We Are Beautiful People

She is broken.

A misfit. She doesn’t fit anymore. The whispers surround her. You see that lady, the one at the end of the bar, her clothes were once beautiful but now are wrinkled with lingering odors.

When the men knew her name, they poured glasses of champagne, brought her lush red roses, and whispered sweet things in her ear. Now, she drinks alone.

In her dreams at night, she still stands on the stage. She’s engulfed in a cloud of cigarette smoke and wearing her favorite dress. She belts out a song with such enthusiasm that the audience rises to their feet—the best day of her life.

Soup is Better the Next Day

Soup’s hard to mess up. You can, but you can fix it by readjusting your ingredients. My life has been a lot like a soup. I’ve learned that life is complex and never simple as I pass the 56-year mark. The postman brings solicitations from AARP and Medicare. I yell I’m not old. My mind believes I’m capable of racing with the children. My legs know different. When a young man on YouTube ridicules me and calls me Old Lady, I smirk, knowing there’s a point when we all get there, even his sorry self.

Why Soup Tastes Better the Next Day (most of the time)

Letting a finished pot of soup hang out overnight means that harsh flavors soften, the ingredients have a chance to absorb the tasty broth, and everything transforms from very distinct flavors into one harmonious soup.

Christine Gallary

At ten, when I had knobby knees, it was impossible to think of marriage and sleeping in the same bed with a man. Oh, I was curious enough, but I thought the world would end before I grew up. My sister-in-law reassured me that there would be time. I kept seeing what the preachers taught, the fear speeches. I saw the cracks in the ground. Earthquakes. Wars and rumors of wars. Signs in the heavens. Yes, the world was ending, and I wouldn’t get a chance to be married or have children. I’d never had a first kiss.

“Well, I suppose nothing is meant to last forever. We have to make room for other people. It’s a wheel. You get on, you have to go to the end. And then somebody has the same opportunity to go to the end and so on.” – Vivian Maier, nanny and photographer

Life isn’t the pretty pictures you see in the magazine. Our moments, each one of them, are important. Live them. It’s not a delicate family portrait. Life is pleasure and pain. I’ve had kisses that made me weak in the knees. I have found a friend and a lover. Joy. Other moments in my life have crushed me with grief.

I was 15 when I kissed a boy for the first time. It was at a park with my youth group—a very long time ago. It was a kiss. No sparks. In those days, I’d pictured perfection, my future unfolding full of joy and happiness. I was good, kind, so I expected rewards.

I once expected a solitary perfect moment, a portrait, but life is a collage of photos. Life is the soup.

Bowls and Memories

The world was big and ready to be explored when I was four. It was also a scary place where I could fall. But the fear didn’t stop me.

There was a hole in the kitchen floor. In my two-year-old mind, it was huge. My family lived in a travel trailer. There were a hundred acres of land with pecan trees and livestock, horses, chickens, all with a nearby river and wooded area, wild enough for any child’s fantasy. The hole—I avoided it, walked around it, afraid of falling.

When I was three or four, I remember picking pecans. My first experience with money and the thrill of commerce. Power.

I remember sitting carefully on the toilet. Mom bought an adapter seat so that I wouldn’t be afraid.

Falling in holes, dropping in toilets, we can’t forget that I dove out the door. I was young. Early that morning, dad had been plowing the cornfield, and he had a bowl that he wanted me to come and get. I was happy to run to help — a good little worker. I stood on the edge of the open door, and I knew I should sit down and scoot. The steps were tall. Four-year-old little legs can’t leap the way her big brothers do, but I never realized this. So I jumped.

I jumped and missed the steps. What happened afterward is a blur. I screamed. I’d fallen awkwardly on my arm, pinning it under my body against the concrete steps. People say there’s no pain when you break a bone. Or it hurts worse if you’re an adult. I don’t know what type of weed they’re smoking because pain hurts everyone.

For fifty years, I’ve tried to convince Mom that I jumped, that Dad did not force me to run outside for the bowl, but she’s stayed stuck in the blaming. Dad will always be The Evil One. And I’m not sure where that puts me.

I had difficulties at a young age. As a kid, my life was out of my hands. Written in these paragraphs are memories, vivid. They are the squares of fabric I’ve sewn into my life. Why did I save these and shelve the others? Memories are packets, and you change them each time you examine them. And every person who sees an event will see it differently.

How do you see yourself?

That’ll Do Pig

Picture – me as I was some years ago. I was a chubby lady jogging and hugging through my neighborhood in old running shoes and shorts, a disposable water bottle. I can’t say my pace was worthy of applause. My GPS phone app clocked me at 5 K in 57 minutes. And that’s estimating that my last 30 minutes will be the same as my first, which was not happening. More likely, I’d lean on a tree and watch a few birds fight with the squirrels. By the time I got another mile and a half (about 2.4 K) of running in, I was sweating like it was August in Texas. My calves were burning, and my knees hurt. Not a picture of athletic prowess.

-Gotta love sweat humor.

We feel silly when we start. The first step out the door in a strange outfit. But time passes. We practice, we learn. Hopefully, we develop good habits. It’s why we need good training early. I muscled up enough to run a few miles. My calves couldn’t fit into most of the dress boots in the stores. That was fine. I was proud of my legs. I could run up the hills in my neighborhood, and if you saw, you’d understand my satisfaction. Yeah, I felt good.

Aside: Running vs. Jogging.

The two are technically the same. Jogging doesn’t become running at a certain pace. Jogging is just an uncool word for some people.

– Me

Why debate the words? Run or jog. Possibly it started in the marathon running group. You don’t jog a marathon. When I looked up the terms in all the online running blogs I could find, no one was sure of the difference between the two. Jogging implies that you are trotting through the neighborhood with no purpose. In the case of running, people mean they are training for a run or a marathon. But that’s speculative.

