What do you see in the mirror?

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Mirror . . .

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Years are not always kind.

One never knows what wrinkle

in mirror will find,

but I have found

my nature

finally,

that I distance

in fear

that I am private

for protection,

and this knowledge

upon reflection

might be used to stand

straight, tall

glad to be standing at all.

So many chances

cast to the wind

it seems,

yet

isn’t it worth it to take a chance

on dreams?

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Update, Part II

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When last we left our heroine, she was at a party,

underdressed for the occasion, but happy.

She met many fascinating people.

She met a man

who asked her out

and

he was charming, funny

great smile

and

they subsequently went out several times,

first just to a cafe’ to talk, then to dine, then to walk and eat and laugh, then to a film…

And now our heroine is pinching herself–isn’t life Weird?? Yes. With a capital W. It is sweet to date, it is cheering to have company and to get considerate little text messages throughout the day. She’s not sure… about him, but partly because she is not sure about herself. What is she looking for? How can she know if he fits without knowing the answer to that question? It seems that most people know what they want when they find what feels right, what seems comfortable. Yes, it seems comfortable though still a bit in discovery mode. That, and also it is a bit challenging because the heroine finds herself with a brainy guy, maybe a bit complex, maybe holding his cards a bit closer than she is used to. Of course, she is an emotional and sensitive being and she is communicative, in her own understated cheery way. She knows she can’t expect him to be quite the same . Part of growing is realizing how human each of us is, how imperfect no matter how hard we try. So, taking it easy, trying to calmly observe and for the present to accept this gift of companionship and potential love; those are the orders of the day.

Even if it doesn’t last, it’s good now. If it does last, it had a good beginning.

Stay tuned.

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Update.

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One

and the days are so busy

the nights are so long

dark lonely

quiet

but when I wake

there is morning

warmth

morning light

filtered through white curtains

shadows dashed

hopes resurrected

one

day

at a time.

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It is a wet grey day today, but somehow the gleaming dark wash of the street and the stalwart bare trees seem fresh and reassuring. It just goes to show that perspective makes the difference between dreary and cleansed, sometimes. And, as I am an anachronistic Romantic of sorts, this day and this weather reflect my mood. I could be dreary, but I am not. I could sink into the greyness, but I don’t. I feel the wash of the rain, I feel the rinse of the old and the dust, and the chance for something new.

I spent part of Thanksgiving with friends and loved ones, but part of it was necessarily solitary. I needed to be Thankful in my own way, away from the gatherings and feasting, and away from the shopping crowds converging upon the big-box stores like ants towards a bit of fallen fruit.

I went to a park where families and couples were walking, pushing strollers, biking alongside helmet-heavy young riders, or running or rollerblading in black spandex. Pausing to watch and smile at these passersby every so often, I read. I read a book, cover to cover.

Sometimes I choose to read historical or non-fiction books for learning and information.  Other times I read classics and fiction in order to go away, to vacation through the eyes and experiences and thoughts of the author whom I’ll never even meet. I’ve done that literary traveling for as long as I can remember. The challenge is to find a very good book. Its pleasure for me is escapist but also the satisfaction serves as a base for viewing the world, my world in relation to the world out there. It ‘evens’ me, if that makes sense. My far flung and wide-ranging artistic emotions settle down as my world-view stretches. It’s as if I gently allow more of the world in, and that calms me.

When I am feeling as calm and at peace as a restless soul can feel, I tend also toward grateful and prayerful. When I pray, it is to an always-present supreme being who knows me, but I don’t know Him (?) as well, or perhaps not as well as I should, or so it seems to me. I feel held, but as if in a fog or expanse of universal space, as if outer space and the whole of the universe is pulled close, but as a feeling inside. Imagine there is an invisible blanket– soft, warm and cozy. I pull it as tight as I need it and feel comforted. Alright, I’m sure I’m weird and I’m sure most of you know this by now, so let’s just move along…

I re-centered myself, that is the main thing. I thought: “Yes, you feel alone sometimes but you’re not really alone. You’re not sure of exactly what to do, but you know you’re gaining strength and re-harnessing creativity; you are becoming. You are becoming more your true self.  Maybe that is preparation for something, or maybe it simply is as it is meant to be.”

