My Leap List

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Learning to Love Veruca Salt, Golden Eggs, and Nut-Sorting Squirrels

     The people I dislike most often end up being my favorites because they teach me things about myself.  One of the greatest and most challenging parts of my life is that I get to work with all kinds of new people every day.  I like to think this is one of my strengths, but there are some people that I still struggle with.  One is entitled people because they often have a disregard for others.
     I have met many in my life, but I never handle it well.  Sometimes I let the other person's wants consume me until I am invisible.   I have tried ignoring the situation in hopes it would go away.  For awhile I was so angry, I fought everyone and everything in a Hunger Games mentality.
     I played with this a little bit last year and did much better than usual.  I guess that was my practice for this summer.  The funny thing about life lessons is that you never know they are coming.  It's too soon to know how I did yet, but if I failed this lesson again, it was a new approach I can add to my "Well, that didn't work" list.  At least I don't keep making the same mistakes in the same way.
     I was feeling annoyed and angry the past few days, but now I think I am lucky to have the chance to finally pass the test this time around.    

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Music and Meanings

     As I wander through life, I have a funny way of making meaning from everything around me.  Even a small feather on my walk holds infinite meaning.  I learned early on that I could believe in the infinite possibilities of "what if..." or I could swirl in chaos.  Everything sacred or nothing sacred.
     Some days are full of the brightest suns, hues more beautiful than my mind can fathom, and I can touch the stars.  Other days are shadows of myself when I get lost in the dark.  The combination brings the texture to my life.  It makes me appreciate life and love in all of its manifestations.  Every time I make it through the darkness, I am stronger and wiser.  I gather up the beauty in the light and shine the others from their darkness.  Infinite light and dark.
     Music soothes my soul.  Knowing others have lived to tell the tale comforts me on the dark nights when everything seems lost.  Songs with a turn of words so perfect I swear it was written just for me.  Some for the dark and others for the light.  Music with a sacred tie to life and to death.  We live with our own background music that grows louder when we need meaning or to share ourselves.  Weddings, lullabies, funerals, birthdays, concerts, singing with our best friends in the car on a hot summer night brings us together.  The meaning is sacred and changes who we are.  Theme songs are who we are.  It is what we tell ourselves about ourselves.  It is who we believe we are in the eyes of the rest of the world.  It is more than a favorite song or one that captures the loneliness of the dark.  It is our deepest core being.  It changes as we change.  Mine used to be "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler.  Here is a piece of the person I used to be...

Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I'm only falling apart
There's nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart.
Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there's only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart.

I lived that song for many years.  I didn't realize the power I let it have over my life.  It fit who I was and where I was, but I let it define me.  I let it keep me in the darkness for a long time because I thought that was what I deserved.  I still like it because it is still a part of me, but I don't define myself by the darkness anymore.  

     My new theme song reminds me that I am good enough and I can let go of what others think of me.  Lessons I am still learning and practicing as I meet a whole group of new people tomorrow, hoping they like me, and remembering to let go of defining myself by other people.   My new song is "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World.  Here is my sacred now.  

"The Middle"
Hey, don't write yourself off yet
It's only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.
Just try your best, try everything you can.
And don't you worry what they tell themselves when you're away.

It just takes some time, little girl you're in the middle of the ride.
Everything (everything) will be just fine, everything (everything) will be alright (alright).

Hey, you know they're all the same.
You know you're doing better on your own, so don't buy in.
Live right now.
Yeah, just be yourself.
It doesn't matter if it's good enough for someone else.

It just takes some time, little girl you're in the middle of the ride.
Everything (everything) will be just fine, everything (everything) will be alright (alright).
It just takes some time, little girl you're in the middle of the ride.
Everything (everything) will be just fine, everything (everything) will be alright (alright).

Hey, don't write yourself off yet.
It's only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.
Just do your best, do everything you can.
And don't you worry what the bitter hearts are gonna say.

