The Complement

“Hi finished your story great writing and wonderful story. The world needs your story. I think it would be a wonderful. Children illustrated story which could be a Christmas tradition. I would think interaction with the children would make it more a child’s liking or capture a child’s interest. This story has great potential from illustration to movie plot. As I told you when you were in college seize the day. You have talent and with God’s help your vocation will blossom. Writing is a talent and you are one of few who have the gift. I would let family read it from Grammy to Marrianne. Network with professionals in the field seek advice and follow your dreams. Love dad and mom.”

I about dropped the phone after I read the text from my Dad.

The last time my father complemented me….really complemented me…was 20 years ago when I was accepted to college.

I was completely taken aback.

I knew the work was good…but my Dad said something that touched on why I wrote it…it wasn’t for me…I wrote it for “the world”.

Because stories saved me when I was young…because we read to know we are not alone.  We read to know all the things that we can’t learn on our own.  We read to connect. Reading is the most intimate form of communication I know of besides music.

My father saw me…and I wept…because he was proud of me….for being me.  For the first time…since maybe I was four catching snowflakes on my tounge as I walked down Delta Avenue in Mt Lookout to get ice cream with him.

I’m a writer.  And I write because I can’t not write…and because I hope to touch people and remind them….that love is the greatest gift there is…and yes…it does cast out all fear, if you let it.  Magic does exist …in the form of love. That love starts with seeing…

Watering the Garden

In sad moments, I cry.  Because,watering the garden of my soul helps me bloom.

I cry too when I’m happy, because tears help me to see through clear eyes.

Sometimes I cry…and I don’t know why, but I think God is wise and wants me to moisten the dust of who I am…so good things can grow.

 

 

 

The Wisdom of Trees

I believe in change.  I believe in change because of trees.

I know…odd way to start a blog post, but just go with me on this for a minute.

Trees are the wisest creations I have come across.  They know how to simply “be”, to grow, to bend in a storm, but most importantly they know how to change.

Seasons come and go, they let go, they stay quiet in the winter and bloom again in the spring.  They are rooted to the earth yet reach high up to the sky.

If we are to be wise humans, we must be like trees, we must grow and change.

I think apologies matter.  I think, “I’m sorry” are good words.  But I’m sorry is not enough.  What matters is you learn, grow, and change.  That is the best apology you can give someone, is to change.

You also must learn to let go.  If you don’t, new leaves can’t grow, the wisdom is knowing what season you are in, is it time to release your leaves into the Autumn wind?  Is it time for new buds to form again.  Are you quiet, do you listen, do you pay attention?  Do you know how to grow a new ring of bark, and heal a wound.  Do you know how to root yourself in the ground yet reach high to the sky so you can catch the sunshine?

Do you know the wisdom of trees?  Do you know how to change your leaves?

 

Let There Be Rain

My wedding day was beautiful. I prayed for perfect weather, and I got it. Sunshine, blue skies. Everything about the day was gorgeous, it was a perfect wedding, right down to the horse drawn carriage that took me and my now ex-husband to the reception hall. It was a fairytale wedding, I had the princess gown and all.
10 years later we divorced.
And now….now if I were to marry again I pray for one thing.
I pray for rain.
I pray for a warm Southern rain, with a thunderstorm or two. I want the day to be deliciously imperfect. I want the cake to be slightly off, the priest to be late, someone to make a big fuss over something small and insignificant and cause a kufuffel, I want to write my own wedding vows and somehow mess it up.

I want the bottom of my dress to get muddy as I dance in the second-line and jump in puddles with my beloved as we walk to a small intimate restaurant, with those we love most, our toes wet with warm rain, and then sit barefoot to eat not filet mignon, but crawfish etouffee. The kind of etoufee that’s messy, like me, and I dribble It right down onto my dress, because it’s soooooo good, and I’m eating it too quickly.  I want music, lots of music…music that isn’t perfect, slightly dissonant. I want the laughter that imperfection brings.

 
I want imperfection in all its majesty, because…because that’s what real life is. I want someone as imperfect as me to share my life with, someone what understands that a little bit of dissonance creates beautiful music.

A Delicious Little Tale of Love, Dancing with Death, and Vulnerability

If you haven’t seen Phantom Thread…go see it.

The costumes, Daniel Day Lewis, the nod to Pygmalion, the Ascots…the costumes…did I mention the ascots?? The stunning visuals and a complex tale of two soul mates who had there been therapy, they never ever would have made it.  In fact, while reading if the story were true or not, I came across another article about the behavioral and mental health issues associated with the two….yawn.

