Kellie Elmore, FWF

Lady wisdom (2)

Lady wisdom (2) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I didn’t understand it then, but I understand it now…

…though I’d be lying if I said it didn’t take a very long time. Truly, it took almost my entire life to learn this lesson that I so desperately needed to learn. I guess you get small signs at first, maybe you trip you have a pebble in your shoe,a week later you trip over a rock. You, again, think it’s you being clumsy. Still, it’s a coincidence, you barely notice and of course you’ve always been clumsy.

A week goes by and during a heavy rainfall a few small branches from a tree break off and land on the ground but you are not looking so you fall and stumble on them and wind up, wet with sore ankle. Turns out that your ankle was fractured and it has to be in a cast for 4-6 weeks.

Finally you start thinking, what on earth is going on?

What is happening? There is a message waiting for you from whatever God, Spirit, Nature or Force that you Believe in. I never used to see the signs to change my patterns when I was younger, maybe I was too self-absorbed but now in mid-life I pay attention to what the Universe has to tell me and I am grateful.

I used to think everybody acted like me because I was the only person I really knew. My standards were high, different, my style was individual, the friends I connected with were similar; but others weren’t. Some of their styles like empathy and compassion are the same but how they displayed it or didn’t was very different from me.

It’s very hard to get used to, very hard. So you need to trust, trust your instincts and know in your heart that even though D. or C. or M. may love you, they can’t show it to you in the way you need to hear it. It isn’t that they are being obtuse or stubborn it is not something they can do, certainly not easily if at all.

Is that a deal breaker? It used to be, for me. Does it have to be? Absolutely not. Does that mean you need to break up a friendship? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. If you feel you are giving ALL the time and not getting anything back, maybe. No friendship can sustain 100 percent on one person doing ALL the work.

But if you know in your heart that if you called said person at 3AM and desperately needing them and you know without a doubt that they wouldn’t hesitate getting dressed to come to you, you should know better.

It’s the measure of Love.

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Popcorn, Previews And Fruit Cocktail

English: Unpopped corn kernels, prepared for p...

English: Unpopped corn kernels, prepared for popping. – Studio photo of Popcorn. Taken in 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For years I was the type of person that would not start eating her popcorn until the movie started, the official movie. I would wait out the commercials, the “Exit” sign warnings, the “Please Do Not Disturb Your Neighbors” and “No Smoking” announcements. I didn’t even start eating my popcorn during the previews which to me, are almost as good as the movie itself. I had rules, my own strict, self-imposed rules.

Until last night where I saw the movie “Gloria” and as soon as we sat down and immediately I began munching on the popcorn and sipping Diet Coke. Hey, look at me! I surprised myself and then thought, “what on earth have I been waiting for all these years?”

Delayed gratification is fine when you are young and you want to save the best for last. The way I used to eat “fruit cocktail” or “fruit cockentail” as one of my kids used to call it was representative of my style. I would eat the most banal fruits first, picking out the pears and eating them first. Then I would sequester the peaches and eat them after that. Next to last would always be the plump, juicy grapes, it was a close tie for first and second but really who could not have the fake cherries as their number one favorite. I mean really, I was a kid.

I think if I would have it now (and don’t put it past me) I would take a spoonful of everything right up front, maybe sequester a few grapes for the end. The squishiness in my mouth is utterly delightful. But, the cherries? No big deal anymore. They don’t elicit the same excitement as they used to do when I was little. In fact, they have no taste.

Maybe growing up and getting older you realize you don’t have to wait to the end to enjoy the best things last. Why wait? I’ve always been surprised when my daughter used to read a book’s ending before starting it. This to me was unheard of but you know what? I kind of understand it now.

I don’t think I could ever do it, it’s just not my style but I understand her now, apparently she was a better teacher than I was. She always wanted to see her birthday cake as soon as it came in the door unlike her brother who wanted to wait until the last second, when I would come in with the candles lit. I admit it, I am more like he is.

I’m learning from my two kids, more and more. I love it.

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Listen: Soft, Quieter Voices Need To Be Heard Too

Guy Fawkes 2006

Guy Fawkes 2006 (Photo credit: Max xx)

My friend’s voice is soft, she is not a leader but a follower, I have no problem with this but some of my more straight-shooter, take control friends might. They have dominant voices, sit in attendance at board meetings, screaming, making a loud fuss about things that are important to them. Quiet people can’t or won’t do that but they still have their opinions. Louder people yell sometimes so that they don’t hear the soft voices in the background because nobody wants to speak over them.

Why should they? When they start to softly voice their concerns sometimes they feel berated. “Anyone who is scared to stand up for what they believe in is a scaredy-cat” loosely paraphrased someone said. Exhibit A. That, my friend, is a judgment, name calling.  Softer voices have opinions too but are not as equipped as some of the more confident, take charge people to talk at meetings, to make a fuss but their opinions, sometimes silently, count too. They also vote. Some people shy away from conflict, this is not a judgment call, I would call it a style.

Where am I in all this? Straight down the middle like a true Libra. Balancing each side, over and over again. Quietly. Making a huge fuss when it is important to me.  Family. Family. Family.

When my daughter was young she hid behind me and if she was shy or afraid, she would place her arms in the air in front of me and say “Up, Up” and I would lift her up and feel her body instantly relaxing against mine. Our son, the first-born,always bossed people around, he still does.  Our daughter had planned her birthday parties years in advance and stuck to each theme, always wanted to see her cake beforehand and read the last page of every book before she decided to read it. Our son loved the element of surprise, he had to be the good guy and I was always the bad guy and left rooms always trying to have the last word, saying “No more conversations, no new conversations.” Two adult children, two very different styles. I love them equally.

It took me a long time for me to find my voice, as a second child with an older sister who was very strong and bossy, (Some other people would call it overbearing.) When I was young I was shy, bashful so I can truly understand both sides. As soon as my sister went to college I found my voice and it was dramatic and beautiful and real.

Listen. Try silencing your voice and make people feel safe and don’t criticize them automatically for their fear or reluctance, I know you do it, you know it too. Not everyone is like you, though, the world is not made of people as strong as you. They need their own voices to be heard, in their own way. Sometimes with care, sometimes written, or spoken in whispers to friends who are willing to take the time to listen and not judge.

Whether you outright say it or not, people feel your judgment straight from your body to theirs, not all judgment is verbal, of course. You can feel it from someone’s eyes  or body language.  I will not judge you for hushed tones like a sleepy mouse, I will applaud you if anxiety  enabled you to speak softly about it in the first place.  We’re all just different in how we express things. Let’s try to play together, without judgment or criticism. The point is, everyone, in their own way, is entitled to be heard.

candle, candle in glass

candle, candle in glass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dedicated to my good friend, D.E.G.

for getting the conversation started.

(credit to above named photographers)