It just takes some time, little girl you're in the middle of the ride.
Everything (everything) will be just fine, everything (everything) will be alright (alright).
It just takes some time, little girl you're in the middle of the ride.
Everything (everything) will be just fine, everything (everything) will be alright (alright).

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Leap List

     I don't like bucket lists.  I don't like the focus on death.  Other people take it and do amazing things with their lives.  Not me.  I just get depressed at all of the great things I can't do for a variety of reasons, start resenting my life, and missing all the great things that happen to me every day because they aren't big enough to be on my bucket list.
     I decided to make a list of all those little amazing things that I never knew I needed in my life.  I'm calling it my leap list because it helps me focus on leaping over those bumps in the road until I can fly.  This is my list so far.

  1. Riding a train through the countryside
  2. Meeting some of my heroes:  Henry Winkler and Patrick Stewart, and getting to meet one of Mandy's heroes, Sean Astin
  3. Having a cat lie on my chest, wrap her paws around my neck, put her face on my cheek and fall asleep
  4. Eating a Fudgesicle, having the cat jump up on my chest, and start licking the other side
  5. Lots of great concerts
  6. Getting a tattoo
  7. To be continued...

Friday, July 4, 2014

It Matters to that One

     Earlier this week I gave the women I work with a handblown glass starfish with a copy of the starfish poem.  I wanted them to know that even though we beat ourselves up for not being able to save everyone, that it matters to each of the ones we save.  Today I learned that lesson myself.
     Last week a teenage boy made a big mistake.  Today he was caught.  It could have gone down in the typical way - police, charges, firing.  Instead it ended with me spending hours talking to him about all of the things going on in his life.  So much pressure on someone so young.  His story reminded me of myself as a younger teenage girl.  He almost killed himself a few months ago and we were worried this would be his last straw.  Hard choices and difficult phone calls to make.  While we waited, I talked to him about my life and where I had been.  I told him about Mandy and where she had been and where we are both headed now.  We talked about his family, his plans, and the tough parts of life that I haven't ever had to do.  It took up all my last day and I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to anyone or do anything I meant to do.  But none of it matters because people always come first.  No matter what.
      I probably won't see him again, but I hope that he finds peace and love and success and all the good things that life has to offer when you get out of the darkness.  I hope that my words and love made a difference for him today.  I hope they keep him safe and lend a glimmer of light to show him the way home.  It matters to that one, even if I am the one.
 If you haven't read the poem, you are in for a treat.

Starfish Poem
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, 
"It made a difference for that one.” 
― Loren Eiseley


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Seeing Through Another's Eyes

     We all want to know that we matter to someone in the world.  Without that weight, we float through life trying to find something to anchor us to the world, a reason to live, a reason to care.  I have been weightless and I have been anchored so tight I felt like I would drown saving everyone else.  Writing saves me, every time.  I write for my sanity.  It gives me a voice when I lose mine in the crowd.  It gives me perspective so I can open my mind to other people's realities.  It lets me share my stories that feel too overwhelming to say out loud, like the sound would make them more real and not just things I can push out of my mind.
     It's ironic that I write a blog, but I forget that other people read it.  It could be private, but I made a promise to my daughter when she was born that I would be always be honest with her.  Not just honest to her or with her, but honest in who I am for her.  All my imperfections, fears, challenges, and triumphs.  Writing a blog makes me accountable in a way writing in my journal didn't always do.
     Today I had to say goodbye to the people I love at school.  Everyone was so kind.  They gave me presents, hugs, and lots of love.  But my greatest gift was from a new friend who told me what a difference I have made in her life because of my blog.  There is something amazing about seeing yourself through someone else's eyes.  Usually I minimize compliments and push the attention to something else.  Today I thought of the joy I feel when I am able to share what people mean to me and the difference they make in my life.  I forced myself to stay still and appreciate the moment.  To know my honesty and my words give strength to someone else is a precious gift.  I am honored and humbled for the gift.  She says she looks for feathers and never finds them.  She doesn't know she is always the angel feather in my life.  She has given me a gift I can never repay.