Whimsy Within Blog

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Master of None

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I think that’s the most stupid question I’ve ever heard.  I always lied when someone asked me. I had plenty of practice from years of making up sins in the Catholic confessional, because sinning was a requirement as a child. Lying made it all the easier the following week when confessing to the priest that I had lied. Vicious cycle. Anyway, the answers I provided were always ones I thought the inquirer wanted to hear. But in my gut, I hadn’t a clue. How would I know? I still had to be reminded to brush my teeth and yet these well-intentioned, although misguided people, expected me to have a future plan. What in the world were they thinking? For some kids it may have been simple to wistfully dream of a future. Other kids hadn’t the luxury of such folly. Surviving one day at a time and meeting the basics in life had much more priority than butcher, baker or candlestick maker. I’m still not quite sure how to respond to this question.

I remember friends wanting to be nurses when they grew up, and they admirably are. And friends wanting to be mothers and wives when they grew up, and they respectfully are. Or friends wanting to be teachers when they grew up, and they honorably are. I never saw myself as a paper doll on a cardboard tripod stand. Fold over the tabs and dress me in the world’s corresponding outfit that will serve as my name tag – nurse, teacher, mother, wife. Relax, they are all important professions, and I am most grateful for each one. It’s a shame I even have to offer that disclaimer, but the times we live in, well,…. here I am, offering a disclaimer. Back to the question – I may have answered with an expected response, rewarded with a glowing smile of approval from the adult, but I didn’t mean a word of it. Me, I left my options open.

jack“To be” is a verb. It imples action, actually doing something. For me, there is no “to be, just “be.” I already am, so there’s no one else I need to be other than me. Why do I even have to want to be anything? And does being something have to mean we change who we are? Does the “me” change when I become an adult, or am I still “me?” And do I have to be just one thing? Just one? Oh dear. Say it isn’t so. Please don’t make me stop at one. The world is full of spices, and I intend to sample as many as I can. Throughout my life I have been bank teller, retail clerk, janitor, restaurant manager, executive assistant, floral designer, horticultural specialist, catering director, activity director, volunteer, music store associate, business proprietor, church secretary, certified yoga teacher, paraprofessional, author, home health aide, and I’m certain there’s something I’ve omitted. If I knew then what I know now, when asked “what do you want to be when you grow up,?” I would have answered “jack of all trades.”

And furthermore, who determines that exact moment when one is considered “grown up?” Is it the day you move in to your very own apartment and have to pay the security deposit and rent with your own money? Unless you’re one of those who let Mom and Dad pay it for you? If so, does that still qualify as being grown up? Is it the first time you do your own laundry? Is it the first time you have sexual intercourse? Or maybe it’s the day your last parent ceases to breathe and you now realize how freaking, painfully alone life can feel. When is one actually a grown up?

I think we should stop expecting children to have the answer. It’s a worthless question. It’s in close running with the nauseating interview interrogation “where do you see yourself in five years from now?” I’m still working on an answer for that one, too.

I say, just be you. And love that.

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On Expansion

Sukhasana - Easy PoseI sit in lotus pose, spine straight, and gaze lowered. Following the natural rhythm of my breath, I silently repeat the mantra “Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.”

With each inhalation and exhalation, I become more grateful for this practice of expanding consciousness. I repeat, “Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out,…”

What the frig is up with these pants? My stomach is being cut in two. I’m much more successful at expanding my waistline than my consciousness.

Return to the breath, I gently tell myself.

“Breathing in, I know,…”

Shoot! I forgot to check and see if I have organic nutra-grain waffles in the freezer. I bought those strawberries and blueberries yesterday specifically for waffles this morning. Darn, I hope,…

Okay, okay. It’s all good. Just come back compassionately to the breath.

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“Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know,….”

I think I’ll change out of these pants before I leave for writer’s group. These are too uncomfortable. I need to make sure I have some cash in my wallet for tea.

You’re supposed to be breathing Terri. You know, expanding your consciousness. Center yourself.

I unfasten the top button of my pants and allow my belly flesh to freely expand into the ether. 

What comes to mind when you think of expansion?


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Page 162

My husband and I were basking poolside at our hotel last weekend. The chaise lounge chairs were lined up in tight rows. There was no room to squeeze in between. The only approach was either crawling up from the foot of the chair or crawling down from the head of the chair.

