Transform

19992_519875024709517_1016724975_nIn the movie “The Wedding Date,” Dermont Mulroney’s character says to Debra Messing’s character something to the effect of, every woman has exactly the love life she wants, and, when she’s ready to let go and be un-single and un-miserable, she will. It’s kind of a slap in the face, but it was seemingly the slap in the face she needed to move forward. (Of course the drunken sex on the boat with Dermont probably didn’t hurt!)

Perhaps the same is true not only about a love life but a life-life as well. Maybe when we get stuck in the middle of the dark forest and can’t seem to find our way out, is it possible that we are, in fact, exactly where we want to be? Are we there because we literally can’t see the forest for the trees?

Of course I want to find a great job, have money and happiness again, and get out of this morass of crap in which I find myself. But do I want it enough? Do I want it enough to claw my way through this miserable cocoon I’ve woven around myself and transform into the butterfly? Do I, in fact, have the exact life I want at this moment in time?

A scary point to ponder…

Wildcard

packers-3725“The game of life is not so much in holding a good hand as playing a poor hand well.”
– H.T. Leslie

 As I settle in to watch my beloved Green Bay Packers play their NFC Wildcard game, I think of how nice it would be if life dealt us a wildcard once in a while – a Mulligan we could take when we played a hole (situation) particularly badly.  I can think of a few glaring instances where that would have come in very handy. Now comes to mind!

Sadly, we get no wildcards and very few second chances. We make choices, and sometimes it works out, sometimes not.  When we find ourselves wishing for a wildcard, we’re not usually in the place we’d hoped. We’re looking at the hand we’ve been dealt and wondering how to play it when folding isn’t an option.

Unlike Green Bay, we’ve been given no game films to watch. Hell, we’re lucky we even know who our opponent is. But like Green Bay, we do have a playbook – a list of things that have worked in the past and things that truly need to be tossed in the shitter, never to be spoken of again.

We might not have a wildcard, but we can come up with a game plan. We suit up, take what’s previously gotten us into the end zone, break through the defensive-line, hang on to the damn ball, run like hell, and cross the goal line. Oh, yeah, then we get the beer!

Language

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Had an interesting exchange on Facebook today regarding language. It evolved from a conversation I had with a Brit on Twitter a few weeks ago. What I learned today – that “moby” across the pond refers to a mobile phone and not a whale – would have made my original conversation much more productive, and I probably would not have appeared to be the typical American blonde.

Not only was it clarifying as well as amusing, it also got me thinking about language – how even though we technically may speak the same language, on far too many occasions, we misunderstand each other. This misunderstanding often hampers our progression through the quagmire in which we find ourselves. It bogs us down in our homes, our workplaces, online, even within ourselves. The words we choose and the way in which we choose to use them has a significant impact on the results of our communications.

How many times have we had a huge brannigan with our spouse/significant other/kids/friends other because of poor word choices? How many “Twitter Wars” start because people read something into a tweet that simply wasn’t there. (Hey, kids, with 140 characters, it’s amazing we haven’t all killed each other by now!) How many times has our resume been passed over or an interview blown because of a word written or a phrase uttered that was simply misconstrued by the person reading/hearing it?

Finally, how many times have we held ourselves back because of our internal dialog? Some of the words I say to myself I wouldn’t utter to my worst enemy. I guess that truly makes me my own worst enemy, so that previous sentence was a fallacy!  No surprise there. If we all went to jail for verbally abusing ourselves, they’d have to build larger prisons. It seems contrary to reason that we shouldn’t be able to understand ourselves perfectly, but we can’t…or maybe we just won’t.

I’m not saying we should don a cheerleader outfit and stand in front of the mirror with pom-poms waving, but, for Christ sake, we could allow ourselves to be real. We’re not the dumbest, ugliest, fattest, most worthless piece of shit to ever walk the planet. We’re also not the smartest, prettiest, skinniest, or best piece of shit either. We’re just us. And that’s okay.

