She's the one every man in the room looks at at least twice - even when she's in a hoodie with her hair in that lazy side braid and no makeup - even if they don't quite understand what it is about her that makes them do it and even if her humility will never allow her to grasp what it is that draws their eyes.
She's the one every woman in the room wants to talk to and not about because she's fun and smart and cool, but mostly because it's clear to them that whatever makes men look is not her concern at all.
She's the one who can hold an intelligent conversation on almost any subject that gets thrown into the circle – and can usually bring some insight - because substance is what matters to her. She takes her character far more seriously than her looks because one is developed, earned while the other was just some cosmic luck of the draw.
She's the one who, no matter who looks her way, she smiles graciously and sincerely at them on the outside even as she smiles to herself on the inside, thinking that she's got what she wants right by her side.
But you’re scared you might be limiting your options?
Don’t be a fool.
She's never asked anything of you but your best for the best (and that, she expects in abundance), your love, your regard and your respect. She's been your lover, your best friend and your #1 cheerleader when you were terrified no one else would listen or understand. She's taken your shit when she knew she didn't deserve it, and still accepted your apology when you came back to your senses. She's had faith enough in you to remind you who you are when you couldn't find it in yourself.
She brought to you a Goddess; a warrior queen fearless in the face of your fragility, willing and ready to stand and defend your quiet space as you rebuilt yourself inside it, trusting in your ability to recognize how profound a gift that is.
It's not your goal to break her, but that's what you keep trying to do.
So what's your hangup player? What are you so damn scared of that you'd sooner let her walk away than do the right thing, the smart thing, the wise thing, and step up to the plate? Don't you know she curbs guys every single day - half of them are better looking than you and the other half are more successful - because she knows where she wants to be? Don't you know that you're probably the only one in the room who doesn't seem to realize how extraordinary she is?
Something in your fool head telling you you're 'settling'? Some part of that ego that you let lead you around by the nose - despite your own intelligence - keep asking you 'what if something better comes along?'
What a joke.
Just because you have her now doesn't mean she'll wait forever. Not because she loves you any less but because deep down, she knows her value is beyond that of rubies and she won't lose herself in anyone - let alone someone who doesn't deserve her.
She's not afraid right now because she knows you can't break her no matter how hard you, in all your thoughtlessness, may try. Her deep compassion has trained her that hurt people hurt people. Her intuition allows her the knowledge that hurt people sometimes need to be lent strength like hers to heal; she understands that only growth and time will teach you the same.
But neither of these is a luxury, she knows all too well. And the moment she feels like you take for granted these gifts she gives without acknowledgment for the grace that they are; the moment she sees that her contribution is not helping your growth, but worse, it’s taking away from hers... she will be gone.
She won't raise hell and she will not walk away broken. She won’t beg and she won’t play games to get you back. She won't hold it over your head or her own for the rest of her life - she refuses to be eaten by the bitterness she sees you feeding.
But she will be gone…
She will walk away with her head held high, knowing that her intentions were pure and that she was fully present in her service. She will understand that the weakness lay not in her, but in you. Her heart will break for you, but not for herself.
She will continue to keep the secrets you spilled into her like a child in the darkest of your nights like the Divine Vessel that she is. Secrets are Power and Power is not her commerce - she knows she holds far greater Power, already within.
She will be gone...
Not because she gave up on you, but because she knows that shortcuts don’t work and she sees you taking them at every damn turn. She knows that, in doing, you’re giving up on your most vital Self and she won’t stand by and watch – helplessness is not her game. Not because another man captures her eye like a bright and shiny object (though plenty try), but because she knows she’s worth more than aimless drifting - her identity isn’t wrapped up in who she’s with, so she doesn’t need that to thrive.
You'll be stuck with the same damn caliber of people who got your heart all broken and closed and thoughtless, just like you brought it to her to help heal, wondering why the world is such a hard and heartless place because you failed to understand that you court into your life what you most consistently reflect. You’ll miss that flame she brought – not just to your bed and those fever-hot dreams, but to your life – and wonder why you snuffed it out.
You didn’t. She’s smarter than to ever let that happen.
