Tell Me

Would you know me by where I live? Could you locate me in a crowd after wandering around my living space? Is understanding me and my decision to live in the place I do as easy as seeing my surroundings?

This much I can say…

I admire trees. They grow from a nut in the ground and even if chopped down, even close to the dirt, new shoots can grow from the stump of the dead.

I don’t keep up with the Jones or the Warrens (an affluent family in my area.)

I prefer vintage.

I value resilience, a life lived whether that life was long or short, arduous or kind. It’s all part of this blessed aging process. 

I fill my place with cherished items because I’m sentimental.

I inherited a dining table from my grandparents. The surface is marred with markings from my uncles. With only Mom and one uncle remaining of this large family, I hold close to this piece of history of the family. 

A red tractor’s chair came from my dad’s business. It was part of a set, he tells me. I always hear a bit of regret in his voice since he didn’t keep the blue one also. I sat on the red one when I was young. A tractor’s seat welded onto a coil and base.

When I walk into my home, I see the value. But, possibly someone different who may look at me would see my frugality.

I’m eclectic, maybe even cluttered.

My place is dusty and often unorganized.

I’m not wealthy. Still, I value appearance, but it isn’t in a way requiring control. I’m wanting to shake off the chains.

Naps, comfort, books, caring for others, and cats are valuable.

Instead of asking, “What’s your name? What do you do?” Rather, we might have someone describe their car or their clothing choice. I’d like to try that sometime. Maybe I will.

What’s your place like and how did you choose? Is it stamped with all of the trimmings of you? Or, as it sometimes happens, did it choose you? Leave a comment below. I’d love to read it.

Here’s a fun site-Curating Cozy Spaces

A book I enjoyed-Style Statement – Carrie and Danielle

How To Value

Your life is daily. The effort you put into your life — hourly, minute by minute, is the life you live. If you only give your days 50% attention, you’ll get 50% value. Live smarter. Live stronger. Put in what you want to get out of it.

Life is more than work. It’s a blend. When listening to YouTube and podcasts promising how I can be a successful entrepreneur and build my site to six $ figures, not only am I skeptical, I also lose interest. I won’t drown in work.

Inventory:

“Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.
Four be the things I’d been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.
Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.
Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.

Dorothy Parker, The Complete Poems of Dorothy Parker

I know if I am paying for 10 gallons of gasoline for my car, I wouldn’t keep going to the one that didn’t get around to fixing their leaking pumps, particularly if they charged for fifteen gallons each time. I like extra.

I want a lot out of life, and I put effort into it. I have ambition, and I have enough eagerness to back it up.

Receive Payment

This week, as an alternative to money, what other payment could we use in society? Value exchange. Time, education, wisdom, silence, ability, grief?

Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.

José Ortega y Gasset

Focus on an object today, such as a cup of coffee or tea. Without currency exchange, how would we value it? To me, it seems a staple of the social network. In some instances, it seems the best item other than alcoholic drinks to create contracts.

Begin by planting pockets of pleasure and encouraging growth in areas of your life that are essential. Choose music that lifts your spirit. And please, could you share it?

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.

People Watching

Do you enjoy guessing what people are doing, where they live, or what their bad habits are? Do you people watch? I do it to pass the time.

Who are these people? Are they going to work or playing a game of dress up?

Fearless people are interesting to watch. 

Ron Perlman

From the voice of Chibundu Onuzo–I’ve missed traditional people-watching during the lockdown. Of course, we all watched people from our windows. The delivery drivers who always seemed to go to the wrong address. The mothers (and it was mostly mothers in my neighbourhood) on their school runs, herding children to the school gates. And of course, the righteous runners, cyclists and power walkers, refusing to let a global pandemic stand in the way of their fitness goals.

The Guardian, Lockdown Stole the Fun of People Watching

How to Begin People Watching by wikiHow.

  1. Find an area with the demographic that you want to watch.
  2. Go to an area that is well-populated.
  3. Sit in a spot where you’re out of the way.
  4. Set goals for your people watching if you want to learn something. (people watching is good for character studies in writing and acting)
  5. Bring a friend with you to have more fun.
  6. Wear an outfit that won’t make you stand out.
  7. Bring a notebook to write down interesting moments or people.
  8. Act like you are doing something on a phone or laptop.
  9. Think about each person that passes and who they might be.
  10. Avoid passing judgement on anyone.
  11. Observe people’s body language to pick up on their emotions.
  12. Listen to people’s voices as they talk to learn more about them.  – steps by wikiHow, italics are mine

Most of the information is simple, but there are a few reminders which I find useful such as, don’t make yourself obvious. I also like going to heavier populated areas if I can. The more people, the less likely you will be noticed, think sports events and farmer’s markets.

Remember why you are watching people. For me, this is not stalking or ridiculing people. I enjoy observing real speech patterns and true interactions as they happen. If I hear a good phrase I jot it in my phone app. These are valuable when writing fiction dialogue.

Being an actress, I find myself people-watching and I can be quite shy. 

Emma Watson

Is there anything you would add or change? Do you people watch? Or is it repulsive to you? I want to know. Leave a comment.

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

For Those Who Feel Helpless

Heart wrenching. Yeah, that’s what it’s been.

After talking to a coworker about current events, I felt her pain. We have both lost people we love to Covid. When my mom broke her hip and was in the hospital, my brother and I couldn’t see her. Visitors were limited to two – my dad and his pastor. They were the only ones who could be there. These rules keep us safe, but they are heavy on the heart. It’s worse if your family has Covid because no one is going inside.

Without physical contact, how can we be of service to others? I’m no doctor or nurse who can treat a Covid patient. I write. I talk with friends and family. I pray for people in the world and those close to me. I can intend to do good. I can hold space for love and healing.