After the standard sunbathing preparation ritual – suntan lotion, book, sunglasses, hat, bottled water – we leaned back and settled in. I took a little more time to fluff out the skirt on my bathing suit bottom, pulling the edges wide enough to cover the most obtrusive parts of my upper thighs.

Me: (looking at my partially covered thighs) There, that’s not so bad. 

swirls1.jpgA younger couple approaches. Skinny Girl is maybe 25, tops. Hungry Wolf is older, maybe 33. But who knows these days. She is pretty with brunette hair down to her waist. She takes off her wrap to reveal a sparse bikini with blue and green swirls. They make me dizzy. She walks in between the chairs (how’d she do that?) and sits in the one directly to my left.

Me: (I discreetly pull the edges of my skirt out a little farther) Really? Of all the available chairs and you have to sit here! – I want to be her.

Hungry Wolf takes the chair next to Skinny Girl.

Skinny Girl: (hands him a bottle of lotion) Put this on my back.

Hungry Wolf does what he is told, of course. They too settle back and expose their younger bodies to the sun. Hungry Wolf runs his fingers softly over the fine hairs on her forearm. I turn my book to page 162, where I left off, and pretend I’m reading. I’ve got good peripheral vision.

Hungry Wolf: Does that tickle? (hopeful smile)

Skinny Girl: (giggles) Yes.

She rolls over to his chair. The fronts of their bodies fit together like stackable measuring spoons. She’s one half to his full teaspoon. They kiss.

Me: I want to be her.

I roll over to my husband. He turns to welcome me. Our bellies kiss before our lips touch. It’s a short-lived effort. I roll over onto my back again and return to page 162.

Hungry Wolf: Want to walk on the beach tonight when it gets dark?

Skinny Girl: Maybe. (sits up to reapply lotion, there are no folds in her stomach)

Me: I want to be her.

Hungry Wolf: Do you have brothers and sisters?

Me: He doesn’t know? Oho. A first date and a hotel room. Ahhh, youth.

Skinny Girl: I have two older brothers. When our mother left, they did too. They moved to Texas with my father. I haven’t talked to them since.

I place my finger at the midpoint of page 162. I think it looks like I’m really into my reading this way.

Hungry Wolf: Would you like to see them again?

Skinny Girl: I have no idea where to look. They’re in Dallas. That’s all I know. I don’t want to talk about that right now.

Me: Good girl.

Hungry Wolf: I’ll take you there. I have a good friend in the Dallas Police Department.

Me: Sure you do. I can almost see him sneering as he twists the corner of his black, pointed mustache. mustache1

Skinny Girl: I don’t know.

Hungry Wolf: He can help us find them. Do you want me to take you there?

Me: No. I’ve seen that place in “Dallas” before.

Skinny Girl: (impressed) Okay, I guess. That’s so sweet of you.

Me: (turning to page 163) I’m glad I’m not her.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Inside and Out

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”

INSIDE AND OUT

I’d be as old as delicious, sharp, aged-provolone cheese on the inside and as young as a freshly made batch of cruelty-free vegan nut cheese on the outside.

I’d be as old as a well-worn pair of reliable walking shoes on the inside and as young, carefree, and reckless as a bright, multi-colored pair of flip flops on a rainy day on the outside.

I’d be as old as the great and mighty, majestic sequoia trees on the inside and as young as a newly planted sapling, tender-moist with its first drink on the outside.

I’d be as old as a profound, ancient spiritual text written by scholars and sages on the inside and as young as the gratifying high of a first best-selling novel on the outside.

I’d be as old as the mystery of the Universe, the Cosmos, and the galaxies on the inside and as young as the definite first spark of stardust released from the Big Bang on the outside.

Inside and out, I’d be balanced, timeless.

Inside and out, I’d be eternally ageless.

How old are you?

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(This post was born from a prompt exercise in one of my writing groups.)

 


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Guest Blogger – 5 Weird Ways to Get Yourself Writing

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Hello, everyone.

I’m still NaNoWriMo-ing and nearing the goal of 50,000 words. I haven’t had much time for my regular blog, but I invite you to check out a “guest blog” post I wrote for diyMFA. Here’s the link.

http://diymfa.com/writing/five-weird-ways-get-writing

See you next month.

Peace, Whimsy