in their own sweet hearts to keep it all together.
Some stand defiant
raising fists against the storms.
You will not see them cry out even tho the tears may blur their eyes
with filmy puddles of frustration.
They cannot bend for fear of breaking.
Knowing not that breaking can unbend the knots of time.
Some other sisters swallow hope like pills and loose themselves in tears
that never cease to wet their cheeks and pillows
til spent with agony and wasted time
and dreams left unfulfilled by life
filled up with daily chores.
Searching skies for answers to their self perceived laziness and lack of motivation.
Wailing long and hard because to get it done feels bigger than the talents they possess.
They look upon themselves...these sisters...as inadequate or faulty in their current state.
A longing rises up to be some more.
Emotion runs the stoic out of town.
It's true, we sisters often fail at bringing forth the beauty as we see it
played upon the mind and heart and soul.
We wish the wishes of completeness and perfection that seem still farther than our grasp.
We secretly suspect that what is needed is not possible with what's been given
as we tend to blame ourselves.
We sisters know that in us lies the answers if only we could somehow
step aside while stepping up.
Do you know how wild and wonderful you are?
The answers here lie not in form as if by solving problems we could shoot solutions
like bullets at a chosen target.
We sisters work within each moment to extract the tidbits of redemption
that can save a day or even turn a minute.
We do not always get to know the why's as we proceed
towards an unseen goal along a hidden path.
We often have to buck it up when all we want to do is sit and melt.
We do not give ourselves the credit we give others
for another day breathed through and night endured.
We need to see that small success can often look like failure.
Steps forward get discounted when we feel the clink of ankle chains.
The time it takes to feel complete can nullify the time just spent
the hurts of many wounds.
Ours and others'.
Those hands that bring such comfort to our loved ones
would do well to bring some home.
Forgiveness starts when looking in a mirror.
Imperfection truly can be all embraced.
Delight can come in many forms both giving and receiving
when we learn to ease the pressures of
expectation and regret.
My sisters, know that being brings no failure.
We can wake today and shower it with grace.
We will take a step and feel the strength that comes
as each new moment swings us to the next one.
Then when we fall we stay or stand
believing that today is not all up to us.
And that is a relief.
Wild and wonderful are descriptions of an untamed heart
that glories in the knowledge that our maker truly knows what He is doing.
And He does it very well.
Do you know how wild and wonderful you are?
you may or may not understand.
Thoughts birthed while sailing oceans
filled with blue emotions
rolling out from tired swells
or soaring though the starry skies of wonder-filled delight .
My mind gets weary sometimes when I cannot speak
the thoughts that might on some clear day
reveal what's really on my heart.
Clear days are overrated.
Swirling fog will ally and protect the tender sweetness of a wandering spirit.
Launch out amidst the gloom and find a friend
within the distance of one reach.
Sight's benefit is lost in pearl gray mist
yet imagination's touch can paint a picture
eyes alone would never see.
Think beyond the realm of clarity
worlds of truth too complicated to truly understand.
Dwell there and find relief
from mundane wishes that defeat the deeper longings of your thirsty soul.
Rest there and feel
the tides rush in and woo you to the distant shore.
Forget the path of crystal sight
revealing too much certainty amidst reality's harsh light.
Embrace the fuzzy sleep of bed warmed dreams.
Caress the gentle mercies of thoughts too big to grasp.
Breathe in the smoke and fragrance of memory's
and experience the freedom
of a secret flight of fancy yours alone.
I love it. I am it.
My children use that word very cautiously. They know that if they say "that word" I will almost instantaneously break out in song.
"Crazy....I'm crazy for feeling so lonely....I'm crazy...I'm crazy for feeling so bluuuuuuu...."
I kinda do a Patsy Klein/Barbara Streisand/Bette Midler meld voice. It's pretty.
It makes me feel better about myself.
(It also annoys the begeebers out of my children. Secretly I think they kinda like it tho. They just can't say so or they will get their kid card revoked. )
I like to annoy my children. Every mother has to have an outlet. Right? Is that wrong?
Stop it. You know you do the same thing.
OK that was a little off topic.
The topic for today is crazy. What is crazy?
Crazy is that thing that when you do it other people look at you like you are not normal.
Normal being that thing that they are and everyone else is really not.
Normal is a superiority complex. Normal is a navel (as in belly button...not anchors aweigh) gazing exercise designed to make one feel better about oneself.
Normal is a tag that we put on our own idiosyncrasies to help us rise above the rabble. To help us cope. To help us identify with our group.
We are normal. They are like me. I am like them. Together we shall rule the world...mwahahahahahah!!
Normal is sick.
Normal is a recipe for inadequacy. It is the enemy in full on battle with your very soul. He calls you out, taunts you, then grabs you by your Achilles heel. "you're not normal".
