mirror, mirror

I have two mirrors in my 250 sq ft apartment.

The one above my kitchen sink is purely ornamental because it’s placed really high (says the short girl). I can’t see myself at all unless I jump in the air, which gives me one second to see if I look decent enough to go out in public.

note to self: never jump on a first date.

I know what you’re thinking: why am I even trying to see myself in this mirror? Well, now I know what I look like when I jump and that I should never jump on a first date.

The other mirror is the bathroom medicine cabinet. I have no idea how my outfits look from the chest down. I don’t know if I’m wearing high-water pants. I don’t know if I’m wearing pants at all. I could drag a chair into the bathroom to see my middle/lower section, but I’m too lazy to do this.

As a result, I haven’t given much thought to how my body looks. Out of sight, out of mind, right? I can always look down, but this angle is very deceiving. And friends are usually too kind to tell you the truth.

Squirrels, however, have no such problem.

"Hey, wutcha been eatin'? How come ya never invite me over? Want all the food to yourself, do ya?"

“Hey, wutcha been eatin’? How come ya never invite me over? Want all the food to yourself, do ya?”

A friend of mine has lots of them in varying sizes – mirrors, not squirrels – in her house. It’s a little alarming to suddenly be able to see your whole self from room to room. I either have to walk really fast or avoid eye contact with myself so that I don’t stop in front of one of them.

I’ve worked hard to accept the things I don’t particularly like about myself; I prefer not to give my inner critic any chances to chime in. As long as I’m healthy and I exercise regularly, it doesn’t matter how my body is morphing. I like to eat cheese. With wine. And charcuterie. I like dessert. I have a crush on David Chang. I think I’ve shared a little too much.

Really, the only thing I’m concerned about is if I remembered to put pants on before I’ve left the house. You’d be surprised how long it takes to realize you’ve forgotten them, especially if you have other things on your mind, like running into a gang of handsy squirrels.

 

solo

solo

I was on a nature walk recently when I crossed paths with three elderly people speaking a language I couldn’t place. When they saw me, the lone man raised his fist in the air.

“Good for you! Alone!” He said, smiling and gesturing to our natural surroundings.

I raised my own fist and my boyfriend Camera, in the other. In the eyes of the general public, I was by myself. I’m very lucky that Camera is an understanding sort of partner.

“Yes! Can’t wait for someone…must go!!” I said in broken English, even though I speak perfectly good sentence-wise. I say perfect in sentences. I can get my words out.

(I don’t know why I do this. Must be the decades of speaking to my mom in all sorts of broken up ways so she can understand what I’m babbling about.)

They all smiled at me and headed to a bench to take a break. Their good cheer gave me a boost.

field with a view

I like being alone unless I’m having dinner by myself at a restaurant. Where do I look? Should I stare thoughtfully at empty spaces so as not to creep people out? Or is this creepy in itself? Is it sad to read a book by candlelight while shoving food down my throat?

I should rephrase: I don’t have a problem being alone most of the time. Sometimes being with my own thoughts is terrifying, but at least it’s an activity that doesn’t harm anyone else.

I get filled up really quickly the more energetic and crowded the situation. I can be as outgoing as the next person, and then my inner timer goes off !ding! without warning. I will start to sag and sway. I elbow myself in the side – yes, this is possible – and say, “You’re done. Better come up with an exit strategy.”

After I say a few goodbyes, I know how to slip away, unnoticed.

I guess once a ninja, always a ninja.

This is how I leave a party.

This is what I look like leaving a party.

It’s strange to want to connect with people yet need to be alone. Someday I’d like to be in a serious relationship with the right person, yet I also ‘joke’ about wanting them to live next door to me, not with me. I secretly – that is, until now – think this is a brilliant idea.

d.w. winnicott - artists

I used to think this kind of push-pull was terribly antisocial of me, but I now know that there are many people who can relate. For goodness’ sake, even Oprah needs time alone with her thoughts.

We like our feet on the earth and we want to soar the skies. We like you…in doses. We know how to play well with others (this is up for debate) and are fine playing by ourselves. We have a lot of words to share, but sometimes they get stuck on the way out of our mouths. We like to write things out. Can I get a holla??

Oh, I forgot, you’re probably in hiding. That’s okay. I get it. For now, know that I am raising a triumphant fist in the air for you. We solo explorers need to stick together…until we need to go back to our respective hiding places.

teamwork

I think Mr. T is trying to smile, but his gold chains just won't allow it.

I think Mr. T is trying to smile, but his gold chains just won’t allow it.

“I love it when a plan comes together.”
~ John “Hannibal” Smith, The A-Team

Me, too, Hannibal, me too.

When I wrote about the different voices I write with, I saw that those voices belong to team of players: joy, patience, irony, love, the real me, the storyteller, the critic & the judge, fear, uncertainty, the perfectionist. And sometimes I forget to be a team leader. Without a team leader, disorganization and anarchy are a stone’s throw away. So what to do? Assemble them together and allow them to bring their individual strengths to the table. Above all, you’ve got to lead the rag tag bunch.