Love is not magic and hearts and flowers and harps. It is not angels singing choruses of praise to Heaven’s highest exultation. Love is not sunshine peeking out from clouds. Love is not that rush you feel when you see her name pop up on your phone or know she’s on her way to meet you. It doesn’t settle itself in your pineal gland or your chest or in your pants.
These are symptoms of a fascination which will ebb and flow like the tides of the sea; ones which always wash away.
Love is formidable shelter from the storms inevitable clouds will bring no matter how good a life you’ve built. It is facing the doubt and fear and frailty that defines us all in the eye of those storms without doubt and fear and frailty so that we can face the rest of the world with the brave face we all need. Love is braving the darkest parts of yourself and each other and never losing faith that those dark places will ever be granted the power to snuff out the light. It is that mirror that shows you who you are, and that it is your choice to be better or worse for all of it.
This – love - calls to that quiet place in your soul. It settles there and sleeps in quiet, sure repose but awakens like a lioness defending her young in your soul's darkest winter.
This is what you want. This is what you need. This is what you seek.
She knows this and she knows its value, just like she knows the value of her own heart. But if you aren’t ready or if you can’t appreciate it, she will take it back and hold it for herself until and unless someone else who does comes along.
If you don't get it now, you will one day…but ‘one day’ may be too late.
Photo credit: Eric Gay
Fallout from the City of Austin’s questionable decision to enact a special training session in March in response to its first-ever majority female council seems only beginning. According to an article published May 13, 2015, in The Courier of Montgomery County, City of Austin administrators are scrambling to save face after guest speaker Jonathan K. Allen, former city manager of Lauderdale Lakes, FL, had some laughably inflammatory things to say about women and how to best communicate to us the complexities of how men have managed to run these big ol’ city governments to this point.
While video of Allen’s speech has been pulled from the city’s website as Austin city administrators investigate how the decision to have Mr. Allen speak authoritatively on what amounted to the intricacies of 'dumbing it down for women' came about, greater specifics of Mr. Allen’s position on the subject can be found courtesy of articles published by FastCompany.com and Washington Post Morning Mix writer Sarah Kaplan’s piece of May 14, 2015.
But the plot seems to take a few more ominous turns from here.
Allen was fired in April 2015 in a split decision by Lauderdale Lakes City Council, following a motion by Vice Mayor Beverly Williams which was supported by Commissioners Patricia Hawkins-Williams and Gloria Lewis. Ostensibly under the auspices of “different visions” held by Allen and other council members, a proliferation of gas stations were cited at the meeting as a specific diversion of vision, according to The Sun Sentinel’s Larry Barszewski, in an article published April 15, 2015. However, Allen’s troubles seem to have begun long before his firing.
A cursory Google search on Jonathan K. Allen, now former city manager of Lauderdale Lakes, FL, reveals clear allegations of questionable ethical – indeed, potentially illegal – practices carried out in his official capacity as city manager dating back to 2010. The Broward County Office of the Inspector General lodged accusations of “felony bid splitting” against the beleaguered city manager in February of 2012 which, following research of the claims, led MyActofSedition.com Investigative Writer Chad Stevens to file an official complaint against Allen with the Broward State Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors gave Allen an opportunity to state his version of allegations of books cooking and bid splitting in February of 2014, according to a Sun Sentinel article and he deferred those rights to his attorney, to this date unnamed by any research this writer can find.
The entire City of Lauderdale Lakes governance under Jonathan K. Allen’s direction was officially accused of ‘gross mismanagement of funds’ by the State’s Attorney’s office in March of the same year, according to another article written by Barszewski and published The Sun Sentinel.
Cumulatively, this information begs a few questions.
If a simple Google search revealed all of these highly damning issues with his direction as an official of the City of Lauderdale Lakes, FL – indeed, arguably, with his personal character – what compelling qualifications set Jonathan K. Allen in the running to consult on successful collaboration (let alone direction) of any major project for the City of Austin?
How much was he paid to speak as an authority on ‘dealing with women’ in ‘new’ positions of influence?
And (most notably to this writer) why on earth didn’t the Office of the Manager of the City of Austin, at best, better-vet him before providing him an open forum on which to speak?