When I began, with my out-of-date shoes, I felt awkward. So I purchased expensive running gear. Funnily enough, the models displaying running shorts and tanks are 5’10” and 100 pounds. Their BMI is probably 5%. I know, it’s really 14%, and I’m exaggerating, but they are thin girls. Lanky. Anorexic. My BMI is higher. All those chubs on my body are well-earned. It took a lot of cookies and pints of ice cream to build them.

Remember at the end of school? No more summer of lounging. Probably by now, the zeal of the first job is gone. Parenting, hobbies, and vocations are that way. It feels strained. Not quite right. Everyone sees you’re stumbling and fumbling. That makes me smile. Even though I may not run forever or attain a gazelle-like grace, I can stroll about the neighborhood dressed in trendy shorts and bright-colored shoes. And I tried something new.

Need something new? Here are a few suggestions.

Wed March 16, 2021 – Wed August 31 2022

Running Into 2021 Like…..

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November 1-30, 2021

What Is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write #50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand new novel. They enter the month as elementary school teachers, mechanics, or stay-at-home parents. They leave novelists. 798,162 Active novelists 367,913 Novels completed #NANOWRITMO

Now- Current day

Be brave and speak up. Squeal like a pig. Do you have a sweat story or funny phrase? I would love to hear it. Share in the comments.

Shame on you

Invisible rules, unspoken. You know them. And if you don’t, you may be pulled to the side by the wise leader of the tribe because they’ll correct you. Chuckle. We have too many who think they’re hip.

Why is she tanning in winter? Is she trying to get a man at her age still? Her hair is getting so long. So out of date. I have heard this one from my mom and people at work. It goes with she’s too old to have long hair—over 40—darn rules.

The over 40 men with the flash of a car and smile—well, we know he’s on the prowl. Watch out, girls. Tsk tsk. If he was 38, he could get by with it, I’m sure.

Is it advice or shame? Be careful of the council you take.

DEFINE

According to Brené Brown, a researcher at the University of Houston, shame is an “intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” It’s an emotion that affects all of us and profoundly shapes the way we interact in the world.Feb 17, 2016

How to Listen to Pain – Greater Good Science Center

Some cultures, religious or pagan, use a system of shunning. They will never look at you, talk to you, or in any way acknowledge your existence. I’ve had people attempt to dismiss me, cold shoulder me, which is an attempt to gain control. In my opinion, it’s abuse.

Shunning often involves implicit or explicit shame for a member who commits acts seen as wrong by the group or its leadership.

Shunning

These forbidden activities, taboo behaviors are from a period when we needed shame-based boundaries. We needed the community to survive. Love, with its short-lived blush, planted you into a family and gave you a home. Over the years, you and your family became one. We still want to belong.

When slapped with shame, I feel angry. There’s a tinge of rejection. I want to fight and cry out, Unfair. I hurt, and like any creature, I long for safety. We must find our center. Do you have someone or something to cling to, even if it is a poem?

My one thing was the sunrise. Could you read about it here? Touchstones and Totems

Get Smarts With Stories

I love stories. A good story isn’t only for kids. A hearty tale is filling, leaving me satisfied. I am entertained and I learn, but learning wasn’t the point. Stories are my sunshine, my light. Here are some I enjoy.

THE NORTH WIND AND THE SUN – ÆSOP

A dispute arose between the North Wind and the Sun, each claiming that he was stronger than the other. At last they agreed to try their powers upon a traveller, to see which could soonest strip him of his cloak.

The North Wind had the first try; and, gathering up all his force for the attack, he came whirling furiously down upon the man, and caught up his cloak as though he would wrest it from him by one single effort: but the harder he blew, the more closely the man wrapped it round himself. Then came the turn of the Sun.

At first he beamed gently upon the traveller, who soon unclasped his cloak and walked on with it hanging loosely about his shoulders: then he shone forth in his full strength, and the man, before he had gone many steps, was glad to throw his cloak right off and complete his journey more lightly clad.
Fortune and Fate
Photo by Los Muertos Crew on Pexels.com

Along similar lines, here is an audio which I listened to recently. I hadn’t heard either. I especially enjoyed Luck vs Wisdom. It’s about 15 minutes or so. There’s a commercial and then the second story. No torture, I promise.

LUCK VS WISDOM (with Host Simon Brooks)

What is more important? Luck or wisdom? Discover the answers with host Simon Brooks and Joel Ben Izzy telling “Luck vs Wisdom” and Jenni Cargill- Strong telling “Reaching for the Moon”.

The universe is not made of atoms; it’s made of stories. — Muriel Rukeyser

Fighting

I struggle with “I am worthy of asking for help”
I struggle with “I am loved enough”
I struggle with “I can have the ability to do - the power - the authority even”
Am I enough?

I want to promote myself
I want to set boundaries - and not to back down
I want to accept all of me.

Yet, that includes my struggles and tears, and body pain.
- janetkwest.com

Emotional healing

My forest has dark shadows.

My parents make bizarre statements, “But I thought your headaches would be gone by now.” And I feel as if I have failed. So I start to explain the process of migraines and how treatments work. And the difference between the cervical spine issue. I’ve been stuck in a perpetual defense for long enough.

Exhaustion.

Next time I talk to them, I want to hear the words and not react. I don’t want to answer or explain. It’s about paying attention to my emotions. My parent’s words are not important. I have to separate the two. This is how I heal.

Turn on a light.

By naming the emotion I can plot its place on my map. Label the bastard. Nail it. When it becomes recognizable then I can see it clearly. Read The Jungle of My Emotions to understand more.

More to read –