Have you ever watched “Top Chef”? Specifically the episodes in which the contestants have to work in teams? If you have, you know exactly what I’m talking about. A team of alpha dogs will gnash, crash, and jockey amongst each other to rise above the rest, upsetting the potential for a beautiful group effort. A team of peaceful non-combatants with no discernible leader will feel the love, but lose the power of a concise, focused meal. And sometimes there is a loose cannon that upsets any potential balance. They don’t want to play nice. Whenever I see this person on a team, I think, oh no…they’re going to ruin it for everyone…

On my team, this role is played by The Judge. And The Judge never travels without Stewart Martha, the intellectualizing Overthinker, and…where are they?…Fear is around here somewhere. Probably hiding out, as usual, waiting for the imperfect time to jump out and scare the crap out of me. Holy hell, they can be a menacing gang. They are incredibly irritating, mostly when they are allowed to run around, turn tables over, and cause mayhem. Because they know they can.

I’m taking a fresh look at my peeps, my role as a leader, and how to utilize everyone’s strengths and allow them to lead with those strengths. I don’t want to kick any of them out. I need all of them.

I love it when a team comes together.

*this post was heavily influenced by an article written by Martha Beck, The Avengers, and my involvement with the best team I’ve ever been on, where all members set their egos aside to create a strength of One.

 

From a Coma, I Awaken

Comatose.

Coming to, now…

Pushing the reset button.

I suffer from the kind of inner critic that loves to say, “Just who do you think you are? You know, no one really cares what you have to say about yourself.” 

It’s terrible, the kinds of things we say to ourselves. If a friend of mine was feeling this way, I’d divert their critic’s attention: “Hey, look! It’s Simon Cowell! He’s looking at you…he so totally wants you!”

 

"How you doin'?"

“How you doin’?”

 

And while the two were becoming enraptured with one another, I’d take my friend by the hand and go running down the street, laughing as we go.

However, when it’s your own inner bully…damn, they’re smart…they know all the right buttons to push. It’s annoying. Seriously? Again? I thought you lost my address, you SOB! As with any aspect of yourself, you can’t get rid of it. Everything, all of it, makes you, you. Reject any part of you, and inner havoc ensues. Outer havoc, too, depending on how you manifest that rejection.

We all feel pain, loss, anger, fear, love. It’s the human experience. And at the same time, each and every one of us is unique. There is no one else IN THE WORLD that has had the same exact experiences that you’ve had with your same psychological and emotional perspective. Nature and nurture, combined. I think that is pretty awesome.

(However, if you’ve met your mirror self, will you contact me? I have a lot of questions for you. And a dart gun. I absolutely need to study you. You think I’m kidding? Only about the dart gun. Well, it’s not really a gun because I don’t like guns. I’m old school. It’s actually one of those bamboo dart-thingeys. And you don’t go fully under. You’re just stunned enough to honestly answer all of my curious inquiries. I stun myself all of the time, so I know what I’m doing.)

If I could, I would love to take our singular awesomenesses and walk/skip/run/march/amble/dance down the street with you. Maybe stop and grab a coffee/beer/green tea/boba/glass of wine with you. Hang out. Chill. Talk about whatever we want to talk about. Because I can’t do this in person – don’t you dare suggest Skype-ing – what I can do is write. I have a voice. What you do with it is up to you. Listen, not listen, nod or scratch your head… Your opinion belongs to you. There’s room for all of it.

Besides, I can only control so much. Unless you allow yourself to be darted. Ah, in a perfect world…

 

The Deep Down

I am on the Brink.

The Edge of the proverbial cliff (of change, not despair).

At the end of every year, I feel a strong urge for revitalization. To shed old layers of skin and emerge with new intentions for the coming year and beyond.

I have had plenty of time to (over) think in 2013; I took chances and treated them as baby steps. It’s time to walk now. To run. To leap. I owe it to my self. You owe it to your self. I mean, I’ll do it solo, but I’m hoping to have company somewhere along the way. Whenever you’re ready. No pressure.

Some of my intentions are to be more aware of and quickly put a halt to self-judgment (work I’m continuing from 2013) and expectations, and trust and accept myself enough to just be. I’m going to strive to look at every situation as an opportunity to experience without expecting any guarantees of success or answers.

Is it possible? To throw everything you have into something or someone but be smart and aware at the same time? To have faith and also trust your instincts to know when and if you need to shift, adapt, stay or move on? Deep down, we usually know something is wrong for us. It’s our ego that holds on tightly; our stubborn, fearful, overprotective ego. It thinks it knows best, but it really doesn’t. It’s our deep down we need to listen to and strive from the center of that place. But I be crazy sometimes. I get carried away. I don’t always listen to my deep down – lalalalalaaI don’t care what you say, I want PYP! Well, I got what I wanted – sometimes at the expense of my self – and learned from the experience. Good things came from it, I carry them with me, and I carry on.

I’m looking to make some big-ish changes in the next few months. For now, I need my rest. I’m run/walking my first 10k at 9am. I guess I really am literally walking and running into the new year. No leaping though. Well, maybe I’ll throw in a leap or two in the name of triumphant symbolism.

Here’s to an incredible 2014. I hope it is filled with discovery, opportunity, purpose, good health, laughter, and love.