I love the City of Austin. They’re smarter than this, so I don’t get it. Not yet anyway.
I don’t have the answers yet, but I’m working on them. I’ve sent out emails to the City of Austin in hopes of hearing their side of this story. When I get a response, you’ll be the next to know. Thanks for reading!
“Behind all their personal vanity, women themselves always have an impersonal contempt for woman.” - Friedrich Nietzsche
For all its bombast there’s something to be said for this statement. It’s innate of our nature not to claim what is ours; to share – or even outright credit – successes which belong to us as “team efforts” and there is a contemptibility of thought behind it; a demur from pride in the skills and talents we possess and how we utilize them. Why do we do this? How long can we hold accountable a “society which has painted us into a corner” without bringing to bear our own levels of responsibility in the shrugging of our shoulders and setting up shop and home in that corner?
A friend recently made a Facebook post calling someone out for what he viewed as “weak” behavior. Filled with expletives, I won’t re-post it here, but the gyst was that his contemporary needed to “stop acting like a bitch” and “man up”. I was shocked. First, I don’t subscribe to the airing of dirty laundry – personal or professional - on any social media, it’s just not my style. But this particular bit struck me beyond that. Why was calling the man a bitch and demanding he “man up” his go-to place? Regardless of the surrounding circumstance the implication was, to me, deeply offensive, and I’m not easily offended.
The truth is, until I contacted him privately to ask why he felt such invectives were okay, it hadn’t even occurred to him. He undoubtedly felt (at least for a moment) like I was a bitch for calling him on his actions. He may still, I don’t know. But I made him think, at least.
Adam Grant, in a great blog post for Inc. Magazine on March 10, 2015, Why I Failed To Advocate For Women, brings some clarity from a different angle. It simply never occurred to Adam until his daughters came into his life to hold a mirror before his eyes of why it’s so important. The post also recounts the story of Judd Apatow turning his Bromance cottage industry into a Girl Power empire. It simply never occurred to Judd until two brilliant, funny writers in the form of Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo presented him with a script he just couldn’t let go, in Bridesmaids, that strong, funny women stood underrepresented within the movie industry – it hadn’t hit home.
We’re all accountable for our thoughts, our actions; and they purvey who we are. Until and unless we’re willing to hold the mirror to the faces of what we see as unfair or unjust treatment for ourselves, we can’t effectively advocate for others…and sometimes that includes holding the mirror right up to our own faces.
It’s time we stop blaming men. They think differently than us, and they approach life accordingly because that’s how they’re hardwired. We love them for this and myriad other reasons. Without us, there would be no world, no society. But the same is true of men. Their contribution is just as valuable because it is different. Just as is the case with us, when we devalue their contribution, their insight, their strength, we give them no reason to champion us as we do, by instinct, them; and we very effectively remove their own accountability for their perceptions and actions from their shoulders.
Two simple truths:
1) No one can treat you, in any situation imaginable, in a way you simply will not allow.
If you’re being victimized it’s because some part of you is allowing yourself to be. This is a harsh truth, but it’s one which we all have to wrap our heads around. It is incumbent on those who accept this accountability to effectively advocate for women who are yet unable to accept and understand it themselves.
2) You get what you expect.
Set your entry into any situation – a job, a relationship, a new home, a business venture – by your own standards and with your own yardstick. You make your mark by analyzing and setting your boundaries. The clearer you make them, the clearer communication will be from the outset, allowing you the ability to own your part in what matters of any transaction your life may present.
Own who you are, women. Set the bar high and the boundaries clearly. Even if they don’t know how to navigate the waters of it at first, the men in your life understand this – it’s how they’ve been since time began. Taking that step doesn’t make you one bit less feminine, it makes you strongly woman.
"Nurses eat their young," my second-term instructor somberly warned a class largely peopled of wide-eyed innocents, "They really do this; I'm not telling you this to scare you, but to prepare you for the reality."
Of course, within any industry with a reputation of benevolence such as nursing, the statement seems so...inflammatory. But it's true. The reality is that every major industry is primarily characterized by a dog-eat-dog mentality - perhaps especially those industries of service.