The language we use should not be to admonish, but acknowledge. Admit we have some faults and work on them. Admit we have some strengths and celebrate them. The rest? Learn to laugh at it. Humor is the same in any language and will always get you through…

Clarity…

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I guess what Map and a Flashlight is really all about is a search for clarity. Sometimes, we get stuck at a point in our lives where we don’t know where to go, which direction to take, what’s real and what is an illusion.

What previously seemed like such a clear path, is now overgrown and seemingly impassable.  Because we can’t see the trail, the decisions we make don’t lead us forward. We’re stuck.  And when we’re stuck, we get scared – scared to make any decision at all for fear that it will, once again, be the wrong one.  So we stop. We plop our ass right down on the forest floor, not sure which way to turn.

But the last several months have taught me that’s okay. It’s even normal. Just because the calendar says we’re an adult, it doesn’t mean we always feel like one or we automatically know what to do. When you don’t have a map or a flashlight, sometimes you just have to swallow your fear and choose a direction.

You’ll no doubt get cut up and scraped from the foliage and trip over a root or 10, but you keep moving through, even when the forward path isn’t clear.  Perhaps, in addition to a map and a flashlight, I should request a machete?

Recovery…

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I already did an introductory post of sorts today, but I guess this is my official Day 1 post to “Through.” For the past few weeks, I’ve been in post-op recovery. As my stunning iPhone pic will attest (see, I told you I was no photographer!), it’s been sweats, colorful, fuzzy slippers, a few books, too many movies to count, and an over-protective cat.

I’ve also had a great deal of time to watch the never-ending cable news shows as they discuss our country’s economic recovery. I’ve also had a great deal of time to think about my own personal economic recovery. The recession shoved my family off our very own personal fiscal cliff in 2008. We’ve spent the last several years trying to recover. For every step we take forward, it seems as though it’s many more than two steps back. When I finally found what I thought was a fabulous job, I was laid off 10 months later due to company-wide downsizing. 88 resumes later, no recovery in sight. Unemployment long since ran out, and I’ve been doing temp jobs and substitute teaching, neither of which comes close to making ends meet.

I’ve also thought a lot about emotional recovery. Losing your life, not in the physical sense, but your job, your home, your way of life, takes quite an emotional toll on your entire family. You blame yourself for things that are in no way your fault, and your brain plays nasty tricks on you, making you think if you were only better or smarter or thinner or worked harder, everything would get back to the way it was. You would recover.

But is that kind of recovery even possible? Can you truly go back to the way things were? Just like after surgery, there’s a part of your body, your life, missing. You’ll never be the same. Maybe recovery isn’t getting back to the way things were. Maybe it’s moving through what seems like hell and finding a new, maybe even better, normal.

Through…

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  I hope that’s true because the idea for this blog came from a friend of mine, Peg.  Her blog, A Kilt and a Camera, is a wonderful representation of who she is and the amazing life she’s created.  Last year, she did a 366 project called “From Where I Stand,” where she literally took a picture of her feet, wherever she “stood” every day for the entire year.  Check it out.  It’s both fun and fascinating.

For 2013, Peg has chosen the theme “Through” and has invited everyone to interpret it as it represents their life.  While I believe her original intent was, like last year, to document 2013 in pictures – the subject of which you are free to choose.  Unfortunately, I’m not much of a photographer.  They say a picture is supposedly worth a thousand words.  In my case, I hope my words will be able to paint those same pictures.  I’m going to chronicle my year with a daily word, a word that represents something that’s happening – a dream, a wish, an event – you get the idea.  Oh, I’ll toss in some horribly taken iPhone shots, just so you can chuckle at my ineptitude.  There’s nothing more endearing that self-deprecation, right?

Here we go…

One more thing: This is my first attempt at a real blog.  Okay, not my first attempt, but the first one where I’m actually going to try to figure out what the hell I’m doing.  I have no idea how to post pictures or links (ok, I THINK I figured out the text link, but I can’t figure out how to insert her really cool graphic) or any of the basic stuff, so please bear with me.  I’ll learn, and we’ll get “through” this together.  In the meantime, do read the “about me” section. It will explain where “Map and a Flashlight” came from and why.