Don't underestimate this. (yes I am getting on my soapbox)
If he can't make you feel superior by being normal then he will go all out to make you feel either sub-normal...or super-normal.
He will say to you..."you are not normal. Something must be wrong with you. You aren't like the other children."
If you don't buy that one he will go for this one..."you are not like the other children. You are better. You are strong and powerful."
Both of these could be true at the same time. Be assured that both will be played upon. Here is this little gem...
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
by Marianne Williamson from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles
It makes you stand tall and say "Heck Yeah!"
(I never say "heck" by the way. I just had to put it in there for emphasis. )
But then, when the wind machine and soft lighting is turned off you are left with a feeling. Deep in your gut. A feeling that somehow you are not that. That you do not really possess a light that anyone can use. That your light is not right... somehow different....not for use to the everyday consumer. You are not normal.
What the stink are you supposed to do with that?
How can you touch that? If you are not afraid of your inadequacy you are afraid of your genius. You have been given a call to be all that you can be. All that you are. But what you are is buried. Or wounded. Or just plain tired. You don't have the energy to be one more thing. Even if it is for the betterment of both yourself and the entire stinkin world.
How, in the normal light of everyday existence, do you put yourself out there in such a way that you change the state of affairs for everyone within your light path.
How? How? HOW!
It is too much pressure.
In trying to rise above we can create a ladder so steep that we become fearful. We grab and grasp at each rung, trying desperately to climb and not fall, and we forget to sing. (what does singing have to do with this?)
I am glad you asked.
"Crazy...I'm crazy for feeling so lonely....I'm crazy....I'm crazy for feeling so bluuuuue"
Let it out honey!
Ok she has really flipped it this time. What is she talking about? (I am right here, I can hear you whispering)
Normal is passe. It really doesn't even exist. There is no tangible level of acceptable. We can stop trying to climb above it. We can also stop being afraid of slipping below it.
Normal is word like supercalifragilisticexpealidocious. It is a made up thing. It has no real definition.
If you look it up it says earth shattering things like "not abnormal".
Or you can go for " conforming to the average".
Why. would. you. want. to .strive. for .this??
And, even if you could define average, how would you get there?
Holy cow, I am getting so confused.
If normal is not abnormal and abnormal is that thing that is not normal...I think you see where I am going with this. It cancels itself out. It is not a goal.
If it is not a goal then why do we spend so much time trying to be it?
And why do we hear the enemy constantly trying to tell us how terrible we are for not being it.
And...why, if it doesn't exist, and it is just used to describe the median line of acceptability...why are we so susceptible to the call to rise above yet fear that we are surely irretrievably mired below???
Why do we want to be normal?
I think it is because it feels safe. It feels like home base. A checkpoint.
You can't trust this.
If we constantly compare ourselves to the standards of others we are liars and cheats.
There can be no comparison between us.
There is no normal, people.
You can group yourselves up into likes and dislikes...physical attributes...body odor or toenail length for all I care but you cannot go around telling people "this is normal and that is not".
Shoot...now I have to change all my ways of thinking. I do think this way. Even in defining myself as crazy I am toeing the party line that I am outside of normal. Gahhhh!
Yet, I like the word crazy. I like the connotation. I like the quirk. Crazy is not knowing exactly what might be said or done. It is unnerving. It is unsettling. It is weird.
But in an acceptable normal kind of way, yes?
See I was trying to trick you.
You fell for it.
I want you to love me for me. Not because I am that crazy one. Not because I am outside of normal or inside of normal.
Just because I am me. And you like that about me.
So if I want to be neurotic...or self absorbed...or easily overwhelmed...or if I want to sing loudly...or go to therapy for my repressed emotional baggage...or believe that God created this banana just for the pleasure I get in eating it...
if I want to wear no makeup....or only play board games with non competitive people...or not go to organized church...or have really passionate opinions about the way cardboard smells....love me.
This is mostly about being yourself. Being myself. Not some fantasy about putting myself out there for people to love and admire and aspire to. No. Just being.
I am really big on this. Being. Not striving or attaining or failing.
How can you fail at being??
Accepting that what you are, what you have, what you can put out or keep in, is enough. Being comfortable to be honest about your stuff. Laughing...or crying... at that stuff as you juggle the dailies. Love yourself.
**I feel I must put in a disclaimer here....just for clarity....this is all about Jesus. All of it. He is the air that I breathe. I am not uber Christian. This blog is not about my daily scripture reading. It would be fine if that was the case...but it isn't. Jesus. None of this that I am talking about it possible without Him. None of it. Questions? Ask me about Him and I will tell you what I know. I really really really dig Him. **
The Creator of the universe made you stunningly marvelous. You are not normal. You are not abnormal.
You are you.
Love yourself for who you are.
Love me for what I am.
You can even hate me for that matter.
Just don't box me.
Then again...if you must box me....
I will take the crazy box. Fits like a glove.