It's easy to forget in this brave new world of 21st Century trappings that those individuals often most capable of serving in truly legendary capacities are not only those equipped with what is conventionally perceived as proper grooming. An intimate and applicable knowledge gleaned 'the hard way' affords an experience of struggle and success against odds in a very tangible way which cannot be marginalized...at least by the truly savvy entrepreneur. In the service fields specifically, it affords a level of compassion and empathy that stand to provide boundless insight toward creative resolution to the world’s most pervasive issues.
Measurable objectivity within a classroom setting can never fully equate with practical education without mutual consideration as compliment instead of competition. There's still a lot to be learned from those who've gathered their knowledge from the proverbial trenches: they've earned their stripes through dogged pursuit and mastery of the same skills which characterize degrees and letters. Yet those same skills often go unacknowledged in any official way, because they’re obtained through the oft-proven process of trial and error rather than quantified by grades.
The highly misapprehended irony that proving these same qualifications over and over to new audiences – usually under closer scrutiny - doesn’t prime the autodidacts of the world for greater affinity for what they do is unfortunate for everyone. These veterans are used to it. More often than not, when given the opportunity to excel, these old dogs perpetuate their value with a personal commitment and drive that would send a competitor better-versed in the padded opportunity of unpaid internships and the hypothetical models produced in classrooms of higher learning running for the safety of the porch.
I say none of this to detract from the clear merits of higher education in any way. Higher education has very effectively moved this nation into largely uncharted (and previously unimagined) territories in the last century. It's just to say that practical education has done the same thing, and just as effectively in its way. It's to say that ingenuity, progress and quantifiable success, by necessity, neither begin at the steps of a four-year university nor end with the merit and privilege of the assignation of MBA. Those who have never experienced deep need could not possibly be more adept or ingenious at assessing or solving the problem of it than those who have been there, assessed and met those needs with success. The road to greatness isn't necessarily measured in lambskin and letters appended to names; it is paved in passion, conviction, and an inexorable desire to immerse oneself in something greater than he or she as Self will ever be... let alone something as mere as addendum.
20th Century Essayist Albert Jay Nock, in his 1943 title Memoirs Of A Superfluous Man, quotes legendary diplomat and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe as having said that "[...those who make the assumption that literacy carries with it the ability to read...] do not know what trouble and time it costs to learn to read. I have been working at it for eighteen years, and I can't say yet that I am completely successful." The same process of thought can - and well should - be applied universally, to all forms of contribution - professionally, civically and socially: one form of education, in almost all but the most-specialized of cases, should never negate the genuine contribution of another on a large scale. Inspired, they each exalt their own purpose, and the industry of service is best mobilized in utilizing both in a synergistic capacity.
I'm encouraged to see a movement toward regarding the very real merits of both institutional and practical education with a new regard. Such progress proves growth toward enlightened and true service wherein we cease the need to eat our young in efforts to build ladders to heaven with their bones. With the proper constructs and goals applied, one is no better than the other. Cohesion of effort is so much more effective, and each of us stands to learn a great deal more about achieving the ultimate goal in open contribution. The quicker we're able to get global players to see the strength of such revolutionary thinking, the quicker and more efficiently supply can facilitate need.
Taking a leap of faith is serious psychic business. Those who've spent a lifetime doing it know that it's essential for tangible, substantial growth. But for someone who's spent a lifetime avoiding commitment of such drastic measure...well "terrifying" doesn't even cover it, not really. I seem to be learning those ropes though...even when the leaps don't pay off immediately or in the way that I expect. I'm also finding there's a real liberation in taking a deep breath, clenching shut my eyes and diving headfirst into the deep end.
The month of February looks to be one of considerable emotional and psychic housekeeping for me. For all the tangible transition I've made these last two years, my thought process - the way I handle things emotionally and psychically - still struggles to keep pace at least as many days as not. That need to be in control and to have my finger on the pulse of every situation for at least a full sixty seconds before devising a plan of action certainly served me well as a single mother - it was a necessity. But just as my daughter has outgrown the need for my full protection, I think I finally have as well.