With that “Onward” attitude in hand, I met a friend after work and we laughed and talked as the time zipped by.  Coincidentally, I was invited to a party that evening near where my friend and I were meeting. When she went home to her husband and children, I went back and forth in my mind over whether or not to stop into the party. I hadn’t planned to go as there would be many people and I wouldn’t know them. I am reserved as you would expect, at least at first, but I do love meeting people and hearing little bits about their lives. Once I decide to attend anything I summon my confidence (a remnant from my youth) and have a good time.

I hadn’t been home since early morning but driving all the way home and back to change clothes would take too much time, I’d be too late. The unfortunate side of that is that I wouldn’t be able to change into something dressier or to do my hair or makeup for the party.  I would therefore look like someone who had ambled in after a long day, not someone who had primped to be fresh and festive. But, I do wear a smile well. I had that, anyway.

I also had my re-adjusted attitude. I felt content and I wasn’t looking or yearning for anyone or anything. I felt like I was fortunate to be able to go where I pleased, to smile and exchange a few kind words with other souls on this earth.

I felt good, and happy.

My gumption and I went to the party.

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I hope all is likewise fine in your life. How are you faring, these busy days?

~ Lily

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Phone a friend.

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Phone a Friend… 

(or: No Organic Red Potatoes Tonight)

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Find a friend

when dismal

is beginning to feel normal

walk

with friend

talk

because you need to do so

and likely so does she or he

and then

because you miss your social whirl and

sparkling dinners,

have dinner with your friend

and laugh,

laugh in the face of misery

say good-bye to lonely

smile to exercise all facial muscles

so there will be no atrophy

while your world realigns

as of course it will.

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Small gifts.

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Is this what it’s come to?

Happiness is

finding a perfect avocado

in the market,

contentment is

fridge and cupboards once again full,

or laundry done

and neatly folded?

Fun is the exhilaration

of a brisk walk

in sunshine,

crimson leaves dancing or

gold contrasted on dark bark?

Expectations down,

or life simplified,

appreciation found?

If I don’t want for much

disappointment abates,

if I don’t long for much

my heart patiently waits,

but as I walk fast

I beat pain I beat

a mortal enemy

and victorious in

the mirror I see

a small smile,

a gift to the world

in my simplicity.

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Stand up– fragile, loving, lonesome humans!

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We are such fragile beings, sometimes.

Witness: I broke up with a man who was Clearly not good for me. In fact, I broke up with him many times. But, every time that he wanted to get back together, every time he apologized and promised to do better or make amends, or to care, I relented. I went against my better judgement and gave us another chance.  Or rather, another hundred chances. I so wanted it to work, and we had fun–when we were having fun. Unfortunately, he had addictions (at least three) of which I was initially unaware, and of which he is still apparently unaware.

Worse, his desires always superseded our relationship and certainly me. There was no We, only he. His needs, his wants.

At first I was so happy to be “loved” that I ignored the red flags, but I also had to deal with his conflicting signals. Since those were confusing, I have to be somewhat gentle with myself: what he said and what he did were so different. That is, his words of endearment were wonderful but his actions often contradicted them. He said he loved, but he didn’t show it nearly as well.

As an example–one I’ve mentioned here before– one week he asked me to do several things with him (dinner parties, family functions, watching a football game) and I agreed, yet when I asked him to do just one thing that we had talked of doing for two summers but had not gotten around to doing (I wonder why??) he replied with scorn and derision: how dare I ask something of him that would cause him to miss a couple of hours of one football game?

Wait–last season he had not watched every game, and when we first met he said he was a fan but not a sports fanatic, that he “wasn’t someone who had to watch every game.” Hmmm. Guess that changed.

My take on this, in retrospect, is that he wanted the power in the relationship; he wanted what he wanted. Of course, he forfeited me, which makes me feel horrible. I am worth less than one football game?  Sheesh that stings. I had already gotten up to speed on his sports and his teams so that I could discuss them, though it is not my thing, at all. I had loved him, and I had shown that love.