The spirited horse, which will try to win the race of its own accord, will run even faster if encouraged.

Ovid, Roman poet

What can we do?

To some, a prayer or a word of encouragement isn’t their thing. I hear you. Action is your cure. So, take action. Join a team with a cause. Don’t use this time as an excuse for immobility. Frozen injustice is still injustice. We participate in the not caring, by turning away. And yes, I know – I am guilty at times. Satisfaction is around the corner. Read, The Keys to Life

Intention, Holding Space, What?

Action is force. It shows you have power, which is why we need action after a tragedy. A hurricane hits the coast, and people volunteer to help. It’s only after years and years of losses when the feeling of injury has set up house. This is when our power is dragging. When our batteries are low, we can’t muscle another show of strength. The next generation can fight. There may be a way to prevent power outages in our society.

If we are together, as a team, then we’re making a pact. In the old days, these contracts were sacred. As kids, we would save each other a seat on the bus or in the cafeteria. These are examples of holding space. And we can keep each other strong.

“It takes two flints to make a fire.”

Louisa May Alcott (Novelist)

I’ll keep sharing my thoughts with you. And I’ll continue reading yours. Thank you for being here with me.

The Day For Luck – 13th

A black cat crossed my path many years ago. It was around 2002. I haven’t been the same since Ms.Kitty moved into my home then took over my life. I struggle with writing these words because I miss her cuddles. She was my best friend. Eighteen years is a long life for a cat, a good luck cat.

May all go with you today. All of the bad has happened and is done, and for today, this one day, may there be beauty.

May the luck of the cats be with you.

Sunny Side

I’ve been a blonde since as far back as I can remember. That’s how I think of myself, a blonde. I don’t say I have light hair, or I’m the one who streaks bleach through my short strands then masks on some vanilla toner. Nope. It’s a self-portrait thing. This is me, The Blonde. As a teenager, my method was a cocktail of lemon and peroxide. Then, with a bit of music, hot sunshine, and my stinky stuff on my hair, I had my own spa and salon.

The ridiculousness of color and identity isn’t lost on me. So I’ve been pushing those boundaries, trying to gently explore new possibilities. But there are limits. As a child, I wished to be as dark-eyed and brown-haired as my cousins were. My mom’s youngest brother has almost black eyes, and in my memories from my childhood, his hair was dark and wavy brown.

Across the Border

A girlfriend and I decided to walk across the border from Brownsville, Texas, into Mexico. We were on vacation one summer around 2005 and had driven 18 hours to get away, to be free. This was our wild moment. So we walked our very American-looking selves into the crowd and the cars already filtering toward Mexico. Neither of us had been here before. My friend, “C,” had recently lightened her hair a lot. Ordinarily, she’s a brunette. She was 5 foot and prayer tall, with a good dose of the short person’s complex, or as she called it, Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Personally, I think C just had a rough life.

Cigarettes were cheap on the other side. And it was C’s smoking habit that encouraged us to make this trip into Mexico. I was excited to do a new thing. We stepped onto brick streets and entered a narrowing old-world city. The roads were willy-nilly, and we came with no map. C became agitated, which surprised me. For all of the time I had known her, I had thought of her as bold and brash. Finally, I said we should walk on, just remember the way we came in.

Hey Blondie

While we walked through markets that were selling blankets, bags, dolls, and rugs, the male stall owners hollered in English, “Hey Blondie, Over here. You come. Buy.” over and over again. “Hey, Blondies.” Now, my friend was ready to go. And I understood. I’m sure she had been catcalled and whistled at before, but she was feeling like prey. It made me reconsider how I have been treated. The men didn’t upset me. This concerns me.

As a child, I was blondie, even to strangers. I didn’t choose my identity or my name. The culture I was born into chose my religion, politics, dress style, and education. Somewhere in all of that, I made choices. Our identities guide us. Yet, we are blind to the choices we make because of their influences.

For another version of this story read my earlier post from 2016 Profiling Me.

Find The Story

Do you read? Maybe you listen to audiobooks? That’s my current speed. I also like podcasts, and I watch movies based on books and short stories.

I haven’t decided yet if short stories are trending or if it’s my imagination. Recently short has been more doable for me. Making a long-term commitment to a movie or a book makes me edgy. Although if I start watching something I like, sometimes I don’t want to quit.

#Trauma in the #emotional house

Society feels fractured, and it’s easy to point out the flaws. This is a painful time. People go to work and do the daily grind, showing up in offices, construction sites, hospitals, and grocery stores. They are hard-working, rushed, busy, and tired. Still, they find a way to keep going. Life, with no break, has no meaning. It can become pointless. It’s ADHD with an extra burst of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Throw in Narcissistic and Abusive, and then we will have a full house. We have trauma. We need to learn a new way of living.

We can learn how to live a decent life. It’s a skill. Keep in touch with health. Getting back into nature and remembering to be kind are the most important ones for me. What are yours?

These are a few things which help me

  1. Go outside or open a window.
  2. Make a furry friend.
  3. Read a story, short or long, real or true. Read for pleasure.
  4. Help someone else, furry or human. Be kind.
  5. Don’t forget yourself. Buy some candy or flowers—for yourself. Like ruts in the road, your care for yourself sets the standard for others’ treatment of you.

I enjoy a podcast called The One You Feed. I’ve included it below. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my list. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve read it.

In this episode, Eric and George discuss his book, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain. 

In his introduction, Saunders writes, "We're going to enter seven fastidiously constructed scale models of the world, made for a specific purpose that our time maybe doesn't fully endorse but that these writers accepted implicitly as the aim of art--namely, to ask the big questions, questions like, How are we supposed to be living down here?
What were we put here to accomplish?

What should we value?

What is truth, anyway, and how might we recognize it?"

By Nakeia Homer