I caught this dichotomy of thought the other day as I was discussing politics with a group on Facebook, following a friend's post on his support of greater personal and community responsibility toward the poor and disenfranchised. My own words didn't really even strike me until I went back later in the day to follow up on the progress of the debate. I said, "...it is incumbent on each of us as members of this civilization to repair or retire that which is broken when it no longer effectively serves its purpose." Of course I'd made the statement relative to our current political system; it's service, it's efficacy, its fairness and depth of perception for the real needs of the entire society for which it was devised and developed to serve (and yes, I was pretty proud of it :)). It fell off my figurative tongue easily enough, and like our behemoth government really cares what I have to say, right? It wasn't intended to be a personal statement! It wasn't supposed to have deeper philosophical application than intellectual! Dammit...
Seeing it with fresh eyes, I couldn't deny the parallels to my own personal journey... or the custom blinders I'd worn so long they were as natural as the ache I get in my knee with this miserable cold weather. So I'm cleaning house again. Because that's where it starts, right? With each of us holding that mirror up at least once in a while; assessing the value of those things we hold onto, trying to perceive what drives us to keep them, and scrapping the safeguards we've outgrown? It broke my heart just a little bit to realize that some of those safeguards I'd devised (that we all devise!) had developed a completely unconscious habit of usury toward and about a handful of people I know, and genuinely love and respect - not in a malicious way at all, but no less real for its lack of intention - only my commerce has been emotional instead of financial and the infractions have been more moralistic than legal.
Another friend on a completely different topic, on a completely different day (and not on Facebook) said that the realization and confrontation of such things aligns us for better to come. She's right. So I'm beginning to scrap some of the emotional baggage I've held onto for too many years, hoping desperately to first salvage and then evolve friendships which I unconsciously affected with my fear and the need to feed my delusion of control of my own situation. The alignment she speaks of is my own contribution: what I'll be much more present to bring to the table in making not just myself, but (and more importantly) the world around me, a better place.
For anyone who reads this, I challenge you to use the month of February to do that same thing. Clean your house. Make room for the new stuff to come in by getting rid of the things which no longer aid your purpose or the world around you. I'd love any opportunity any of you will give me to talk about it, as well. My email is at the top and the comments button is on. Maybe we can help each other! Until next time...
Prayers, good vibes and positive thoughts.
What a road this has been to travel. Today begins the final leg of my current exploration, and I find myself up at 0330 steeping in a mixed bag of emotions and thoughts; a culmination of a good month's worth of dread. Will it be worth it in the end? Of course it will. But for the most part, I'm honestly just...sick of it for right now.
"Can't believe we only have four more months," one of my optimistic cohorts opines. I so admire her.
Truth is, I'll do what I have to do, and (though I will stumble...) I'll do it to the very best of my ability. But I'm kinda over the whole 'being built up just to be shattered to the ground in the end - "for your own good"' bit. It's tired. It will piss me off just enough to prove some wrong, but it won't scar me in any permanent way - even if, God forbid, I fail this time around - because this, ultimately, isn't about you or what you think. Because that's what I'm made of.
This journey is one I promised myself many, many years ago I would exact. I truly believe it's a part of my destiny, my divine calling...but only a part. That's why I'm on it, that's why I'm about to complete this leg of it. And despite my sure knowledge of my responsibility to you and the brevity with which I accept that mantle, it's not to prove to you or anyone else one single thing, but to prove it to me - my real own worst critic. Of course I take it seriously - I wouldn't still be here if I didn't. Not for you though; but for the lives I know I'll be able to help and for the contribution I can make to my greater society. And yes, for myself. Because that's what I'm made of.
I've only just come to that realization... and God is it liberating. I've also come to the realization that this isn't the only path I'm destined to travel, stumble and fall on...or get back up and find my way on. I've done it a million times in my life, and I will do it over and over again. You may be wiser in some respects, but you are not stronger. You may chasten me, but you will never break me. Because that's what I'm made of.
I received an unexpected phone call late the other evening; a friend I've known since...well, since God was a child. We never talk on the phone, so I was a little surprised, but pleasantly at least.
