Plinky Prompt: When was the ( FIRST) last time you really stood out in a crowd?

  • Horses

    Horses (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn_BE_BACK_IN_SEPTEMBER)

  • When was the last time you really stood out in a crowd? Are you comfortable in that position, or do you wish you could fade into the woodwork? See all answers
  • The Cactus Rock Lodge, AZ.
  • I was one of those painfully shy children with a bold and charismatic mother and my sister who demanded all the attention. But, deep inside me there must have been a spark, a tiny little spark just waiting to be ignited. It’s a story that changed my life forever.
    My family and I were on a vacation to a Dude Ranch in Arizona for the first time. It was NOTHING fancy back then but they called milk “moo juice” and pancakes were “hotcakes” and it was the first time I had ever eaten them, soft and sweet with syrup.  They had a few horses, I remember a white one named “Granny” that I would take care of and eventually ride. Everybody was friendly and homey and like a big ol’ family.
    The owners’ names were Helen and Mac, one night they passed around a microphone to everyone in the room so they could introduce themselves, say their name, age and where they came from.
    Soon enough they came to our table and after my mom, dad and sister introduced themselves, my mother spoke up and said about me “oh no, she’s too shy.” I can feel that moment now as I felt it back then. A split second life changing moment. Should I or shouldn’t I?
    I grabbed the microphone from my mother and marched my six-year-old backside to the center of the room. I remember Mac said something encouraging to me, with admiration. I was a little pip squeak with a very short pixie cut and twinkling blue eyes. I said “I’m Laurie, I’m 6 years old and I’m from New York.”
    Wow, what a response!! Everybody clapped and hooted and hollered and Mac looked as proud as can be and he asked for another round of applause for this “brave young lady.” The look of shock on my mother’s face was worth every second and I’m sure that was half the fun at the very least though I am not sure I was conscious of that at the time. That day changed my life or rather, I changed my life that evening.
    It definitely lay dormant for many years but in the back of my mind, I always knew that deep down was a little girl just waiting to state her independence and to show people she could dazzle; in her own time, when SHE was ready. To this day, never, ever, tell her what she can and cannot do because she is a stubborn woman!

  • UPDATE: FWF
  • Through the years, I realized what my mother and father had always said about me was true. Sure, I was emotional and sensitive and could cry at the drop of a hat, at anything sentimental, old photographs of her children, a crayon drawing she had kept for fifteen years, an old birthday card from her dad. But, deep down, I knew, as my parents had always told me, beyond the emotional exterior, I was very, very strong. Like steel. That has helped me in so many ways I have lost count. My sister who had all the false bravado is no where near as strong as I am in these things, she is strong in other things. But, my parents, as if giving me the greatest gift of all, gave me the knowledge of confidence when I needed it most.

Finish that Last To-Do Item!

Closet

Image by dansays via Flickr

Be Serious.

What’s one thing I can’t seem to scratch off my to-do list? I want to be Monica from “Friends” insanely organized, neat and absurdly clean. I want to say I can do all these things but I just can’t. I do very thorough yet occasional cleaning sprees but I am NOT organized. My dream is for a company like California Closets to sweep (literally and figuratively in and organize my entire life. I want everything divided neatly and color coordinated. I want the drawers and the closet marked with easy to read signs. I want sweaters divided (one thick, one thin) into sweater drawers. I want all my papers and photographs to be organized by date and year and put in big black and white journals. I want shoes that I haven’t worn in ten years to be thrown out instead of stashed in the back of my closet. I want to have a set dusting date twice a week and stick to it and really get right down with Pledge and have the living room smell like fake lemons. You get the picture. What I want and need is Nate Berkus to come to our cozy little home with the Extreme Home Makeover team at the same time. That’s the only way it will ever be done. Perhaps Martha Stewart could stop by and leave some blueberry muffins too, yeah right. In my dreams.

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Loss, 5 Ways

3/1/2010

I’m playing The Corrs  haunting  song “Everybody Hurts Sometime.” I thought I felt furious and fierce but now I know differently.   Sadness crept in like a sly gray cat.  What showed itself first as anger and disappointment were really overwhelming feelings of sadness but I have learned that all these feelings are connected.