Yes…yawn.  It was so refreshing to see a movie about two people that just “went with it”.  At some point we all have just accept each other as is…and allow whatever colors we are to paint itself in the world.

If anyone as been around most great artists, they are plagued with a myriad of symptoms from the DSM-5.  Woodcock (Day-Lewis) is a walking masterpiece of obsessive compulsiveness, high sensitivity, a myriad of mood disorders, and a little bit of adorable asshole mixed all in one.  Yes…he’s such an ass that the audible gasps from the audience from some of his lines had me giggling.

PhantomThread

But, he’s a genius…his art as a haute contour dress maker, and his utter dedication to the craft, his passion makes him incredible lovable at the same time. He finds his muse in an unlikely place and so begins the tumultuous love that leads them both to the brink.

Alma (Vicky Krieps), a waitress, we no little about only that her instant connection with Woodcock begins a love affair and marriage fraught with passion.  She loves him, sometimes the audience might not understand why, but for me it was evident-she understood him.  There is this brilliant line where one of his dresses is being worn by a woman with incredibly crass behavior.   Woodcock is besides himself.  You see…that’s his art that she is wearing and to him she is disrespecting it.

When the woman leaves to go back to her hotel room, or rather, she’s carried out to her hotel room.  Alma takes Woodcock by the hand and they demand the dress be given back.  Alma barges into the room, rips the dress off the passed out woman and says, “You will never behave in such a way in a dress from the House of Woodcock like that again!”  And out she goes, with the dress, back to her beloved, returning his creation.  Protecting his art…if that’s not what is true love, I don’t know what is.

These two struggle that all lovers deal with the balance between strength and vulnerability, and learning to share a creative space.  Alma, like love itself, comes in and completely shakes up Woodcock’s perfect world that he has created.  Changes must occur and some of those are painful for him, he doesn’t wan to give them up.  Love is a bit of a surrender.

Alma longs to break down Woodcock’s walls, which she eventually does in the most (and I’m laughing) completely unexpected way possible.   I won’t ruin it for you.  It actually has you scratching your head going,…”did that just happen?”  The end scene where you realize he’s a more than willing participant in her plan…well…sheer theatrical and psychological brilliance.

To give you some peak into it, it’s a little bit of a dance with death.  But isn’t that what love is sometimes, a bit of a death? Woodcock is so egotistical that it’s sickening.  By the end of the movie, we see him die to that self.  That’s why vulnerability is so difficult, it’s a death of your prized protector…your ego.

But…

Without vulnerability…ahhh…well…

You can’t get to the deep sort of soulful love that changes your life.

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The Thorn in Our Sides

My father was at mass complaining about his side again.  How it hurt.  He was convinced he had cancer, but every test had ruled that out.  I’d been hearing about the phantom pain for almost a year now, it was his constant conversational piece.

And I was annoyed because…there was nothing wrong with him, he had been through every test, and that’s all he talked about, and he refused to go to family events, and everything revolved around how badly he felt, he didn’t participate in life, my mother dropped everything to cater to this phantom pain.  I can’t remember the last time I heard him talk about anything else other then how much he hurt, and how life was hard; he was walking energy sucking raincloud.  Being around him was difficult.

Recent events and understandings about people and myself, allowed me to begin viewing my father differently.  He just wanted to connect and he didn’t know any other way to do it then talk about how much he hurt.

In stead of seeing the constant complaining as an annoyance meant to be departed from as soon as possible, I leaned into the conversation, I asked if he had any more tests done, the specifics of his pain, where it hurt the most.  I saw him brighten as he continued with his gall bladder, and knees and everything in between.  And I listened because, I really wanted to know.  It wasn’t the pain…I wanted to know how my dad felt…it didn’t matter if it was all in his head or not…to him…it mattered, and when you love someone…you give them your presence.

My father wanted someone to listen to him and the only way he knew how to do this, was either through talking about his pain or making some offensive statement revolving around politics.  Both were ways to bee seen and connect.

With this in mind, I was able to converse with him much easier.  Instead of seeing his completely offensive political jabs at me as hurtful, I didn’t get offended…it wasn’t the politics that mattered, it was seeing that this was a man that was trying to connect.

I think that is what we all want, to be seen, heard, and known…validated.  People who yell or say hurtful things…sometimes just want to be seen or heard, and they haven’t actually paused enough to figure out…what is it that they want someone to know?

Maybe it’s something simple like…”I’m afraid. Or I’m hurt.”

Being present for someone…even when they are difficult, is easier when you look not at what they are saying…but look at their human need to connect.