Having covered all of the expected pleasantries - "How's things? Anything interesting going on? How was Christmas?" etc... - the conversation fell into a brief, palpably awkward silence, broken after a few seconds by an audibly heavy, nervous sigh on the other end of the line. I waited, wondering what was coming next, steeling my heart against the niggling conviction that I was about to receive the fabled (yet shockingly oft-proffered) prelude to a booty call from this man I really like and genuinely respect. What came next actually floored me.
Again, he sighs, clearly trying to work up a nerve that threatens to shatter mine. I wait, expectant but hardly hopeful.
"I've wanted to say this for a long, long time," he begins, falteringly, "but to be quite honest, I've had to work up some liquid courage so forgive me for that, please..."
"Okay...I'm not sure I understand what..." I begin, teeth from that rankled undercurrent a yappy, nipping specter at the back of my brain.
"I am so...enamored of you," he begins, words pushing out like tremendous weights being lifted slowly from his chest, "I think you're amazing. I just wanted you to know that. I really do."
Stunned silent, I sit staring blankly at a little turtle made of beads hanging on my wall (some folk art piece picked up in Florida by the man who promised to love me forever but who betrayed me in all of the most personal ways one human can betray another, "we're so fragile, we humans," my mind chuckles, then reaffirms "but I like it, so it stays"). Words choked in my throat, warring with breath stuck somewhere at the roof of my mouth, struggling to get in; mere seconds seeming like infinite minutes, hours, days. I feel the sincerity behind those words, the import with which he feels them and I'm not sure I've ever been so humbled. I wonder also if, in this moment, his own sincerity isn't surprising him just a little as well.
"I....thank you...I....," stumble-stammering, still trying to remember how to breathe, trying to be clever, coy but somehow still impart the very real graciousness I feel; all of those traits we seek but which escape us when we feel exposed.
"No, I mean it. And I just wanted you to know," he says, a contentment in resolution of his peace settling into his voice, "and if you don't hear it every day, you should."
"Thank you so much," I struggle, still dumbstruck, "I don't know what to say...I don't think anyone has ever said anything so kind to me."
"Someone should," he says, relief resonating through the line, "every day."
We moved on, finishing the call with further small talk, some laughter and a promise of getting together for drinks soon.
I'm not entirely sure if, in the seconds it took him to dial my number and wait for me to answer the ring, he believed that moment to be his; to unburden himself of some unspoken crush in an effort to exorcise the feelings and move on. I think that may have been his original intent and I certainly understand it. Or maybe - just maybe - it did start out as an attempt at a booty call, who knows? As he progressed though, it became something else altogether - not just to me, but to him as well. It turned out not to be an overture for anything at all, just something he needed to say...and something, as it turns out, I really needed to hear.
It was beautiful, that moment. It was selfless and raw, kind and brilliant...and it was one of the bravest small personal moments I've had the privilege to be a part of. As much as I liked him before, he gained immense respect from me as a person. It's one of those moments I'll carry with me forever in some secret little box, to pull out and draw from when I need that kind of strength and inspiration myself; it reminded me of the beauty and depth we all possess, but so often lack the courage to harness.
And to hear those words in real life?...just...wow. Thanks for that. Really.
If Jesus walked the earth today,
who do you supposed He might be?
The priest or pastor of a powerful church?
A politician, holding the world ceremoniously on His shoulders
and society's ear at His sway?
The President and CEO of a multi-billion dollar enterprise?
A doctor? A lawyer? Or maybe a movie star?
(He certainly has the appeal)
Jesus, to my own estimation, would be none of those things.
Jesus, to me, would be an Activist.
He would be all too proud to live in a box on a dirty city street,
for they, too, are creatures who need Him
and they'd know He was there.
But every day He would stand on a crate and shout His Father's message
of forgiveness and peace and hope
to a throng too busy and isolated to do more than
cluck their thick tongues,
sometimes shake their heads sadly,
He would live on a farm with far too many animals
- none wanted by the society which ultimately bore them,
all functionally deficient in some way through no fault of their own -
and they would love Him without question or fail...
and that is just how He would love them.
And the townspeople would watch Him closely,
gossip feigned as neighborly concern,
and wait until dark to slink into His yard
with scraps from their tables
to feed the needy
and absolve their own souls.