Aren’t people more important than watching sports on television? He couldn’t miss even part of one game for someone he supposedly cared about? He could have listened to the game as we drove, or caught the second half of a late-afternoon game, but he wasn’t even willing to work it out.

And what about “Bye” weeks or weeks when the game is on a day other than Sunday? Even I know there are a couple of those and I am not all that up on football. In other words, had he cared to check or think about it for even a moment, he would’ve realized there’d be at least a couple of Sundays during the season when he wouldn’t even miss a game. Yes, if he cared. (You can see that I am still hurting and tending to the wounds here, can’t you?)

A friend of mine surmised that I might not be Asking for what I needed in the relationship, so maybe that is why I wasn’t getting it, or why things seemed so unbalanced. For instance, I was hurt that he didn’t offer to pick me up at the airport because it had seemed to me like the loving–or at least reciprocal–thing to do, since I always offered and gave him rides to and from the airport.  Yet, I hadn’t specifically asked him for a ride. Maybe that’s why he so often seemed selfish, thought my friend. He couldn’t actually be that selfish, how could anyone be that selfish? “Guys need you to be direct,” she said. “Don’t make him guess.” So I was more direct. That elicited a complete change of tone from him: his voice became gruff and mean. Was not getting what he wanted threatening, so he was being threatening to me in return? I dunno.

In any case, this little football-first episode was the icing on a crumbling cake. That was that.

The really odd thing now is: I still cry over him. I cry when I miss his company, even though I have others to date. (But see, I don’t want to just date, I want love! I’m not someone who continues dating if I don’t see at least a little smidge of potential for love.) I cry when I wish there was something I could have done to salvage that relationship, and because he didn’t realize that I kept trying, kept going back, because I did love him. I did give us repeated chances even when he hurt me. I cry when I think of him talking of what a wonderful year of self-improvement he had while giving all the credit to others and ignoring the power of love: ours, mine.  I cry because I was so darn hopeful and so loving, all for naught, and because we all want to be loved. Even when it is far from perfect (we are human, after all), a flawed even hurtful relationship can feel better than nothing, at least in retrospect.

Today when I went for a walk, I saw happy couples everywhere. It figures: the whole world seems to be in love and part of a couple, but not me! You know that feeling, if you are single. It is not pleasant. You think: what is wrong with me? Where is my ship and when will it come in, and more importantly, why isn’t my prince on any of the ships I do happen to see? I asked this of myself when I saw an elderly couple walking hand in hand (wouldn’t it be nice to be in love Forever?) and a middle-aged couple on a tandem bike (what a fun way to ride into the sunset). I saw two young women who looked like sisters with two cute guys and the four of them laughing and chatting merrily as they walked down the street. One more guy and I could’ve joined them, I imagined…

But I was happy for all of those people, too. I was happy to know that love is clearly out there.

When I get all wimpy and sad and sappy, I have to pick myself up and wring myself out. Good-bye tears, good-bye sadness. I tell myself: if you had kept hanging on, in that long up-and-down one-sided romance, if you kept on with someone who wanted to be a hedonistic ruler rather than part of a loving and giving couple, then you’d never give yourself a chance of finding true love.

Is a loving and giving relationship truly possible? My eyes say yes. My heart says yes, even though it is bruised. My mind debates with myself constantly but generally thinks all things are possible. My whole being wishes, hopes, and prays.

So we shall see!

Meanwhile, it’s up to me to keep my chin up and a smile in my heart. Someone’s going to like that smile, someday.

~ Lily

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It’s Friday evening and I am sitting here eating an organic red potato…

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It’s Friday evening and I am sitting here eating an organic red potato…

isn’t that what everyone does on Friday nights?

I have music playing

loud

acoustic Layla,

Thomas Tallis

Kind of Blue, yes,

and I may net a flick

or read

one of the many choices from

one of several stacks

of Good Books,

or phone a friend

or

ruminate

over why I turned down a date

with a very nice–

though somewhat

fraught

with braggadocio–

doctor,

why I

of course thought

it better

to stay home

and

eat an organic red potato.

What’s wrong with me?

At least I have plenty of food

for

rumination.

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