I spent the last two days getting rid of old things, moving others, de-cluttering.  Piles of papers and thick magazines were recycled, drawings that my children made when they were very young taken down, “they were embarrassing to my daughter”: a brown horse drawn by my daughter against big, bold pieces of grass, thick as bamboo, with the title “Somewhere horses are playing;” a drawing of two happy stick figures holding hands drawn with an orange magic marker against graph paper titled “Mom and Me.”  Also, a purple lilac bush drawn against worn light blue paper that my son drew in nursery school. The  amazing sepia portrait that I loved, dearly loved, of my daughter and friends in the third grade doing the Ellis Island play, dressed as immigrants is also embarrassing to her.  What brought me such enormous love and joy every single time I looked at it, has been moved but I know it will never have the same magic in a different place.

My children, now teenagers, on the brink of adulthood.  I  took down their art and let the young woman and young man free. But, it wasn’t really them that needed freeing, it was me.  It  was not just spring cleaning but a cleaning out of all things old, old emotions, little children growing up, forcing me to deal with the present and the future and not just the past. Old memories, old feelings, old hopes and dreams. Even when you organize and sift through things, remember, the feelings still remain.

We are starting to think about a Sweet 16 party  for my daughter; and with it  my own 16th birthday memories come flooding back. Sitting in the yellow, plastic kitchen of my childhood apartment with cartons of greasy Chinese food containers and no laughter, and no guests.  Sometimes how things connect in your brain still come as an unexpected shock.  We are all connected to our past; the past can get better but you can’t shake that past away from you like you would an annoying spider. The past are the imprints for all that we do and see and feel in the future; the blueprint of our lives.

I am also feeling like half a woman instead of whole. I am playing a lot of Cat Stevens’ music and yesterday watched Harold and Maude for at least the 20th time. “If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out” is easier said than done; especially when you are an adult, married and with children, a dog, house and mortgage. I am usually proud of my age, 53, but tonight I feel old, unappreciated and tired. I picture my face with hanging skin, my eyes narrowed when once they were bright, green, wide-eyed and had the ability to hold a stranger’s gaze, longer.

With no fantasies or plans for the future I feel like I am living just part of my  life, since there are so many unknowns. It’s cleverly hidden on the outside so nobody can tell; its secret shaded by a tree weighed down with heavy, wet, clumps of billowing snow. I dearly wanted something new to think about, to look forward to, to have a crush that would give me that delightful feeling of effervescence that I haven’t felt in a very long time. The thrilling feeling of a secret does eventually become old, like a shiny new penny that was crushed and trampled by a train; barely recognizable, scratched and dull.

One of my favorite poems is named “Stolen Apples” by Yevgheny Yevtushenko whose words I cannot find anymore but in essence it said that ” the taste and smell of stolen apples were much more delicious than ordinary apples.” I longed for small smiles of sweetness. I’ve always liked secrets, me a secret keeper.

I  cry and then I understand  that I am overwhelmingly sad inside.  Sad about the losses, stressed about my life, missing a deceased friend whose bold colors went with her and left us with all things gray, colorless and dull;  her loud booming voice is just a whisper of a silent memory. She, who was abundantly  filled with the love of life, made life happier for the rest of us just sharing in her joy of people, traveling, volunteering, enjoying life for all of us through her excited eyes.  Pain has no memory;  I cry again for my father who died more than ten years ago because he gave the love and nurturing that only parents can give.  He was so optimistic all through his life until the last few years when he no longer wanted to live. Watching your father not wanting to live anymore is devastating, his twinkling eyes turned to dull gray. His body was fairly healthy but his soul was dead.

I am writing and growing and feeling healthier but inside I feel like a fraud. Our lives are not perfect, is anyone’s? Our children get so uptight even if we just disagree; they do not need to worry. Unemployment, no money coming in, relationship issues, two teenagers who are not children yet not adults, pulling, pulling away. They yank their arms away as if they were toddlers but it’s worse this time, because they pull at your emotions and they do not give up or let up, not even for a one short moment.

We lost power in our house for more than four days. We slept, shivering, under blankets and sleeping bags, wearing sweaters and jackets. We had no control over anything, no light, no heat, no music. Today, the electricity came back on and with it, appreciation and understanding. The day is brighter, the hours seem shorter and life, as we know it, continues.