He would live in a tidy but ancient one-room apartment,
all rusted pipes
and groaning furnace,
and triple bolt locks He only ignores,
over a free clinic in Cabrini Green
- to heal the sick and bring them peace -
among the needles
and the open sores
and the condoms
and the guns
- inside walls fetid of the stench of piss and anger and pain of desperation -
and dirty, secret things one just can't wipe off...
But He could.
Or He just might be in prison
for a crime He didn't even commit
but to which He bore His witness
- His gift to us was that of free will, after all -
but His time would not be for naught
For often, of the darkest earth comes the greatest harvest.
Or maybe He would be an artist or a poet or a writer
- starving and unpublished, of course,
for all the greatest works are most often
discovered posthumously -
living in a 9th-story walkup in the lower East Village
beating away cold with bare hands clutching hot cups of coffee,
blowing blindly into the sails of change, all hot breath and cold comfort
with modern-day Prieurs, Marechals, Kerouacs
each struggling in his own naked right;
scents of patchouli and second-hand Mexican Red Hair fighting with
tapas and fresh-made tamales,
drifting in through rice paper walls to choke
the edges of His nostrils;
He would breathe deep
and He would love
and He would fight.
He would be on the periphery of life's every celebration, triumph, horror, shame
silently rejoicing, holding hands, brushing away tears
even as others close their windows to strains of
grounded cacophonies of voices, d'obros, guitars, steel drums,
blending mellifluously in His ear with
echoes of piano and violin
drifting onto brightly-colored streets
from trendy cafes and bistros
full of paying customers.
Christ would be a member of the great unwashed.
Leaving the myth of Mastery to
the potentates, raiders, captains of industry and commerce,
He would not feast with kings and great leaders,
counting his blessings in obscene affront for all to witness.
- often unnoticed, commonly unapplauded -
about His life's mission,
ministering to the sick,
never too good
or too busy
or too fine
The last couple of days have been a little difficult.Those of you who know me well know that I have a history as long as our own of really unhealthy love relationships. For those of you who don't know me, I have a highly-honed maternal instinct complimented by a revolutionary streak a mile wide. I truly want to believe in my soul that, when applied properly, passionate love can change anything.
Time has taught me that, while it can alter some things by minor degrees, love in any of its applications can only ultimately transcend the things which want to be changed - those things which possess some real hope for something greater than status quo; the things truly wanting for a revolutionary with a light smattering of mother instead of the other way around. That's been a hard-won lesson for me to learn. I own that wisdom because I earned it in spades.
I've made the conscious effort to take the time over the last few years to analyze my own role - the responsibility I bear - in that unhealthy dichotomy so that, when I finally commit to someone again, not only do I commit to someone whole, healthy; I'm also bringing the same thing to the table for him. This evolving self-awareness has garnered me attention often inspiring, sometimes perplexing and occasionally even downright scary, but I've learned my boundaries and how (for the most part) to establish them without alienating the people I care about. Yes, Mama's finally done trying to fix people even though the revolutionary will never tire of being a #1 cheerleader for those working to fix themselves.The next serious relationship I have will be forever, I'll be sure of it.
I've recently begun dating a new man. One who has challenged my sense of enlightenment, my new-found 'center'. Not intentionally (probably completely unawares, actually) and not in the typically unhealthy way with which I'm so familiar; from a realistic standpoint, life just...gets in the way sometimes. But I've found myself slipping back into some pretty self-destructive habits no less. Funny how we do that so easily. The difference this time? I caught it. That's a good feeling.
We all have triggers. Unfortunately, they never really go away. What we don't often seem to comprehend is that, after a point, we are responsible for modulating them; not those around us. We make the choice to dive headlong into a wicked, destructive cacophony of misery or we lower the frequency. It's our song, our production; not theirs. We decide whether it will be another sad song or our Magnum opus.
So I've taken back my song. I'm still really crazy about this guy - those deep green eyes and that infectious smile; that wicked sense of humor and those amazing hugs....yeah. :) But I realize he's got his own song to perfect, even while I'm working on my own. If I don't let him do that in his time, just like I'm taking mine, everybody gets cheated.