Seemingly everywhere I turn, I am attuned to the suffering, angst and overwhelming depression around me. If I focused too much on that heaviness, I could easily find myself wallowing in self-pity and inactivity; paralyzed and allowing fear to control my life. Is that living or merely surviving? Recently, I’ve felt more compelled to do something to further the causes that are important to me and not just be a passive bystander.
Those of you that follow me may remember that my 2018 motto is “Be Brave.” What does that mean? Have I been too fearful? Maybe. More like timid. In the past, I often found myself holding back to keep the peace. But why? We all know life is not black and white. Free thinking and the freedom to learn and grow allows for change and betterment. It’s those shades of gray that make life interesting. So, for me, being brave, is letting people know my authentic self. It means to take risks and speak (or write) my mind without worrying that someone, somewhere might be offended or not like me because of it. This was and is a huge, step for me, but one that feels incredibly right and liberating.
Discussion and differing view points are what allows us to come together as a community to find a meaningful solution instead of a “knee jerk” reaction or passively leaving it to someone else to decide. Having a voice, being informed and taking a stand, while listening and being respectful of others is the key to making a difference. It’s no longer enough for me to passively let “them” determine my destiny.
While issues big and small weigh on my mind at any given moment, as the title of this blog (“serendipity”) implies, it’s those little simple surprises that remind us to smile, to be grateful and to always hope. So as the ides of March sets, I bring you the hope of spring and the promise sunnier days will come.
The first flowers of spring, sprout and bloom despite being frosted and snowed upon as the edge of winter recedes. And, now I just need to spot my first robin. Always hope.
Sometimes as I read back over my words, I am amazed that they came from the depths of my mind. Did I really write that? I muse. I try to think back to my former self that had those particular thoughts on that particular day and remember. What was I feeling? What else happened? What circumstances led me to write those exact words? If I’d written them at another time on a another day would they have been different? As I look at an old blog post, or journal entry or some odd story I wrote, I am reminded of how human I am and how far I’ve come. My journey has taken many twists and turns, yet my words still remain true to me. The same themes thread their way through my life connecting them together and giving me the voice that the shy, little girl within me would have a hard time speaking aloud. I have changed and grown, but I am still the same. I am me, uncompromised.
I watch my daughters as they are becoming young women. I am filled with pride and hope and love. They are finding their own voices each in their unique ways. A smile comes to my lips when I find the little stories and essays they have written. The letters and notes I find. They too have a love of expressing themselves in words and creating a story from their imaginations. Of all the quirks and neuroses I have passes on to these two, this is the one that I am grateful to have inspired in them.
A few months ago my fifth-grade daughter and I were down in the dredges of our basement, trying to organize our “craft” room. She came upon a tote in the back corner labeled “writing and stuff” and pried off the lid. (Yes, we were supposed to be putting stuff away.) Here eyes got wide and she became so excited as she found a pile of old and I mean OLD stories that I had penned back in the day. She took them upstairs and made me read them all to her. I laughed as she did she as we landed upon her favorite, “Pedro the Great.” Ahhh good old Pedro the Great was inspired by my childhood dog – a chihuahua named, of course, Pedro. In my little tale, Pedro is a disco-dancing super hero. I illustrated it myself (as you can see in the picture above.) I explained to her that I was the exact same age that she is now when I wrote that story – fifth grade. I told her we didn’t have computers (way back then in the old days) and had to use a typewriter (what’s that?”) and I used markers to draw the pics. She was even more impressed when I told her that my teacher read it to our class. I have no recollection of how that came to happen – I think I must have asked her to read it and she humored me. I was proud of my story though and she encouraged me to write.
I hadn’t given much thought to Pedro since that evening, until I came home from work a couple of days ago — tired and ready to veg. Usually when I come home the girls are watching TV or doing homework or playing outside, but on this particular day, she ran into the garage to meet me. In her hands was her very own story, “Maggie the Magnificent.” MTM is also a super-hero dog named after our Jack Russell mix, who I’m not sure I would describe as magnficent (based on the growing pile of chewed up bras, undies, pens, shoes and Barbies in her wake or the number of times a week she wakes me up a 3 AM to pee), none-the-less, my daugher’s version of MTM is larger than life. My daugher was so proud of her story and I could see my ten-year old self in her. I loved her story. She wants to get it published now and I encourage her to follow her dream. Her fifth grade ambitions are much higher than mine. She’s working on the sequel now as she doesn’t want our other dog, Ollie, to feel left out. I agreed, he should get his story too. And, I can’t wait to read it.